Originally Posted by mlibkind
For longer passages where it is likely that the weather will be more unpredictable, I will deflate it and lash it on deck. This is why I'm going with an Achilles dinghy with inflatable floor. I've cruised several times with a dink on the forward deck and I don't like the restricted visibility. It also makes it difficult to work up there, e.g. set a whisker pole or the asymmetric spinnaker.
I might add that last November I crewed the Salty Dawg Rally from Hampton, VA to BVI. If you read about it you know that the weather was horrendously bad. Some of the boats had their dinks on davits and to the best of my knowledge no one had a problem ... it blew 40 kts but that was only part of the problem. The big problem was that the 40 kts was a norther and it collided with the Gulf Stream to create exceptionally bad seas.
I guess in the end it is a very personal decision.
Certainly a personal decision.
Here are my personal thoughts.
I'm pleased to have a RIB over a complete inflatable, although I'll never buy a 'light' again with a 4-stroke engine. Poor choice on my part.
Full inflatables, like those with board or high-pressure floors have the benefit of being able to completely collapse and stow in a number of places. Attractive.
RIBs are easier (opinion) to lash down on the foredeck if they are fully inflated with the noted impact on visibility. Not so bad well offshore.
On the other hand, I have found that the fully inflated, inverted RIB lashed on the foredeck has benefits. It gives me a leg up the mast if I need to reach a little higher, a place to sit when I'm working on something, the staysail (my storm sail) sits nicely between the inner forestay and the bow of the dinghy, and is one more thing to grab onto as I crawl forward (never ever be too proud to crawl). While specific boat design has an impact I've never had the tied down dinghy be an issue on my own or delivery boats for tacking or flying asymmetric or symmetric spinnakers, or deploying spinnaker or whisker poles. Perhaps that is the result of some advance thought before leaving the dock. I don't know.
With respect to dinghies in davits there are two factors, only one of which gets much attention. The first and oft discussed issue is the potential to be pooped. Fundamentally bad but a dinghy high in the davits and possibly slung upside down mitigates that. More of an impact day on day is the windage of the dinghy in the davits, especially if combined with "crap on the back" and a full enclosure. Offshore, getting all that windage reduced will improve pointing and boat motion comfort which means higher pointing angles (thus shorter passage times) and improved comfort.
For daysailing I tow the dinghy. For easy coastal hops I load the dinghy right side up on the foredeck on portable foam "davits." Offshore the engine goes on the pushpit and the dinghy upside down on the foredeck with the gas tank underneath.
Heading offshore on delivery with cruisers following along behind like ducklings in a row I make more miles per day than just about anyone with better food and more comfort. I'd like to think some of that is because I am a good sailor (*grin*) but I suspect that most is because I pay attention to windage before we leave the dock.
Make your own choices.