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post #21 of 56 Old 06-16-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Motor vs Rowing inflatable dinghy...

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Originally Posted by northoceanbeach View Post
Then it sounds like you're happy an having fun and headed in the right direction.
Yup. Quite happy. Being out on the estuary is peaceful. And sometimes, rather other-worldly. For example, there is this one channel marker near coast guard island where a group of cormorants gather to perch. Kinda gives off a surreal poe feeling. Also, people tend not to come out until mid-to-late afternoons on weekdays. So, outside of a stray paddler, kayaker, or barge, I pretty much have the estuary all to myself.

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Originally Posted by algee View Post
Rowing an inflatable dinghy is like trying to push a rope. It can be done but it aint easy.
Dang. I must not have received the memo. Bc rowing the dink seems to be quite easy, once I got the hang of it. Then again, I'm not in a hurry or trying to plane the thing. lol
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post #22 of 56 Old 06-16-2013
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Re: Motor vs Rowing inflatable dinghy...

Personally for the tender am planning on going with the Walker Bay,
it's as roomy as an inflatable, is strong, and is rigid making it easier to row and sail.
there is 8-foot version for 2 people

and 10-foot for 3 people (family size)


the sail power, would certainly make it easier for you to surpass currents, and drastically increase your range of exploration.
remember when sailing to avoid tipping over, you can generally let go of the mainsheet (propulsion) but always hold onto the tiller (steering).

here is a review of walker bay: http://www.sailingbreezes.com/sailin...2/walker10.htm
"a full-length molded keel from the transom to the bow. This adds stiffness and helps the boats track straight when rowed or towed."
"They usually tow better than inflatables. They always row better, especially in wind."

the mast can be disassembled into two pieces for easy storage.

seems like it would require some minor modifications to become an optimal sailing dinghy, like adding hiking straps for higher speed sailing.
though its great as a rower and that's you're main activity anyways.

Also it has the option of getting inflatable edges for the kind of stability you may be used to in the inflatable, and minimizing chances of swamping the boat when heeling during sailing.

Last edited by elspru; 06-16-2013 at 02:15 AM.
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post #23 of 56 Old 06-16-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Motor vs Rowing inflatable dinghy...

Yeah, WBs seem decent and inexpensive. Have read that they're even better with the stabilizing tubes. And yeah, the optional sailing rig makes them even more attractive (i.e., rowing, motoring, & sailing options in one package). I, figuratively speaking, ran into a guy the other day who was puttering around with a WB+tubes. He was running with 40T prowler outboard. Said he was testing to see how long the battery would last. He was out there at least 3 Hrs. The boston whaler is kewl, too. Though, I must admit, my favorite in that class is the fatty knees. The lapstrake hull and over all design is, to my mind, eye candy. Unfortunately all of these start moving into the hard to manage due to weight, coupled with the size, factor. My neighbors use their whisker pole to lift theirs on/off their boat. Even my dink, which is 53lbs takes some work getting it in/out of the water. Which is primarily bc I'm so short. lol

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post #24 of 56 Old 06-16-2013
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Re: Motor vs Rowing inflatable dinghy...

I'm rowing an Avon 8. It took about an hour to get down the rowing and now I too find it peaceful. I rowed to Friday harbor and back to my anchorage three times today. Each way is about a half mile?
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post #25 of 56 Old 06-16-2013
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Re: Motor vs Rowing inflatable dinghy...

Get a motor. Rowing sucks. And if your dinghy is not heavy or lacks a keel you will make little to no progress with even a 1.5mph current. I know bc i have an inflateable soft bottom. It wears you out and leaves you stranded if current is too strong. Get a motor. Its high on my list of items to buy soon as i start working again. Im down to my last 400$ at the moment. Should last 3400$ weeks. Hope to be working by next week.
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post #26 of 56 Old 06-16-2013
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Re: Motor vs Rowing inflatable dinghy...

I seriosuly hate my phone more daily. I look so forward to the day when this stupid contract is up so i can throw it in whatever body of water i am nearest. Screw cell phones.
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post #27 of 56 Old 06-16-2013
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Re: Motor vs Rowing inflatable dinghy...

Really nice to hear some folks still enjoy rowing their tenders, such a simple, practical pleasure appears to becoming a lost art among today's crowd out there...

Rowing has been one of my most enduring passions, as a kid growing up on Barnegat Bay I practically LIVED aboard the 8' pram my dad built for me that carried me on my initial waterborne adventures... Rowing remains by far my favorite form of exercise, rowing with a sliding seat rig and competition-length sculls affords as good a workout as I can handle, and the most beautiful boat I currently own is one of these gems from Chesapeake Light Craft...



Gotta disagree with those who insist rowing an inflatable is too difficult... My Avon Lite RIB rows quite nicely, no comparison to a hard dink of course, but the deep vee bottom really helps... Flat-bottomed roll-ups like yours are more difficult to manage, but it sounds as if you're doing just fine... Does yours have some form of inflatable keel between the slatted floorboards and the bottom, to give it a bit more shape? If not, you might want to experiment with the insertion of something to give it a bit more deadrise. It will track better, and help diminish the suction effect which is one of the major downsides of towing a flat-bottomed inflatable...

For those with Avon-style oarlocks, Tom Zydler has an interesting piece in the latest CRUISING WORLD on his clever solution to beefing them up, and convert them to use with conventional oarlocks... Well worth a look...

Your "calculation" of an 8' oar length sounds a bit long to me, something closer to 6.5 or 7 feet sounds about right... 2-piece oars like the ones you show from Carlisle are pretty much a must for cruising, Caviness makes nice ones, as well... I'd suggest you look around for some spoon blades as opposed to flat blades, they will enhance the power of your stroke... Finally, learn to 'feather' your oars as you row, that is a much more effective technique, especially in a bit more wind or chop...

I'm now using this pair from West Marine that are fully adjustable... Other than the fact that a couple of small components have shown a tendency to rust, I'm pretty happy with them...

WEST MARINE Adjustable Aluminum Oars at West Marine



As for an engine, I've been using a Honda 2 HP for several years now... Some folks seem to find them rather cranky, and others have a bit of difficulty dealing with the centrifugal clutch, but I've had good luck with mine, and find it suits my style of cruising very nicely... Their primary drawback, being air-cooled, is their rather annoying noise... They are pretty loud when run at anything much beyond idle, and if I were buying again now, I'd probably have a close look at a Suzuki 2.5... But whatever you do, I'd suggest you keep the size of any engine modest - I've long been on the record here and elsewhere in my belief that one of the most common mistakes many cruisers are making today, is their tendency to becoming 'over-boated' when it comes to the size, power, and speed of their tenders...

Enjoy yourself, and keep on rowing... It really is a shame the activity is disappearing from the scene, a leisurely row through an anchorage or mooring field has traditionally been one of the most pleasant ways to meet other sailors and make new acquaintances, seems a pity comparatively few seem to bother doing so anymore...
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post #28 of 56 Old 06-16-2013
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Re: Motor vs Rowing inflatable dinghy...

I bought an inexpensive Baltic inflatable a few years ago. It has not only held up remarkably well but rows like dream. People often comment on how well it rows. It has an inflatable V section in the bow which totally changes the way it cuts through the water. I've had Achilles and Bombard inflatables in the past and neither has held up as well as this MUCH cheaper Baltic boat. There is no sign of the transom loosening, no delamination of any of the glued-on parts and it has shown no apparent UV degradation yet. The oarlocks are s.s. swing-up bolts with threaded cap nuts and although these negate feathering the oars, it also stops them from popping out of oarlocks that move around as they do on balloon boats. I made some real, longer wood oars to replace the crappy, stubby little aluminum oars that come with all the inflatables and can get a good purchase on the water.

Carrying gas is something I want to avoid and so far I've been able to do without an outboard. I also carry an old 8' whitewater kayak aboard which can go long distances in essentially any sea condition with the skirt on. It's also nice for exploring without the noise of an outboard.
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post #29 of 56 Old 06-16-2013
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Re: Motor vs Rowing inflatable dinghy...

Yes you can row an inflatable, but a hard dinghy is a much better way to go if you want ot avoid a motor. For exploring protected waterways, a kayak is the way to go.
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post #30 of 56 Old 06-16-2013
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Re: Motor vs Rowing inflatable dinghy...

Glad to hear that you're rowing and that you're enjoying it too! I row, because I don't have an outboard, and I enjoy it sometimes. I do sometimes feel like I'm the only one left on the water using his/her oars. How strange that people would call out disparaging comments to someone rowing....

I grew up playing with an 11' plywood floored (with inflatable "keel") PVC inflatable dink. I use that little craft every way you could think of. I have had a 2HP, 6HP and 15HP on it at different times. I experimented with various forms of sail rigs (all failures) and rowed it quite a bit.

One day I was going for an evening row IN MY MARINA and the current took me down the fairway. I tried to row against it but couldn't and had to row 90deg to the current and beach the boat, go get my car, and muscle it on top of the car and drive it back to the marina. I was discouraged to say the least that I COULD NOT row it against a modest current, but I also wondered about safety. I did have an anchor, but staying anchored for half the night didn't sound like fun.

Ever since that event I'm pretty soured on inflatables. I don't trust small outboards and don't want to have a big one. So what happens when the outboard dies while out exploring in an inflatable that you can't always row back to the boat.... hmmm..... Been looking for the perfect rigid dinghy ever since.

It sounds like you're enjoying many of the disadvantages of an inflatable but enjoying few of the advantages. They're primarily loved for their stability and the fact that they don't need fenders. Many don't ever deflate them, but there's that advantage too. I have a feeling that if you switched to a rigid dink of any kind you'd be in heaven.

The Walker Bay's are actually pretty good little boats, and since they're everywhere a used one should be able to be had cheaply. I have a Portland Pudgy which comes up on craigslist sometimes for reasonable prices.

Another thought is to get a kite (like a toy kite) and use it as a sail to help you move your craft. Kayaks do it and they even have their own small kayak sails. Might be hard to deal with since you don't have a rudder, but you could look at it. Another idea, which a friend of mine did for his kayak, was he kept a large folding golf umbrella (which had a clamp on it). In the rain, it kept the rain off of him. In the sun it kept the sun off. In the wind, you could open it up and it acted as a very effective sail.

Happy rowing!

MedSailor
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Last edited by MedSailor; 06-16-2013 at 01:24 PM. Reason: Edited because I accidentally posted it 1/2 way through typing the post!
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