Join Date: Dec 2008
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Re: Suggestions for getting a dog from boat to dinghy (and back again!)
We sail with our dog; She is ~30lbs and stands 17" at the whithers so she is smaller than your Husky will be. Our Contessa 26 is likely comparable with freeboard and we don't even have a stern that can be used for boarding - let alone a walk through.
Our dog has no issue jumping down into the soft dinghy and hopping up she *can* do without assistance but we usually assist for a calmer entry. The key is to train them to not jump in or out until you are ready... As you suspect, leaping from the dinghy while it is not secured to the mother ship results in a surprised wet pooch! (From experience)
1. Our lifelines are gates and we remove them for entry and departure so there is nothing to trip on or get the leash caught around.
2. We have a secured swim ladder on the port quarter. This is mainly for me and safety, but our dog did figure out how to climb it somewhat..
3. We inflate the dinghy and slip it out of the cockpit. I enter the dinghy before our dog is allowed to join me. That way, I can hold the dinghy to the port side of the boat while she jumps down and we don't go shooting away from the boat.
4. Upon return, we pull up abreast the port side and I hold the vessels close together or secure them with line. My wife climbs onboard and then we let the dog up. Sometimes the dog jumps from the seat, other times we assist from below to give her a small boost and she does the rest.
5. Often we'll have her wear her life jacket... she swims for hours a day, so we're not concerned with swimming ability, but, if she DOES fall in, we can lift her up by the handles without getting wet ourselves. Her nickname is "Suitcase dog". That may be more difficult with the husky but perhaps a good idea none the less.
I wouldn't worry too much about the dinghy issue and spend more time focussing on the other ones.