inflatable dinghy recommendations - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 09-24-2011
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inflatable dinghy recommendations

I searched the forum, and while there are lots of posts on the subject, I found nothing really spot on in my search so here I go.

I want to get a dinghy for my hunter 25. I have decided on inflatable, so I can store it down below when not in use. I mostly daysail, and basically want something that I can take from an anchored boat to the beach and back. I guess it would provide some peace of mind as well, having a back up dinghy, especially winter sailing.

I don't want a super high quality, heavy and expensive dinghy. My max budget is about $900. I have a 2.4 horse OB that I would like to have the ability to mount on the dinghy.

I saw the "solstice" dinghy from westmarine for $400, but the motor mount looks like junk. It is only 32 pounds though, and probably folds up nice and small. Their RU-260 "sport dinghy" looks much better, and only weighs about 20 pounds more.

I am also looking at the sea eagle 8.10, which looks much more sturdy and comes in at about my budget.

Doesn anyone have any recommendations based on their own experience?

Does
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Old 09-24-2011
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If you cruise in the tropics a cheap inflatable is more trouble than its worth, even expensive brands struggle with the heat.
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Old 09-24-2011
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I would suggest a small sportboat. Something about 7'6" overall. Much sturdier support for the engine and small and light enough to roll up and store inside. That's what I do with my Achilles of that size along with the Yamaha 2hp motor. Defender is running a sale on inflatables. A number of choices in that size range and within your budget. One great deal is a Zodiac Zoom 230 for $479!
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Old 09-24-2011
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We've got a Zodiac with West Marine badging, 8'6" I think, soft bottom, slatted floor. Rolls up into a bag that stows easily below. Powered by a 2.5hp and it gets us to 6 knots. Not planing, but it's quick enough, stable, nicely made. Only problem is when the Admiral stamps down into it and manages to break one of the slats. I think we paid $300 for it second hand. Oh, and it doesn't row for crap.
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Old 09-24-2011
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Been there, done that, wrote it up.
http://docksixchronicles.blogspot.co...l-reviews.html
This is what you want:

Inflatable Boats - By Rubber Duck Inflatable Boats Canada - Buy direct and Save!




A year on, I am pleased with the choice, and expect to have many more seasons of use. IMO very good value. Hard to beat at less than 8 bills all in.
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Old 09-24-2011
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I got a great 8' AVON used at Marine Consignment for $200... love it.
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Old 09-25-2011
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I'm facing exactly the question of which inflatable to buy now also. As if there weren't enough choices just among floor types and features, it's made all the more confusing by the fact that it's hard to compare specs. Max payload, passenger capacity, and max horsepower all seem to mean different things depending on manufacturer. For example, one boat I'm looking at is 9' and claims a 4 person/683 lb capacity while another is 7'-10" and claims 3 person/1,058 lb.

I almost bought a Mercury 240 Air Deck at Defender but I was not happy with their no returns policy on inflatables. Unfortunately no other dealer I've looked at comes anywhere near their sale price on the same boat. The Sea Eagle 8.10 is also a contender. While I'm not crazy about its colors/styling, I'm really impressed that they offer a 180 day trial period plus a three year warranty that is apparently all-inclusive.
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Old 09-25-2011
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Regarding payload, compare the poundage, not the peopleage. Also compare tube diamter. the larger the tubes per given length and beam, the greater the payload, and stability although it may impact on the number of comfortable seats.
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Old 09-25-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4arch View Post
I'm facing exactly the question of which inflatable to buy now also. As if there weren't enough choices just among floor types and features, it's made all the more confusing by the fact that it's hard to compare specs. Max payload, passenger capacity, and max horsepower all seem to mean different things depending on manufacturer. For example, one boat I'm looking at is 9' and claims a 4 person/683 lb capacity while another is 7'-10" and claims 3 person/1,058 lb.

I almost bought a Mercury 240 Air Deck at Defender but I was not happy with their no returns policy on inflatables. Unfortunately no other dealer I've looked at comes anywhere near their sale price on the same boat. The Sea Eagle 8.10 is also a contender. While I'm not crazy about its colors/styling, I'm really impressed that they offer a 180 day trial period plus a three year warranty that is apparently all-inclusive.
I have a Merc Air deck. I think the quality is better than the sea eagle.

FYI... It takes a bit of work to inflate even a smaller inflatable and they never really roll up to the same small size as they come from the factory. Kind of like folding up a roadmap (remember those? ) I have a Merc 310 and it came all snuggled up in a nice carry bag, don't believe I ever got it back in again.
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Old 09-25-2011
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We're using a 7'6" zodiac with a slatted rollup floor. Serves the purpose though our 10 foot kayaks are our primary shore transport. Nice to be able to roll it up and bag it below when it's not towing conditions - keeps the decks clear.

You're not likely to plane very well with a small o/b anyway so the lighter less stable bottom isn't much of an issue to us.
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