Dinghy - are West Marine any good ? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 24 Old 05-12-2009 Thread Starter
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Dinghy - are West Marine any good ?

Hi all,

I need to get a dinghy, and I'm not real sure what models are good and what are junk...

I stopped by West Marine and they had a few different WM-branded inflatable models, a roll-up, a composite-board-floored model, and a larger fiberglass-bottomed model.

Are the West Marine dinghies any good? They were fairly inexpensive (the rollup being cheapest).

The dinghy would be left in a dinghy slip for the season, if that has any bearing on anyone's opinions...

Thanks!
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post #2 of 24 Old 05-12-2009
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Depends what you expect out of them. We bought a PVC West Marine inflatable with roll up aluminum floor. It lasted us about ten years when we started getting some degredation of the fabric and replaced it. I wouldn't buy a PVC dink if I was in the tropics, but it worked out to $100/yr for us.

We've since switched to a port-a-bote. Should last longer, rows easier, doesn't puncture, it's light and ugly enough that no one would steal it.

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post #3 of 24 Old 05-12-2009
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I've seen Ray's port-a-bote.

It's definitely ugly.

Especially when his 11? year old nephew can row it faster than I can row my inflatable.


David
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post #4 of 24 Old 05-12-2009
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Think of it this way - There is no such thing as a "West Marine" inflatable.
They are Zodiac and Avon with a WM label. Which are you considering?
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post #5 of 24 Old 05-12-2009 Thread Starter
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Either the roll-up (RU-260) or the composite board model (SB-275 I think). The fiberglass-bottomed one is bigger (10') but more dinghy than I need.
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The 275 dink is the dink I would go with. the 260 is a 3 passenger dink and 275 is 4. the floor boards will protect the fabric from cooler bottoms, dogs, shoe bottoms, etc.

Also for some people the roll up type with the slats in the floor are a problem as you can feel every ripple under foot and that gives them a less than secure feeling(wife, girlfriend, non boaters). I also believe the tubes on the 275 are 1 inch larger. If I remember right they are $100 or $200 difference. The only draw back is the 260 is easier to put together. as in less parts.


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post #7 of 24 Old 05-12-2009
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Check out the Walker Bay Odesseys on Defender.com. Less than $1000 on sale. We bought one 2 years ago. Inflatable floor is pretty rigid. Larger tubes the WM and many more d rings. Better quality transoms also. Our small 9 ft one has 1100 lb capacity...rate the WM ones to that.

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post #8 of 24 Old 05-12-2009
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fwiw when I was looking for a dinghy I selected an inflatable air floor. bought Mercury (online). I've used it (somewhat separately from my boat) and it is definitely better than the rollup floor - in that it can actually plane (when properly inflated)

It really goes fast - I used it to get around the island in the Keys and it was fun and plenty fast Flat floored models can't do that. Hard floored models are faster of course, but then again - you can't store it in a bag.
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post #9 of 24 Old 05-12-2009
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I would check out the Port-a-bote. I believe that they are comparable in price (actually less) than an inflatable.

Plus they have that Ugly-Chic thing goin' for them.
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post #10 of 24 Old 05-12-2009
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The higher quality boats are made with hypalon rather than PVC. The ones with plywood or aluminum floorboards or an inflatable floor perform better than the slatted floor rollups. Depends on what your needs are and what you are willing to spend.
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