On taking over a boat it is common to inherit a certain number of “special” items. Dredged from the depths of locker or lazarette, damp and probably rusty, their identity and role is anybody’s guess. With no immediately obvious use, they are apt to be re-interred and forgotten about. But we are getting ahead of ourselves…

With the dinghy awash, cups of tea were nursed and options considered. They were limited. Indeed, the painter was the only obvious point of intervention. So, with copious encouragement from the mate, the skipper gingerly brought the dinghy alongside. This yielded two welcome insights: only one oar had been lost; and, by pulling up on the painter, she could be made to lie with the gunnels just above the water.

“Wait a minute, I think there may be an old hand pump somewhere in the rear cabin.”

The mate was duly dispatched. He burrowed his way into the space beneath the starboard cockpit bench – past the extra water container, the spare anchor, the 30m of line — and eventually emerged dragging a board onto which was attached a small gusher pump. [I had looked at it on a couple of occasions, and concluded it was probably useless and should be taken home.] But now it came into its own. Without too much exertion we were able to get most of the water out before the pump diaphragm failed. The rest was easily done with a bucket.

So, what had happened? The dinghy showed no damage, so the initial theory that it had been holed by a submerged 40 ft container had to be rejected (now, that would have been a story!). Sabotage? Perhaps. But more plausibly, with the change of the tide, the painter had become trapped under the raised rudder blade, causing the bow to dive and the boat to fill. Or perhaps…

    2 thoughts on “The Wrabness tender mystery. Part 2

    1. Ah.
      Did you know that the dinghy was originally christened ‘Ben Gunn’ and had been owned for many decades by an old salt in West Mersea, kept on the foreshore. He used to scull her back and forth to his fishing boat.
      It is a little spooky. He died well before his 120th birthday. And he would only need that one oar left to get home……

      1. Maybe “Wally” the Walrus has started to move north from the Scilly Isles…and had overnighted in the dinghy…….

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