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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 05-21-2011
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Wooden Tender

My 12 foot RIB tender has probably another year or two of life in her. I have the skills and shop to make a wooden dinghy in the off season to replace her but I haven't a clue if a wooden dinghy would be right for us. Our 50' sloop is mainly for cruising and often tows the dinghy (no lectures please) or hangs it on stern davits. We anchor out mostly, and need to get up to 6 ashore every other night or so. Would be nice to be able to tow a tube with kids occasionally.

All of the wooden dinghies I see are stored inverted on deck, and that's really a non-starter for us. I think the major appeal of a wooden dinghy is that it's classy, but maybe that is offset by major headaches that I haven't considered.

Comments?

D
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Old 05-21-2011
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Well, there's wood and wood. If you mean natural wood, it's hard to build one that will stay tight out of water. They mostly rely on swelling to prevent leaks. Carvel (smooth skin) will likely be a little heavier than glass. That won't matter if you don't need to hoist it or to carry it ashore. Lapstake (clapboard looking) will be lighter, and not rely as much on swelling watertight. Then there is plywood. There are numerous glued lapstake plywood designs that are lighter than glass, stay tight and look great. Plywood is not as fun to work with and can be expensive for the good stuff. It is generally easier to build though. The end result is more user friendly. All of my boats (5) and tenders (4) have been wood. All but one of the tenders were ply. If you ask this question on the WoodenBoat Forum you will be inundated with suggestions.
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Old 05-21-2011
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Plywood/epoxy construction can be light and very durable. Many designs are available including some 2 piece designs such as Danny Green's Chameleon.
On larger boats dinghies are sometimes carried upright on deck in chocks and covered when not in use.
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Old 05-21-2011
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stitch and glue (also known as tortured plywood) designs are light, strong, virtually rib less and easy to build. row boats don't motor well, motor boats don't row well.. something to keep in mind.
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Old 05-21-2011
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Inflatables definitely don't row well. But many plywood dinghies are good with oars. And engine.
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Old 05-22-2011
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Consider the design of the tender also. Many round bottom wood tenders are very "tender". With the RIB, you probably give very little to thought to boarding, balancing the load and other stability issues. You need to think about this with a lot of hard dinghies, whether wood or other materials. Wide stern flat bottom designs might be less of an adjustment from the RIB. They also lend themselves to the plywood stich and glue method so if you build one you will have less time and money invested if you are not happy with the result.

Last edited by LinekinBayCD; 05-22-2011 at 06:05 AM.
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Old 05-23-2011
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Check out the garvey designs by Evan Gatehouse at bateau.com. He has plans for 10, 11, and 13 footers. These are wide, stable, fast boats with tremendous carrying capacity for their size. They are also very light. The 11 footer has a hull weight of just over a hundred pounds and planes fast with a small motor. These stitch-and-glue designs are very fast and easy to build, and the fiberglass/plywood sandwich construction is very durable. The only thing to add is a canvas gunnel guard (from Taylor Made) around the rub rail for chafe protection and some cleats to tie on small fenders.
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