Rigid vs inflatable RIB dinghy for international cruising - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 25 Old 11-06-2007 Thread Starter
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Rigid vs inflatable RIB dinghy for international cruising

We now have a 10' RIB powered by a 15hp outboard. It hangs off the transom on our Dinghy-Tow. However, for blue water legs we'll hoist it on deck and partially deflate it. Inflatables can't realistically be rowed very well. (Never motor further than you'd care to row back.)

We undersytand that underpowered dinghys, whether inflateable or rigid, make longer trips to shore for fuel & water onerous.

Hard plastic dinghys can be rowed or sailed but are ankle biters on deck.

What trade offs have you made choosing between these types of dinghys?

Silverheels III Toronto Harbour, Canada
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post #2 of 25 Old 11-06-2007
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best dinghy is a yamaha waverunner 650 3 seater! tows well, reaches 40 knots, positive flotation, plenty of storage. it just wont hoist on the davits (too heavy)

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post #3 of 25 Old 11-06-2007
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I currently have a HPIB (High Pressure Inflateable Boat/Bottom) Inflateable. Not sure if that is what you were commenting towards in your thread, but it will plane and it will totally deflate for stowage. It is light and easy to hoist on the davits.

It is a compromise... that is all. It does not perform nearly as well as a RIB, but is much more portable and considerably lighter.

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post #4 of 25 Old 11-06-2007
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Just remember lots of foreign ports are not so inflatable friendly... barnacles, wooden piers with nails and such, stone piers, coral, etc... a rigid bottom or a hard dinghy is far more likely to survive such conditions.

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post #5 of 25 Old 11-06-2007
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I like the RIBS for full time cruising because:
1. You have stability when loading/unloading people and stuff
2. They can take a beating from rock and coral
3. You can put a good sized motor on them, get on a plane and go long distances quickly.

I find these 3 attributes critical in a full time cruising dinghy for the East Coast and Caribe. On the downside
1. They tend to be heavy to bring aboard...needing 2 people and a winch. They don't fit on some boats.
2. They ROW OK, but not like a hard dink.
3. Sooner or later the hypalon will wear out unlike a hard dink.
4. You can't put a sailing rig on one (yeah, I know they sell such rigs but they suck!)

Hope I've been fair in my assessment...the first 3 are most important to me. Other needs for other locations may differ.
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post #6 of 25 Old 11-06-2007
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I have a hard dink (Sandpiper 8) and an RIB (Quicksilver 8). The Sandpiper is cheap, tippy and slow...but I'd take it 10 times out of 10 over the Quicksilver because you can actually row it when the outboard is being finicky. In my world, the outboards are often finicky. I also favor the lighweight and relatively durable characteristics of the Sandpiper.

Granted, I only do coastal Great Lakes cruising, but I've sort of sworn off RIB's simply because of the difficult rowing.

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post #7 of 25 Old 11-06-2007
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Ken, as you know I've thought long and hard about this...and we may already have discussed it in person, but for the benefit of the thread, here goes.

1) I already own a RIB...a Zodiac Yachtline 1 310. I also own two 9.9 HP outboards, one a stinky but fast Mercury 2-stroke from the late '90s and the other a 1985 Honda BF100 4-stroke in good working order (heavier but quieter and obviously cleaner and more fuel-efficient).

2) I had a davit failure in mere five-foot seas in Lake Ontario...with the engine running. Yes, that meant a four-foot extrusion flailing about in the water trying to pierce the half-descended RIB and snag the moving prop at the same time. This convinced me that davits are not appropriate in a seaway.

3) Getting even the empty RIB (120 lbs./50 kg.) off the foredeck in any kind of a wind has been difficult and potentially dangerous. So has lowering the motor to the transom, hooking it up, handing off a five-gallon tank, oars, crash box, bailer, etc. We decided it wasn't worth it. Were we to go exclusively to the Caribbean, I think it would be a 50/50 split decision, but then we'd be tempted to leave it on a painter. We would also have to retube our existing RIB with Hypalon, an approximately $2,600 cost, as it currently has nearly failed PVC pontoons (never get PVC...)

4) We've decided to go with a 10 or 12 foot Portabote, a 10 foot nesting dinghy with internal floatation, sails and oars, and a 2 to 3 HP 4-stroke motor with integral tank. We feel this gives us the best mix of capacity, resistance to damage, and the opportunity to have us running different errands in different tenders. Having a sail rig means our son will be able to use the dinghy for fun, and both boats together weigh about the same as the Zodiac alone. The dinghy will be lashed to the forepeak hatch, and will allow better visibility forward. The Portabote will go on the rails or the pilothouse roof, or even flat on the deck. The engine will weigh about 30-40 lbs./13-18 kgs. and my wife will be able to handle it solo. We will make up lifting bridles and use the spare halyards or even the topping lift and boom to get them aboard.

Being "humble" tenders, they may also prove to be less attractive to thieves, and their ease of handling and stowage will never tempt us to leave them in the water at night.

I may be wrong in my decisions here, and they aren't cheap ones, but I believe they represent a good compromise for long-term cruising/liveaboard lifestyles. Now, I have enjoyed bombing around on the plane in my RIB on calm nights in Lake Ontario, but the number of times I've carried serious cargo (does a case of beer count?) have been few indeed, and with the 1,000 lbs. my RIB can carry split between two tenders, I think we'll do OK.
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post #8 of 25 Old 11-06-2007
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Valiente-

Who makes the nesting dinghy?

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post #9 of 25 Old 11-06-2007
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We have a ten foot RIB with a fiber glass bottom It is heavy especialy when the bone head (ME) forgets to take out the drain plug for the hull and water builds in the bilge. I think if I had to get a new one I would consider the same dink with an aluminum hull. So far its a good family truckster. I wonder if the alum. bottoms row better than frp ones.

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post #10 of 25 Old 11-07-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Valiente-

Who makes the nesting dinghy?

SD, SD, SD,

Are you telling me you don't know ?

Shocked and stunned, am I.

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