Chip Ford's 1974 Catalina 22 Restoration Project
Sail #3282  l  Marblehead, Massachusetts

The never-ending project to fill my hole in the ocean while bailing it out

The Ongoing Dinghy Project
A 9' Beacon Lynx, manufactured in Bristol, RI in 2000

Click thumbnails for a larger picture


With a day off due to postponement of Chip Ahoy's 2004 supposed launch, I went to work on readying my second (newer) dinghy after it spent the winter on pallets under a tarp. First I washed it down, then used a polisher to shine up the hull.  (Jun. 27, 2004)

Next I put a new coat of bottom paint on it (BoatUS Copper-Coat by Interlux, hard finish).

After the results of a discussion list poll on naming the dinghy, l lettered it "Chip Mate" to match Chip Ahoy then waxed the hull. It's ready to drop off the dock down the street.  (Jul. 3, 2004)

"Chip Mate" tied behind Chip Ahoy on its mooring in Salem Harbor, with its "new" old 1965 Johnson 3hp outboard I picked up for $75.  Note the registration number, MS2489CF -- one number after Chip Ahoy's MS2488CF -- as it'll always be following!   (Jul. 15, 2004)

Chip Mate towed behind Chip Ahoy.  While underway, I usually have the dinghy trailing behind about 18 feet on a 20 foot painter.  When I come into a marina or mooring, I'll pull it in accordingly.  It rides well back there; in waves or wakes it floats atop them like a cork.  Being far enough behind, it doesn't "surf" down the face of one and slam into the swim ladder or transom -- a jarring experience when that happens.  (Photo taken underway:  Aug. 17, 2006)

After all the rain of Season '04, when boating turned into mostly going down to the dock and bailing out the dinghy day after day, and after the suggestion of Hobie Davidson of the discussion list, late last season I decided I wanted a cover for the dinghy. ("Chip Mate"  is a 9' Beacon Lynx built in 2000.)  Even throughout last season's Maine cruise, bailing out the dinghy was an almost-daily ritual; one morning I awoke after a hurricane "remnant" passed overhead to find it more than half-full of rainwater!
Today, my buddy Gloucester sailmaker Josh Bevins (who built my roller-fuller system) came by and started on the project before my next sail up the coast of Maine in mid-July.  (Jun. 22, 2005)

Josh covered the dinghy with a sort of rip-stop clear plastic and cut it into a pattern from which he'll cut and stitch the cover out of ivory Sunbrella. He'll attach grommets, shock cords and snaps that'll secure it to the dinghy.  I've got to build a couple upright supports from PVC pipe that'll slide into collars mounted on the bow and middle seats to keep the cover from puddling, drooping and stretching.  (That's Wally Riddle's "Carpe Diem" in the background. Wally launches early next week!)
Note that when I repainted the bottom this season (Pettit Unepoxy-Plus 1218 Blue), I raised the waterline by 3" on the transom to compensate for the additional weight of the outboard.

While I waited on Josh to build the cover, I added a tiller extension to the old (1965) Johnson 3hp outboard, so I can sit and steer from the dinghy's middle seat and better balance the boat.  I removed the rubber grip from the original short tiller, used a 2' piece of " PVC pipe as the extension, and forced it (using a heat gun) over the motor's bare, ribbed tiller.  Then I pushed a short length of copper pipe into its steering end of the PVC pipe, again using the heat gun, then squeezed the original rubber grip over the copper pipe.  (Jul. 8, 2005)

But the first step in adding the extension was to get it to point parallel with the centerline of the boat.  In its original short state, it angled off to port; extended, it would stick overboard.  I removed the original tiller and had the metal shop at the boatyard fabricate an adapter to my design.  I drilled a second hole through the motor's bracket for the tiller then fastened the adapter to the outboard, the short (adjustable up and down) tiller handle to the new bracket.  Unfortunately, the speed control lever is part of the motor housing, so I'll still have to upset the dinghy's balance to adjust its speed.

Josh delivered the cover yesterday, along with a bag of hardware to fasten it to the dinghy.  Today I drilled and fastened the four hooks beneath the rubrail on each side, which the shock cord in its hem catches, and a pair of twist snaps to the transom.  (Jul. 14, 2005)

The front of the cover is tied off to the dinghy's bow eye.  I had added a short length of " PVC pipe just forward of the middle seat, secured by a pair of "U"-shaped PVC pipe clamps that allows the pipe to be slid out.  I added a T-fitting to the top of the pipe.  (Included beneath the cover in these photos.)  This, Josh suggested, will keep the cover from puddling, drooping from the weight of the water, and stretching.  The cover is so tight now that I removed the pipe/support.  I won't use it again until the cover shows some sign of stretch -- as it is, it's almost, maybe even a little, too tight now.

The cover is double-reinforced canvas over the outboard to delay if not prevent wear there.

Josh assured me that the entire cover will stretch now that it's on . . . and I'm counting on that happening, soon.  Getting the cover on and off right now from above in the cockpit of Chip Ahoy will be a real challenge, if possible.

(This became a serious consideration, so Josh subsequently stitched a zipper into the cover:  not perfect, but a big improvement.  See the next page.)

The shock cord ends and fastens at the stern beneath the outboard.  The rear of the cover is held with a twist snap on the transom on each side of the outboard.

New Problems Discovered and Addressed
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