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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 05-15-2007
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Not another Dinghy Question.

I have been mulling over what type of dinghy to buy for a couple of months and finally made my choice thanks to info from previous threads. I am now stuck on the size . I have a Niagara 31 and cannot figure out if I should go with the largest dinghy I can fit on my deck (10') for the comfort and stability or go with the smallest I could tolerate (8' something) for ease of storage and putting it up on the deck. Since this is our first boat we don't have the experience of having to store and move the boat around on deck, but we will be leaving the dinghy in the water for most of the sailing season. Does size really matter?
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Old 05-15-2007
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Hard or soft does size matter?

Are you looking at a soft dinghy or a hard dingy?

We use a hard dingy (dyer 10') and love it's capacity and ability to get us ashore with dry butts. I love how fast the inflatables get their occupants places, but we aren't in a hurry and love the asthetics of the dyers. We row or sail our dingy. The option to sail it should not be underestimated in the fun factor. We have two young girls who both love sailing in the dingy once we have stopped for the day (their sized boat).

We got the 10' cause we could fit it and have never come close to regreting the decision. Soft dingys are certainly more affordable up front. Bear in mind this is just our experience and there are many people here who have other beliefs and those who have more experience than we do.

Get what you want and see how much fun/pleasure you can have with it. There are no wrong decisions, just different levels of suitability.

LH

Last edited by lharmon; 05-15-2007 at 08:16 PM.
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Old 05-15-2007
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We are thinking of a RIB.
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Old 05-15-2007
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How many persons are likely to be transported on a regular basis?

How far will you be going?

If you are talking a trip ashore from the hook now and then, for two or three, then smaller will do and you'll enjoy the ease of handling and storage that comes with that.

If you're more likely to be taking longer trips, (eg Copeland Is to Lund for supplies) then you'll appreciate the capacity and stability of the larger dinghy.

Do you need to have planing ability? or not? Related to the first two questions, this one affects the boat you want and the engine you'll need to run it. - and the amount of fuel you'll use doing it.

We use a roll-up 8 foot with a 3 horse for the shore trips because we don't believe these things row worth beans. But actually most of our shore excursions lately have been using the pair of 9 foot kayaks we bought last year.

A 10 foot RIB would be difficult to hoist aboard, you'll need to use a halyard and winch for that, plus on the Niagara it's going to be in the way at times. The J measurement likely won't leave much deck clear once it's aboard. So you need to be sure that your really need that large a boat for the intended usage.... If so, then the inconvenience is the price you pay.

Good luck.
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Old 05-15-2007
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Get the 10 footer...if it fits you must equip! (G)

Seriously though...if you are going full time cruising get the bigger one...laundrey, groceries, guests etc...... If you are just cruising locally and on occasional short trips get the smaller one.

Last edited by camaraderie; 05-15-2007 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 05-16-2007
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I'd agree that if you are going to be cruising long-term, where the dinghy essentially becomes your car... you will want a larger, more robust dinghy. However, if you're just daysailing and doing weekend trips and only have to do the occasional dinghy trip, get a smaller one.

I have a 8' inflatable that I use for day trips and such.... which is easy enough to use...but doesn't have that much capacity. I also have a much larger hard dinghy that I plan on using when I go cruising long-term.
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Old 05-16-2007
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I just bought an 9.6 Achillies w/ a wood floor ($1450) from Defender I rather like and think it will be good for the next few years on the Ches bay .
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Old 05-16-2007
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Get the 10. That is where you spend the bulk of your time, believe it or not. You will just HATE totting that thing on deck. Still, most of the time you will just tow it behind.

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Old 05-16-2007
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Thanks for the info. I think I will go for the 10'.
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I had an 8' rollup inflatable for three seasons. Hated it a lot. Unsteady under foot, wet as hell in anything over a 6" chop and could not transport more than three adults at a time. Just bought a 9'6" Brig RIB and love it. I never bring it on deck (a 28" boat does not have the room) but find it tows very well. Actually I hardly notice its there and the increase in capacity and general comfort is great. By the way, if you tow always remove the outboard and store it on the stern rail especially if the weather starts to kick up. A friend lost his engine when his RIB overturned in some rough seas.

Get the big one and keep your butt dry.
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