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Skipper’s Tips

Punked: Practice What You Preach

Life isn't guaranteed to be easy. We all know that. But every now and then something happens to indicate that the universe has a deep, sick sense of humour, aimed quite precisely at you—or in this case, me. I refer to a recent 24-hour period in which my car was robbed and my dinghy stolen. I am quite certain that these events weren't causally, or even casually, related, but they still stung and sting still.

The car thing was weird, but I accept that it was random—even though the thieves did take a couple of odd items (a steering wheel cover and an air conditioning vent) that, while precise in their targeting, did exclude some more desirable items that might have been of greater interest to a serious criminal. (Please note that all items of value have now been removed from said vehicle, leaving only a half-gallon of bleach and some laundry detergent.)


But to have, on the same day, my dinghy stolen, added not only insult to injury but made me feel as if I had been totally punked. The pair of readers who follow this column might have noticed recent screeds in which the author (ahem) loudly proclaimed that those who had dinghies stolen had only themselves to blame since they clearly had failed to lock the dinghy in the first place. Well, guess what? Guilty as charged, of course. But in my defence, I will proclaim that the dinghy was stolen not from a dock or a marina but out in the middle of a mooring field where few people travel. It means that someone targeted my dinghy (and its 15 hp Yammie), waited until lights were out and loud snoring emanated from the V-berth and snuck up to conclude their treacherous transaction. The odd thing was, I suspected as much might happen and had that weird premonition thing that I ought to lock my dinghy but put it off then forgot about it. My feelings in the morning were acute, as you might imagine. I felt violated. Stupid, too. And I vowed vengeance, but that must wait.

On a further note regarding dinghies, I am always surprised by the amount of noise an 11-foot Caribe can generate whilst tied to the stern of a moored yacht. The astonishing array of oinks, grunts, snores and sloppy slaps can keep many a sailor awake. It seems only the Caribe is set up to generate this cacophony and until recently, no cure was known. As luck would have it, however, I was on a mooring at Cooper Island a couple weeks ago, and the swirling winds and counter currents had the yacht, and its tender, swinging in all directions. One of these passes resulted in the dinghy painter wrapping itself around the dinghy's motor and trapping the noisy monster stern to the waves. Suddenly, silence! So our tip for the day is—if your dink is busy oinking, turn it around and tie it off stern to the weather, and quiet will be restored. Oh, and don't forget to lock it!


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