Well it looks like it is going to be a late spring here in Minnesota, but we do have something new to look forward too when the ice finally bids farewell. We picked up a new inflatable from Defender Marine during their annual warehouse sale. Yea! We are replacing Ole Tippy, with a Zodiac Zoom 310 S and are very much looking forward to the added stability of an inflatable tender. I don’t know how many of you have had the experience of trying to get in and out of a Walker Bay 8 dingy from your sailboat, but I would not call it a fun experience, that is for sure. If you do not do it absolutely perfect, you will be going for a swim.
I am recalling a day last summer when a couple whom we enjoy sailing with, accepted our invitation to breakfast at a cafe in Stockholm, WI. We anchored in the little cove behind the wing dam, as did they. I rowed our “trusty” little Walker Bay over to their boat, picked up the Misses, and rowed her to shore without incident. I returned to our friends sailboat to pick up my friend (I hope he’s still my friend), and just as he was stepping into the boat a very malicious wave rocked the dingy just enough so that when his foot came down it was perhaps 3 millimeters from the center line. Well this was enough to send the blasted heaping pile of, well you get the idea, tipping and dipping most of Lake Pepin into the so called boat. More like submarine at this point mind you. Did I mention that my friend had removed his shoes so that they would not get wet as we pulled the boat up to the shore after a leisurely row. Guess what we were now using to bail the water out of the “boat” with? Yes his very smart Sperry’s were now saving our lives as we frantically bailed and bailed and bailed. You know how long it takes to bail out a boat with a shoe! We were unhappy sailors. However, we did finally bail the water out enough to where I could row us to shore and we came out mostly unscathed, a couple of scratches and scrapes, and I embarrassed for putting my friend through that ordeal.
In the meantime both of the ladies, having previously been rowed to shore, witnessed the whole event feeling a little bit helpless I’m sure. From their perspective, they could not even see the boat until we had bailed most of the water out. To them it appeared that we were just sitting on the water. They eagerly assisted us when we got to shore and offered us some reassuring kind words to help sooth our battered egos. Of course, after making sure that we were OK, the jokes ensued, but all in good fun I’m sure. In the end we were fine, but it was at that moment that I knew the dingy would not betray me again. We have found a new home for “IT” (think Stephen King) at a lake home in northern Minnesota where it can live out it’s days puttering around on a very small lake, and lie in repose and contemplate the errors of it’s ways for the rest of eternity as the moss and lichens gradually cover it from stem to stern.
Back to the Zodiac Zoom, we are intending on powering our new stable, trustworthy, sincere and all around great guy, inflatable, with an electric trolling motor that has been collecting dust since we got rid of our Catalina 14.2 some six years ago. I think that motor has perhaps, 4 hours of use, so it will be nice put it to it good use again. For how we intend to use the Zoom, I think the electric will perform beautifully for us. A few ship to shore trips to pick up friends at the park. Maybe a short trip around exploring the bays close to shore, with fishing pole in hand, perhaps. And of course, an utterly boring ride from anchored sailboat to the shore at Stockholm for a delicious breakfast with great friends and dry clothes!
I will try to do a review of the Zodiac Zoom 310 S later on in the year after we’ve had a chance to use her for awhile. Happy Sailing!