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Old 08-22-2002
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Tender: inflatable or folding?

I have recently bought a 27'' boat which I sail in the northern Adriatic at weekends and longer cruises. A tender is a must if I anchor for the night in one of the many bays here and for trundling to the stores.
However, inflatable dinghies are a bore to tow, more of a bow to inflate and don''t enjoy the company of the sharp rocks of Dalmatia. There''s not the room for tying one on deck and I certainly don''t want to deflate it every day. I''ve been considering one of these folding boats (TM: Stowaway) made in the UK, which in theory addresses all my concerns, and would fit beneath a bunk or strapped to the stanchions.
However, does anyone have any practical experience of these as tenders? What are they like to fit together in the narrow space of a cockpit? Do they last? Any information gratefully received!
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Old 08-22-2002
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Tender: inflatable or folding?

Lucian:

I''ll follow this thread with interest since we hope to visit the Adriatic within two years. Meanwhile, you might follow the similar thread at www.ssca.org re: dinghy choices - I''m convinced this is at least as tough a decision as picking the Mother Ship.

I''m assuming your interest is in the smallest model, the Stowaway. I can''t imagine you deciding on it unless you see how it is put together, as that''s usually what requires the most deck space. The weight is right (very light) and I would encourage you to consider adding the buoyancy tubes; you''ll find they make the dink invincible when there''s lots of chop and/or you''re pulling yourself back aboard after snorkeling. Finally, the 6mm ply would worry me a bit in the same way inflatable fabrics seem to worry you; I''m just not convinced even marine ply of that thickness will hold up long-term, and these can''t be terribly cheap to buy.

Can you perhaps fit an inexpensive 8'' injection molded hard dinghy on deck forward of the mast? That will cost relatively little (assuming you can acquire one in your area), can be patched, can take lots of knocking about, and can be sailed if you want to spend the extra money (e.g. see http://www.sailnet.com/store/item.cfm?pid=18597). That''s only $500 U.S. in the States, tho'' perhaps finding a product like that in the Central Med is a challenge.

Good luck! I''ll be interested to learn what you decide.

Jack
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Old 08-22-2002
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Tender: inflatable or folding?

You might want to consider a "Porta-Bote". They make three sizes; 8'', 10''4", and 12''. All of them are unsinkable and will take a pretty good beating before they are seriously damaged.

I have the 10''4" boat and it can hold three adults plus gear and a 5HP motor. When folded, it only takes up 10''4" x 2'' x 4". I keep mine folded on deck velcroed to two lifeline stachions.

~ Happy sails to you ~ _/) ~
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Old 08-27-2002
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Tender: inflatable or folding?


Thanks for your responses.
For what it''s worth, here are my conclusions (so far).
There are two widely available plastic folding boats:
Banana boat (D)
Portabote (US)
both sold through Germany (here in Europe). The first is, well, banana-shaped, the second sports a square transom which may give it a slightly greater rigidity (or not).
There is also the
Stowaway (GB)
made of marine ply and looking a bit like a pram.
All things being equal, I would go for the wooden boat as being a finer thing altogether, but things ain''t: putting it together in a cramped cockpit would inevitably lead to scrapes and bumps on Mother Boat and/or Baby Boat. But then, the others really do look like bananas!
I''m not too worried about stability and swamping as we rarely get choppy seas here (Adriatic) in the sort of places I might use a tender. I am more interested in ''rowability'', on which inflatables score 0 (the distances are often short and it''s not worth the hassle of shipping the outboard). I really think these boats offer me a good alternative to an inflatable that would have to be towed everywhere, plus I could conveniently use one on non-sailing weekends to explore the great rivers, lakes and lagoons we have here with an ease of transport no inflatable could offer.
So, probably pricier than an inflatable but as far as I am concerned, much more versatile. Besides, I rather fancy rowing in a banana; as an Englishman, I have a reputation for eccentricity to nurture!
Boributai
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Old 08-28-2002
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Tender: inflatable or folding?

Just one other point, Lucian: all inflatables do not row equally poorly. We''ve been cruising (so full-time use) for the last 2+ years with an inflatable floor Achilles (their LSI model line) and I think it rows quite well, especially with 1 crew aboard. It rows far better than an old Avon Redcrest, e.g. We''ve had constant struggles with our Yamaha outboard and, far too frequently, I''ve had to unexpectedly row the dink (two of us, 8 hp hung off the back, and likely some backpacks or groceries or whatever) against a chop and back to the boat. Mind you, I don''t think the dink is built for that kind of use...but it was do-able.

Jack
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Old 08-29-2002
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Tender: inflatable or folding?

I will like to know anyone that owns a porta-bote if it can be tow by a sailing boat in the open sea under speeds of 7-8 knots ? , at leasy°t for a litl bit .
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Old 08-29-2002
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Tender: inflatable or folding?

I''m not familure with your geography, but we sail in the cold rocky Northwest corner of Washington. I chose an inflatable and have some mixed emotions about it. Its a good tender albeit subject to damage from sharp objects. A RIB that combines inflatable with a solid hull would be better. Still yet are new designs I''ve seen that look like an inflatable, but are made out of a hard plastic material that looks bullet proof.

I have use fold ups before and consider them only suitable for very calm conditions. We keep our inflatable ready to go at all times for crew safety. For day sails, we leave it at the slip and during periods the boat is not in use, we put it on deck lashed down with a cover for protection against UV.

Hope you get some ideas from this.
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Old 08-29-2002
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Tender: inflatable or folding?

I own a 10''4" Pota-Bote and the answer is YES, it can be towed by a sailboat at about 7 knots.

The method used is to have the painter length set for the boat to ride the wake-crest, and not the wake-trough.

BTW, I''ve seen one other sailboat towing their Porta-Bote, and they seemed to be having no problems with it. ;^)

~ Happy sails to you ~ _/) ~
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Old 08-29-2002
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Tender: inflatable or folding?

Well it looks that the porta-bote is pretty good, since can be bigger and faster than an inflatable, the only inconvinient is for the kids I guess, I have two kids 6 and 8 and when we are at anchor the inflatable is the kids station for playing.....do you think that the porta bote can do the job in that situation as well or will be a major difference, dificult geting in from the water and more delicate to jump from it et.c...In the other hand they now love to row so I think it should be much better than the inflatable, and if we want to explore or go fishing to another spot with our 5 hp engine should be really fast...what about the open sea ride, is it ok how does it do with some waves?
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Old 08-30-2002
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Tender: inflatable or folding?

Getting in and out of a Porta-Bote is not much different than with a rigid hull boat. The sides and bottom flex a bit, but not so much that one cannot hold onto the sides or stand in the boat. BTW, The 12'' model can hols four adults, and a larger engine.

The ride through a chop is better in a Porta-Bote than in a similarly sized inflatable. Also, since it''s made of polypropalene, even if it gets swampped, it cannot sink.

~ Happy sails to you ~ _/) ~
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