0 In the journal

Runaway Dinghy: A Lesson in Knot Tying

“A knot is never ‘nearly right’; it is either exactly right or it is hopelessly wrong, one or the other; there is nothing in between.” Clifford Ashley

File this under rookie move #347. Also, my bad.

We spent 5 nights in Avalon last fall (because hello, you pay for 2 nights on the mooring and you get 3 free). During this trip, I was convinced I had the perfect combination of loops and ties for the very best makeshift dinghy hitch. I proudly assured Jeff, “I got this – it’s my own dinghy hitch. ” He was always skeptical. My knot worked every time; except for one time when it didn’t. After a somewhat swelly evening (for Avalon), I woke up and headed out to the cockpit to watch the sunrise on the island. I noticed that the dinghy was tied off on one of our cleats. Not where we left it. Peculiar.

On our morning trip to shore, we ran into a couple at the dock who said they spotted our dinghy floating way out in the harbor the night before. Like, way out. It was late, and they were taking a shoreboat back to their boat when they could just barely see our wayward little dink. Without their own dinghy to chase ours down, they enlisted another couple nearby (after a failed attempt to alert the shoreboat driver who clearly didn’t care.) Enter second nice couple. Being super awesome, good samaritans, they hopped in their dinghy and towed ours in.  We also didn’t have our dinghy marked with any type of identification, yet another rookie move. The only identifiable feature was the little burgundy canvas outboard cover that I made to match the rest of our canvases. They took their best guess and tied it up to our boat. Meanwhile, Jeff and I were enjoying a very peaceful slumber aboard, unaware our dinghy was trying to make a getaway.

So, major thank you to the 4 strangers that saved our runaway dinghy from sure disaster (and likely me from divorce court). Since this humbling little experience, we have added stickers with our boat name, and Jeff has spent the winter learning about a billion knots including a proper dinghy hitch. It is now one of 3 knots I can tie from memory as well.

Takeaway: If you don’t know knots, don’t tie lots, learn some.


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