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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 03-26-2007
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Choosing a dinhy.

I am looking to buy a dinghy for my first boat (Niagara 31) . I have heard that boat owners are very particular regarding their tenders. So I would like to hear from the sailing community regarding what they like about particular dinghies and recommended size. Thanks.
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Old 03-26-2007
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There are many threads written about this, let me just say:

If it is just you and one other person, you will be happiest with the portability of a HPIB but dissapointed in the performance. If it is more than just you, you will be happiest with a RIB. I prefer Avon, Hypalon, 10'2. That size boat will likely require a HPIB in my opinion, though you can ask PBeezer his thoughts.

- CD

PS I have owned about every tender out there, and by far the best one was the RIB by avon. However, you will not be happy raising and lowering that block of bricks. Keep that in mind.
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Old 03-26-2007
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OK Dad, can you please explain HPIB for the inflatable boat challenged.

I too am trying to persue this a little.
I have heard that the Wood Floors do not plane and that Air Floors are not much better.

A RIB would require davits in most cases, correct?

I do not want to add davits to our boat and would preffer to be able to roll it up and store it in a carry bag, but than I will have a boat that does not plane, is that correct?

Maybe my questions will also help the original posters questions.

Thanks,
Tim
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Old 03-26-2007
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Ok Tim, I will go into some more indepth explanation.

In GENERAL, here are your basic options for a inflatable tender:

1) Wood slat floor. Owned one of these once, never again. They do roll up and store pretty good, but they do not plane at all, the soft floor is uncomfortable, they will not take more than a few HP motor, and steering them SUCKS as when you turn they just skid across the water (no keel). These would be fine for a lake, but I will never own one again and cannot imagine a cruiser being happy with one of these. However, they are the cheapest and are better than swimming to shore.

2) RIB (Rigid Inflatable Bottom). These are by far the best performers. They take the largest motors (we had an 8 on ours and would plane out with me, wife, kids, and dogs in boat). The will take a lot of landings (important in the islands) and are very stable. Taking goods/water back and forth to boat is not a problem and very comfortable. Punching through a breaking sea on shore is do-able. Negative: Heavy and non-deflatable and expensive. I used an Avon RIB 310 for some time while cruising and was very happy with it... but hated toting that ton of bricks up the davits. It was very heavy and once it got to swaying on the davits (like from a sportfisher going by) would really exhert a lot of pressure on the mounts. We ended up towing it everywhere - even offshore. I would and am seriously considering getting that as a second dink, but I know it will never go up the davits.

3) HPIB (High Pressure Inflatable Bottom) Tender. THis is the best compromise between a Rib and a soft bottom. It performs "ok" and will plane. It deflates and stowes "ok" and can be put back in its bags for trips. It handles (turning) pretty good, as it has an inflatable keel. I do NOT know the long term effects of beaching it yet. I suspect it will do "OK" there too, but not nearly as good as a RIB. However, you can pull it up on davits and stowe it on deck which makes for a great compromise in all departments. Its cost, as I recall, is comparable with a RIB... so you will not save a whole lot of money with one (this is memory). I think when they first came out they were more expensive, but they are less now.

I would only buy Hypalon. It is the best product and is EASY to repair. I have had 2 AVONS and 1 Zodiac. I had a problem with my AVON and it was replaced, no questions asked. They stand behind their products. AB has a great reputation too with many cruisers I know, and is preferred by some.

Hope that answers your questions.

- CD
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Last edited by Cruisingdad; 03-26-2007 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 03-26-2007
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I have owned two Avons with wooden floors, one Achilles with inflatable floor and one zodiac with inflatable floor. I was happy with both Avons (Avon is now owned by Zodiac - you may want to verify that this management change did not affect production quality).

The Zodiac was purchased by the previous owner and was stolen so quickly that I could not give a thoughtful evaluation. After doing much research, I replaced this dinghy with a 10'2" Achilles and a Suzuki 6hp engine. This purchase was a mistake. I ripped the right pontoon within weeks of purchase - I doubt the Avons owned previously would have ripped - and the floor developed a leak that took me several attempts over months to repair. Inflatable floors are great when they don't leak.

I was able to plane carrying up to approximately 300 pounds in calm water.

When I go cruising again, I hope to have enough room and davits for a hard bottom inflatable. If my next boat is smaller, I will probably go with floor inserts - I have no confidence in inflatable floors. I prefer hypalon, based on experience with Avon and articles I have read.

Good luck - hope this helps
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Thanks, that does help a lot.
Like I always say, if you need an answer, go to the experts.

Gulfislander- I hope that helps you as well.
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TJK,

Thank you but I am not expert on anything. I did not add aluminum to that mix as I have not owned one of those... yet...!!

- CD
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Old 03-26-2007
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Question What about UV protection

I am not trying to hijack this thread but...

Now that I have installed my davits and have the AVON dink hanging off the back. Is there something I should/can do to reduce the UV deterioration. I have seen some spray on stuff, I'm guessing similar to Sunscreen for your dingy? I have thought of purchasing a cover for it as well?

Comments...
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Old 03-26-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T37Chef
I am not trying to hijack this thread but...

Now that I have installed my davits and have the AVON dink hanging off the back. Is there something I should/can do to reduce the UV deterioration. I have seen some spray on stuff, I'm guessing similar to Sunscreen for your dingy? I have thought of purchasing a cover for it as well?

Comments...

How about adding solar panels to your davit to shade your dink
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PS...our previous dingy was a 8' Zodiac with a wooden slat floor. We hated it...period!!! It developed a substantial leak at the transom after only two seasons of use???
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