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My new Sailing Dinghy is for sale, yes sale, not sail

Lesson Learned!
I was sure this purchase would work out, so sure I was ready to get rid of the Livingston, but Linda said I better hang on to it just in case. She was right, and I'm glad I still have the Livingston.

After a summer of cruises to our usual hangouts and a quick trip to Butchart Garden, I have given the new sailing dinghy the proverbial boot.  And as a final insult I removed the snap davits and re-installed them on the Livingston, done and done.

All the problems with the sailing dinghy individually are not a big deal, but when taken as a whole package, it simply was an intolerable situation.

read more >>>>
For sailing and rowing it was great (even having to duck was Okay)
Bicycles were an accident waiting to happen.

The Sailing Dinghy!
Light weight 9.5' fiberglass, lapstrake, pram bow, soft chine, three seats, kicker transom,  flip up transport wheels, forward and aft oar locks, one piece 18' un-stayed mast, reef points and on and on.
The dinghy is a gorgeous teak trimmed master piece and points so high you would swear she sails straight into irons just to prove her ability.  The balanced rudder sculls her along effortlessly, making the oars almost useless. She is a real good looker, sailors and non sailors alike complement her good lines.

The problem!
 She sucks as a shore boat.  Climbing into her that first time and almost capsizing at the float was my first shot across the bow, where's my hard chine.  Later, if not for the stabilizing snap davits holding her to the swim platform, we would have gone over many times simply going to shore.  We learned to depend on the davits, get in, get centered, sound the warning, pull the rings. Coming back reverse order.
Beaching the dinghy was another sorely learned lesson.  The rounded bow section and light weight made going over the bow a reckless maneuver.  The last person out had to have perfect balance or be very quick.  We were around the campfire on shore one evening in the dark when our son ran back to the boat anchored 100 feet off shore. Linda asked him to grab her coat while he was there. Upon his return fifteen minutes later he handed her the sopping wet jacket muttering that the dinghy tipped him into the water as he stepped out. How he manged to get totally submerged in three inches of water is a mystery.  We didn't always hook her back onto the davits, one time when towing her across Haro Strait, I looked back and she was riding really low.  Stopping in the rolling swells we pulled in her painter and discovered she was over half way to being swamped.  Apparently water was flowing up the dagger board trunk, in spite of the plug. We bailed her out and hooked her onto the davits.

The Solution!

At summers end, I brought the boat and sailing dinghy home for some local trips, but before any more dumb dinghy episodes unfolded I switched the davits to the old tried and true Livingston.

This was not a hard choice to make, after all, 95+% of the time, I used the sailing dinghy as a shore boat, not for sailing.  I am thinking that I can create a sailing rig for the Livingston. I know that what ever I put together wont sail any where near how well the sailing dinghy sails, but that's just the way it is.

Of course in an imaginary world I would have the Livingston on the transom davits and the sailing dinghy on roof top davits, right next to the kayaks. Dream on.

The lesson to take away is that a great shore boat has certain attributes one learns to appreciate, and a great sailing dinghy has its own attributes to be appreciated sailing. They don't necessarily co-exist in the same boat.

Here is a link to the finished Livingston sailing dinghy conversion  Click here >>> dinghy conversion
After going to this page, scroll way down until you find it.


  1. I'm posting an update as a comment so I don't have to edit the above post.
    The good news is that a fellow from the Seattle area was glad to take the sailing dinghy off my hands and gave me all my boat bucks back.

    I have been busy experimenting with rigs on the Livingston to make it sail. (I'm in a rush to get it functional for our Princess Louisa cruise in two weeks) I have a new appreciation for naval architects and their superior knowledge.

    FYI - I made a 1/4" starboard dagger board and attached it to the port side to fight leeway and yes in use it bends really a lot. I also made a plywood rudder and mounted it to one side of the outboard. I made a mast step that looks like a birdhouse, and I'm using a sailboard mast and sail. The 9.5' Livingston does tack upwind, it is fun, and it does not scare me like the sailing dinghy did.
    When I'm closer to being done, I will post a complete pictorial of the finished rig over on the do-it-yourself page on the right hand side of the home page. See you there later, John

  2. Livingston made a model equipped for sailing, my grandparents had one on their Chris Craft back in the '70's. I learned to sail in it. Wish I had one of those on my boat...


If you have a pic you think worth sharing, e-mail it or its url to me, the comment box wont accept pics