Finally, everything was ready. I inflated and re-floated the rubber dinghy. I retrieved the outboards from Sheila's Home For Wayward Motors on City Island(*), put one on the dinghy and one on the Scapegrace, and gave Charlie the green light to put Scapegrace in the water.
Came back a few days later, ready to take the boat around the Horn -- I mean the Battery, of course -- and into the Hudson. What should meet my eye but the dinghy deflated, sunk at the dock. Some kind soul -- I think it was Emil, whom I have mentioned before; I know his knots -- had tied a lined around the outboard and cleated it to the dock, so it hadn't been immersed, and that was OK.
But the dinghy -- a downscale rubber-ducky -- was a dead loss. It appeared to me that somebody had pinched it hard against the dock and driven an aluminum floorboard right through the walls of the starboard and port pontoons, making a foot-long tear in each. Maybe somebody could patch wounds like that; but I cannot.
I felt like cutting my throat. But the Boat Dudes soon made me feel better. I was invited onto one boat for meatloaf and mashed potatoes -- which were delicious, let me tell you -- and given some sage advice there. And I got plenty of other sage advice; the most creative was to fill the pontoons up with two-part foam and you'll never have to worry about inflating it again. Emil showed me a three-quarters-sunk dinghy which the cops had found floating in Eastchester Bay and dragged into the marina three years ago. A few bolts, and a lot of 5200, and it would be fine.
I'm sure Emil was right. In an afternoon he could have made that dinghy a thing of beauty. Bit too much of a project for me, though.
I had lined up a couple of prospects to come along on the trip from Eastchester to the Hudson, via Hell Gate and the East River and the deathly lair of the Staten Island Ferry. But this disaster seemed to have knocked that project on the head; once we were on the mooring at 79th Street, how could we get to dry land without swimming(**)? So I called my pals up and told 'em "indefinitely postponed".
As it happened, things worked out a bit better. But I'll save that for another post.
(*) Sheila doesn't have a Web site: this is the best I can do: http://www.switchboard.com/business/ultra-sports-center-bronx-ny-3
(**) Which would be quite easy, actually. The mooring is maybe 30 feet from shore. But it seems unthinkable, somehow. For one thing you'd have to walk home starkers for a mile and change. I wouldn't mind if I were in better shape. But I'm not.