We’ve decided that we’re dumping the outboard. We don’t like the smell, or the sound, or the risks (i.e. gasoline) that come with internal combustion on the back of the tender. There are also maintenance costs, extra weight and the inherent risk of theft. Oh, yeah, and then there was the fact that although it had circumnavigated the mechanics of San Carlos, it still only decided to run 1/4 of the time.  See exhibit A above:  us getting towed to Selkie by a friendly neighbor. The overwhelming drawbacks, combined with the fact that we both like to row, made the decision easy.

Without an engine, however, we were going to need some means of propulsion. Enter: the oar.

The dinghy came with a set of oars, nicely shaped and very light, but they were painted bright yellow and beginning to flake. We decided to see what lay beneath the paint, and after scraping and sanding for many, many hours, we found beautiful spruce. There appeared to be a layer of epoxy below the paint, which we left intact on the blades. Next we filled all the dings with more epoxy and faired the tip and blade edges with three coats of epoxy to provide abrasion resistance. We then applied three coats of Helmsman Spar Urethane all around. Then came the fun part.


We laid Moku hitching on the handles and turk’s heads above and below the hitching to capture the ends. This was our first attempt at fancy knotwork, and be forewarned now, you’ll probably be seeing a lot more of this in the months to come.  I was already a knothead, and it appears that Katie is just as obsessive/compulsive about it as I am.




We then epoxied (G/Flex) the leathers to the shaft where they contact the oarlocks, and then stitched the leathers tight. An additional coat of epoxy was added on top of the stitching to add further chafe protection.

Finally, we built a turk’s head on the blade end of the leather, then slipped the bronze oarlock atop the leather, and then tied another turk’s head at the handle end of the leather to capture the oarlock.

Now we can pick up the oars, locks and all, and take them from the dinghy when she’s left unattended. Also, the very unbouyant oarlocks are now firmly affixed to a floating object, preventing unnecessary dives to the bottom of the bay to retrieve them.


After a few weeks of rowing back and forth to Selkie, we are still delighted with the hard dinghy and the oars. Next up: a sailing rig.

PS – Why are we not hard at work on our standing rigging?  Our delivery was thwarted by a case of West Nile Virus.  We’re keeping busy with the 2nd tier projects until it arrives…