“Lost, pinched or escaped, one dinghy”
Most boating magazines have a free section in their classifieds for ads of this description. Why? Because they realise just how important the dinghy is to the waterborne person. Just like in the old wild, wild west where the cowboy rode and loved his horse and any low down critter that stole it got ‘strung up’, no questions asked, so we rely on our dinghies. We don’t have the opportunity to “string up” a felon these days but anyone who pinches or uses a dinghy without the ok of the owner is certainly a felon of the worst kind.
Imagine this scene. One of my ex sailing pupils has bought herself a lovely 45’ steel sloop to go cruising around the world. The boat is safely on her mooring and the owner is on board doing maintenance and decides to stay the night to do more work in the morning. She leaves the dinghy, a lovely little inflatable with a 2 horse power outboard dragging off the back on a piece of rope. During the night she hears a power boat pull up behind her yacht and sticks her head up to investigate. She sees the thieves! “Hey, what are you up to” she bravely yells out. “Sorry luv, we are taking your dinghy” and off they go with her dinghy in tow.
A call to the police is without joy, “describe the villains and give us the reggo number of the boat”. Sure, what chance on a dark night? The water police incidentally are pushed to the limit by the government’s policy on anti terror on the water and are busy patrolling the busiest port in Australia and have no relief staff to do the day to day job they were hired to do. So the lady calls the local marina from which she hires her mooring and is ferried to shore in their dinghy. She is put off sailing for life and her boat is for sale. Bloody mongrel thieves, no wonder we hate them. To them it is just a matter of convenience to cut a painter and steal a boat. Sell it for a few bucks and bugger the owner they should have insurance. Makes me mad.
My sad battered old tinnie went missing from the yacht club one night. I searched high and low for it, spread out the word amongst the boating fraternity and took up the offer of free advertising of my loss through many boating magazines. One of the club’s sailors saw it pulled up on a grassy bank about three miles from the club two weeks later. I went to investigate and sure enough there she was, a very seamanlike job was done of pulling her onto shore and the motor was tilted up and only enough fuel to run from the club to this beach had been used. I decided that some drunk weaving their way out of the club had decided to avail themselves of a free ride home. Well I am glad they took care of my boat and I am glad to get her back. I am lucky in this respect but have not always been.