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TheWollard 07-06-2013 06:24 PM

Dinghy Talk
I'm shopping and researching for a dinghy purchase. It seems like the most en vogue option is an inflatable/RIB. This makes sense, because they are so stable. It must make loading/unloading on the hook much easier.

I may not be able to afford an inflatable. My thought process is that I might be better served buying a fiberglass or plastic dinghy in new condition instead of a used inflatable in suspect condition.

Do you cruise with a Walker Bay or other rigid dinghy? Tell me about it. Do you use davits, tow, or keep on deck?

This month I will make a 280 nm trek from Islamorada to Cocoa Beach Florida.

SchockT 07-06-2013 07:13 PM

Re: Dinghy Talk
I have a 10' fiberglass whitehall style rowboat that we used to use as a tender. It rows beautifully, and due to the full length keel it tracks nicely when towed. the downside is that putting it on the foredeck was not an option, and we always worried about it damaging the paint on our boat when getting in or out.

We have since bought an 8' Aquapro aluminum hulled RIB, and we find it much more suited to our purposes. It is very stable, weighs under 100lbs and fits on our foredeck. We don't have to worry about it dinging our boat or the boats around us, and it tows nicely. The downside is that it isn't the greatest rowboat, but we just put a small outboard on it if we need to travel any significant distances in it.

capta 07-06-2013 07:26 PM

Re: Dinghy Talk
Our dink is our car. It is our means of transportation to the market, the doctor or anywhere else including snorkeling and visiting friends. It needs to be stable (even if you aren't), seaworthy to a point (I'd rather hop into our dinghy, with a full tank of gas, than our life raft if necessary, sailing here in the West Indies) and it needs to be tough. The last thing you want to have is a dinghy that you worry about all the time.
Our Zodiac Classic, Mark 2 is seven years old and not one leak. It gets tied (OK, chained) to wooden, concrete and even stainless steel (F de F, Martinique) docks and never had a problem. We do not have a RIB, ours is completely deflatable and we can stow it below should the weather deteriorate. It is only 10 feet long with the aloy floor boards it can carry 2 55 gallon drums if we need to ferry fuel, for instance or 4 adults and gear on a plane.
Underway, we always stow it on the foredeck, even though we have davits. We use the davits each night at anchor, but we know it is completely secure on deck when sailing.
I have had inflatables since the early 70's and have found that for longevity they must be kept fully inflated, basketball firm and as light as possible, when tied to a dock.
The inflatables are much easier to get into from the water and sometimes the run to shore or snorkeling for that matter, can be over a mile across a rather nasty stretch of water, some other things to consider. Also, think "bumper cars" with friends on a hot summer day!
It may be a big chunk of change to start off, but over time a safe, comfortable dink is worth every penny.

blutoyz 07-07-2013 09:43 AM

Re: Dinghy Talk
I have both and will say here that the inflatable is so stable that I am actually going out to buy a new one today. I bought used and will chalk it up to experience that a used PVC is not the way to go. Too many possible hidden issues to be sure it is a good buy unless you know the owner.

My $.02

mad_machine 07-07-2013 10:01 AM

Re: Dinghy Talk
I am a rower. I did it competitively in HS and College. I am in the market now for a dinghy and am looking at the Gig Harbor ones with the sliding seat option.

MarioG 07-07-2013 11:07 AM

Re: Dinghy Talk
I have a Walker Bay 8 and think it fits our needs the best. Rows well can sail it when I want to play and as far as stable I walk around it while underway , paddle it standing up and unlike our first dinghy an inflatable I've yet been dumped overboard twice by the 1st mate. Our cheap ($100) 3.5hp pushes it along fine when we have 2 or 3 aboard or supplies. It also fits on our forward deck on our E-32 and easy to bring aboard with a halyard.

Group9 07-07-2013 01:00 PM

Re: Dinghy Talk
After having two home made prams, and then, an inflatable, and deciding it didn't work for me, I bought a 20 year old Boston Whaler 11 foot tender for $1000.

Pros: It really appears to be absolutely indestructible (you could machine gun it and it would still float). You can row it easily. It tows easily. Runs 30 knots with a 25 hp on it. It is unbelievably stable, even when loaded down.

Cons: It is heavy, and weighs 280 pounds.

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