Sailing in the Bay is rough on equipment, including our club's fleet of dinghies. These boats are kept operational through volunteer work spearheaded by our co-first vice commodores, Dan Rolinek and Seamus Vanecko. They were kind enough to take a break between the never-ceasing boat repairs to fill us in on the state of our fleet.
What is the current state of our dinghy fleet? How much life do our dinghies have left in them?
The Ventures and 500s are new and holding up well. The Bahias are starting to show their age. The biggest issue is that they develop cracks in the cockpit floor. We’ve developed a fix for this (you may have notices a few with big platic pieces glued and screwed to the floor), but we don’t know how long that will hold up. Not much will stick to polyethylene, you need a special epoxy. It’s a somewhat complicated process that involves flame treating the plastic so that the epoxy will adhere. We just found a new product that may be simpler, but we haven’t had a chance to test it yet. The JYs are showing their age too, but they seem to keep going.
We've just got a number of new exciting RS boats, but what about our older workhorses? Is it possible to purchase replacement JY15s and Bahias?
Unfortunately the Bahia manufacturer is not doing well, and it’s not possible to buy new Bahias currently. It’s also difficult to get things like spars and foils. We probably won’t purchase more JYs as they are fairly expensive for an older design that doesn’t have a kite. They don’t get sailed a whole lot except for racing. Seniors want to fly the kite, and juniors for the most part are more comfortable on the boats they first learned on. That’s too bad though. I think the JY is a better boat if you’re a junior and can’t fly the kite.
What is the most common cause of damage to our fleet? What can sailors do to prevent this?
A lot of it is just wear and tear. We sail our boats a lot in lots of wind. One of our issues on the Bahias has been broken masts. We were averaging 6 broken masts a year. Since we started reinforcing them, we’ve cut down on that. The most common reason for a broken mast is people hanging on to the boat in a capsize. The weight, wind and swells overpower the masthead float, the boat turtles, the mast sticks in the mud and breaks. Make sure your crew knows to get in the water in a capsize.
How can club members get involved with doing dinghy repairs? Is there a good way to learn?
We’re planning to have some clinics on basic boat repair soon. Otherwise grab someone who knows: Seamus, Dan, Lon, or Peter K, and ask them for direction. Fixing dinghies is a learn as you go affair. If you have basic skills just grab the dinghy log and look for something that needs fixing. You do all know about the dinghy log right? If something breaks while you’re sailing it’s your responsibility to fix it. If you can’t fix it because of time constraints, lack of parts or lack of skill, then you should make a note in the dinghy log. It’s still your responsibility to make sure it gets fixed though.
How often does the RS Vision get sailed? Could that space in the yard be better used for something else?
That boat gets no love, I’m not sure why, it’s a great boat. I suppose because it’s the only one and people don’t know it. It’s also tippy at the dock. Maybe we should let the juniors fly the kite on it (kidding). Something is going to have to go when the new Venture gets here, but we haven’t decided what yet.
Any other challenges you guys face?
People putting boats away broken is our biggest problem. Fix your boats. My (Seamus) pet peeve is the outhaul. It should come out of the back of the boom, through the block or grommet at the clew, and then tuck into the slot at the back of the boom. I frequently find the outhaul tied to the clew. If you do that you lose the 2 to 1 purchase and in heavy wind the outhaul cleat won’t hold. By the time I find it the knots are almost impossible to get out.
When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.