I know there have been many threads about tenders. I think I have read them all. And browsed through the internet for hours. this is my third season with my PSC 31 cutter rig and I still haven't solved the problem of the right tender for this boat and my activities. I cruise the Chesapeake but soon will be doing more and more offshore sailing and cruising. I think the deck is too small too keep a hard dinghy or inflated inflatable on deck--I have a solar panel right in front of the mast and I don't like the idea of blocking visibility forward either. I think davits are out of the question for a boat this size, plus I just installed a windvane self-steerer. Since I will be doing a lot of offshore sailing I cannot rely on towing.
I think I have narrowed it down to a roll-up inflatable stowed below when sailing vs a Portaboat lashed to the stanchions. I am concerned about how my back will appreciate hauling a rolled up inflatable up and down the companionway and I am wondering about the windage of a 9' by 2' "surfboard" strapped to the lifelines and how it would behave in a gale? I like the idea of the portaboat because of all the advantages of a hard dinghy, plus its lightness and reasonable cost.
What do other 31 owners (or other small yacht owners) do? Any advice will be very welcome before I tender my credit card for a new tender.