05 Mar Dinghy Bottom Cleaning Made Simple
Well, duh. Sometimes the simplest things really are the simplest.
The first time we had to clean the dinghy bottom — 15+ years ago – we didn’t even know it was bad until we hauled it up on deck to roll up for a passage. And not knowing better, we scraped it clean right on deck.
DO NOT try this. It makes a horrible mess. Barnacles everywhere.
And so, for the rest of our time in the Sea of Cortez and down to El Salvador, Dave would take the dinghy to a beach, take the motor off and lay it somewhere that seemed to have the least likelihood of getting sand into the motor, take everything out of the dinghy, pull it up on shore, flip it over and scrape the bottom, rinsing with buckets of seawater he’d fetch.
Not as messy, but a bit of a pain. Particularly to to remove/replace the outboard once we upgraded to a 15 HP. And if you forgot to take any needed tools ashore, too bad. You either had to do without or flip the dinghy over, drag it back to the water, put the outboard back on and get your supplies. Then start over.
So when we saw our neighbors here in Boot Key Harbor cleaning their dinghy a much easier way (assuming you don’t want to do it with a snorkel), we could only marvel at how stupid we’d been not to think of it ourselves.
Our friends on “Starlight” (I’m sorry, but I forgot to write their names down because I was positive I wouldn’t forget; I was wrong) simply took their outboard off using their crane and put it on the stern rail just as if they were going on passage. Much easier than hand removing it and carrying it up a beach . . . and a lot safer for the outboard. Then they took all the stuff out of the dinghy, and used a halyard to pull the dinghy up, twist it around and put it back down in the water . . . upside down!Now they could kneel on the dinghy to clean it with plenty of rinse water within arm’s reach. And if you forgot anything, you’re right at the boat.
Since then, we’ve seen two other boats in the harbor use this technique.
We know how we’re doing ours next time . . .