Farewell to Patches
31 January 2019 | Paradise Village Marina
We bought Patches second-hand over fifteen years ago for $1500. She was in immaculate condition. We outfitted her with chaps and wheels. We had davits built to carry her. She has been our boat “car” and Jay has spent many, many hours taking care of her. Fifteen years plus is a long time to own one dinghy and over that time we have shared so much together.
I took my first solo drive on Patches in Channel Islands Harbor. I was so proud of myself. I started her all by myself. My daughter jumped in and we took her through the canals of Oxnard to Vons. It was a five-minute car ride that took us half an hour in the dinghy, but that wasn’t the point. The point was – we could actually take a dinghy to the market and back. Just the girls! How cool was that!
When we got back to the dinghy with our groceries, I had a little trouble starting her again. Of course, a man offered to help. I hesitated. Almost surrendered. But then, “No thanks. I’ve got this.” I told him. A few tries later, she started and Talia and I motored back to the slip.
Jay and I dumped her a few times. Or maybe I should say, she dumped us. The first time was at Smuggler’s Cove on Santa Cruz Island in California. “Why is that silly person anchoring their dinghy and swimming instead of landing on shore?” We asked ourselves. We were about to find out.
The surf was bigger than we thought. We caught a wave and Jay came right over me as the dinghy folded in half. What a mess! Jay lost his glasses. We broke an oar. The radio went swimming. I got tangled up in the lines as waves continued to pound us. Worst of all, the motor was dunked in salt water. Yet, she survived and so did we.
The second time we were at Yellow Banks anchorage on Santa Cruz Island. Don and Bobbi were with us and their dog, Rags, needed to go to shore.
“No way. I’m not going.” I said.
“Me either.” Bobbi joined in.
“Drop us off on Cindy’s boat.” (Cabana Girl was anchored a few boats away.) Bobbi, Cindy, Dann and I drank margaritas and watched as the boys did it again.
They landed on shore and Rags was a happy dog, running up and down the beach. Back in the dinghy, they began rowing back to Cabana Girl. Only Rags had other ideas. He jumped overboard and swam back to shore. One thing led to another and oops! Up and over.
In San Diego, we took Patches to a concert. It was held at Humphrey’s on Shelter Island. All the dinghies in the neighborhood would gather outside in one of the fairways. There we would turn off our motors, sip our wine and listen to good music under the stars while the dinghies gently swayed in the water.
Patches has traveled thousands of miles with us. She’s visited both Santa Cruz Island and Catalina several times. She has explored Islas Espirtus Santos in the Sea of Cortez. In fact, we spent six weeks with her, visiting all the wonderful coves in the Sea of Cortez. She took us on a river ride through the jungle in Tenacatita. She has survived two hurricanes. She even ventured through the canals of Nuevo Vallarta while we searched for crocodiles. Once, Patches even caught a fish. Inadvertently
We were sailing down the Pacific Coast of Baja California somewhere between Turtle Bay and Santa Maria. Jay and Don were fishing off the stern. I can’t remember who reeled in the fish but as they were trying to release it, it jumped into the dinghy. Don climbed over the stern rail and into the swinging dinghy hanging on the davits. The fish was flapping. Don was squealing. Jay and I were laughing. Good times.
But Patches was also the one who bucked like a wild horse, throwing me off into the sea outside of La Cruz. I will never forget how she turned into a viscous monster aiming to attack me. And she did. She chopped up my leg and then turned around and headed for El Salvador. I have since forgiven her, but the memory still haunts me. It took me two seasons to do my first solo again and I shook all the way on the long, slow ride to the shore of Zihuatanejo.
Jay continues to try and save her. He put yet more patches on her yesterday. Poor Patches. I think the end is near. I am declaring this her last season. It is time to say thank you and farewell to our trusted dinghy, Patches.
Note: We actually never named her until a few years ago when our friend, George, came by and saw all the patches that were hiding under the chaps. He said we should call her Patches. And so we did.