Save the Dinghies!

Our morning in Newport was rather usual to start. We had a few hours to spare prior to departure, so we decided to stretch our legs and walk to Fort Adams. We paddled the dinghy to the King Park Dock and tied up among the cluster of other dinghies.

The walk to Fort Adams was lovely. It was a warm morning, but not too hot for the 2-ish mile walk. We passed by several beautiful homes and then admired the harbor from a new view as we neared Fort Adams. We strolled the grounds and visited the museum. We missed the tour by only a few minutes, but we had to head back so that we could make our way to Point Judith for an appointment at the marina to inspect our engine.

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Back at the dinghy dock, I climbed over the dinghies to our own. This is a bustling, free dock so the dinghies are stacked by twos around the dock’s edges. I stood in the dinghy for a moment and something seemed off. Hmmm…I realized something was off, our lifejackets and one paddle were missing! I informed Brian of the situation before he untied our dinghy. Relaying the message may have involved some profane language – I was NOT happy that someone would take our lifejackets. And how exactly would we get back to Rode Trip with only one paddle…

Brian, calm as ever, took a walk around the docks and looked around. He suggested we walk back toward shore to see whether the items had washed up. “They’re not going to just wash up, someone TOOK them! The lifejackets were clipped into the dinghy and who the $#!@ would take just one paddle, and with all these perfectly good outboards to choose from, one paddle HONESTLY!” Well all my blabbering was useless and so I accompanied Brian back to the shoreline where we found a lone dinghy at the boat ramp, unattended. And sure enough (that husband of mine is always right!) there were our paddle and lifejackets in this deserted dinghy. Well this made no sense at all. Brian recognized the dinghy as the one we had clamored over when tying up two hours earlier, and this dinghy had two of its own paddles and an outboard. I took a picture of the dinghy’s registration number and we agreed we should let the harbormaster know about this situation. We headed back to Rode Trip, past a group of boys that had congregated at the end of the dinghy dock.

I found the telephone number for the harbormaster while Brian secured the dinghy back on deck. I was able to leave a voicemail…in the meantime Brian had his eyes on the dinghy dock and asked for the binoculars. He observed that group of boys messing with the dinghies. One of the dinghies was untied and drifting from the dock. A man stopped to talk with the boys, they scattered and the man made a phone call while following behind. Another man went to retrieve the drifting dinghy. And then, the police arrived. The police did rounds through the park and chatted with the man at the dock.

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(Renegade boys to the right of this pic, unattended dinghy holding our stuff to the far left.)
Wow! It seemed the situation was under control and the dinghies were secured once again. A few more sweeps of the police car told us there was nothing more to do and we hauled anchor.

Rode Trip made a stop at the “water for yachts” dock in Newport’s harbor. While we filled the water tanks, we listened intently to the radio. Those renegade boys had been spotted in a dinghy in the harbor. Both the harbormaster and the Coast Guard were now doing laps trying to spot the culprits. We suspect they have a dinghy-stealing ring and we were glad to be out of there! We’ve also labeled all of our lifejackets and paddles and decided that our clipped in jackets in the dinghy will from now on be the orange, foam, cheap jackets rather than our “custom” fitted, expensive jackets.

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We sailed out of Newport Harbor, past the newly arrived cruise ship and scenic shoreline, bound for Point Judith.

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One thought on “Save the Dinghies!

  1. We had a related experience a couple of nights ago on Nantucket. I rescued a dinghy that was floating by us in the anchorage at 3am in the morning. Returned it to the owner the next morning via the harbormaster. The owner suspected some human interference in the dinghy escaping the dinghy dock as the painter was chewed up, and another line was missing.

    Maybe we’ll have to start locking ours up, though I hate to have to do that. All the people who lock their dinghies seem to forget that you really need to leave at least 6 to 8 feet of painter to make room for other dinghies at a crowded dinghy dock.

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