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Old 11-19-2012
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Hard vs Soft

I know everyone has one but I would still like to hear opinions on inflatable vs. hard dinghies. We are trying to decide and would like to hear pro/cons from folks that know.
Thanks in advance for any input.
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Old 11-19-2012
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Re: Hard vs Soft

Hard dinghies
Pros
easier to row
less expensive
do not deflate

Cons
harder to stow
can bang against hull

Inflatables (RIB)
Pros
can be easier to stow
do not bang against hull

Cons
harder to row
difficult to repair
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Old 11-19-2012
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Re: Hard vs Soft

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
Hard dinghies
Pros
easier to row
less expensive
do not deflate

Cons
harder to stow
can bang against hull

Inflatables (RIB)
Pros
can be easier to stow
do not bang against hull

Cons
harder to row
difficult to repair
Nice summary.. and I agree.. have had both, liked the row-ability of a hard dinghy, and their oyster/rock/barnacle proof nature. Didn't like the hassle of fending them off alongside overnight, though eventually found that pipe insulation along the gunwales worked well...

Have sliced an inflatable open on an oyster shell.. not fun and rather inconvenient, but carrying capacity and quiet wins out IMO, esp if you're doing a lot of ferrying ashore. Small motor is pretty much a necessity, though.

We use a small roll up inflatible with 3 hp engine when we have guests, otherwise mainly use a couple of plastic kayaks.
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Old 11-19-2012
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Re: Hard vs Soft

Thanks for the replies. Food for thought that I will munch on for a while.
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Old 11-19-2012
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Re: Hard vs Soft

I'm not absolutely convinced about inflatables being easier to stow. A decent sized one is big, bulky and surprisingly heavy. While they'll stow in a cockpit locker getting the bloody thing in and out is a damnable nuisance, to such an extent that we now leave ours permanently stowed on deck presumably meaning that one of these days it is bound to get nicked. A smallish (say 8') non inflatable stows quite easily on deck and to some extent is less of a nuisance than an inflatable. Smaller than 8' and solid dinghys lose their rowing qualities.

Smaller boats than say 40' will have problems stowing the hard dink up front but then they also tend to have less capacious cockpit lockers. Its no good thinking about stowing a hard dink aft of the main mast cos you then lose your vang.
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Last edited by tdw; 11-19-2012 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 11-19-2012
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Re: Hard vs Soft

Porta-botes bridge the gap, stowable, lighter, rowable and resistant to damage.

on the other hand they are ugly.

All boats are compromises
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Old 11-19-2012
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Re: Hard vs Soft

Here are a few more thoughts from SN'ers:

Cheap Dingy
Dinghy vs Porta Bote
Rigid Inflatable Dingy
Looking for a good dinghy for a 33 ft yacht
http://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-m...ed-advice.html
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Re: Hard vs Soft

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
Porta-botes bridge the gap, stowable, lighter, rowable and resistant to damage.

on the other hand they are ugly.

All boats are compromises
A recent story, this past summer.. One of our club members had bought a portabote over the winter, and was very happy with it.. rowed alright, stable, stowable etc etc. On the July long weekend they were departing for a little jaunt to a nearby beach in company with a few other dinghies. One of the RIBs accelerated past the portabote a bit too close, I suppose, and before anyone knew it the portabote was upside down, two people and a dog in the water. No warning, not a big wave really, just a bad catch..

However the swimmer still owns it, so I guess he's still OK with it. SNer erps has been using the portabote for quite some time and seems satisfied too..
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Re: Hard vs Soft

It's all about compromises and what works for you. For me I wanted a good rowing dinghy that was lightweight. I bought a used nesting dinghy so i can tow it or store it (nested) on deck behind the mast. It rows beautifully, and I'm happy not to have to deal with an outboard and carrying gasoline on board.

The downside is that it's a pram style and its flattish bow can be noisy (slapping) at anchor.
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Re: Hard vs Soft

Quote:
I'm not absolutely convinced about inflatables being easier to stow. A decent sized one is big, bulky and surprisingly heavy. While they'll stow in a cockpit locker getting the bloody thing in and out is a damnable nuisance, to such an extent that we now leave ours permanently stowed on deck presumably meaning that one of these days it is bound to get nicked-TDW
We stow ours on the foredeck when not on davits. It has a full Sunbreela cover the Admiral made with elastic hem while in the davits or on the deck fully inflated. We also have a smaller one for when it is stored deflated. Takes a minute to cover All this so it doesnt get nicked or catch the UV Rays

Dave
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