my experiences with dinks and my new nesting dinghy

i cannot tolerate towing a dink for long periods in open water. i
have had 1 swamp and another come adrift in fog, maybe just my poor
seamanship, but in open water it is just one more thing to worry
about. it is great on the ICW as an aid, along with a stern anchor,
to quick ungrounding.
nor can i stand putting it on the foredeck. while others may have
satisfactory experiences with it, i once suffered thru a 1500 mile
passage on a swan 48 with a RIB taking up much of the foredeck and i
swore i would never do that again. not so much offshore, but
coastwise, instant anchor access may be critical. offshore it seems
like it is right in the place to receive maximum impact from any waves
coming aboard.
i carry an avon softtail in the lazarette, along with floorboards.
it is fair to row at best, and a pain to inflate. i have not tried
towing it much, but understand they do not do well. i keep it aboard
as a spare or emergency dink.
i have tried a number of prams, including bolger’s Nymph (too
corky), Herreshof’s pram for Nereia (would not fit on deck), as well
as the one i built and am selling. being deep it has a good
carrying capacity and it rows ok. i was fairly happy with it until i
had the opportunity to try out Phil Bolger’s “gloucester gull” or
light dory, a 15 1/2 footer that he refers to as his ticket to heaven.
it rowed like a dream. she is unsuitable for power or sail however.
she rows so well however that i have thought about building one and
towing everywhere although i expect going transatlantic would not be
posible. i also had the chance to try out a fatty knees. she rowed
very well also. since then i have been unsatisfied with my pram. a
further disadvantage is when she is on deck, the center window of the
dodger must be open for her bow to fit thru.
basically, i decided last summer to make a new dinghy a priority. i
am constructing a 9’-8" pointy nose nesting dinghy, incorporating some
features i hope will make her row and tow well. i am hoping she will
power reasonably well, although good rowing qualities tend to make a
hull that will not plane. the big design feature is that she fits
over the deck structures. i have a set of dorade boxes outboard of
the skylight that the hull has to fit between. the storage plan is
that the 3 1/2 foot bow section straddles the companionway rails with
brackets that are built into the dink. its nose will fit into a
special chock mounted on the aft face of the skylight. the six foot
stern section sits atop the bow, is low clearance to fit under the
boom and has a reverse camber on the transom to match the deck camber.
the skids on the bottom double as handrails when inverted. the dink
will be lashed down thru holes in the skids fore and aft to cinch it
all down tight.
she is plywood, 5 panel construction with taped seams. off-center
daggerboard for her gaff sloop rig. mast is in 2 parts, all spars fit
inside the short section. one unsolved dilemma is where to stow a
good set of 8 foot oars.
all my drawings are fairly rough, except the lofting which was done
on a piece of plywood. i took some pictures of her last night in the
shop which i will try to post in a few days. understand she is still
under construction and some details are rough or not yet figured out.
if you are interested i can try to make a formal hull drawing to go
along with the bulkhead diagrams.
my computer is crapped out at the moment, so i am using my wife’s
machine at work. hopefully it will be fixed soon, but feel free to
call for questions or discussion.

john churchill