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Old 06-15-2013
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Motor vs Rowing inflatable dinghy...

... not as a tender. Rather, for exploring, exercise, etc.

Okay, so I scored an RU 260 off craigslist. It came with dock wheels, which are amazingly useful. Also, a custom cover and tow rope. I jury rigged a rear view mirror (bicycle mirror), wind vane, and streamers (so big boats can see me). Here's a pic of the way I have it set up.

I've been rowing almost every day since I picked it up a week ago. I did not plan to get a motor, as I am using it to a) exercise and b) explore. The thing is, a couple of days ago, I got caught in a strong current, and this had me re-thinking the motor bit. I rowed about 5.7 miles that day. Though, most of it was leisurely rowing, the current really taxed me.

So... I've been investigating potential motor solutions.

Since I wash it down and store it on the dock every night, the motor would have to be reasonably light. This led me to researching an electric motor, as I would still only use it if I got caught in a bind. Thing is, the batteries weigh a ton. Over exaggeration, I know. But you hopefully get my point. The other thing is, that is additional weight I would be rowing around. Oh and. I am not interested in "planing" the dink. That is, the motor would be for situations where I find myself in a bind, like the other day.

I've also considered the little Nissan 2.5 motors, or something similar. They have more power, but then, I'd have to deal with the gas. Again, weight becomes a factor. Esp lugging the thing on/off the dink. Yes, I could use a halyard, but the extra hassle makes taking it out less fun, iykwim.

I have considered just painting the bottom with anti-fouling paint for inflatables and just leaving it in the water over the summer, as I have plenty of room behind my boat in my slip. But I am not sure how to deal with covering it to protect against UV. My custom cover is designed for storing it on the hard.

Oh and, aside. Speaking of UV. I admittedly don't get it. If I'm out rowing all day, it's getting lots of UV rays. So, perhaps coating it with UV protectant might be a good idea?

My other concern is the fact that motors tend to get stolen. Yes, I could put a motor lock on it. But again, it increases the usage hassle. Plus, the motor could increase the possibility of the whole dink getting stolen. Of course, I have a lock for the dink, too. But again, extra hassle.

So, here's my Q. For those who have/use dinks for just puttering around, is a motor worth the effort/cost? If not, how do you deal with those rare binds? Any/all ideas, opinions, etc. welcomed.
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