So the core questions here are:
1. For those who have stored your tenders deflated and inflated them only for each use, how much of a hassle?
2. Is a wood-slat-floor roll-up the best design for this use?
3. I'm considering 9-foot PVC models that weigh 75+/- pounds with 4-person capacity. How unwieldy are these to inflate, store and deflate?
Any other advice is welcomed.
I was in the same boat a few months ago, and bought a zodiac with a solid wood floor. It is a hassle to inflate and assemble, mostly because of the solid floor. It cannot practically be assembled in the boat because you need a large flat surface on which to partially inflate the dinghy, then install the floor, then the aluminum brackets for the floor, then fully inflate, then use the foot pump to get full pressure.
I have been just towing it for these reasons, and may wind up building a simple plywood tender that I can store upside down on the foredeck for extended cruising. That said, the inflatable is extremely stable and can take four passengers no prob.
I am not sure whether an air or wooden slat floor is that
much easier to inflate, but it would weigh the same and be just as bulky I'm sure. It is possible to haul the deflated boat around, but a real pita as it is bulky and heavy.
I notice alot of the sailors in my marina don't bother with dinghies, instead opting for plastic kayaks. But it must be difficult getting into one of those from a rolly anchorage into some chop without taking a splash!