There is a nice Walker Bay 310 RID
going pretty cheap in my area. I was considering this as a potential tender for our (hopefully soon to be officially ours) 32' Endeavour, and looking for some opinions.
Most of the time it will be me and the wife plus our two teenage boys- and our beloved 70lb yellow lab... Our first year of sailing will be on a smaller lake with coastal excursions on Lake Michigan as we get more seasoned. I would expect that two, three or all four of us plus the dog would be going out at a time (maintaining proper weight requirements of course) for beach trips, etc.
We would be towing behind us when sailing/motoring. We would not be using this to get to/from a buoy since we plan on putting the boat in a slip.
- Size - like the fact that 3 or 4 of us + dog can fit along with some gear- great for getting to the beach.
- Stability - seems this boat would be much better option for us and offer some more options for cruising around and exploring smaller harbors- Getting in and out of seems like it would be easier, and the side-tubes make the thing pretty stable (especially when picturing the lab jumping off and climbing back on...)
- Tough - can take some bumps- nice that the tubes act as fenders, dog is not going to put his claws through the floor or sidewalls.
- Price - compared to used inflatables in the area this boat is half the price- it appears in fine condition with some minor scratches- and needs a good bath, but everything is there including the oars, a little 2hp trolling motor, original manuals/documentation, etc.
- Size - this thing is big... 10' with a 6' beam (including the tubes). The tubes are not supposed to drag in calm seas, but I can see them creating some serious drag in choppier waters....
- Weight - similar to the above- at 150lbs more weight/drag on the boat especially when sailing in light air. Not to mention hefting the thing around, putting on the foredeck, do-able but challenging)
- Slip stowage - need to see what the marinas policy is for tender stowage. I have seen others tuck their tenders under the dock, cram it into a corner in front of the boat, etc. Since this is a larger rigid tender with tubes- this could present some challenges and potential for higher cost(?)
- Transport/Storage - can't roll it up, transportation to/from boat is a bear, getting it on the boat (at 150lbs), and stowing on foredeck all challenging. Also thinking about winter storage, getting it to/from the marina without a trailer (suppose I can put it on the kayak rack on the car...)- etc. These are all surmountable- but we would not have these issues with an inflatable.
We are new sailors. Right now we want to feel as safe as possible while managing the dog, the boys, each other. We'll probably discover more about our needs in the first year.
I am not looking for the fastest tender in the harbor- but a sturdy/steady, and reliable one- I think this Walker Bay 310 may be a decent choice....albeit a bit on the large side. What do you guys & gals think?