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Old 07-10-2007
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help with buying a dinghy

I'm looking for an easy to pack and store dinghy (isn't everybody) that will store below deck when not in use. I'd like it to seat 4 people.

What are the best choices? I've seen advertisements for the roll up ones with slotted wood or aluminum floors. Are these the best choice?

How about some real world recommendations? Thanks
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Old 07-10-2007
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Ummmm... there are about forty threads on dinghies... recommend you read one of them before starting a new one. Would help if you said what kind of boat you're sailing, since that may affect the size of the dinghy you can carry.
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dm567 is an unknown quantity at this point
Actually, I've read about 20 of the 40 your speak of but none i found were specific as to brands of stowaway inflatable tenders that can be easily stored below deck.

I agree that I should have mentioned the size of my boata. Its a 34 foot fisher motorsailer. I would like to store the boat inside when not in use which would be most of the time. I would like to to be in the smallest package possible for a 3-4 man tender. I would also like it to assemble quickly and easily.

Are there some specific recommendations? What about the west marine RU3 roll up?

Thanks again,

Dominic
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Old 07-10-2007
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Wish I could recommend some models, but have heard only negative reports on roll-ups.

Years ago we considered roll-up inflatables and folding boats for use as tenders. That was before talking to several people who have them. In reality, roll-ups handle poorly and are such a major PITA to assemble/disassemble - inflate/deflate, they were either stowed and rarely used or most often replaced by permanently inflatable boats within a season or two.

We, as with most sailors we know, use our dinghy extensively. I would suggest choosing a lightweight inflatable with a rigid floor and either hard bottom or inflatable keel. Then towing when coastal cruising, adapting your boat with davits, or lifting up to the foredeck when offshore.
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Dominic,

You might want to buy a back issue of Practical Sailor if you are not a subscriber. I subscribe, and recently referred to two back issues before I bought a small, discontinued Zodiac from Defender.com

I'd also check prices. I thought West Marine was a bit pricy.
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I searched and didn't see the dinghy threads.... would someone mind pointing me towards them?

Has anyone used a inflatable "raft" type thing? I have a Tartan 27 and so space is always at a premium. I am hoping to get to where I go out for the weekend. Right now I mainly day sail. So I thought an inexpensive "raft" might be good for getting to some of the smaller islands in Galveston Bay and wouldn't have the cost and storage headaches of a larger dinghy.
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DM567...the easiest dinghy to deal with s a roll up that still performs decently under power is an air floor like the Avon 9'2" which would be suitable for your purpose and is Hypalon (good) with a 10 year warranty. I would not recommend these for use in areas with sharp coral or rocks in which case you'r need to go with the wood floor models.
http://www.defender.com/product.jsp?path=-1|215570|217148|295570&id=753922
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Cam is correct... an Avon R260HP or R280HP (HP meaning inflatable high pressure floor) would work depending on where you will be cruising. We have the R280HP. We got it last year when we were trailer-sailoring since we needed to pack it up after every weekend of use. It isn't light - 70-90lbs, depending on how wet it is - and it takes a 6HP motor max (so don't think about planing) but it's an excellent inflatable and of very high quality. We've since moved up from our trailer sailor to a, um, non-trailer sailor. When we start crusing in a couple of years we'll probably buy a RIB with a big engine as our primary but store this aboard as a backup.
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Old 07-13-2007
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Why not simply look at what others use in your specific cruising area... even better ask them a question or two... but ask several different people.

Your cruising area and style will determine what would be best. I personally prefer the RIB as I primarily cruise in the West Indies and make extensive use of the tender on a daily basis. With the coral I would not consider a soft bottom tender IE a roll up and the folding boats require too much set up for daily use and you don't typically want to leave them in the water for days at a time as my needs/ uses would place them.
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