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Old 03-20-2010
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Question I'm over inflatables boats!

I've had three, two Zodiacs (both PVC) and one Avon (my current one).

Why do I keep buying them? I dunno, seems like I keep throwing $$$ in the water.

They row like crap, cant sail em, and they leak (water & air) after just a few years of use. My floor wont hold air, even after many attempts to repair it. (BTW, I would never paint my floor again, seemed like a good idea at the time, don't do it, I swear you'll wish you hadn't), the keel wont hold air now. The rub rail is falling off and forget trying to glue it back on, and to have a professional do it...LOL!

Sure they are very stable, you can load them up, and with the right engine they will fly across the water safely...but I'm sick and tired of dropping a few grand every few years only to find myslef looking for a boat show special to often!

The traditional tenders/dingy is not very stable but properly taken care of they could last years...

So how about this thing, I know...its not so pretty, the price is right, its a tri hull so the stability should be decent, it wont deflate, its not much more weight than my current boat...the only drawback I can see is the capacity is just under 500#. Anyone have a suggestions for a frustrated inflatable boat owner?



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Last edited by T37Chef; 05-16-2010 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 03-20-2010
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Chef,
If you decide to make one more pass at repairing your inflatable, I've had good luck with a shop in Annapolis called Maritime Solutions (Inflatable Xperts - AB Inflatables, Achilles Inflatables, Walker Bay Inflatable Boats). They're on a little side street in Eastport right behind the Chart House restaurant.

No connection to them. They just did a nice job on my old hypalon dinghy and the price was really reasonable.

Jim
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Old 03-20-2010
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Take a look at the Walker Bay products. Their rigid inflatable looks like the best of both worlds.

I may have to dump my 8-year old Achilles airfloor this year, unless I can get the air leaks under control. I'd like to replace it with something more sturdy.
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Old 03-20-2010
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I've got a SandPiper 8, which I believe is made of the same material as the WaterTender. Their decent little dinghies for the money, but the "plastic" material does degrade after several years of sun and water. Mine has some cracks and color fading, but she's still seaworthy.
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Old 03-20-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T37Chef View Post
The traditional tenders/dingy is not very stable but properly taken care of they could last years...
T37,

I bristle whenever I hear the statement about traditional tenders not being stable. Many people have formed that opinion, based on experience with some unstable designs that are out there in abundance. But there are plenty of very stable designs -- you just have to learn to distinguish between them.

Try to avoid any dinghy that has a rounded bottom and/or soft or no chine at the turn of the bilge. What you should look for is a flat- or slightly v-bottomed, slab-sided design. I tend to prefer pram-style in the smaller size-range, not only because you get more "volume" for a given length but also because the pram approach allows the design attributes that lead to stability to be carried further forward, improving stability.

The dinghy in your link might work, but it looks a bit heavy (for towing, anyway). I am not a fan of the plastic material, though. Plus, no sailrig, right? For me, lack of a sailrig option would be a showstopper on a hard dinghy. Sailing versatility is one of the great things about hard dinghies.

If you do plan to tow, I would get a first hand account of how well that Watertender does for towing before purchasing. Usually for towing, you want a dinghy that will easily get up on a plane. I have my doubts about that tri-hull.

I think you know what I like (check out the CLC Eastport Pram, or Passagemaker Dinghy). But if you don't want to build your own, the Dyers, while not prams, are stable and make good sail-trainers for kids or adults.
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Old 03-20-2010
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Jim,

Thanks, I've been there more times than I would like to admit . I agree with your comments, but I just cant justify the $$ on these things anymore. I brought my boat by to get a quote on repairing the rub rail from them, I might as well buy a new boat .
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRPollard View Post
T37,

I bristle whenever I hear the statement about traditional tenders not being stable. Many people have formed that opinion, based on experience with some unstable designs that are out there in abundance.
You nailed it there, I formed my opinion from exactly what you describe, a rounded bottom sailing dingy

Thanks for the reminder btw, another reason for wanting new dingy is I want one the kids can sail! That deletes the one I posted above.

Wow, that Eastport Pram is sweet! It would look real good hanging off my davit.
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Old 03-20-2010
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I don't own a WaterTender, but I borrowed one once. It rowed surprisingly well. MUCH better than an inflatable. You row your butt off in an inflatable, but the WaterTender actually had some "glide" to it and has good directional stability.

I've soured on inflatables for the same reasons as you.

My cat doesn't like the inflatables becuase there's always a little water sloshing around in them somewhere that's hard to get out, and his paws get wet. Awwwwww.

The WaterTender has a nice interior that's easy to keep dry. And drink holders!

The plastic they're made of doesn't seem to be as thick or as durable as what's found in a kayak, or in the Walker Bay hard dinghies, but they seem to hold up for many years here in Michigan...couldn't say how they'd do in southern climes.

If we weren't getting kayaks, the Walker Bay 10 would probably be first on my list, as I perceive them to have a little more rugged bottom. The WaterTender would be a close second. Maybe not as rugged, but when you factor in the low price of $599, it's a contender.

Third on my list would be the Porta Boat. I believe they make 8, 10, and 12 footers (I"m too lazy to check). They cost more, but are impressive. Nicely made, with the obvious advantage of folding flat. Ask Sailing Dog about them.
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Old 03-20-2010
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ever look at something like dinghy-dogs? Basically strap on tubes for you dinghy that add stability and weight capacity

Nate
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Old 03-20-2010
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I think you're looking at the dingy we bought last year for family use (ie "kids on board").

It has been described as "just right" for what we were looking for. A stable boat that could be rowed and handle the engine we have. No worries with small kids on board.

We have not tried pulling it behind our boat while sailing.

For the last 7 years prior, we used an inflatable that we picked up at Costco for $70. It became difficult to repair, but we decided after that much time it didn't owe us a thing.
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