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Old 13-07-2014, 23:47   #1
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Dinghy Theft in PNW

I've mulled this over for a few days and I've concluded that it definitely was a theft. Here's the story. We anchored near the mouth of Reid Harbor (Stuart Island - about 4 nm away from Roche Harbor) on July 2nd. We launched our dinghy 12.5' with a 25 hp Yamaha outboard) and our 2 kayaks. We settled in and enjoyed the Harbor. When we anchor, we like our privacy so we avoid the 'congestion' at the head of the Harbor near the main dock. We had our 2 kids and dog with us. We like to walk our dog 3X a day as that works best for his comfort levels. I'm meticulous about tying up our dinghy and kayaks. On July 3rd we did our last dog walk, had a later dinner, showered up, watched the night come in and settled in to watch a movie. Went to bed at 11:30 - all was well. Woke up at 7:00 July 4th and our dinghy and kayaks were gone. Stolen. I used the binocs and scoured the Harbor. Our stuff was nowhere in sight. We had go walk the dog and now had no craft to get to shore (other than moving the mother ship). This was the middle of our first trip. We're....hooped. We need our stuff. Pulled anchor, went to Friday Harbor fuel dock to fuel up and walk the dog. Told our story to the fuel jockey (she was really sweet and arranged a 2 hour tie up at the barge dock for us) and I reported the theft to the Sheriff's office. Called my insurance, started a claim and started a new dinghy search. Went back to Canada with a heavy heart. Couple days later I get a call (on my cell no less) from Victoria Coastguard. Our dinghy and kayaks were found by a homeowner who lives at the mouth of Reid Harbor. Turns out he and his wife are absolute sweethearts. The story is that the next day he finds our stuff at his shoreline with the dinghy prop grinding into the gravel. I suspect that it was a prank gone wrong. Someone decided to prank the Canadians (or our boat regardless of nationality) and may have thought to return our stuff maybe the next night. Stupid. We need our stuff to get to shore and enjoy being anchored AND getting around. When we pulled anchor the prankster(s) must have freaked and just let the stuff drift. I still see it as a theft. I'm glad to have met some nice people along this journey but thought it important to pass on this event. I have to consider locking up my stuff on special days or prank days (I didn't know that July 4th was a day for pranks). Our stuff was retrieved 4 days after the theft and was dirty but ok. Prop scratched up but completely serviceable. I'm still peeved.
Cheers,
Bill

PS. We had battery problems with the dinghy so left it tied to the mother ship the entire time and I used the kayaks to get doggy to shore. It was not an issue of a failed knot. BTW, we always hoist our American courtesy flag and I do know that there are idiots/thieves on both sides of the border.
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Old 14-07-2014, 00:06   #2
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Re: Dinghy theft in PNW

Interesting. We are going that way in a few weeks. Will be careful. Btw, what ages are your kids? When my girl was a teenager we had a rash of this type of thing. The only way some boys felt like they could get noticed I guess.
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Old 14-07-2014, 00:08   #3
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Re: Dinghy theft in PNW

Bill,

Check your knots. Nobody would go to that much trouble and risk for a prank. Next time, tie two knots... one for backup. Or better yet, use a cable to lock things up.
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Old 14-07-2014, 00:36   #4
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Re: Dinghy theft in PNW

Bill,

FWIW, it sounds like joyride/theft to me, and they let the watercraft go when it suited them. You made out better than we did. When our dinghy was stolen, the rotters set fire to it when they were finished with it; and they kept the o/b. We did salvage the alloy bottom, and later had new tubes put on.

Kenomac has a point. We use a chain to lock it up now. Keep the kayaks on deck at night, cabled down. No point in your stuff being used by people you don't invite to use it. I sympathize entirely: w/o your dinghy, all you can do is go in a marina of some sort. Not what you had planned.

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Old 14-07-2014, 06:50   #5
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Re: Dinghy theft in PNW

You make mention of Canadian and prank against Canadian a couple of times. I don't see what nationality has to do with this at all. Simply a matter of unsecured items either taken or floating away. I don't get the special days or prank days bit either.

When at home, do you leave your car parked in front of your home, doors unlocked, keys in the ignition?

I sympathize with you for your loss, but perhaps a lesson earned at rather minimum cost since the items are now retrieved. You choose isolation, it increases the risks of something like this. You choose to leave in the water and not lock and the risk goes further up. Securing the items is necessary. And anchoring alone you might look at your own security as well. Would you have known if they'd come aboard and on into the salon?

Outboard theft, dinghy theft, kayaks, PWC's and bicycles are common. Of course so are items floating away that owners thought were tied well. I don't know for certain what happened but items recovered at minimum damage is fortunate. Don't let it discourage your pleasure in boating, but do let it serve as a warning that securing items better is necessary. In this case you did everything possible to make yourself an easy target.
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Old 14-07-2014, 07:17   #6
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Re: Dinghy theft in PNW

Im very meticulous also in tying up my kayak and have had it drift away. You might want to consider the most likely scenario--you screwed up.
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Old 14-07-2014, 07:50   #7
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Re: Dinghy theft in PNW

Two things don't make sense to me.

1. A prank doesn't make sense because they would have to get out to your anchored yacht to untie the boats and then what are they going to do? Take them back to you the next night and chuckle under their breath? Doesn't seem prank-worthy at all.

2. If a theft, then why didn't they at least take the kayaks and ob home with them? Set adrift what you just went to all that trouble to steal???

As Holmes and mousenik might have said, when you eliminate the impossible, then consider the improbable.
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Old 14-07-2014, 07:52   #8
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Re: Dinghy theft in PNW

While we will never really know what happened it might be worth considering why your dog did not hear anything. Someone had to paddle out to your boat - if we go with the "prank" scenario - and untie the dinghy from the main ship. I would imagine the knot in question would have been right next to the boat.

While a "prank" is possible it does not seem the most likely scenario.

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Old 14-07-2014, 08:08   #9
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Re: Dinghy theft in PNWs

My kids are 13 and 15. It wasn't them. Our mother ship is a good size but still small enough that if anyone came aboard at night - I'd notice. The dinghy had been meticulously tied to the swim grid cleat and the day before there was some good wind. We do tend to sail around at anchor. All was well. I assure you - this was not a matter of a knot slipping. I read many cruisers blogs and am aware of theft issues in predominantly 3rd world countries. This is the first dinghy theft issue I or any of my boating friends have heard of in the PNW - that's why I posted. I've always left our stuff in the water - so does everyone around us. I have not seen anyone put their kayaks up each night or hoist the dinghy each night. In the future I'm likely to stow the kayaks back on deck each night but not the dinghy. My wife and I are debating a cable lock for night time. I think this event is a rarity. Targeting us may have been solely based on our location (away from the pack) or other factor(s). I don't know how the mind of a thief/ prankster works. This was a major issue. It's not a water balloon prank. We're lucky the homeowners called US Coastguard who checked with the Canadian Coastguard (our dinghy is registered) and we retrieved our stuff.
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Old 14-07-2014, 08:12   #10
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Re: Dinghy theft in PNW

Bill... I would not frustrate yourself over "who or what" caused the tenders to disappear. These things happen!

Lesson to be learned is a strict policy of lifting them on board every night so it can NEVER happen again.

I know it is more work but a proven seamanly practice to teach your kids.
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Old 14-07-2014, 08:19   #11
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Re: Dinghy theft in PNW

BTW, a buddy of mine (who is American) - his first reaction was that is was a "Fourth of July Prank" - even before our stuff was retrieved. I know Roche can get pretty wild on the 4th - in a good fun way. As a result of this occurring so near Roche, and on the 4th, and given our stuff was recovered I suspect we were targeted because we are Canadian. Again, it doesn't matter to me why we were targeted because no matter how you cut it - it's still a theft. To reiterate, I know borders don't hold back idiots/thieves so I'm not blaming Americans. We've always been well hosted by our southern neighbours. I don't like the " lock your doors" attitude but I may have been naive about this.
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Old 14-07-2014, 08:35   #12
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Re: Dinghy theft in PNW

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pelagic View Post
Bill... I would not frustrate yourself over "who or what" caused the tenders to disappear. These things happen!

Lesson to be learned is a strict policy of lifting them on board every night so it can NEVER happen again.

I know it is more work but a proven seamanly practice to teach your kids.

I agree with Pelagic lift your toys & dink every night. In the past 10 years of full time cruising we have left the dink in the water overnight 1 time the rest is hoisting out of the water.

Regardless where we cruise we always lift it. Now it's just a habit.

Chuck




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Old 14-07-2014, 08:43   #13
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Re: Dinghy theft in PNW

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Lee View Post
BTW, a buddy of mine (who is American) - his first reaction was that is was a "Fourth of July Prank"
I have lived in this area many decades, and have never heard of a "Fourth of July Prank". Lots of mischief involving fireworks - yes, but not pranks associated with Independence Day.

I'm happy to hear that you got your equipment back, and I'm considering hauling the dinghy up each night now.
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Old 14-07-2014, 08:49   #14
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Re: Dinghy theft in PNW

I have spent many nights there and never had a problem. Personally I am delighted to see the Canadian flag anywhere in the south Salish Sea. I have never met anyone who doesn't feel the same. We need our Canadian friends who frequently set an example for us to follow. (Victoria sewage outflows excepted.) I am sorry that this happened.
By the way, I was on the hook in PT last night and came on deck for a last position check and low and behold there was a very silent person in a kyak 10 feet off my port side eyeing my dingy in the dark. Hmmmmmmm ...maybe a chain is in order. Fore warned is fore armed folks.
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Old 14-07-2014, 09:25   #15
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Re: Dinghy theft in PNW

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Originally Posted by IdoraKeeper View Post
...
By the way, I was on the hook in PT last night and came on deck for a last position check and low and behold there was a very silent person in a kyak 10 feet off my port side eyeing my dingy ...
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