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  #1  
Old 11-23-2011
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Inflatables; Need advice

I have a 28 footer I'll be sailing along the New Hampshire seacoast for which I will need a tender. Most use will be daysails or weekends, with a few multi-day trips per season. We expect 4 adults (max) on board for normal use. I'll be mooring in a yacht club with launch service.

So... my plan is a PVC inflatable with 850+/- pound capacity that will be powered by a 3.3HP 2-stroke. I have a great deal of locker storage and plan to store the boat deflated and only inflate it when needed with a powered inflator. The use will be anchorage exploring and ferrying into shore from anchor, speed is not a concern.

So the core questions here are:
1. For those who have stored your tenders deflated and inflated them only for each use, how much of a hassle?
2. Is a wood-slat-floor roll-up the best design for this use?
3. I'm considering 9-foot PVC models that weigh 75+/- pounds with 4-person capacity. How unwieldy are these to inflate, store and deflate?

Any other advice is welcomed.
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Old 11-23-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hriehl1 View Post
So the core questions here are:
1. For those who have stored your tenders deflated and inflated them only for each use, how much of a hassle?
2. Is a wood-slat-floor roll-up the best design for this use?
3. I'm considering 9-foot PVC models that weigh 75+/- pounds with 4-person capacity. How unwieldy are these to inflate, store and deflate?

Any other advice is welcomed.
I was in the same boat a few months ago, and bought a zodiac with a solid wood floor. It is a hassle to inflate and assemble, mostly because of the solid floor. It cannot practically be assembled in the boat because you need a large flat surface on which to partially inflate the dinghy, then install the floor, then the aluminum brackets for the floor, then fully inflate, then use the foot pump to get full pressure.

I have been just towing it for these reasons, and may wind up building a simple plywood tender that I can store upside down on the foredeck for extended cruising. That said, the inflatable is extremely stable and can take four passengers no prob.

I am not sure whether an air or wooden slat floor is that much easier to inflate, but it would weigh the same and be just as bulky I'm sure. It is possible to haul the deflated boat around, but a real pita as it is bulky and heavy.

I notice alot of the sailors in my marina don't bother with dinghies, instead opting for plastic kayaks. But it must be difficult getting into one of those from a rolly anchorage into some chop without taking a splash!
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Old 11-23-2011
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Stand Up Inflatable Paddle Board -- takes up much less space, is a lot easier to inflate on deck, easy to board once you get the hang of it, and requires much less maintenance and attention.
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Inflate/deflate with each use sounds like a total butt pain to me. I use an 8' Achilles on my Catalina 309. I don't need it for daysailing. For weekend and week+ trips I bring it along. Usually tow it.

It has a roll-up wood floor and yes, I can inflate on the bow or the cockpit. Would NOT go through that for each use.

Let me ask you this: do you want to pull it out of the water, roll it up, and put it away wet? I've never put mine away wet, and wonder what input others may have on this regards mildew, plague????

We also use Kayaks on some trips. I lash them to the bow. Not a bad way to go, but without a swim platform, they could be tough to deal with. Can't take a passenger (other than our cats), but they'll haul a fair amount of gear. Don't like to tow them, but they're fun to play with once you get where you're going.

The perfect tender does not exist. They get you around, but they also make you work...they seem to kind of own you.

All that said, an inflatable IMO is likely your best bet for what you're doing.
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You really dont ant to be inflating and deflating an inflatable so dont worry about it. IMHO, once most inflatables are inflated, they stay inflated for the rest of their life of service.

Inflatables are wonderful devices, and make coming and going a breeze. Buy a good one, you'll keep it forever. Get at least a 10.5 foot boat, anything smaller is too small, especially for four adults, even if the load ability it there, it'll feel scary. Get at least a 8HP motor, you will find the ability to zip in and out at 20 MPH both fun and extremely convenient.

My kids always liked the inflatable more than the sailboat...
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Google catspaw nestable dinghy, it's a self build plan , I think there are 2 sizes in the nestable model. Might work 4 u.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emoney View Post
Stand Up Inflatable Paddle Board -- takes up much less space, is a lot easier to inflate on deck, easy to board once you get the hang of it, and requires much less maintenance and attention.
Pile 4 adults onboard one of those and it's a recipe for hilarity.
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From my limited experience, skiffs are a necessary evil. I had plans of inflating/deflating mine when I needed it (about every 6 weeks). Those plans were changed the first time I put the dinghy together. I'm on a 36' boat and couldn't imagine inflating my 10' on board. It has yet to be deflated and I doubt I will. I store mine up on the bow when sailing but would tow it if I had to.

My advice is to at least consider that what every you buy, may end up being towed. If at all possible, do you have any friends with an inflatable? See if you can borrow theirs and mess with it on board before investing in an inflatable.
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Old 11-23-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hriehl1 View Post
I have a 28 footer I'll be sailing along the New Hampshire seacoast for which I will need a tender. Most use will be daysails or weekends, with a few multi-day trips per season. We expect 4 adults (max) on board for normal use. I'll be mooring in a yacht club with launch service.

So... my plan is a PVC inflatable with 850+/- pound capacity that will be powered by a 3.3HP 2-stroke. I have a great deal of locker storage and plan to store the boat deflated and only inflate it when needed with a powered inflator. The use will be anchorage exploring and ferrying into shore from anchor, speed is not a concern.

So the core questions here are:
1. For those who have stored your tenders deflated and inflated them only for each use, how much of a hassle?
2. Is a wood-slat-floor roll-up the best design for this use?
3. I'm considering 9-foot PVC models that weigh 75+/- pounds with 4-person capacity. How unwieldy are these to inflate, store and deflate?

Any other advice is welcomed.
Forget inflating and deflating, and don't even think about trying to stow it onboard. It ain't fun, it ain't pretty and it ain't necessary. On a 28 foot boat you are gonna need all the storage you can find aboard for general cruising stuff. On our 23 footer we installed davits for storage, but most often find ourselves simply towing our inflatable. It slows us slightly, but not enough to be horribly annoying, and the fact that it is ready to go when we drop anchor or tie up is a nice advantage after a long day.

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On our 35 footer we carry a slat floor roll up inflatable, a 7.5 foot Zodiac. Since we also carry a pair of 9.5 foot plastic kayaks, the dinghy spends most of its time rolled up in the forepeak.

We break it our when we have company, or have to make a major shopping expedition. It takes maybe 5-10 minutes to pump up, or to restow. Since we do have the kayaks for normal shore duty we only have to do this a few times a year.... so for us it's no biggie.

We also carry a 3.5 hp o'b for those days we need the dinghy.. no way you're going to plane with the soft floor anyway, so no need for power. We can carry 4 adults but only in calm conditions.
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