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The Dinghy is...

  • For going ashore on beaches or docks where tying up would be impractical or expensive

  • For quickly and safely reconnoitring an anchorage or the nearby shores, especially if the waters are shallow

  • To run for provisions.  The dinghy is faster than the mother ship

  • To visit other boats or beaches and ferry people around

  • To entertain youngsters, using oars or the motor as appropriate

  • For carrying a kedge anchor out and/or to set a stern anchor or stern tie

  • To pull the boat off a bar by tipping the boat to lift the keel and reduce draft.  Carry the spare anchor a distance away, drop and set it, then pull with the spinnaker halyard.

  • To pull the boat to safety if becalmed with engine problems.  It is amazing what that little outboard can pull.

  • To assist with retrieving a crew member fallen overboard

  • To make an emergency escape or run for help

  • To get away from your friends and family

Launching the Dinghy

When you first arrive on the boat, the dinghy may be stored on the foredeck,  with the outboard mounted on the pushpit.

We recommend that you keep the dinghy on the deck until you are clear of the marina, and ask that you return it there when you are finished unless instructed otherwise.  Ask.

Sailing with the dinghy on deck can be problematic as the genoa sheets may catch on it.  If it is desired to carry the dinghy there on a longer jaunt, it is possible to rig a spare line in a triangle from one stanchion over the boom gooseneck and to the opposite stanchion to prevent the genoa sheets from catching on the dinghy.

When the dinghy is on deck, it must be lashed down securely.  When untying the dinghy, pay attention to how it is lashed on board.  That will make it easier to lash it securely later.

To launch the dinghy, the dinghy should be lifted over the lifelines by its painter, using the spinnaker halyard.  Two people make the job easier, but it can be done by one.

  • Make a loop knot in the painter about 8 feet from the dinghy and attach the spinnaker halyard to it.

  • With one person guiding the dinghy and another at the winch, lift the dinghy clear of the lifelines, then lower it carefully while pushing it away from the boat

  • Make sure the halyard is not snagged on the radar unit halfway up the mast.  Also ensure the dinghy does not catch on the lifelines and toe rail or scratch the boat as it lowers.

  • Once the dinghy is in the water, lead it aft and tie the dinghy to the port stern cleat.  The starboard cleat is above the hot exhaust from the Espar furnace and the hot exhaust fumes could melt the painter line if it sags near the vent. Be aware of this hazard with slack dock lines, too.

Be very careful lifting the dinghy over the stanchions dragging it over the stanchions and lifelines can puncture the dinghy or damage the lifelines and stanchions.     Also be very careful the transom of the dinghy does not scratch the foredeck and hatches when inverted. When on deck, be sure to lash it down securely.  If you made mental notes or took a picture before you untied and launched the dinghy, tying it down again should be easy.

Mounting the Outboard

The dinghy can be quite handy with only the oars for short trips ashore, but for longer trips or exploring, the outboard is quick and convenient.

Mounting the outboard on the dinghy requires some planning, a strong person, and a capable assistant.

  • When moving the outboard from the pushpit to the dinghy or from the dinghy to the stern rail, tie the dinghy securely to the swim platform as shown at right (click to enlarge)  so that the dinghy cannot rock side to side or squirm away.

  • Plan ahead and brief your helpers. Take your time.

  • Tie a safety line to the motor and to the pushpit so that if the motor escapes your grip, it will not be lost, and can be easily retrieved. 

  • The safety line should attach to a strong point high on the boat and have enough slack to permit free movement while being moved, but be short enough that the motor cannot drop into the water.

  • If you have a capable person to hold the safety line and play it out as the outboard is lowered, so much the better.

Unzip the enclosure rear panel and remove it or push it aside so that you can reach the outboard and tilt it inward.  Then lift the outboard and bring it into the cockpit.  Do not attempt to do this task with the nearby enclosure panels closed up.

You will probably need to rest the motor on its bottom fin as you move it around. Be careful not to damage teak cockpit sole, the teak swim platform or the dinghy with the fin on the bottom of the outboard.   Use the cutting board from the galley or a folded towel as protection for the teak if resting points will be required midway between the stern rail mount and the dinghy.

  • This outboard is a four-stroke engine.  Unlike older two-stroke outboards, it uses ordinary marine gasoline with nothing added  

    • Do not mix oil with the gasoline. 

    • Please use only marine gasoline sold at marinas.  Gasoline sold for cars contains ethanol which can absorb water and cause problems on boats.

Important ! The outboard will not start or run unless the prongs of the red curly plastic deadman (kill) cord are installed under the purple button on the lower front of the motor as shown at right. 

The red curly cord should be in the nav station or nearby, along with the keys for unlocking the motor and locking the cable at night to prevent theft of the dinghy or motor.

Always attach the red deadman (kill) cord to your wrist, ankle, or clothing before starting the engine and keep it firmly attached while operating the dinghy. 

The kill cord is required to run the outboard for good reason.  More than a few experienced boaters have been killed or seriously maimed by runaway dinghies.  Don 't become one of them.

With a single occupant, the dinghy can accidentally accelerate sufficiently quickly when starting or bounce enough when up and planing (at speeds up to 30 KPH) to throw an unwary operator over the stern.  Be especially careful and slow down when encountering wakes from passing boats.

Not only is the deadman cord a safety feature, but it locks the motor against casual theft if you think to take the cord away with you. 

Without the deadman provision, the empty dinghy would either continue on its course and not come back, or more usually return immediately and run in tight circles around the area -- and almost certainly run over the operator.

When the deadman cord is properly attached to the driver, if the driver falls from the boat the motor stops immediately and the dinghy waits harmlessly nearby for the operator to swim over and recover it.

Re-entering a dinghy from the water can be difficult.  If alone, you may have to crawl over the stern and then bail the dinghy.  This can be impossible for some people without assistance, so think about this before operating the dinghy or permitting others to do so.  If in doubt as to your ability to operate the outboard safely, use the oars.

Always wear a PFD when in the dinghy and make sure that the safety kit and oars are in the dinghy.  A floating handheld VHF can be a useful safety item as well.


The outboard is supplied with a lock and it is wise to use it.  A 15-foot coated stainless steel cable and lock is also provided to secure the entire dinghy to the boat or dock, especially at night.

Although most boaters are honest and thefts are unusual around Sidney, dinghies and outboards are occasionally stolen.  Be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings, especially items of value that could be easily taken.

Going Ashore

When going ashore and landing on a beach, check the tides in advance and know if the tide is coming in or going out, and the expected range.  After an hour or two on shore, the dinghy may be a hundred feet from the water -- or floating away -- if the water level has changed by a few feet or more.  Land at a floating dock if possible.

This dinghy is equipped with Beachmaster wheels to make beaching the dinghy and moving it up and down the beach easier.  Click here for an online demonstration video showing the wheels in use.

Be sure to place the gas tank forward in the dinghy as shown to distribute the load and to prevent having the tank shift aft.  Be sure to strap it down.

The dinghy is very perky and planes up quickly with one person on board, and more slowly with two or three.  When using the outboard, be aware that it accelerates very quickly when only one person is on board and could throw and unwary operator over the stern.  Be careful about speeding in swells and chop as the dinghy will bounce.

  • Always remember to take the safety kit and oars.

  • All persons in the dinghy should always wear PFDs.

  • Always attach the deadman cord to the operator, even for short trips.

Towing the dinghy

  • Remove or secure any loose items in the dinghy

  • Once underway, adjust the length of the towing line periodically to provide the smoothest tow with the least resistance.  The exact position will depend on whether Cassiopeia is under power or sailing and on wind and sea conditions. 

  • Keep the line as short as practical while providing a smooth and stable tow.

  • By pulling the dinghy in towards the boat and and letting it back out, a distance will be found where the dinghy is surfing on a stern wave and requires very little energy to pull.  (This may vary with cruising speed).

  • There is typically already loop knot in the painter where others have found the 'sweet spot" and that loop can be simply dropped over a stern cleat.

  • Be aware that a drifting dinghy can be a distraction and a hazard when manoeuvring in close quarters.

  • Plan any approaches to docks carefully and shift the dinghy tie to an appropriate location and shorten or lengthen the line as indicated. 

  • Have someone watch the dinghy as you dock, or have someone cast off in the dinghy and bring it in separately, especially where space is tight or wind and current are challenging.

  • Be aware that, although the dinghy painter is a floating line, that, while manoeuvring, suction from Cassiopeia's prop can draw it under and cause it to foul Cassiopeia's prop if a length of line lies in the water near the boat.

Most cruisers in sheltered waters, tow the dinghy with the outboard mounted, however there are some things to keep in mind at all times.

Warning: Be aware, that the motor makes the dinghy more top-heavy and that rough water or high winds can flip the dinghy with or without the outboard mounted.  Flipping and damage are more likely if the outboard is left on the dinghy.  If in doubt, remove the outboard and stow the dinghy.

The weight of the motor can also damage the dinghy transom in rough waters, and the shaking can cause the motor screws to loosen allowing the motor to shift or even drop.  You are responsible for any damage.

If Towing with the Outboard Mounted on the Dinghy

  • Check the attaching screws regularly as they can loosen

  • Be sure to fasten down the gas tank and oars as anything in the dinghy will shift while being towed.  The gas tank should be forward for the best ride.

  • The outboard should be locked in the "up" position so that the leg does not drop down and drag, slowing progress and potentially damaging the outboard gears.

  • Be aware that a drifting dinghy with a motor on it can scratch the boat or neighbouring boats while at dock and be a distraction and a hazard when manoeuvring in close quarters.

  • Remember where your dinghy is at night and be sure to lock it with the cable provided.

Tiller Extension

Running the dinghy under power any distance without a passenger to hold the bow down can be uncomfortable since a  heavy driver must keep weight forward and twist his/her body to see and steer.  The steering ends to be touchy as well due to the short boat and short tiller.

An adjustable tiller extension (above) is kept in a stern locker and can be clamped onto the outboard tiller to lengthen it to allow for better weight distribution, a more comfortable ride, and better steering control.

The instruction sheet for the tiller is to the right.  Click to enlarge.

Dinghy Inflation

The dinghy is a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB). They have many advantages in terms of stability and floatation over skiffs, but RIBs get soft over time, especially with weather changes.  Pumping up the RIB takes only a few minutes.

The pump is kept in one of the cockpit lockers and is not exactly as shown.  There are three filler ports on the dinghy, one for each stern section, and one for the bow.  Open each filler cover in turn, insert the pump fitting and turn it until it seats.  Pump until the section is firm, then go to the next.

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While the information provided here is believed to be correct at time of publication, errors are possible
and things may change, so readers should verify details before making important decisions.

- Home | Greeting | Features | Specs | Video | Marina | Cruising | Adventures -
- Forward Cabin | Saloon | Aft Cabins | Sails | Cockpit | Enclosure | On deck -
 - Plotter and Radar | Marine Head | Refue
lling | Seacocks| Engine | Batteries | Dinghy | Anchoring -
- Inventory | Manuals | US/Canada Border | Winter | Thoughts | Troubleshooting -