When our sailing dad, Captain Dave, heard that Bob and Susan from Tiami were getting rid of their old dinghy to buy a brand new one, he told us about it. If we could fix it, they said, we could have it! Oh, the generosity of O Dock!
Damian and I have wanted to get a dinghy to tow behind our sailboat, so that we can explore more shallow waters and get ashore while at anchor. But dinghies aren’t cheap! Even small ones cost almost $900 and that doesn’t include the additional coast of an outboard engine, which are a couple thousand dollars.
Damian made it his mission to find out a) what was wrong with the old dinghy and b) how to fix it so that we could have a dinghy of our own!
We brought the deflated dinghy over to Matt’s house, and together they inflated it and determined there was a pretty substantial hole in the seam of the rubber boat. Damian noticed that it had been patched before but was not holding anymore. Then began the research phase: from consulting YouTube videos and informative posts and articles from other dinghy owners as well as discussing options with O-Dock veterans.
First, Damian put on his gloves and cleaned the area with acetone. Then took PVC glue and smeared it on the seam and let it dry for about 3 minutes. He repeated the process two more times. On the third time, he pushed down on seam really hard until it stuck. After that, Damian cut a patch from the PVC repair kit and glued it down. While it was drying, he used a spoon to get all of the air bubbles out. And then we began waiting the long 24 hours to see whether or not the patch was a success!
The following day, we pumped the dinghy up using a foot pump borrowed from Captain Dave. I held the nozzle up to the air valve, and we began pumping. And pumping, and pumping, and pumping…you get the point: it was taking a long time. Fortunately, our neighbor on the dock, Rich from Trust Me, offered us his dinghy hand pump. It worked like a charm! We had the dinghy inflated in no time!
Rich also coached Damian through the process of checking for any additional holes by brushing soapy water over the dinghy and searching for bubbles that would signal an air leak. Another neighbor on the dock, Billy from Better Days, came over and together the three of them found a small air leak near the patched area.
Can I just say how blessed we are by the support and community we have from the sailors on O Dock? I know God is looking out for us, and one way that He is doing so is by providing genuine people in our lives. Watching these men come along side of Damian with this project really touched my heart. Even though Damian did not have his father on Father’s Day, he had the care and encouragement from “father-like” men who are there for him.
So we did have a small leak that was slowly leaking air, but we agreed to watch it over night to see how much the hole would actually leak. In the morning, we discovered that hardly any air had escaped despite the small air hole. Damian decided that we would attempt to use the dinghy anyway on our first adventure. Together we loaded the dinghy on deck and then bungee-corded it to the lifelines on the bow.
Stay tuned to find out: will our dinghy float?