A little while ago I got really interested in inflatable boats. I thought it would be great to have something I could collapse and would not require a trailer to tow. I did some research on these, and went digging on craigslist for a really great deal. I eventually found and bought a Achilles inflatable sport dinghy off a guy at a marina for 100 bucks. These guys are popular on big boats for small life rafts. When I was in Australia I saw lifeguards launching off waves with these little inflatables and basically looking like the motorcycles of the deep!
When I checked it out I noticed it needed a lot of work. I had to refinish the transom and create all new floor boards. I researched what type of plywood to use in this project as normal off the shelf plywood board is not rated for marine use. I used the original floor panels as my pattern and cut out all new pieces and then sanded them and suspended them from the ceiling. I finished them with a tough marine grade varnish and bought all new runners and joints to fit them together.
For the transom I sanded it down to the bare wood and coated it with more of the marine grade varnish.
The boat it’s self was looking pretty dingy so I got a special cleaner for it and cleaned it and put a protective coat on it as well. After I did that it looked brand new. I also noticed a slow leak so I also put a nice new patch on it as well.
I still need to find a 6-9 HP two stroke engine so I can take it out on a proper voyage but I plan on invading Vashon Island once I get it. Until then it is my Commando style row boat.
My maiden voyage was successful, but it wasn’t in the Puget Sound but San Francisco Bay.
I rowed out from Crissy Field into the bay and bravely piloted my craft among the America’s Cup boats, and got some very surprised looks.
After my adventure on the bay it was time to let her go and I sold this beautiful boat to a man up in Marin so it can go on to make others happy and as is the point of many of my projects, the thing I wanted wasn’t the object but the experience of the project.