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Skipper’s Tips

Rinky Dinks  –  There are many mysteries in the British Virgin Islands. Some are historical in nature—where did “Throw Away Wife Bay” get its name? Some are more whimsical—when is the movie theatre going to open? Others are just plain mysterious—why does Bobby's refuse to keep its ice cream frozen? But the one big mystery has to do with dinghies and their mysterious disappearances.

No, the mystery isn't who steals them and why. The mystery is, why doesn't everyone lock their dink when they're ashore or asleep? Locks are pretty cheap, and it only takes a moment. You lock your car, don't you?

Of course, many long-time visitors and residents say that it goes against the grain to have to lock the dinghy. That little boat represents freedom; it's a symbol, an emblem of the independent life. That is, until it is removed from its berth by a speculator who has an eye for a good motor or who knows a fisherman with a need for a get-around vessel. Then it's just another heartbreaker—one of the dozens that get scooped up and moved on without a trace.


There is of course a market for used dinghies. You can ask around for what you want, even put in an order, and pretty soon your prayers will be answered—and at pennies on the dollar. Now, not all theft is local. Stories abound of the maybe apocryphal thief who packed his catamaran with purloined runabouts prior to setting out across the Atlantic, or was it the Pacific. Thirty, was it? Anyway, a good story. St Martin, right?

Then again who needs to steal a dinghy when dinghies can just mysteriously untie themselves from the stern cleat and disappear in the late afternoon sun as you pound your way eastwards up Drake Lake? It's happened to me and it's happened to my friends—even really fancy jobs with 60 hp motors. Gone. Just like that. Oops!

Dinghies, they have a mind of their own—one day they're here and the next day they're in the mangroves in Hodge's Creek. Or was that Penn's Landing? And here's the biggest mystery—everyone knows who and why, but nobody's saying. Like I say, the BVI is full of mysteries. Oh, and secrets. Little secrets. Like the one about. . .  

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