More Dinghy Projects

The military was very active this morning, zooming all around the bight.


The beach we take scupper to go for a nice walk.

Scupper’s new leash, easy on the arms.

Scupper exhausted from his walk :-). Yes, he is sticking his tongue out, he only does that when he is really sleepy. :-)


Finished the outboard. Also replaced polypropylene grab lines with lime green heavy duty webbing(flat webbing is easier to sit on :-))

Not bad. I had to free hand a lot of it as you can tell. I used fluorescent spray paint that I sprayed into a small bowl inside a ziplock bag to avoid overspray. I then took that bowl of paint and used a paint brush to paint the mermaid, dog, and boat name.

Anchor bag, made when I had electricity (a/c) a couple days ago. Just a simple phifertex bag with webbing that wraps around and ends with velcro closure.

The webbing was all sewn with my sail rite monster wheel manual mode.

I loved using my sail rite manually, especially on critical stitching like our webbing grab rails. Lots of control, and very precise stitching.

I absconded with two of Brian’s soft shackle. I wanted a quick connect for the dinghy fore and aft. I used tubular webbing to protect the amsteel soft shackle  from chafe and UV. I rigged the dinghy with a permanent line and shackle at a set length. When clicked into the soft shackle( one midship and one one the aft quarter) the dinghy is positioned center to the gate. We will still have our painter, this just allows us to get the dinghy secure quickly when we reach the boat. The mooring field is pretty rough with good size waves and a steady 15-25knots. So the quicker we can get tied off and aboard Rain Dog, the dryer we are. We can then run the painter to take the load. I want to add a small bungee snubber of some type(homemade), and still need to make the insulated gas tank cover.


Canvas shades have been awesome. The sun sets directly off our stern.

My favorite part of the design is that the top is velcro and the bottom is secured with ties. This allows us to quickly pull the shade down via velcro and tuck the shade out of the way. We leave the shade ties in place, so we can hang them up quickly and easily.




New Dinghy and Outboard!!!

We bought a new RIB with 15 hp outboard to replace our existing tender. Due to my torn tendons in my arms, I needed an electric start engine. We could not add electric start to our current motor because it’s max hp capacity is 6 hp, and the lowest hp in electric start is 8 hp. This resulted in realizing we not only need another outboard engine but also another dinghy. 


Brian and scupper in our old dinghy a 2012 Achillies hypalon inflatable floor dinghy with 2012 Tohatsu 3.5 four-stroke. We liked the dinghy, it was adequate for our needs until I injured my arms and needed electric start.

We decided on West Marine’s Zodiac hypalon 310. (–rib-310-single-floor-rigid-inflatable-boat-gray-hypalon–14982094 ) It’s white, which won’t get so hot in the tropics ( even light grey can become too hot to touch). We also went for the RIB, which is a fiberglass bottom with inflatable tubes. This has great stability and can carry over 1100lbs in people and cargo. The tubes are 16″. I like the smaller tubes because it makes it a little easier to get into from the water. Brian loves the space of the new dinghy, he is 6’1″ and can sit like a civilized person without the pretzel or yoga positioning he had to endure to fit wife, dog, and gear onboard our old dinghy.

Specs of new WM 310 hypalon RIB

  • Tube Diameter: 16″
  • Number Of Chambers: Three
  • Bottom Shape: V-shape
  • Floor: Fiberglass
  • Transom Construction: Fiberglass and birch marine plywood
  • Seam Construction: Glued
  • Length: 10’3″
  • Beam: 5’2″
  • Max. HP: 15
  • Capacity: 1144lbs./4-Person
  • Weight: 113lb.
  • Stowed Dimensions: 9’3″ x 3’9″ x 1’7″  

You can see our old dinghy next to the new RIB. Quite a difference! It will still fit on our foredeck with staysail stay in place If we deflate it. This West Marine Hypalon 310 comes with a pretty nice stowage case too.

The first thing we do to a beautiful brand new RIB is to “uglyfy” it. This makes it blend in with the other boat tenders tied up to the docks. A nice white shiny inflatable screams to be stolen and Key West’s crime rate is staggeringly high. I painted on our boat name for insurance purposes, theft deterrent, and for easy ID. I will make a canvas flap that will flip over the bow to cover the name when we wish to remain anonymous. Some believe that if thieves see your dinghy at the dock with the boat name on it, the thieves are able to ascertain the mothership is empty and ready to plunder. But Brian and I are not totally on board with that logic, at least, not for the environments we have encountered.


I outlined the stencil in sharpie then painted an acrylic outdoor black paint. We will see how long it holds up. Yes, I painted the slash in t/t backwards and only had one capital T. Oh well. 


Locked some acco chain to the inner pad eye to use to lock the dinghy up. I’m making a soft sleeve that will wrap around the chain for the first couple feet so it won’t scuff or ding the gel coat.The outboard has a separate lock.


Added an external Racor fuel filter to help prevent fuel contamination issues.


Yamaha 15 hp decals coming off. Part of the uglyfying process :-). The Yamaha is electric start 15″ short shaft.


I sanded the cowl, then dry painted some acrylic flat black.


Progress so far. Needs the lime green paint which will arrive tomorrow. We will be back on mooring but I think I’ll still be able to paint everything in the water.


I sprinkled the cowl with water as the paint was tacking off. This will give a permanent stained look. I need to etch the shaft ( boat name) and paint it here and there.

I picked a nice lime green color to paint our logo on the stern port and starboard tubes, on the outboard cowl and add a few touches here and there. This will hopefully prevent theft and help us retrieve our dinghy easily if it is somehow separated from the mothership unintentionally. Also, I’m placing a laminated card attached to the stern, this will have our names and emergency contact numbers in case the tender was ever found adrift. All gear, oars, ggas tank etc will also be labeled with our boat name. All this work will hopefully be unnecessary, but if it is ever stolen, or more likely, gets away from us and is found adrift or on a beach, there will be several clues (including name and phone number!) to get this wayward tender back to the mothership.


Painting logo on cowl. I traced our logo from my iPad. I will put Rain Dog next to the mermaid under the dog.


I filled in the areas that needed fixing.


A little rough but lookin good :-). Will put another coat on and call it good. We will use the rest of the cowl to put decals from places we visited. I will paint smaller logos like this on our dinghy( part of uglyfying the dinghy :-) )

I took a screen shot of my GPS logging our speed in the new dinghy. There was Brian, Scupper and I, along with outboard, gear, about 50 Lbs of supplies. The lower left shows that we were planing at 15 knots. :-) yep, this dinghy is gonna work out just fine.


New T/T Rain Dog :-)


Quick word about inflatable floors dinghies. Our old dinghy, an achillies LS-88 Hypalon inflatable floor, was a great dinghy over all but thought I’d share some shortcomings for those thinking of buying one. First off the floor is separate from the dinghy and in inflated once in place. This is great for cleaning and repair but it also creates a hazard to watch out for. Your foot, especially small feet, can slip down in between the hull and floor. This happened to me while I was washing Rain Dogs hull. The dinghy was very slippery with soap and my foot slipped down into that dead space between the hull and floor. My foot twisted during the fall and “locked” my foot in. It took me about 60 seconds to get myself big deal, and someone stronger and more agile could of gotten out much quicker, I was still pretty weak, recovering from an illness. BUT, just be aware and vigilant that your foot can slip down there. If the boat were to flip, and your foot was stuck…. Also the floor is canter


Kid that bought our old dinghy driving away. We posted the signs for the dinghy with motor and it was sold within about four hours.

We’ve had the boat and motor a week now and are very happy. We get around quicker and easier and best of all I can start the motor with a push of the button! this should help my arms heal up. Still need to install the battery box, I’d like it to be mounted next to the Racor. Brian bought a U1 battery for starting the motor.

Shopping Day

Today we needed to run to the grocery store, hardware store, and west marine. 

The moon this morning was beautiful

Another awesome sunrise :-)

Taking the dinghy to shore we spot some interesting characters hanging out along the bulkhead.

He was gigantic!

His buddy was swimming around and settled on the bulkhead. Can you see him? Near the blue and white fender?


Got closer to him.


He knows the gig is up and I’m afraid he will leap for the dinghy to bite me!!

Last shot, he is so cool, his colors were changing to blend into the bulkhead..

Stopped at Backspace for lunch. The yellow fin snapper was fantastic.

After shopping and loading up the dinghy I took some pictures of the cool bloom of jellyfish. You are looking at their medusa, they like to bury their bell in the sand. I’m using my Pentax 30, just standing on the dock shooting down into the water. My waterproof camera in in the shop( long story), so no true underwater pics till we get that back.

More activity, looks like something is trying to drag this soft coral into the sand..

Pretty :-)

Forgot to add, Brian made some beautiful soft shackles last night. Amsteel blue 9000 Lb breaking strength :-) man of many talents!!

Tonight I will finish up the stencils for the dinghy and motor paint job. we will land over at rat Key to do the paint job.



Hope this isn’t too boring but the sunrise was so pretty, thought I’d share.



Brian and scupper were down below, both snoring!

Today is rest day. Well, mostly rest, I will paint the motor cowl and do some light sewing. Brian has some Parks and Wildlife calls to make for the dinghy paperwork. Brian strained his back so he is on strict light duty boat work :-) per Rain Dog’s onboard Nurse. He is not happy about it but as an RN I’ve dealt with ornery patients before.

Have a wonderful day.

Scupper’s Poor Paws

We think the combination of scuppers allergy to grass and the hot asphalt caused some minor paw injuries. Most of his pads are fine, maybe slightly red, but his back right paw was really raw. We called a vet, Dr Berdugo, with Island Paws. Surprisingly she came out to us. We met her at the dinghy dock and she examined scupper up in the laundry room where there was a nice table for her to work on. She gave us some antibiotics, some topical spray, and some shampoo. She was really great, spent quite a bit of time with us, very reasonable prices ($150 for visit and all meds) and scupper has shown dramatic improvements by day three( whew!).


Before his paws were an issue I had ordered this ointment to help protect his paws from the hot surfaces of the docks, roads etc. but I had not used it yet. I was using Bag balm at night as a moisturizer. Only drawback to mushers is it attracts dirt. So scuppers paws are black after a long walk downtown Key West.

This is the paw booties he uses. They are disposable. I like them because they are fairly thin and breath. Most paw booties are pretty heavy duty which is overkill for what we need and way too hot for scupper. I was also concerned those booties would promote fungal growth. The cotton disposable booties, bandages really, are only worn right after scupper gets his paws sprayed with medicine. I remove them after about 15-20 minutes. For outdoor walking we keep to shady sidewalks and carry him whoever we walk over asphalt or sketchy looking surfaces.

This is called Coban, it is great stuff as it sticks to itself but not the skin/fur. If it come to the point where I need to wrap his paw for walks I will use a combination of cotton bandage and Coban.


Sunday Fun

Picking out a mooring at Key West Municipal City mooring Field after spending a few days at the City Marina scrubbing the boat, filling water tanks, charging batteries, and lots of sewing :-). It was nice to have the a/c and unlimited water but we are so happy to be away from land, even if it’s just a mile.


Nice spot, close to the beach but away from the pack of moored vessels.

Rat Key nearby for scupper to play and a spot to work on the dinghy if we need to.

Both Scupper and I kept vigil on our bean bags while papa bear made dinner.

T\T trailing the boat. Still have bunches of work to do and am finishing up a blog post about it.

Went into town to have our Sunday dinner at Blackfin. Passing the city Marina we stayed at for a few days.


Blackfin Bistro.

The canopy over the wonderful patio at blackfins. 

Scupper enjoying blackfins. Scupper is welcome and given a big bowl of cool water. Most restaurants allow dogs, some even allow them inside.


Good IPA and a great burger :-)

Walking back from blackfins took some pics of the local flora.

Even the trees seem to walk on the wild side..

Making Brian pose next to the cool elephant tree.

Creepy tree!

Classic Key West Home.

Roosters, everywhere

Local dive

Key West Railroad

More great flora!

Brian’s favorite

Brian is so handsome!!!


New Dinghy, New Cushion Covers

New dinghy arrived today. Uh, it is a lot bigger than I anticipated. The deflated dimension will fit on our foredeck, it even comes with a very nice case to put the deflated dinghy in to strap down and protect it from the elements. The motor is still not here. If we get no answer from the online supply house we will cancel order and buy local ( Tohatsu or Yamaha 15 hp ELECTRIC start)

We have a cable to lock the dinghy up but I wanted a bit of chain to really make  harder to steal. I am also in the process of “uglyfying the new dinghy. This will include lime green pain, Rain Dog Logo and a wave pattern here and there. We will also put our boat name on the dinghy for insurance purposes, I will have a strip of canvas to cover the name if we are concerned about broadcasting that we are off the boat if our dinghy is seen at the docks. The motor will also get uglyfied, all decals removed and flat paint with lime green logo. I will post a proper thread about this whole project, what paint I used, how I made my stencil, etc.


My fleece cushion covers works well but they do not absorb moisture. So everything finds its way down to my beautiful fabric. So I bought some 12 oz terry cloth to cover the cushions like a pillow case. So far so good.

We are at the city Marina for a day or two to pick up the new dinghy, top off the tanks, deep charge the batteries, and enjoy the electricity by sewing on my sail rite. I also scrubbed Rain Dog’s decks nice and clean :-).