Every fall, when cruising season is over, Michael pulls 'old faithful' (our 13' Achilles inflatable) up out of the water, and scrubs it tip-to-toe (including the underside, which is always heavily laden with mussels and other marine growth), repairs anything that needs repairing, and then deflates it - which allows him to remove the floorboards and make repairs or replace them. Then he services the outboard engine.We have two outboards which we have used sort of 'interchangeably' over the 15 years we've had this boat: a 9.9 hp and a 20 hp. The 9.9 is sufficient and doesn't burn as much fuel, of course, but ho-boy, can we ever move with the 20 hp! Eventually, it all gets put back together and re-inflated and it's ready for another cruising season. This is what it looks like after a season of 'wear and tear', lots of use and oxidization, etc. -- you can see that the hypalon is faded, and dull and 'flat' looking:
This year, he got it hauled out and cleaned, but we have to order some parts for the 9.9 engine and do some repairs to it, which may take awhile and we didn't want to leave it out of the water for too long - so it's re-floating without the engine for now.
Let me digress and tell you a little story that you'll get a chuckle out of. One evening during the first week after we bought the Wind Walker and this inflatable, 15 years ago, we quit working on it early one evening, and motored out of our little marina into Deep Bay (on Vancouver Island, north of Qualicum Beach). Michael opened up the throttle, and we spent probably half an hour going in circles at full speed, 'surfing' our wake, yee-hawing at the top of our lungs and just generally having a total blast making complete idiots of ourselves -- until I yelled 'if only our kids could see us now!' We both realized in that moment that those kids would probably be absolutely mortified, actually, if they could have seen us then. That made us laugh even harder, of course.
We've had a lot of fun in that dinghy in the 15 years since, but nothing has ever compared to that first little adventure, and we still laugh when we think about it. These things are supposed to have a 10-year life, and ours has never been under cover or serviced regularly or anything like that, yet at over 16 years old, she's still like the old favorite pair of blue jeans to us. Anyway, this is what she looks like today, back in the water, sans engine for now.