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  Topic Review (Newest First)
11-06-2006 11:31 AM
Cruisingdad I haved personally owned several of the boats (Roll-up, HP, and RIB) and as is true of any boat, each one has its positives and negatives.

I will venture out on a limb and tell you what to buy for your boat: a High Pressure Inflatable with an outboard engine.

The RIB is by FAR the best performer and the most stable... but hauling it up on davits and towing it behind is a bear. We lost about a knot on our 38 pulling our RIB... so I can only venture a guess that you would lose at least that too (assuming you are not in large seas). With large seas, you will get a lot of jerking that can be overcome by placing a snubber on the painter (which we use now even on our HP)... but it is still a real pain to use. Thus, I think a RIB is best suited for much larger boats (maybe 40 feet and up) that are less affected by the weight and can handle RIBs being hauled up on davits a lot easier.

The Roll-up is by far the ligthest and easiest to handle. It will quite literally fit into a bag and you can stuff it in the Lazarette. We used this for quite some time on our 32 foot boat, and it works. However, the boat is difficult to handle (no keel, so steering is hard), stepping in and out of the boat with the spongy floor is awkward (especially in rolling seas/beach), and you are very limited on the motor size you can use. If you dont have much money, this is better than nothing... but if you don't mind investing a bit more:

Buy a HP Inflatable. They are expensive, but a good compromise between the two. It is not as stable as the RIB, but really is not a problem. It does not deflate and store as eeasy as a Roll-up, but you still have the option when you want to do it. You can put a larger outboard on it and get pretty good performance (plane out), but not as quickly or as smoothly as a RIB. Still, for your size boat if you have the money, you will end up being happiest with it.

I will go against the previous reccomendations for a sailing dink/hard dink. I have not owned a Walker Bay and not sailed one, but I have given the a close examination and I personally would not make it my primary dink. If you really want a sailing dink, there are much better ones made. But the weight and instability (and cost, of a decent one), is more than most people will be happy with... especially on a 30 foot boat. I have been in smaller sailing dinghies many times, and I will tell you they are a bit squirelly and tender. They are fun to sail... but still not the best choice for a primary dink (again, in my opinion).

If you have specific questions on the model, etc that I have owned and run, you can reply back here or PM me.

Good luck shopping and have fun.

- CD
11-05-2006 06:09 PM
kwaltersmi We use a 10' Zoom by Zodiac. It's a RHI (rigid hull inflatable) with plenty of room for 3 (4 fit without much room for anything else). It's stable, fast, well-made and reasonably priced (~$1,200).

I've used inflatables most of my boating life and wouldn't purchase anything in the future that doesn't have a rigid hull. I like the stability, performance and durability. I've owned a few inflatables with wood floorboards and ultimately haven't been happy. They need maintainence or they'll eventually rot.
11-05-2006 12:09 PM
camaraderie Chris..Well... I love the stability, durability and performance under power and rowing of my RIB. (Caribe)
The downside is that they are relatively heavy compared to pure inflatables but the stability issue with young kids may be an offsetting factor for you. If weight is an issue for you, I would recommend something with a wood or aluminum insert floor for added rigidity and puncture resistance over an air floor model....but the air floor units perform much better under power and when compared to standard floor inflatables. I am not impressed with any hard dinghy for family use or towing unless rigging sails and having a fun boat for the kids is important to you.
11-04-2006 10:41 PM
trantor12020 I don't know much about other hard dinks but I find Walker Bay to be very very tender. You have to know where to step on when boarding or you'll end up capsized. When loaded heavy, you practically losses the free-board. Any small wave or backwash will fill it easily. I would go for an inflatable anytime, even those made in China or Korea ones.
11-04-2006 09:44 PM
Faster Like any boat there are compromises...

Inflatables provide stability, carrying capacity and don't bash up your topsides when tied alongside. But they don't row worth a darn in any kind of breeze and are extremely allergic to oyster beds and sharp rock beaches.

Hard dinghies (and there are some beauties) row well, tow well as long as you have an effective drain plug so that spray doesn't eventually fill them up under tow. They can handle any beach, but are a nuisance alongside at night.

I heartily recommend a sailing dinghy if there are kids involved - start them early. Of course there are few inflatables available but plenty of Sabots, optis, plus the pretty ones that will fill the bill.

Though the Walker Bays are "plastic", they do seem to satisfy the largest number of desirables, especially with equipped with the inflatable add-on and/or the sailing rig.

One more thought: last year we bought two 9.5 foot plastic kayaks. We carried them strapped outside the stanchions and lifelines alongside the cockpit. We spent 8 straight weeks cruising the BC coast including Barkley Sound. We used the kayaks so often that the only time our 3hp motor came off the rail and went on our 8' zodiac was the 4 days we had a family of 4 along with us. They are stable, fun, beach proof and good exercise to boot!
11-04-2006 09:17 PM
T37Chef We have owned our Avon for more than 5 years, only thing I have done is apply some adhesive to the rub rail. It stay inflated on our fore-deck all summer. The design should be based on what you want to do with it, where your going to keep it stored and how much your willing to spend.

Previously we own a Zodiac, didn't last but three years before it need some costly patch work near the transom.
11-04-2006 09:03 PM
labatt I was suprised at Walker Bays. I thought they were great until I spoke with a few people that said they were built cheaply. Also, my R280 inflatable carries more weight than the same size Walker Bay. We've been considering a Walker Bay though since it can be converted to a sailing dinghy. Actually, I haven't been considering it but my 10 year old son has been working on me!
11-04-2006 08:02 PM
Best Dinghy

Thanks everyone...

I love the fatty knees and really like the tinker as well, but boy they are not giving them away. We would be towing the dink around, so it will need to be ralatively the Avon mentioned. I made a rowing pram years ago and it was OK until it got pooped by following seas and viola....instant sea anchor! The Walker Bays are interesting...and can be made to order...what are their prices like? I have been to the website, but they have you constuct your boat and then tell you to print the page out and bring it to your retailer...nice if there is one down the street....but for those of us out here in the wilderness....

11-04-2006 05:06 PM
Gene T I don't think the perfect dink has been built yet, a lot has to do with how you intend to use it. Dinks can be a lot of fun in the marina. We used to leave the big boat at the dock when there was no wind and go exploring in the RIB, lunch and touring. A sailing dink is a blast but has other limitations. Remember that they can also be stolen. Here are some options:

10 foot hypalon RIB with a 15 hp 2 stroke - Ultimate assault boat. fast, stable and fun - will need to be towed and expensive.

fold a boat - can probably store on deck - hassle to assemble and need a small motor.

Fatty knees - sailing fiberglass dink is great for the family to play in and rows well too - doesn't tow well but might fit on deck. Expensive

Tinker - sort of a folding/inflatable RIB with a sail kit - I don't have any personal experience but could be a good compromise.

Roll-up inflatable - easy to store, pain to blow up, small motor. Probably the best option for an ocean crossing cruiser.
11-04-2006 05:00 PM
labatt We have an Avon R280HP - the HP standing for high pressure floor. We have a small Johnson 3.5HP 2 stroke on the back. We bought this as the tender for our Precision 23 and towed it behind with no problem. We lost a little bit of speed, but all 4 of us (575lbs) fit in it without an issue. Avon makes wonderful inflatables that last a long time. The Precision 23 we had was trailerable, so we'd inflate and then deflate the Avon every weekend. We'd carry it in the cockpit of our boat when trailering. Anyway, worked great for us.
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