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post #11 of 31 Old 11-19-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Hard vs Soft

More food for thought. I don't like the thought of rowing. That is like physical labor. I'm old and retired and gave that foolishness up. Seriously though, you all have given us a lot of great input. Thanks.
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post #12 of 31 Old 11-19-2012
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Re: Hard vs Soft

Depending on where you'll use it, think about getting in either from the water and plan for it. Especially important if you're going to be snorkeling or diving from it. Different designs of both hard and inflatables have different pros and cons with regard to this, so it's not a clear decision one way or the other.

FWIW, we've used hard on charters, but for our own boat we first had a roll-up inflatable then switched to a RIB. RIB is harder to stow, but the planing ability won out. Would get the RIB all over again.

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post #13 of 31 Old 11-19-2012
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Re: Hard vs Soft

Another point in favor of an inflatable. In an MOB situation you can roll the MOB into an inflatable.

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post #14 of 31 Old 11-19-2012
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Re: Hard vs Soft

As Carolyn suggested, how will you use it? We were incredibly happy with our Walker Bay, rowing out to the mooring or rowing in the creek our house backed up to -- until we moved aboard full time. Then, the stability and planing ability of the "gray rubber boatie" (as our Bahamian acquaintance called it) won out. 10-ft Brig RIB with 10 hp outboard. Mandatory for cruising where current and distance is an issue. Rowing is fine for lakes, but just won't get you far enough on big water.


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post #15 of 31 Old 11-19-2012
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Re: Hard vs Soft

Inflatables are not alike. Probably for the OP, one with an hard bottom will tick many cases.

For me, after having researched a lot and having considered as priorities lightness and easy motion trough the water I have chosen these ones:

Plastimo Fun Series Pi320vb for Sale. Row Boat, Dinghy, Tenders - Boat Sales 8217 - Yacht & Boat

http://www.yachtandboat.com.au/uploa...ments/1166.pdf

They are not normal platimo tenders and these ones unfortunately (for me) are expensive.

Their advantages: a 3.2m tender weights 33kg, has a high pressure V bottom (actually the interior bottom is not plane but in V) and I am not talking about the ones that have a normal pressure bottom, this one is really hard and the bottom is made with a heavy plastic material, can handle a 15hp outboard and can carry legally four adults or 736kg. The bottom has flaps to make it easy to plane at speed.

As it is light it also offers less resistance when towed.

And of course, can be folded for the winter and stowed inside the boat.
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post #16 of 31 Old 11-19-2012
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Re: Hard vs Soft

In the Caribbean cruising community I would guess there are 20 inflateables for every hard dink. Most of those being RIBs
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post #17 of 31 Old 11-19-2012
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Re: Hard vs Soft

We've had everything from a plywood pram, fiberglas pram, fiberglas dinghy with stowable sailing gear, roll-up inflatable, and now a hard bottom inflatable. The plywood pram is long gone, but we still have the rest of the fleet.

Here's my take: the hard dinghies are easier to row, but are tippy and can be a problem at a crowded dinghy dock. I've seen then swamped, apparently by thoughtless inflatable folks who weren't careful. You can drag them over shells without concern except for cosmetics. The roll-up was convenient, but a lot of work to stow and reinflate. It was hard to row, especially against the wind and needed the 4 hp motor to deal with currents. We sliced it unexpectedly once and barely got it from the beach to the mother ship in time to remove the motor and dinghy from the water. We subsequently got retractable wheels that were great.

We eventually got a 10.5 ft hard bottom inflatable with a 10 hp engine with a total weight of about 300 lbs. (All of our other dinghies are in the 140 lb or less category.) We are resigned to towing it and dragging it up on the beach or anchoring just off the beach. We put up with the drag because this dinghy is noticeably drier, more stable and can more easily handle extra gear, like folding bikes. With the 10 hp motor it can be a tug for our 35 ft sailboat if needed. To avoid having to use bottom paint, we haul it up on a fixed dock via a small crane when we're in our home port.

If you intend to beach a dinghy where there is some wave action, the inflatables are clearly more suited than hard dinghies, especially when heading back out from the beach. An inflatable is a lot less likely to get swamped and capsize especially when boarding.

Walker Bay has a hard dinghy that can be equipped with an optional flotation ring that might represent a middle ground, but we passed it over as being too small for our needs.
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post #18 of 31 Old 11-19-2012
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Re: Hard vs Soft

I was considering getting an inexpensive "blow-up" boat to keep as an emergengy dinghy for my first overnight sail... after viewing the price, I decided to just tow my brothers kayak (or let it sit on the bow)...

Not sure if that adds to the argument, but it is my perspective!
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post #19 of 31 Old 11-19-2012
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After a hard night ashore falling head first into an inflatable hurts less
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post #20 of 31 Old 11-20-2012
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Hard vs Soft

I would add that the stability of an inflatable is a huge plus. Loading or unloading kids or less nimble adults is a lot easier when stepping on the gunwale does not tip the boat.
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