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Old 05-08-2008, 00:27   #1
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hard dinghy, electric motor, story

When I bought my boat the previous owners held the bargaining line a couple thousand dollars over what I wanted to pay. We went round and round for a bit. It wasn't a question of the value of the boat so much as I had GOALS and a budget. the boat wouldn't do me much good if I, for example, couldn't buy a dinghy because I spent too much. Not for cruising anyway. To help us get through they ran me through their fairly extensive inventory of "extra crap" that I could have and either use or sell. Among this was a dinghy with an electric motor. It clearly wasn't the dinghy/outboard combo I wanted- but it might get the job done.

Anyway, the boat was purchased and I've been running around like a crazy for weeks now and finally got the chance to unstrap the dinghy from the foredeck and take it out for a test ride. I've put some pictures in my gallery you can check out too- my gorgeous marina and still cluttered boat. The story is as follows:

I just took the dinghy out for its first spin. It was pretty exciting! I had to undo a bunch of tie downs and random knots I made to secure everything on the foredeck before I left Pittsburg. Then I had to lower the dinghy by rope off the side and into the water. The dinghy is a lot less heavy floating… Go figure.
Anyway, I got the dinghy in the water, dug the oars out of the dock box, put the battery in the dinghy, grabbed a volt meter, the GPS, a flashlight, some ice tea, and a sweatshirt. Then I mounted the motor and adjusted it until, to my untrained eye, it looked “about right”. I also added a bungee cord around the motor incase it fell off.
The motor attaches to the battery with a set of little clips- like what you would find on a jumper cable. So I clipped the little pins from the volt meter between the battery posts and the dinghy clips. This gave me a good connection and I was able to monitor the battery. I didn’t want to use the oars if I didn’t have to!
At this point I was out of excuses to not go, so I untied the dock line and floated to sea.
After a while I was out of food and water and felt it was important to preserve the ice tea. The boat was nearly six feet away and there was no going back. Every time I shifted my weight the boat rocked like the Kasbah and I knew I couldn’t sit forever or I would need to itch something and capsize.
The motor is a 27lb thrust Minn Kota electric. It has 5 forward speeds and 3 reverse. I cranked the knob to ONE and… Nothing… WAIT! No! I WAS MOVING! Veerrrryyyyy slowly. I think this motor is designed for trolling so I guess that made sense. I clicked to TWO and we sped up a bit. I clicked to THREE and we were really going! I glanced at the GPS and it said we were moving at 1.4 knots. Holy! I had reached the end of my dock, I turned to starboard (that is the right for you lubbers) and cranked past FOUR to FIVE! The motor gave a kick like an angry donkey and we rocketed down the marina!
The wind was in my hair and I could hardly see past the tears in my eyes! This was speed in its purest liquid form. I could have towed skiers! Well, I don’t know that. I’ve never done it. But I was virtually flying! The volt meter had dropped from 12.4 to 11.9. I don’t really know what that means- not sure if it is available power (as in, how much effort it can put out) or if it was a capacity thing- like how much gas… I am prone to think the former because when I let off it would return to 12.4.
I was zooming! I had reached the end of the last dock and cranked hard to the starboard again and raced for open water. Two guys chatting on a motor sailer stopped what they were doing to watch me go by. They were probably pissed off at my wake which, I assure you, was huge.
When I exited the harbor into the channel there were some wind ripples- err, I mean STRONG CHOP that I bounced through like a maniac. To avoid tragedy I clicked back down to TWO and made a u-turn. Most of my yahoos were out by now so I took it a little easier as I passed the motor sailer. I am sure they appreciated it. As I made the port curve into the marina proper I saw that somebody from the apartments, a girl, in a towel, was walking along the promenade. I am guessing she was headed for the hot tub or the pool. The marina is maybe 150 yards long and she had about a 50 yard head start on me. Being the bachelor that I am I cranked the motor of to FIVE and was in hot pursuit!
She had a 50 yard head start but I rapidly hit my top speed and began to eat away at her lead! When she had covered half the distance to the end of the marina I had cut her lead in half! It was going to be close! I was still 25 yards behind her but gaining! 20 yards! 15 yards! 10 yards! 10 yards behind her and she was almost to the gate! I wanted warp speed but my Scottish guardian angel said, “I’m giving her all she’s got Captain!”
I had cut her lead down to only five yards when she disappeared through the gate. Tonight the hunter goes hungry.
On the back stretch the GPS said my top speed was 2.9 knots. I think if I duck down real low next time I can hit 3.
"It is never too late to be who you might have been." -George Eliot
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Old 05-08-2008, 01:17   #2
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Hey Jack. Great Story. I really enjoyed reading that.
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Old 05-08-2008, 02:53   #3
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Thumbs up

Well told! LOL
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 05-08-2008, 03:47   #4
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What a nice way to start the day with a smile. Thanks.

As exhilarating as your story is, I think I will hold off selling my inflatable and stinky outboard.

She took my address and my name
Put my credit to shame
Sunspot Baby, sure had a real good time
Bob Seger
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Old 05-08-2008, 14:30   #5
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Love those Minn Kotas. We power a 26 footer, 23 foot cat and a 19 foot West Wight with them. Of course we just go on and off the mooring and then sail. Very good on gas unless you have to charge your battery with fossil fuel.
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Old 05-08-2008, 16:30   #6
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Nice to see your glass is half full.
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Old 05-08-2008, 20:52   #7
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Well written...great story...LMAO
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Old 07-08-2008, 01:34   #8
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So what happened to the iced tea? - LOL.

Thanks that was fun...
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Old 12-01-2009, 02:20   #9
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[quote=I think if I duck down real low next time I can hit 3.[/quote]

Don't forget to lean forward... Seriously, we have one on an 8 footer and it's a blast. Leave it tied up and run the battery down to give you some idea of longevity. I've been halfway out to the mooring against the wind/tide and had to turn around more than a few times
Mike Sr.
So much for common sense...
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electric motor

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