Canada again and a dinghy change up

I’ve been ignoring this blog so here is a brief update for Spring of 2023. I made it to Canada last year. Explored parts of Desolation Sound for the first time over a three week cruise. Visited a few familiar places on the way up and some new ones as well. I typically avoid marinas but anchoring out in some locations proved difficult and it was easy to find dock space in early September. With solar power and a water maker I don’t really need to tie up but it is nice once in a while to not deal with anchoring.

I dragged anchor for the first time on a particularly windy night off Lopez Island. Completely due to my being rusty with calculating scope. Re-anchoring in 25-35 knots single handed in a dark, crowded anchorage, produced some adrenaline. The next day I realized my mistake determining water depth with a the depth sounder set to keel depth not waterline. I also decided that if someone anchors too close astern, removing the option of letting out more chain, it’s best to move before the weather deteriorates and the light fades.

The trip was nice overall and I enjoyed having a new paddleboard along to explore and get a little exercise. I tried stern tying for the first time, single handed, and found it doable in the right location and conditions.

One element I missed (again) in this type of cruising was the lack of sailing opportunities. There is often not enough wind, wrong direction, or the legs are too short. Consequently 75% of my miles were under power and some of them were towing an inflatable dinghy. The soft bottom dinghy design is very draggy so even in flat conditions, towing it results in reduced cruising speeds. Over a long day it adds up. They also perform poorly in other ways too. I use a 3HP electric OB or row it. The former is just okay and the latter is terrible.

So earlier this year the old inflatable went to a new home and I went in search of something else. I decided to try a hard dinghy. Ideally one that could be rowed, had a sail rig to play with when the big boat was at anchor, towed well and was driven easily with the small electric OB. I was told by friends to not go with anything smaller than 10ft for lots of obvious reasons. However, I don’t have davits on Kinetics so a 10ft dinghy has to be light weight and not cover the entire foredeck. The solution seems to be a nesting hard dinghy and those are mostly kit built.

Late in 2022 I found a Spindrift 10 for sale and grabbed it. Unbolts into two halves that nest making it a compact, an easy to store, 5ft x 4ft-2in package on the foredeck. I found a YT video of a cruising couple with a Spindrift 9 and they seem to love it. It sails fairly well but I haven’t had much time to use it yet. Same for rowing. Still need to try out the outboard on it. There are a few things I want to customize to make it easy to manage as the new tender for Kinetics but it should be fun figuring it all out. Below is a friend taking it for a maiden sail.