Several previous postings have made reference to Sassy’s small, cute and very able dingy, but until now it has been only referred to by the name of its design: “Sportyak II”. But today being the day of the Autumn Equinox, it seemed appropriate for the faithful Sportyak to officially receive its own proper name. Hence as the tender returned to the water to be brought to its winter quarters, it received a brand-new name: “Cue-Ar-Pee” (“QRP” among friends), which is very appropriate since it is a very small tender that definitely “does more with less”…
QRP spends most of the boating season cradled inside Sassy’s cockpit. It is just inches too long to fit under the tiller, but has an almost perfect fit when turned upside down on the settees with its stern against the hatch door and its bow just under the gallows. There it rests secured by the double mainsheet, which once tight prevents its bow from lifting up.
The manoeuvre to launch it, which has to take place before every undocking, can be performed single-handed: loosen the mainsheet to port and bring it above the gallows, then pull up from the painter at the bow and slowly rotate the bow outside Sassy’s port gunnel and bring QRP on the dock alongside Sassy. Flip it sideways. Add the seat and the safety gear and don’t forget the oars, and glide it backwards into the water. QRP is amazingly stable for its size and displacement. However, almost 200 lbs. suddenly shifting hesitantly inside it with an elevated center of gravity might end with a sudden discharge of the excess weight overboard into the water. Hence, I prefer instead to bring QRP stern first to Sassy’s starboard stern corner and secure QRP to Sassy starboard stern cleat (with a line through QRP’s stern oarlock used for sculling) and then climb down into it backwards while grabbing the top of Sassy’s gallows or even her mainsheet. Then while kneeing on the stern of the dinghy, undo the stern line from Sassy’s cleat and use the same line to ease my humanity backwards onto QRP’s seat (which yes, it is an IKEA stool). Once comfortably seated, the oars can go on their locks and QRP is free to go. However, today it did not go too far: just to the dock beside the ramp some 100 meters from Sassy’s stern. There it was brought on the dock, lifted sideways and carried to the grass behind the Jeep, which waited patiently in the nearby parking lot. QRP was then pushed up the rack on the roof of the Jeep where it was tightly fastened using its own painter (without a single time threading the line through, but looping it around the ends of the bars of the rack, which makes for a very quick and elegant unfastening). Eventually the Jeep made it back home and QRP is already in its storage place inside the garage.
Boarding the dinghy in the “high seas” is a similar manoeuvre, though in the event of waves Sassy and QRP are likely to move up and down asynchronously, a condition that required extra care and attention.
The following composite shows most of the stages described above: