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  #1  
Old 11-04-2006
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Best Dinghy

Hey all,
In your varied opinions, I was wondering what the best dinghy might be for a boat under 30' and a growing family? I realize I run the risk of the "anchor" question...and for that I sincerelyapologize but I still want to hear what you all have to say. I am all ears (rowing, sailing, inflatable, foldable??)

Many thanks
Chris
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Old 11-04-2006
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I don't know about best

I don't know about best, but I currently have a walker bay 8 that is light, mass-produced, rows well, and can be converted to a RIB. It also has a sailing kit which I purchased, but I'm either too big or not limber enough to use it. I Like the boat a lot and it is easy to maintain
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Old 11-04-2006
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well this is easy

of course the logical answer is an aussie 18..w/ aramid sails..30 knots, a mere
25k and a wild ride i hear....uhm..this is the kind of dinghy you were after right...
(sorry i'm punchy, been painting window trim today and this is the highlight of my day...)
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Sam
Sanctuary, Sabre 30 mkIII
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Old 11-04-2006
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We have an Avon R280HP - the HP standing for high pressure floor. We have a small Johnson 3.5HP 2 stroke on the back. We bought this as the tender for our Precision 23 and towed it behind with no problem. We lost a little bit of speed, but all 4 of us (575lbs) fit in it without an issue. Avon makes wonderful inflatables that last a long time. The Precision 23 we had was trailerable, so we'd inflate and then deflate the Avon every weekend. We'd carry it in the cockpit of our boat when trailering. Anyway, worked great for us.
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Old 11-04-2006
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I don't think the perfect dink has been built yet, a lot has to do with how you intend to use it. Dinks can be a lot of fun in the marina. We used to leave the big boat at the dock when there was no wind and go exploring in the RIB, lunch and touring. A sailing dink is a blast but has other limitations. Remember that they can also be stolen. Here are some options:

10 foot hypalon RIB with a 15 hp 2 stroke - Ultimate assault boat. fast, stable and fun - will need to be towed and expensive.

fold a boat - can probably store on deck - hassle to assemble and need a small motor.

Fatty knees - sailing fiberglass dink is great for the family to play in and rows well too - doesn't tow well but might fit on deck. Expensive

Tinker - sort of a folding/inflatable RIB with a sail kit - I don't have any personal experience but could be a good compromise.

Roll-up inflatable - easy to store, pain to blow up, small motor. Probably the best option for an ocean crossing cruiser.
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Old 11-04-2006
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Best Dinghy

Thanks everyone...

I love the fatty knees and really like the tinker as well, but boy they are not giving them away. We would be towing the dink around, so it will need to be ralatively light...like the Avon mentioned. I made a rowing pram years ago and it was OK until it got pooped by following seas and viola....instant sea anchor! The Walker Bays are interesting...and can be made to order...what are their prices like? I have been to the website, but they have you constuct your boat and then tell you to print the page out and bring it to your retailer...nice if there is one down the street....but for those of us out here in the wilderness....

Chris
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Old 11-04-2006
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I was suprised at Walker Bays. I thought they were great until I spoke with a few people that said they were built cheaply. Also, my R280 inflatable carries more weight than the same size Walker Bay. We've been considering a Walker Bay though since it can be converted to a sailing dinghy. Actually, I haven't been considering it but my 10 year old son has been working on me!
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Old 11-04-2006
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We have owned our Avon for more than 5 years, only thing I have done is apply some adhesive to the rub rail. It stay inflated on our fore-deck all summer. The design should be based on what you want to do with it, where your going to keep it stored and how much your willing to spend.

Previously we own a Zodiac, didn't last but three years before it need some costly patch work near the transom.
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Old 11-04-2006
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Like any boat there are compromises...

Inflatables provide stability, carrying capacity and don't bash up your topsides when tied alongside. But they don't row worth a darn in any kind of breeze and are extremely allergic to oyster beds and sharp rock beaches.

Hard dinghies (and there are some beauties) row well, tow well as long as you have an effective drain plug so that spray doesn't eventually fill them up under tow. They can handle any beach, but are a nuisance alongside at night.

I heartily recommend a sailing dinghy if there are kids involved - start them early. Of course there are few inflatables available but plenty of Sabots, optis, plus the pretty ones that will fill the bill.

Though the Walker Bays are "plastic", they do seem to satisfy the largest number of desirables, especially with equipped with the inflatable add-on and/or the sailing rig.

One more thought: last year we bought two 9.5 foot plastic kayaks. We carried them strapped outside the stanchions and lifelines alongside the cockpit. We spent 8 straight weeks cruising the BC coast including Barkley Sound. We used the kayaks so often that the only time our 3hp motor came off the rail and went on our 8' zodiac was the 4 days we had a family of 4 along with us. They are stable, fun, beach proof and good exercise to boot!
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Old 11-04-2006
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I don't know much about other hard dinks but I find Walker Bay to be very very tender. You have to know where to step on when boarding or you'll end up capsized. When loaded heavy, you practically losses the free-board. Any small wave or backwash will fill it easily. I would go for an inflatable anytime, even those made in China or Korea ones.
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