Join Date: Feb 2003
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I have received a response from one of the Pudgy owners who have about two years of liveaboard cruising and several major offshore passages. The opinions in ( ) are mine, but the following is what I think is a fair summation of their comments provided in two emails.
They love the dingy, they have no engine but row and sail it regularly. It is their only tender.
When rowing, it is possible to seat three on seats confortably, but a fourth person is uncomfortably cozy as the second person sits on the rowers seat. The seating when sailing is best done on dingy floor and it is really only good for two. Sitting on the sides like one does on inflatables is really not an option. With three or four people on board rowing, there is room for small day packs, maybe a bag of groceries and such but leg room gets a bit cramped. With only two people, plenty of room for groceries and just about anything you wish to carry. The adjustable middle seat is a big plus as is the second set of row locks.
In typical moderate trade winds, the boat does take a bit of spray over the bow, and is a bit difficult to row if the waves pick up over a meter or so. The spray is more of an annoyance than safety issue. It gets markedly harder to row in over 25 knots of wind.
A 200 lb person can stand on the rails without shipping water, and standing on the bow is not a problem for lighter folks. (Sounds pretty darn stable to me)
Breakage/malfunctions The collapsable oars have broken a couple of times at the joint, the company is willing to replace components, but you have to pay shipping. The rudder for the sailing rig broke and was replaced with a reinforced unit, again by the company. No other reported breakages but the clip that holds the extended tube in place is a potential weak link. The quality of the other hardware is high. There have been no failures of the plastic molding or the hull so they can not report on the ease or difficulty of making such repairs.
The sailing rig is easy to assemble in the water, The owners said it was much easier to rig than the Tinker sailing version
The life raft canopy is easy to install while the boat is in the water, after the first couple of practice runs which took 30 minutes or so, they can install the canopy in under 10 minutes. The dingy is reported to be self righting with the canopy in place but they have not tested that feature. They have no factual informtion to share on the dingy potential as a actual liferaft other than it would be crowded and probably uncomfortable. (Just like any small life raft)
Rigging the dingy harness to the dingy after it is hauled up is a bit awkward as you must lean to the outside of the dingy to pass the straps around. It takes about 5 minutes to rig the harness.
Self draining is said to work well when towing or carrying in the davits but the plug is normally kept in place when the dingy is in use. There are grooves along the edges which contain any spray or other water that gets in and the Thirsty mate hand pump they have is just the right size so the discharge pipe pumps the water over the side. As a side note, they use the dingy to catch rain water.
The wheels work fine on hard surfaces, but are of little use on softer surfaces. Moving the dingy on shore is really a two person task, but a husky person can move it a bit by them selves on the shore. It takes that kind of abuse without batting an eye.
The dingy is not a great dive platform as it is hard and bruising to climb back into; (but stable apparently, does not ship water)
That is a summary of the two emails I recieved.
Based on all the comments I have heard and from the actual users reports, I would say that this dingy is more than an adeuate tender for a cruising boat, if you can live with the space limitations and the fact that is is not a planing hull. The only real downside is the hard to board for diving and snorkeling. In addition, several owners have reported adequate sail performance, and can be used as a life boat/raft alternative.