I’m tying to get outside and on the water more this summer. Last summer we were able to get Will’s boat in the water a few times, but launching and retrieving in one day was a lot of work. It is a Wildfire dinghy with a removable keel and requires two people to step the mast. With a weight of over 600-lbs it is a lot of work to launch and retrieve, however the removable keel makes it a good boat for Long Island Sound.
Over the winter we jointed the Pettipaug Yacht Club, which is on the Connecticut river a few miles upstream from Long Island Sound. The idea was to leave his boat rigged and launch from there. The only problem is most of the river is too shallow in that area for his boat. The keel does come up, but it is a pretty labor intensive process – the weights must be removed from the keel before it can be lifted. We can launch and retrieve at the yacht club, but we have to be careful with tides and watch the shallow water. But it was significantly easier to not have to fully rig and take down his boat each time.
We got the boat out twice already this year. The first time was Will, me and Hoagie. We decided that Hoagie is not a sailing dog just yet, and much more of a paddle boarding dog. Last weekend we went out with Izzy. We had problems with the gooseneck (the makeshift rig I made broke) and getting the mainsail fully raised. However the biggest problem happened when we were retrieving the boat. We must have bounced the boat too much trying to get it on the trailer and put a crack in it. Not impossible to fix, just another pain.
This summer, Will started working full-time as a sailmaker apprentice at Farrar Sails in New London. The loft owner and lead sail designer/maker, Kevin, had a spare Bluejay dinghy that he wasn’t using (he has two Bluejays and multiple other boats in various states of repair). He said we could use it for the summer (and if we liked it we could talk to him about buying it). Last week Will and Kevin cleaned and rigged up the boat. This morning Will and I (with some help) swapped the boats around, got the Bluejay on the proper trailer and towed it home. It is much easier to manage than his boat. We have to get a new gooseneck for this boat, and adjust where the rudder attaches to the boat, but other than that it is in good shape. We plan to drop it off at Pettipaug next weekend and take his boat back home for repairs.