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We have been out and about in our dinghy quite a bit this weekend; back and forth to barbecues on shore and dinners on friends’ boats. We have noticed a bit of a problem that when arriving back at the boat, in the dark, after having consumed one (or more) alcoholic beverages, our knot tying abilities seem to disappear. So what typically happens is that, upon bumping into the transom, Rebecca ties the dinghy painter to the boat with half a dozen knots of various descriptions. After she gets out I tend to repeat that procedure, not wanting to wake up to find our dinghy has floated out into Lake Ontario. Our solution to this, which we began using a few weeks ago, is that right after we launch the dinghy we attach a carabiner to the transom rail and tie a loop in the dinghy painter. Now, instead of having to wrestle with 50 knots to untie in the morning, we just have to unclip one clean and simple loop.

This post is coming to you from our boat, peacefully anchored in Stella Bay. I hope the windlass works as we are anchored in 35 feet of water!

PS: Today’s blog post title could also have been describing our boat speed yesterday, which at one time was, yes, zero knots!


  1. Did you guys just do 100 push ups??? That is a compliment Rebecca!

  2. It’s so great seeing you guys out on the water!

    Honestly, each and every time we were at anchor (even after many cocktails) we would haul the dink up. Even just a few feet. We just made it habit. Then you KNOW it’s not going anywhere and you KNOW nobody can run off with it and if you get a good rain, it’s easy to pull the plug and drain before paunching in the morning.
    In a crowded anchorage people have all manner of securing their dinks, and they still manage to go wandering somehow.
    Just a thought…

    You should get some of Eileen Quinn’s CD’s (fellow Canadian and she’s a good friend of ours). She does all sort of hilarious cruising songs, one is called “Come Back Dinghy” all about coming up with ways to secure the darn things only to find them missing in the morning…

  3. Hah! Know the feeling!

    Some friends have a neat move (but we haven’t copied it yet) where they’ve put a snap shackle on the end of the dinghy painter. Feed the line round your stanchion and clip back on itself. Or round a chain ont he wharf or whatever. Even easier than a knot …

    having said all that – we always haul our dinghy up as she’s GRP and tends to go bump inthe night in a very annoying fashion. After a couple of weeks on the hook we can do this even after far too much alcohol …

  4. I laughed out-loud at the first pic. So great.

  5. “when arriving back at the boat, in the dark, after having consumed one (or more) alcoholic beverages, our knot tying abilities seem to disappear.”

    You guys are SO going to fit in out here! 🙂

    The dinghy goes up at night, always.

    Far too much teefin’ going on.

    As for during the day, we always tie the painter to a cleat and add a line from the transom u-bolt to the rail as well.

    Yup, two lines at all times.

    We must have chased down a dozen dinghies for people who’ve tied them badly (or not at all). Some were never found. That’s a pretty spendy event.

    Also had people arrive home after consuming adult beverages and pass out in the dink before tying up to anything. It’s a fun way to accidentally visit Trinidad by dinghy.

    • Three votes for raising the dinghy! Again, those who are actually out there cruising know what to do. Thanks for the advice, Jeff. We appreciate it.

  6. I laughed out loud when I saw that knot! – is it in Ashley’s Book of Knots?

    I must sheepishly confess that we once had to go searching all over Gig Harbor for our dinghy. And yes, there was wine involved. No, we did not tie the knot, but I should have checked it, nevertheless (I just didn’t want to appear to be an untrusting OCD maniac).

    We found the dinghy.


  7. I like the knot. Give it a name:)

    I would suggest wire gate biners; I used standard ones at first because I had old ones no longer suitable for climbing, but particularly on wet applications they will sieze-up once you move to salt water.

    Hoisting is best at night, if only half way… but once I forgot my daughter had been out the night before, I left the dock without checking the hoist height, and when we got out of the marina the dingy flipped, dumping the contense across the harbor. The motor didn’t get wet and everything floated; it gave a good oppertunity to practice pick-up.

    Another reson to hoist is growth. Just a few days in the water will start some green stuff, in some harbors.

    During the day, we do exactly what you suggest, no worries.

    • A wire gate biner would probably be perfect, for day use. That big locking one that I am using is a bit overkill.

      I guess we’ll join the “always hoist at night” team though, for all the reasons listed.

  8. I like the carabiner idea for securing your dinghy.

    By the way, are leaving your anchor line run through your windlass? Figured you’d run a bridle…

    • Hi Rob

      We always rig a bridle. The windlass doesn’t carry the load.

      Last night when we anchored we were in deeper water than normal and thus had more than our hundred feet of chain out. Because of this we had to use a different solution for our bridle as our normal chain plate won’t work on the line. So, I just used one of the bridle legs and tied a rolling hitch to the rode to spread the load between the hulls. It worked well but there was virtually no wind to really test it.

      • Always fun to try new things. I tend to run a rolling hitch round the anchor line and make a poor man’s bridle. I never cease to be amazed at the holding power of the rolling hitch in such a situation. A prussik is useful in similar situations too…

        • I have been using a rolling hitch for several situations on board and I agree, it holds well. If it hadn’t held a Prusik is likely what I would have tried next.

          • The PO of our boat used a rolling hitch to the side, to spread the load, but there was definatly trouble with chafe. Anchor rollers are just not designed with that angle in mind, so check for sharp spots.

            I’m happy with a dedicated bridle with 2 legs. I use a sling with a prusic cliped to the hole in my chain graber, but there are a bunch of solutions that would work. A few links of chain (for the grabber) attached to ~ 2′ of line (for the rolling hitch), for example – never tried it.

            One neat thing about the prisick sling; you can attach it to the rope inboard of the roller, and then ease it out, if it’s so nasty you don’t feel like leaning over the rail to tie the knot. It will feed through and all you need to lean for is to clip it.

            • Good thoughts. We definitely didn’t leave it through the anchor roller. The rode was led through the chock. After rigging the rolling hitch to the port bow (our anchor is starboard) I realized that the anchor was still pulling on the windlass (through the chock). I then quickly tied another rolling hitch starboard and then cleated it to take the load. Only when I was bringing it up did I realize that all I needed to do was cleat the anchor line itself to take the load off the windlass!

              Question Drew: You mentioned before that you use a biner on one side of the chain plate instead of a shackle on both sides. What type of biner are you using? Stainless? Locking aluminum?

              By the way, the piece of chain with some line on it is what I was going to make. The set up I described was improvised on the spot when I realized that we needed to anchor in deeper water.

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