A good friend and fellow boat man, Steve Clark, once asked me “How many boats does a man need?” His grin grew as I couldn’t come up with the answer to the joke, and after a time, he laid out the punchline: “Just one more.”

And so, with Steve’s advice in mind, we have added another dinghy to the fleet. For those of you counting at home, that brings us to a grand total of three tenders with which to tend the (tiny) mothership.

After battling with the 10’ inflatable Avon and the outboard since day one, we set out to replace it with a hard dinghy, one which we could row and sail. The Avon had slow leaks in both tubes and was an utter misery to row. And why would we ever want to row an inflatable you ask? Well, we wouldn’t. Ever. But after countless hours (and four trips to the mechanic) of fighting the outboard, we discovered that motors are fallible, and when they fail, somebody’s gotta row.

So about a week ago, we came across a little 8’ fiberglass pram that was setup for both oar and sail, we threw a lowball offer at it, and we drove it home that day. We did a little fiberglass work, gave her a few coats of two part polyurethane paint on the topsides, rebedded the hardware, and got her shipshape again. We’ve been rowing for a week now, and we both agree that this is the best decision we’ve made yet. A few of the reasons we love her so…

-She has flotation chambers fore and aft so she floats even if swamped or turned upside down (we tested it today and sure enough, she will not sink).

-She’s extremely stable. Not quite like the big Avon tub, but I can stand up and lean outboard of the gunwale without taking on water.

-She’s extremely light, weighing in at about 70 pounds, which is comparable if not lighter than the Avon.

-She’s silent, so we can actually talk to each other without yelling while we’re underway.

-Most importantly, she rows like a dream. She tracks well, she glides between strokes, and she’s fast.

We’ll be looking for a good home for the Avon, as she’s still got some life left in her, but we are thrilled with our upgrade. We now look forward to our paddle out to the boat each morning, instead of dreading the possibility of a cranky motor and a headwind… More to follow on how we brought the oars back to life.

***We’re currently revamping “Selkie’s Current Restoration” page…take a peek to read the technical details and see more photos of all the other work that we’re doing on Selkie.***

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