Monday, 14 July 2008

Let's start by saying this is my first blog. Why have I started a blog? Well mainly because I have started a new enterprise to bring in some more money to the household. So what is this new enterprise I hear you asking? Making dinghies and selling them. Hence the title - dinghy4sale - linked to the website - - cool eh!

I may as well tell you how I came about this whole load of work (enterprise). I was browsing ebay one night, entering words to do with dinghies and came upon this listing for fibreglass dinghy moulds. The listing was not very clear as to what was on offer - two moulds but you were only bidding to receive one of them?!? I contacted the seller and it turned out he was not the owner. The moulds belonged to his friends cousin - or something like that. Anyway, to cut a long story short I was the winning bidder. The only bidder actually!

So soon the wife and I were on a 500 mile round trip with a trailer to pick up the mould. We arrived at this old run down house to be greeted by this warm welcoming retired boat builder. We hit it off very quickly and soon were sharing stories about boats and dinghies in particular. I learned a lot about the moulding techniques - do's and don'ts. The mould I had chosen to buy was for an 8 foot (2.4m) dinghy, which turned out had a shell of a dinghy already moulded in the mould!

That's the plus side. The minus side was everything looked old and messy! I persuaded the wife to look beyond the appearance of the mould. Mould or is it mold was growing all over the outside of the mould. It had been left outside under trees for a few years. How many years was a little vague when I questioned the old boat builder!

So with the transaction complete we were again on the road. But the wife was not happy with the prospect of this messy moldy mould arriving back at the house for all the neighbours to see!?! The hunt was on for a nice new clean tarpaulin to hide the messy moldy mould, on a Sunday at 5.30pm. To cut another long story short - no luck.

Anyway, it was close to 10pm before we arrived home - under cover of darkness! Still the wife sent me out with a bucket of hot soapy water and a scrubbing brush to clean the moldy mould. Needless to say, a few neighbours noticed this mad guy up to armpits in soapy bubbles scrubbing away in the dark. The secret was out.

Next day a tarpaulin was bought. Over the next few weeks a space was created to start this dinghy moulding operation. To cut a long story short - this involved extending two garden sheds 12 feet(3.5m) away from each other into one long shed. So I now have a shed that is 26 feet (8m) long. That's not for the dinghy mould - that stores all the junk ( quality items) that might come in useful one day! No the dinghy mould now resides in the garage which has never ever been so tidy.

So the enterprise was ready to begin. The first item on the agenda was to get this shell of a dinghy out of the mould. Easier said than done as it turned out. I followed the instructions of the retired boat builder to the letter - but it was stuck firm! I was beginning to think I had bought a lemmon. With the clamps on both sides of the mould tightened up, the shell just would not budge. Then I remembered reading on line about pouring hot water down between the shell and the mould. ( Don't try this at home! - another long story - for later) Nothing appeared to happen. Eventually I heard this creaking and groaning - no not from the wife - from the mould!

Up popped the shell - like 'Raise the Titanic'! Maybe not such a good simile!

It was free. Soon we lifted out the shell and found it perfectly made. I was sorry I doubted the old boat builder's work. So I set about fitting the shell out to become a very sturdy dinghy for rowing or using an outboard motor. A week later and with all the family present we launch the new dinghy at the local slipway. Pictures were taken. Some can be seen here and the website - has one as its header caption. Everything went well and the dinghy proved very stable with either 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children aboard. Being quite beamy the dinghy can hold a lot of gear as well as people. I was delighted.

However, the purpose of this enterprise was to make and sell dinghies. So dinghy No.1 had to go. There was a boat jumble sale event coming to the area and I thought what a good place to show off the new dinghy and get her sold. Maybe pick up a few orders!

To cut a long story short. The dinghy was not sold. Lots of interest, lots of advice! Local Police showed some interest - not in the dinghy - but the trailer as it had no mudguards covering the wheels. Illegal evidently? Anyway, I think everyone at the boat jumble was looking for bargains and did not come along to fork out £295 for a new dinghy. £295 I hear you say! For a new dinghy? I know I should be selling them for more but I am trying to build up the business and don't want to stuggle to sell them. Similar dinghies on ebay or boatsandoutboards are selling for betweem £380 to £450. So I thought the dinghy would be snapped up!

A few days later a man who had seen the dinghy at the boat jumble 'phoned and spoke to the wife and arranged to view her. He said he just had to pick up a trailer and would be 2-3 hours. The fact he was coming with a trailer and crossing on a ferry ( expensive!) made me think he was coming to buy, not view. Within a few minutes of viewing her he said she was ideal - no not the wife - the dinghy!
£295 in my hands and the first dinghy sold! Relief. By the way I gave him £5 back to go towards the cost of the ferry fare. I know I'll never make a ruthless business man!

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