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'TEER's Skeg Dolly, by Ron Breault (updated Sept 2, 2011)  

July 21, 2011. Marionette is spending her summer in Maine based at Bucks Harbor at the top of Eggemoggin Reach (http://dolphin24.org/marionette_summer_2011.html). In past years when I was at this harbor I left her dinghy, TEER, at the Bucks Harbor YC's dinghy dock when I had to go back home to mow the lawn. This year the club had a new policy that restricted use of the dinghy dock so a new plan had to be devised.

On my first trip confronting this problem I simply borrowed a club junior program dolly to pull the dinghy from the water up the club's stony launch ramp and walk it to Jim Kurt's (Rachel K) garage maybe 300/400 yards away where I tipped her up against a back wall for the few days I would be gone - it is important to have well located friends. On my second trip back up to Bucks Harbor, after a week at home where I cut the lawn, fixed things that only seemed to break when I was away, completed miscellaneous chores, and had successful negotiations with the Admiral, I got an early morning start for the 6 hour drive from Old Lyme back to Bucks Harbor.

I got there just before noon, and discovered that the YC junior program had finished putting all their boats out on floats and, not needing their dollies any longer, stored their dinghy dollies on a rack - WITHOUT WHEELS!! I like to brag about 'TEER's 42lb weight, and I can and do carry her for short distances - but 400 yards!! We loaded 'TEER on the roof rack of Jim's station wagon and drove her to the stony launch ramp - low tide - timing is everything. Something needed to be done about this issue - and it was not buying a bulky $500 launching dolly, or risking wearing out Jim's hospitality!

On this particular trip up to Maine, Marionette's sailing plan was to leave Bucks Harbor and sail to down Eggemoggin Reach and up Blue Hill Bay to Blue Hill harbor where she would stay on a mooring at Kollegewidgwok YC (KYC) over the 4th of July holidays. There, I could keep 'TEER at their dinghy dock. The challenge was to come up with a quick, low cost, easily stored on a Dolphin, easy to use, low usage dolly, and have it before I came back up to Blue Hill and sailed back to Bucks Harbor. Independence to a single handed Dolphin 24 sailor is always the goal so, with plenty of driving time (6+ hours each way)to think about it, a design was developed. The prototype was built over the long Independence Day holiday weekend in Marionette's barn workshop.

On the next trip up a few days later the solution to the dinghy dolly problem was in the trunk of the car. Over the strenuous objections of my marketing advisors I resisted the understandable impulse to name her the "Independence Dolly". Here it is - 'TEER'S skeg dolly.

The Skeg Dolly (pat. appl.....?)

The above picture shows the dolly squeezed to a blank piece of wood the same thickness and approximate depth of 'TEER's skeg. Basically, its a 2 wheel dolly that is squeezed on to the dinghy's skeg by that bolt/wing nut. A hole was drilled in the skeg to accommodate the bolt. The two upright pieces of wood are sized to allow the underside of the dolly hull to rest on the top edges. The dolly is held by the front transom hand holds and pushed or pulled like a wheelbarrow.

The assembly was put together on the dinghy dock at KYC and tested there. It worked on the dock, and 2 days later it worked at Bucks Harbor. I pulled the dinghy up on that stony ramp - low tide again, of course, fit the dolly to the skeg, tightened the wing nut and wheeled 'TEER up the ramp and over the road to Jim's garage. It worked!

The two 8" diameter wheels have plastic rims and cost $13 the pair at Home Depot. The 7" long, 1/2" axle bolt and nut, the 3/8" squeeze bolt and wing nut, and the spacer washers on the dolly axle between the hull supports cost $4. The wood is teak, of course, and was in my left over pieces box. Total cost $17, total weight less than 5 lbs, and it fits easily in a Dolphin 24 locker. I can visualize a similar design concept for an inflatable dinghy dolly using the wood transom as a mounting plate (Here it is!)

The Stoney Ramp

As of this date we have had 4 field trials - all successful. The procedure coming out of the water is:

a) I row up to the ramp and ground her,

b) step over the side on to a, hopefully, above water, patch of ramp,

c) pull the dinghy up a little higher (ouch, I know the paint, but, despite her beauty, this is a tool, not a 'do not touch' objet d'art),

d) grab her by the gunnels and carry her a few feet further up the ramp,

e) take the skeg dolly laying in the dinghy and slip it under the transom, fumble around a bit lining up the holes and tighten the wing nut/bolt assembly,

f) walk around to the front and pull her up the ramp by holding the hand grips on either side of the front transom. No problems - except to stop and answer questions from interested/amazed yachtsmen and women watching this process.

I need someone to take a picture of me wheeling her around - stand by


September 2, 2011 - Here's the picture!

Complements to Jim Kurt who captured this photo!

Note the little stones caught in the tire treads

Click here to go to TEER's webpage


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