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I (almost) always use 2 feathers to the dink. Towing or when tied to the mothership. The ONE time I didn’t, I had just reattached the main painter to the short bridle, which I had just replaced, which I use on the Porta-Boat. I forgot the secondary tether. The bridle knot worked loose over night and the dink floated off. I got a call in the morning a couple of local St Eustis fishermen found out dink a mile or 2 off and brought it back to us. I got some well deserved ribbing in the harbor that afternoon.

What a lucky guy I am!!
 

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I (almost) always use 2 feathers to the dink. Towing or when tied to the mothership. The ONE time I didn’t, I had just reattached the main painter to the short bridle, which I had just replaced, which I use on the Porta-Boat. I forgot the secondary tether. The bridle knot worked loose over night and the dink floated off. I got a call in the morning a couple of local St Eustis fishermen found out dink a mile or 2 off and brought it back to us. I got some well deserved ribbing in the harbor that afternoon.

What a lucky guy I am!!
Our dink has a line to the bow eye, It's quite long. When we tow we use a Davis towing bridle with a float. It uses webbing and is shackled to the 2 towing rings. This bridle is then attached to a 50' braid on braid line with a large shackle knotted to its center. For towing one end is tied to a stbd stern cleat the other to a port stern cleat. The line from the bow eye is a security line with no tension on it tied to a cleat or the pushpit. The towing lines can be use to *trim* the dink to tow it in the optimal position... for wave train. The tow is about 20-30' and set to NOT be on the back (aft) side of the wave. When anchoring or coming along side the lines are pulled in so the tow is short...a few feet from the stern.
 

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Everyone has their favorities ours are Windyty, WIndfinder, Windguru, Passage Weather and gribs from our ssb.
I'm always amused at the discussions and debates around which are the best weather apps. Most don't seem to understand that they are ALL using the same forecast models, and are ALL identical, except for how they present those data graphically.

The only one I'm aware of that uses proprietary models is Passage Weather, and I have yet to see their proprietary models have any relationship to reality. Their GFS and ECW models, however, are exactly the same as every other app, program, and website uses.

They are also the same models Chris Parker uses for his forecasts. What you are getting with Parker is a few additional pieces of data one might not have bandwidth for like synoptic charts, radar and satellite data, a much wider weather view and historic trends, etc - but more importantly, a trained weather forecaster's interpretation of all these data.

Like Chuck, we make our own forecasts, and then compare with Chris's. Over the years, this training has made us pretty competent at weather forecasting, and has been well worth the price.

Mark
 

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I've found a better option is rigging wire (1X19), which is much harder to cut quickly (if at all) with bolt cutters. It is bulky and a pain, but it will do the job.
1x19 is very stiff. How do you terminate it since it can't be easily formed into an eye? How do you store it in the dinghy or elsewhere, since it doesn't coil very tightly?

I'm fairly convinced that a goodly number of the dinghies reported stolen were poorly tied to the boat and not stolen at all, especially among those who close the pub night after night.
I think, as painful as it might be to believe, there is a lot more boater on boater theft than local on boater than most suspect.
Agreed. I have slowly come to the opinion over the past 10yrs of missing dink reports that most have gone walkabout due to incompetence, and the rest have been stolen by other cruisers. I've seen other cruisers stealing stuff - and think it is a much bigger problem than acknowledged. Too easy to blame locals, and cruising thieves are counting on that. Personally, I guesstimate only 10-15% are local thefts, and that is highly dependent on cruising grounds - 0% in the Bahamas outside of Nassau, but maybe 30% in some other places like Portobello and Puerto Lindo Panama.

Mark
 

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For us, the single best thing we ever put on the boat for cruising was lithium batteries. An absolute game-changer in many more ways than obvious, or than we expected. The ripple effect is great - get rid of the generator, switch to a 30-40gph AC-powered watermaker, power the water heater through the inverter, etc. A modest amount of solar keeps them going, and engine run times (if needed) are shortened to a fraction of before.

The second best thing we added was the 30gph watermaker. A watermaker of any type is a game-changer, and a high output one steps that up considerably - allowing for regular and frequent washing down the boat and its equipment, washing the anchor chain with fresh water as it goes into the locker, laundry any time and any size loads, regular washing of all the cockpit cushions and canvas, washing the dinghy down after each use, regular flushing of the outboard, frequent showers after swimming or just when hot. Most of all, as a catamaran, we drop 500lbs of dead water weight, because we can just push a button and refill the bottom half of the tank quickly.

The third best thing we added was full shades for the cockpit and cabin top. The cockpit is always cool and dark with a nice breeze blowing through, and the shades over the cabin top cut the heat below by 20F.

On the boat setup, I can't praise high enough running all lines to an electric winch in the cockpit. We raise/lower sails, reef, and trim without leaving the helm seat. One person is all that is needed to fully operate all aspects of sailing the boat - the off watch person gets to sleep.

Mark
 

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I'm always amused at the discussions and debates around which are the best weather apps. Most don't seem to understand that they are ALL using the same forecast models, and are ALL identical, except for how they present those data graphically.

The only one I'm aware of that uses proprietary models is Passage Weather, and I have yet to see their proprietary models have any relationship to reality. Their GFS and ECW models, however, are exactly the same as every other app, program, and website uses.

They are also the same models Chris Parker uses for his forecasts. What you are getting with Parker is a few additional pieces of data one might not have bandwidth for like synoptic charts, radar and satellite data, a much wider weather view and historic trends, etc - but more importantly, a trained weather forecaster's interpretation of all these data.



Like Chuck, we make our own forecasts, and then compare with Chris's. Over the years, this training has made us pretty competent at weather forecasting, and has been well worth the price.

Mark

YEP - you hit the nail on the head - what we like is the presentations - we want to see the pressure gradients and where they are and how they are moving - some of the models are good at it and some are not -

When we have internet we do look at radar and you would be surprised how many countries have great wx radar -
 
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1x19 is very stiff. How do you terminate it since it can't be easily formed into an eye? How do you store it in the dinghy or elsewhere, since it doesn't coil very tightly?



Agreed. I have slowly come to the opinion over the past 10yrs of missing dink reports that most have gone walkabout due to incompetence, and the rest have been stolen by other cruisers. I've seen other cruisers stealing stuff - and think it is a much bigger problem than acknowledged. Too easy to blame locals, and cruising thieves are counting on that. Personally, I guesstimate only 10-15% are local thefts, and that is highly dependent on cruising grounds - 0% in the Bahamas outside of Nassau, but maybe 30% in some other places like Portobello and Puerto Lindo Panama.

Mark
Shiva has 10mm 1x19 rigging. YES it is very stiff. We have some coiled and it's about 30Ø. We use Norsemen for replacement not swaged.

+++

We had a RIB with a new 4 stoke 8 Honda go walkabout. In new Greenwich RI. I don't know if it was poorly tied and floated away while we were asleep or if someone came by at stole it... which seems unlikely. We were anchored. However the dink had a name, address phone number plaque on the transom and no one reported a lost dink found. We called around as well. No luck. So if it wasn't stolen... it was found and kept and not reported or it was another alien abduction. We use a stainless steel chain to lock the dink and always remove the kill key when paranoia is in the air. But anyone who wants to steel a dink can pretty easily do it.
 

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SO. Were you anchored off the beach on Goddard State Park in East Greenwich perhaps? Lot's of kids goof around in that area. It's actually one anchorage that I always fully lock up, when I head to town. If that's it, my bet is a local, I'm afraid.
 

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Northeast of Long Point in Greenwich Bay... Mischief seems likely.
 

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Going back to the OPs request.
What works is 2 strokes. What doesn’t is 4 strokes.
If you put a inline filter on your gas line and run the carb dry if your not going to use the engine for a couple of days then a 2 stroke is nearly bulletproof. 4 strokes seem to have a lot more issues. The 2 stroke is such a simple thing it’s more tolerant. Given the dinghy is your link to land it’s a big deal when it doesn’t work. The Yamaha seems to be the preferred machine but we’ve been happy with our cheaper tohatsu.
 

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I'd disagree about the 2/4 stroke difference. We've been cruising full time around the entire Caribbean Sea for over 10yrs now with a 4 stroke and it has been brilliant. Two of them, actually, a Honda 15 and a Suzuki 20. The Honda died of old age, and was abused relentlessly with no problems.

Our new boat has a 2yr old Tohatsu 18hp 2-stroke and I can't wait to get rid of it. It uses at least 60% more fuel than our Suzuki 20hp, smokes and smells, rattles and growls, and I have to mix the gas. And being carbureted, it requires a secret combination of throttle position and choke position, for a secret amount of time to start - then floods if it isn't done correctly. The 4-strokes are so quiet and smooth that you don't even know they are running at idle. When you are cruising outside of fuel availability, it is nice to be able to go months on 10 gallons of gas while using the dink to go miles/day fishing and exploring. This Tohatsu takes 3gal of fuel just to go to a fuel stop and back. If you have a Honda generator, it is nice to not have to partition fuel into mixed and non-mixed.

Our experiences with other cruisers is that they deeply believe in their 2-strokes, particularly the Yamaha 15, but are also almost constantly working on them. And looking for more gasoline. The people with 4 strokes are not having problems, except for those with Yamaha 20hp - for some reason that particular engine is troublesome. Another exception are the very small carbureted 4-strokes below 6-8hp - those have continual carburetor issues, but I think it is the same for the 2-strokes of the same size.

Excellent advice on a good in-line filter. Make sure it is also a water separator. This one easy inexpensive thing is the most important part of keeping any outboard trouble-free - and the one thing few people actually do.

Mark
 

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The newish 4 stroke carbed are not very tolerant. FI very reliable.
My 4hp 2 stroke does one thing better than my 6hp 4 stroke...
Always always always starts and runs

But drinks at least double the fuel.
Mixing 100/1 doesnt bother me
 

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Discussion Starter #53
Update: Single handed the boat overnight from Bequia to St Lucia (80nm). It was the full Monty of weather phenomenon, calm winds to roaring winds 25 kts between St Vincent and St Lucia, rain showers, calm seas to large seas. Wind on the bow to beam reach. Water over the bow and got hit with some beam seas. Boat is cover in salt water. My dink that was strapped down on the foredeck got moved by the green water coming over. Got sandwiched between cruise ships and freighters. Actually made the cruise ship turn course so as not to hit me because I had no place to go. He was nice about it. Overall an interesting experience. Main was reefed all night and jib was out, in, out, reefed, in, out ,in.. I was busy. Current was 1.5 kts starting behind me but as night progress moved to abeam. I ended up tacking back into Rodney Bay 10 NM out. What I planned was 5.5 kts and what I got was average 7.7 kts. So I ended up laying up for a few hours outside of Rodney Bay until sunrise ( I don't go into any anchorage at night). Heave too works, calmed the boat down, made coffee and had a nice breakfast. Of course all the cruise ships (4) and freighters started to show up all at the same time. So lots of radio chatter. They obviously had a pecking order to enter the main port here. They too waited until sunrise to enter. I have a lot of pictures of this to show but I still cannot figure out how to post here. Maybe Donna will bail me out again.
On the subject of dink outboard motors. 2 strokes rule out here. Not to say there isn't any 4 strokes but from my observation only Americans and Canadians carry those. Europeans like the smaller engines under 4 and our side of the world are either 9.9 or 18-20 hp. 2 strokes weigh less which can be a factor for a lot of people, myself included. My brand new Nissan is in the shop,, won't start. But I think it is a case of bad gas. I saw a rash of motors that wouldn't start in Bequia beside mine. Mine is under warranty so that is one less boat project I have to worry about for now. FYI - I believe there is only 3 manufactures of outboards. Yamaha and Honda are solo and the rest are made by Tohatsu/Mercury . Someone correct me on this please. Also Honda motors are hard to get parts and fixed outside the USA from what I understand too. I walked over to Island World store (West Marine Caribbean)(here in Rodney Bay) where I bought it from (Grenada) and within 30 mins a guy came to take it to the shop to fix it. Pretty cool. I should have it back tomorrow. I agree with Mark about a water separator. I have one but haven't installed it yet. I need to get new fittings for the new motor.
 

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Nice post! I haven't been down that way for more than 20 years, but I recall the outer Rodney Bay was a pretty wide open easy to enter anchorage. I don't have access to charts so this is a bit of a fog. There was a channel and a small anchorage near the marina. I need to get down there again. This sort of post is a motivation.
 

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Tohatsu makes small OB's for Mercury, Suzuki, and I think Evinrude. Once above ~15hp (maybe 10hp), engine manufacturers make their own. These include Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Tohatsu, Evinrude, and Mercury. I guess you could include Lehr too.

Nissan was bought by Tohatsu recently, so I left them out of the above. They were always rebranded Tohatsu anyway.

The weight differences are no longer that great, and mostly in small OB's. Once at 15hp, the weight differentials between 2/4 strokes is inconsequential. For example, our Suzuki 20hp 4-stroke is only 4lbs heavier than our Tohatsu 18hp 2-stroke, and the same for the Yamaha 15hp Enduro 2-stroke.

This weight indifference is something nobody wants to believe, so it keeps getting perpetrated. A look at actual data sheets will show the truth.

The argument about local parts availability is hollow to me. I've never needed anything besides routine consumable parts for any of our 4-strokes, and many areas do not stock many parts even for those OB's that are heavily sold there. For example in Panama, where Yamaha and Tohatsu 2-strokes are heavily sold, parts needed to be ordered in for almost anything. It isn't cost-effective anymore to keep large stores of parts. Even things like carburetors and jets. It is almost always quicker (and sometimes cheaper) to just order parts from the US or UK. After all, this is what many of the local shops do.

The difference in fuel consumption is tremendous. The new fuel-injected 4-strokes use 3-4x less gas than the popular 2-strokes. Really. We carry so much less gasoline around than our 2-stroke friends. Cruising out in the boonies where fuel isn't available at any cost, this becomes important. At $5-6/gal, helps the wallet also.

It may just be US and Canadians that are using 4-strokes, but I'm seeing many more of these OB's now than 10yrs ago. Suzuki has jumped into the Western Caribe market in a big way, and local fisherman in many areas are switching for the fuel consumption alone.

But it is an old cruising meme that one should get a Yamaha 15hp 2-stroke. Like one should have a double-ender, or full keel, or ketch rig, or hank on sails. I think like those, time will eventually lead to re-examination.

Mark
 

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The Yamaha 15 meme is likely because if there are so many of them... every plays... then getting repairs becomes less a mystery, easier to find competent labor and parts. You have what is deemed an uncommon engine... people expect to have to wait for parts and have the mechanic bollocks up the repair. They may be more unreliable that other OBs by stats... but maybe easier to get repaired????

For my needs they are too big / heavy in any case.
 

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Northeast of Long Point in Greenwich Bay... Mischief seems likely.
Yup, that's it. Goddard Park Beach. Pretty spot. Just one where I feel the need to be much more careful.
 

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The Yamaha 15 meme is likely because if there are so many of them... every plays... then getting repairs becomes less a mystery, easier to find competent labor and parts. You have what is deemed an uncommon engine... people expect to have to wait for parts and have the mechanic bollocks up the repair. They may be more unreliable that other OBs by stats... but maybe easier to get repaired????

For my needs they are too big / heavy in any case.
It would be a poor mechanic who could only work on one brand of small outboard. Regardless of type or brand, these are fundamentally the same engineering and mechanics. Yes, definitely differences between 2 and 4 stroke, but if anyone has ever worked on an automobile, they immediately understand 4 strokes.

Parts is the main thing that people misunderstand. Not many places actually have real parts. Maybe a carb kit or oil plug or impeller, but one should be carrying those anyway. Any real parts that are needed will almost surely need to be ordered from overseas. It doesn't make economic sense to keep large stocks of parts around - those are kept in centralize distribution centers and ordered in as needed.

One more thing about weight. If one needs to regularly lift their engine on and off by hand, then there is no real difference between a 86lb 15hp 2-stroke and a 91lb 15hp 4-stroke. One should not have an engine this size regardless of type or brand. For smaller engines 2-6hp, the 2-strokes are lighter.

Mark
 

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It would be a poor mechanic who could only work on one brand of small outboard. Regardless of type or brand, these are fundamentally the same engineering and mechanics. Yes, definitely differences between 2 and 4 stroke, but if anyone has ever worked on an automobile, they immediately understand 4 strokes.

Parts is the main thing that people misunderstand. Not many places actually have real parts. Maybe a carb kit or oil plug or impeller, but one should be carrying those anyway. Any real parts that are needed will almost surely need to be ordered from overseas. It doesn't make economic sense to keep large stocks of parts around - those are kept in centralize distribution centers and ordered in as needed.

One more thing about weight. If one needs to regularly lift their engine on and off by hand, then there is no real difference between a 86lb 15hp 2-stroke and a 91lb 15hp 4-stroke. One should not have an engine this size regardless of type or brand. For smaller engines 2-6hp, the 2-strokes are lighter.

Mark
I am referring to perception and a herd mentality. It's like the cool thing to do...

I decided long ago to use a demountable crane for getting the OB from the RIB to the rail. It's easy peasy for 2 and totally doable by one old salt. I use an 4 stroke 8 which can plane my RIB with a clean bottom and 2 adults. I don't have the need or the opportunity to plane however 99% of the time. I am thrilled not to be mixing oil into fuel.
 
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