Wednesday, June 03, 2009

New sailboat

Mark my words: I will sail this boat around the world! Well, MAYBE... I've talked about dinghy cruising before, but now I have more sailing experience and also an excellent sailboat for the purpose.

It's a 1979 15-foot Chrysler Mutineer daysailer, an open dinghy. (Chrysler once built boats.) I don't have any photos of MY exact boat, since I don't pick it up until Friday, but I collected a few from the Net. Mine looks exactly like these. And, yes, in a way, part of me wants to make a grand attempt at a life-defining event, sailing around the world in an open sailing dinghy. Now, whether I'm crazy enough to do it, we'll see later, but it's not completely insane. Properly modified, I am convinced that such a vessel is capable of a circumnavigation. Google the sailor Frank Dye and see his ocean-crossing adventures.

Here's a shot of a Chrysler Mutineer like mine:

One of the great things about a boat this size is the ability to make repairs. Instead of spending a thousand bucks to have a boat yard haul-out your big cruising boat, you can "simply" slide it up a beach and turn it over. (OK, it weighs over 400 pounds, but it's still possible.):

The most famous sailboat for dinghy sailing is the Wayfarer. As you can see, it's very similar to my Mutineer:

Another great thing about cruising in a small boat is the maneuverability. Instead of being stuck in big anchorage or an expensive marina slip, you can "slip" away into the shallow back-country or to a less-accessible anchorage, raise the boom tent, and relax in quiet solitude:

Finally, a cruising dinghy CAN go anyplace a large cruising boat can go. Frank Dye crossed the North Atlantic Ocean from Scotland to Iceland, in a Wanderer in the 1960's:

Frank's dinghy capsized a couple of times in near-hurricane conditions, but he righted her and continued. Here he is goofing-off mid-ocean:

The critical "trick" to understanding dinghy cruising is this: It is not dangerous per se, it is uncomfortable.

Of course, it actually IS dangerous, as is any activity on the ocean. But I certainly would choose a storm at sea over a driving holiday down America's highways which kill 50,000 people annually.

I suppose, in the end, I'm just lazy. Rather than have the worry and expense of a big boat which needs a motor, I choose a boat I can ROW when needed. Instead of anchoring a big boat with a big heavy anchor, I lazily toss my little anchor overboard, or I lazily sail RIGHT UP to the shallow shore, rather than going to the trouble of having to secure the big boat at a proper water depth and then get out the inflatable. Instead of working for years at difficult jobs to make enough money to go cruising in the big boat, I can go cruising, more or less, TOMORROW in my dinghy, so to speak. Instead of having a heart-attack trying to stay off a lee shore, I simply sail down to it and beach the boat and wait for better conditions. And if my boat gets damaged at sea, instead of it sinking and sending me to the lifeboat and desperate rescue attempts, I simply repair it (it's unsinkable, anyway), which may be difficult, but is completely possible, and then I sail onward.

Yes, onward.

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