T/T Noeta

 T/T Noeta

T/T stands for "Tender To" as in the tender to a larger vessel. Sometimes called a dinghy, skiff, rowboat, inflatable, dory, along with other names. Whatever it's called, a dinghy is critical to a cruising boat. The term “dinghy” designates a huge variety of small boats. Dinghies may be rowed with oars, sailed with a removable mast and boom or powered by an outboard motor. They are typically 8-15 feet long and may have center consoles, drink holders, coolers, and benches with 25 hp outboards, or be simple inflatables with oars for rowing.

Noeta has two dinghies. Our original dinghy we bought for our Nordhavn 50 is a 11.6 foot with a Honda 30 hp outboard motor. We had blue chaps made for her to help protect her from the UV rays of the sun. She is a beast that can go 20-30 knots, hold lots of people, and is very civilized to drive with a steering wheel, bilge pump, drink holders, and folding bench seat. 

Brand new canvas protects it from the harsh sun. When we were in Seattle and asked around for someone who could make dinghy chaps, people looked at us like we were crazy. Not a common feature on NW dinghies.


All of our dinghies have had painted outboard motor covers. Our middle child, August, is usually the one who paints them for us. We stand out in a crowd of dinghies and hopefully makes it less likely that it might get stolen.
Gilligan admiring the finished product.

But we had a problem with our sturdy, civilized dinghy. It was too big and heavy to land and drag up onto a beach. And since this is something we know we will be doing alot of, once we set sail, we got our second dinghy this year. It's a used Achilles 8.5 foot inflatable with a Yamaha 8 hp two-stroke outboard that we purchased from friends on Namahana. It weighs around 150 pounds with outboard and fuel...versus our bigger one that weighs almost 600 pounds.

Our new 'little' dinghy.

Immediately, we painted the outboard and put beach wheels on her. 

Outboard painted and ready to go!

Then we had to try our first beach landing. These can be tricky with swells and waves. We didn't do too badly....but you be the judge...

But we made it! THIS is why we needed a smaller dinghy.

With a smaller dinghy, we needed a place to store her out of the water. We have an excellent stainless steel fabricator and welder here in La Cruz, and he designed us a removable aft dinghy davit. 

This kiddo weighs 70 kilos - that's about the same as our new dinghy!

The final davit!

Most live aboard cruisers rely on their dinghy as a car to get them from their boat to shore. It is a critical piece of cruising equipment. We will be using it as our car one day, but for now, as live-aboards at a marina, our dinghies serve many other purpose.


Helping Others

 Because our dinghy is often in the water, it's fairly powerful, and we know many people in the area, we often get called when other boaters need help.

The Sea Shepherd captain asked me to use our dinghy to help the Brigitte Bardot turn to starboard as it exited the marina because it didn't have enough steerage at such a slow speed. My job was to push the bow to help her turn - basically working like a bow thruster. It worked, but was a little more exciting than I'd hoped! The video below shows it all!

After the Brigitte Bardot mission with videographer, Sandra, along for the excitement.

I was called by friends Mike and Kat to come help them to shore when their mast snapped as they were sailing in Banderas Bay. They were drifting in super choppy water and it took awhile to find them among all the whitecaps, but I did, and towed them, and their injured vessel, to shore.

Kat - cold and with a broken toe!

Safely back at the dock!

We heard a call on VHF to help with a friend's vessel that was drifting to shore. Its anchor line had snapped and no one was aboard. We raced to the boat with only time to get one line on a rail, but with the swell and breaking waves, we weren't able to pull her out to deeper water. Sadly, she ended up on the rocks. We spent the next week helping to salvage all that we could.

When out for one of our evening dinghy cruises, we were called over to see if we could help diagnose an outboard issue. In all, I think we had 8 people troubleshooting it. 

Before the Sea Shepherd's boat could be sold, we needed to remove the old name and logo. In our trusty dinghy, my cousin Jamie and I battled the port side lettering with a heat gun and scrapers.

Each year, Mike from PV Sailing offers a free 'Shake it Out' seminar for any sailboats in the area. He has them sail while he circles their boats to tell them how best to trim their sails and suggests any changes to rigging. I took him out in the dinghy as he went from boat to boat giving guidance and suggestions. I learned alot!

Mike in action!

Our friends in this catamaran, Ruby Vi, only had one engine and had to make their way into this tight space. So I brought the dinghy to help keep them from drifting the wrong direction. It worked! They got in!

Trash Clean ups

As part of Sea Shepherd, we organized floating clean ups in the marina. A lot of trash flows into the marina from the bay and gets stuck in here. For many months, we had people join us on dinghies, kayaks, and paddleboards to help us help the marine life.

Everyone pitched in!

Never too young to drive a dinghy!

Our dinghy acted as the collection spot for all of the trash collected by others.

Gig Harbor friends, Timothy and Diana pitched in multiple times!


Escorting Ships

Sometimes, only our presence was needed.

When we saw this boat enter the bay, we got excited and knew we had to escort them in! It's one of our sister ships Akeeva!
While we had never met Akeeva's crew in person, we knew we needed to. While we may have caused them to panic as we sped out to their boat, now we're friends with Sam and Ana and expect to cruise with them again.
Escorting the Brigitte Bardot out of the bay with my cousin Carson & Jamie on their dinghy WeeAnn - from LeeAnn.


We escorted Sea Shepherd's R/V Martin Sheen as she left for a research project in the islands. They were sent off with air horns and whistles!

One of our boat neighbors sadly passed away. We held a ceremony for him when his family came, to spread his ashes. We made a tribute video for Captain Ron.


Social Gatherings

Our dinghy takes us to social gatherings, but also acts as a place for gatherings.

With cousin Carson and Jamie heading up the estuary in Nuevo Vallarta for dinner.
Based on the sleeves, this is a social gathering in Gig Harbor on our old dinghy (note the painted outboard here too)

When family comes in town, a dinghy cruise is a favorite.

Teen social gatherings were commonly brought together by teens in dinghies.

Cruiser conga line!

Cruiser Raft-up - we all brought appetizers to share!

Somewhere in Nuevo Vallarta's estuary

Gathering can include doggos too!

Cruiser friends from Avalon have it figured out!


Neighborhood 'Walks'

We have been doing neighborhood 'walks' in our dinghy for as long as we've had dinghies, around 15 years. Often in the evenings and usually with a cocktail in hand. It's a great way to see who is in the neighborhood and say hi to the neighbors.

Gilligan usually joins us.

Sometimes the neighborhood includes the anchorage.

Cupholders are super handy for neighborhood 'walks'

Sometimes we could convince our younger kids to go with us.

Our oldest child Mikayla likes to join us!

Pat is dressed in his Christmas finest for this neighborhood 'walk'

Pat decides to take the kids on a field trip....under the Brigitte Bardot!

For now, our dinghies aren't exactly our cruising 'cars' as they are for most cruisers, but they certainly fulfill many purposes. Our cruising life wouldn't be the same without them!


Read past Noeta articles HERE

Or find us on YouTube, Facebook & Instagram - MVNoeta


Popular Posts