15/05/2015: Operation Secure Tender
When you already have one too many boats, what is the last thing that you need to go
shopping for? One could be forgiven for thinking another boat, but that is exactly what
we did. Ok, so it’s not really a world traversing yacht, with an aft sun deck and diving
platform, but it is one of the most famous designs of sailboat on the water. We bought
a Mirror Dinghy!
In our search for the solution to the ‘tender problem’, a problem that appears to
trouble many live-aboard cruisers, we (I) really wanted something ridged that would
take a small mast and a lifting centre board, something that could be used as a little
day sailor for exploring the shallows and tight spaces that are forbidden to Faoin
Spéir. The answer presented itself in the form of a Mirror Dinghy in a classified ad’s
It all seemed too perfect, the boat was for sale in Cork, and we are only 5 minutes from
the border! It needed a little work, but the price was right and besides, what one more
boat in need of some TLC, I’m not sure I’d know what to do with a new boat!
On chatting with Andrew, the owner, we discovered that the boat was in fact in Bantry,
160km from us. No problem, the evening was free, and the weather fair, so a road trip
was suddenly on the agenda. I go back to work, and the phone rings, it’s Andrew,
thoughtfully checking that I understood there was no trailer with the dinghy. I honestly
didn’t think there would be, and assured him that it’s not a problem, “just don’t be
surprised when we turn up in a Fiat Punto”.
Skipping ahead of the uneventful cross-country drive to Bantry, we arrived and were
warmly greeted by Andrew, and a very wide-eyed Elly who was clearly trying to solve the
puzzle of the little boat and the even littler car. The whole exchange reminded me of
what I love most about boats, meeting interesting people. What should have been a 5
minute turn-around became a visit with old friends as we drank tea, swapped stories
and eventually secured the car to the boat! It would appear to be a little known secret
that the top of a Fiat Punto fits very neatly into a Mirror dinghy. Yes, there is the small
issue of the doors not opening, but that is why the good people at Fiat provide
windows suitable for the more rotund gent.
The journey home was as uneventful as one could hope while driving a car that looked
like it was wearing a builder’s hard hat. So, Faoin Spéir has a new tender, the Mirror
has a new home and we have new friends, many thanks to Andrew and Elly for your
warm hospitality.

I can’t wait to take this little gem out for a sail, if only I could figure out the boom from
the gaff…..