Saturday, November 14, 2015

Dinghy Chaps and Nick Nack Update

I thought some of you might like an update on the dinghy chaps since much time and effort was spent by me designing and making them, and you reading about that laborious process.

As I mentioned before, a cover was absolutely necessary since our dinghy is 17 + years old.  Nick Nack would not have made it through another season without dinghy chaps.  I say this because a friend back in the USA was going to make her own but after reading my ranting posting decided the brain damage wasn't worth it.  She called AB in Annapolis to inquire about getting a pair of chaps from them since her dinghy is an AB.  The price for chaps for their dinghy was going to be approx $900.  Gulp!  And the AB guy said that they don't really recommend chaps because the chaps get wet and then the dinghy stays wet longer plus salt gets trapped between the dinghy chaps and tubes and gets ground in....and blah, blah, blah.  Maybe so, but AB also wants to sell more dinghies.  All I know is that about 2/3 of all cruiser dinghies down here have covers - new and old dinghies.  Ours had to have chaps.  It would not have made it through the season.

Anyway....they have held up fairly well.  I haven't made any adjustment or repairs during season two.  They look a tad worn and could use a good cleaning.  There is one small spot that needs to be repaired where a new concrete jetty chewed right through the cover during the short time we were ashore.  Think what it would have done to poor Nick Nack without the chaps!  We try to tie the dinghy up carefully to protect it but honestly it doesn't matter.  Dinghy docks are generally crowded and so space is a premium,  The next guy comes along and shoves your dinghy this way and that so he can cram in and get tied/locked up and next thing you know, your dinghy is smashed partially under the dock.  We do the same in terms of wiggling into dinghy docks even though we try our best not to put someone else dinghy in peril.  FYI - Do NOT tilt your outboard motor up.  It is a big no-no as it can damage other dinghies.  

One of the funniest incidents was in Fort du France Martinique.  We were ashore for Carnival.  When we returned to our dinghy that night, we found one of the local powerboats using Nick Nack as a fender between his boat and the dock.  It wasn't too bad and with the dinghy chaps, I just laughed.  Without the chaps, Nick Nack would not have survived and I would not have been laughing and therefore neither would that local captain.  

So there is your dinghy chap update for the season.  
Coming home from the dinghy doctor
Update - In taking pics for this blog posting, I see that the small tear is getting slightly bigger so I really will need to do some repair soon.  
Lower orange part are repairs and added protection areas I added

Additionally update - Nick Nack took a bit of a beating on the final passage down to Trinidad.  We are still struggling to get the best configuration when tying him up on the arch and thus a couple of spots wore on the hypalon.  D-oh!  Those were patched in Trinidad right after we arrived, by Maxwill - a local dinghy doctor. 

Another update - When storing Nick Nack on deck for hurricane season, one of the oar locks came unglued.  Our plan is to take Nick Nack back to Maxwell and have that glued back on.  We are also going to have him paint the dinghy to help give the tired hypalon a little more life and support.  Then the cover will go back on for more protection from the harsh elements.  Hopefully all this will allow Nick Nack to see us through another season.  Fingers crossed.  FYI - The dinghy paint is a two part paint specifically made for dinghies.  The paint flexes. 

Looking good Nick Nack - you too Cap10 Tom

Newly painted
Final update...for now -  WOW!   Check out Nick Nack post-paint job.  He looks like a new dinghy...well almost.  Yay Nick Nack.  I have also completed the dinghy chap repairs.  Upon careful inspection, the cover really took a beating this past season.  The rub rail area took the brunt as designed.  I repaired the tear and then beefed up a couple of areas.  We are now hoping for maybe a couple of more years with Nick Nack.      

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