Thanks all! The RIB was my first choice as well, but with my club foot boom and deck configuration, it was going to be simply impossible to store on deck, and even though I expect to tow much of the time, being FORCED to tow was a deal breaker (another thread, perhaps, but if my dinghy is "plan B", isn't having it inflated and towed better anyway...?).
Most of my cruising will be off the shores of British Columbia, so shells and rock are a bigger concern than coral (sniff), but it'll still just require me to be willing to get wet going ashore, be extra-cautious, and bring plenty of patch kits. It's not perfect, but limitations are limitations...
I'm in Canada, so I can still get the 2 stroke. Based on the recommendations above, I'm leaning towards the 6hp Yamaha 2-stroke (YAMAHA MOTOR CANADA | 6 HP
. It's heavier than I'd like at 60 lb, but if someone can point me to a thread as to how to lift it on to the stern pulpit using a halyard (I warned you I was new...) I'd be grateful (pics anywhere)?
And now I'm thinking more seriously about the 310 - only slightly larger when deflated and stowed... should I be concerned about drag when towing a dinghy this size?
I knew I came to the right place...
Being FORCED to tow is a deal breaker is it? Well it is you who will point a gun to your own head and FORCE yourself to tow. Deflating and inflating and hoisting a 60 lbls engine up & down is going to get old really fast. You will give up on that idea after the first few times.
Stay away from PVC inflatables I have one and it is already starting to deteriorate, get hypalon. If you don't want a rib and decide on a soft bottom, get one with a high pressure air floor and inflatable keel. The inflatable keel helps the dinghy track better under tow and more easily too.
I sail BC waters too, out of Point Roberts with the rest of the Canadians there. It can and does get rough out there and rip tides are a regular occurance so 6 hp is your minimum, I wish I had 9.9 hp instead of 5 hp but it was a deal I could not refuse.
If you are hell bent on carrying the dink and engine on board then stay away from big dinks and heavy engines and settle for a small inflatable and a light 2 hp engine that you can lift with one arm and use it only for dinghy dock service.
If you like the idea of a dinghy for double service as another play boat with a stronger engine then suck it up and get used to FORCED towing or have one heck of a good set of dinghy davits and hoist. Your most economical bet is to accept the idea of forced towing and then get out there and enjoy yourself. Above all else, don't be getting any stupid ideas that you will be swinging a 60 lbs engine over your shoulders, it isn't going to happen, those suckers are heavy and unweildy, you'll see. Oh, and one more thing, those infaltables are not feather weights either, wait untill you try to manuever one those things around, even deflated it will be like lifting the heaviest hockey bag you ever got your hands on.
The best part is your sailing venue, we have one of the worlds premiere sailing destinations, you're going to love what we have in our back yard.Too bad about the weather conditions though. happy sailing!