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Old 11-18-1999
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A Dinghy Option

I read with much interest your article on dinghys and all of your trials and tribulations. You asked about a lightweight sailing dinghy and would like to recommend one similar to mine made by the Dinghy Company (I have no part of/or in the company), which is located at 2241 E. Franklin Road Mt. Vernon, WA. 98273. The owner is Mr. Earl Hanson (360) 445-2113.

This is a local company and has a somewhat limited production but the workmanship and material is first rate. The boats are fully warranted and I have had no problems other than a leaking Anderson Bailer, which was replaced at no charge with a better and heavier model bailer. The Dinghys are reproduced from original boats. The earliest being 1894 to 1924. Built with new technology with turn of the century style. (Ours has a great looking wine glass stern) Mine is one of the ORCA series and is 10' long fiberglass with simulated lapstrake hull and oak trim rails. They are available from 6 1/2' to 14' in length. They use a dagger board for sailing with a cap cover for towing and it tows like it was not there. She is sprit rigged and loose-footed. (which allows you to row with sails set and no boom to hit your arms) Being loose-footed she also prefers a reach to a run but still does well to wind. Not a strong air boat when it starts to cap, I head in, it really does best in light air. I came back to the boat one day using an open umbrella for a sail and an oar for a rudder. She also rows in a very straight line, (due to having a long keel under her) with just a light pull at the oars required to send her scooting along.

With out the O/B she is about 85 to 90 lbs. and can be easily carried by two or hoisted up to the fore deck. (Davit Pad Eyes are an option along with a three point pick) We use a British Seagull 3 hp O/B which weighs in at 38 lbs. and is as dependable as a rock. After you learn just how to set everything it is a one or two pull starter. It will push her along at about 4/6 kts or so all day long on a gallon of gas. After we sail the big boat, a Saturna 33' PH, to wherever we are going to stay, I then go sailing in the dinghy to put out the crab pots or take the dogs ashore. Someone once said, "The bigger the boat the less you sail". So the dinghy gets a lot of sailing time.

Where as:

  1. It looks like a Beetle Cat - only better.
  2. It's ten feet long
  3. It's a form of a gaff-rig
  4. It weighs less than 100 lbs.
  5. And it doesn't have canvas decks
  6. It's easy to row and a Blast to sail!!

The defense rests:

Best Regards
John Reed

The answer from Larry and Sue:

Thanks so much for the response to the dinghy article. The boats you recommend sound wonderful. We look forward to checking out what they have to offer and thank you for making your case.

Best regards,
Sue & Larry

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