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  Topic Review (Newest First)
11-18-2012 02:19 PM
Re: Recommend a Dinghy for Cruising Caribbean

A couple of things . . .

I had a RIB, it was stolen off the beach where I live and not wanting to spend a lot of money now, I bought a used air-floor soft bottom dink. Never again. There is no comparison between a soft bottom and a RIB, the RIB is a Ferrari against the Amish cart soft-bottom.

Scratch the aluminium bottom on a rock or coral and it corrodes, drag it up the beach enough times to expose the keel, it corrodes. Successfully painting the damaged ali "out there" is a nightmare. GRP is totally forgiving of damage and in the unlikely event that it does get holed, it is easy to repair.

I'll second the 2 stroke. Lighter, smaller and in my experience uses less fuel. Easier to maintain, often quieter, less costly, how many more reasons are there?

My ideal dink is a 12ft Hypalon RIB with a 3.3hp 2-stroke OB with integral fuel tank. Mercury would be my choice - the only thing I can never understand is why they put the tiller arm on the left side and the gear shift lever on the right??. This combination is what my dnk will be when we go off.
11-18-2012 12:15 AM
Re: Recommend a Dinghy for Cruising Caribbean

Lightning is certainly a wonderful sailing boat, but it might be too much rig for sailing single-handed when the breeze is up. I had a reefing points sewn into my Lightning mail and a storm jib, which helped. I was in my twenties when I had that boat and now, at 50, it seems like a lot of boat for one.
11-17-2012 03:22 PM
Re: Recommend a Dinghy for Cruising Caribbean

I've seen more aluminum bottom dinghies with the issue of the tubes coming unglued from the hull than I have with fiberglass. I believe there are some designs where the tubes are not glued/bonded to the hull so water won't get inside if they are separated. It seems that any small scratch through the paint on the aluminum hull eventually leads to oxidization causing the paint (and glue) to release. I've not seen this to be as big an issue on fiberglass. In the Caribbean most dinghies end up getting drug up on a sandy/rocky beach many times. I vote for a hull made out of unobtainum for it's light weight, strength and resistance to corrosion in the salt water environment.
11-17-2012 01:07 PM
Re: Recommend a Dinghy for Cruising Caribbean

I wanted to go for a 4-stroke as well for the environment's sake but changed my mind quickly when I compared the weight of a 10HP 2-stroke and a 4-stroke in the store; since I'm alone and can easily lift up and carry the 2-stroke, even when the boat is rolling a bit, but wouldn't be able to do that with the same HP-rated 4-stroke. So I still mix oil and gasoline aboard...
If I could change dinghies I'd opt for an aluminum bottomed one, I've been in a couple and they are light and hardy, the only downside I see is that there is a lot less floor space due to the sloping sides.
11-17-2012 12:05 PM
Re: Recommend a Dinghy for Cruising Caribbean


Apologies.. I fully agree with you.. if weight is the most important factor then 2 stroke over 4 stroke -easy... and there are no restrictions in the Caribbean..but the environment does need a leg up from time to time
11-17-2012 11:48 AM
Re: Recommend a Dinghy for Cruising Caribbean

You did not say whether you intend to have vane steering or not. It is very difficult (not impossible, I have seen two boats with it) to have both a vane and davits. If you have a vane then a RIB becomes highly problematic. Because of this we bought a Walker Bay inflatable bottom dinghy. The concept of an air floor is fine since it is light and can be partly or completely rolled up for passages - the Walker Bay has been crap and I would suggest you look at other brands. When we get back I think I will build a nesting dinghy that I can sail or row or use a little outboard for. I have no need to go really fast in a dinghy. I just want a comfortable, safe, dry ride.
11-17-2012 11:19 AM
Re: Recommend a Dinghy for Cruising Caribbean

Originally Posted by Waymar83 View Post
...You will also want a newer 4 stroke outboard. Think about the weight not just the size...
I beg to differ on this matter. There are no 2-stroke limitations in most of the Caribbean and thus a 2-stroke outboard make a lot of sense - easier to maintain, much lighter per output KW and the Tohatsu 9.8 is ubiquitous in most of the Caribbean. I'm on my 4th one with just a clogged float tank to complain of after all the abuse I've heaped on these engines.
Considering the OP wanted "light" I wouldn't recommend a 4-stroke unless you have serious environmental concerns about 2-stroke pollution.
11-17-2012 11:00 AM
Re: Recommend a Dinghy for Cruising Caribbean

I,m looking into the same issue. I currently have a OMC inflatable (with an old Johnson 9hp 2cycle outboard) , very old but its not a RIB. Everyone here in Barbados (and St-Lucia and Antigua) has either an aluminum or fiberglass RIB.

You will also want a newer 4 stroke outboard. Think about the weight not just the size. Also how do intend to haul the engine and inflatable aboard. If your boat is big enough and you have davits, you can go bigger. But...single handed you will want to consider light as you will have to haul at least the engine aboard every time (and put it on the rail, etc..).
10-29-2012 10:05 AM
Re: Recommend a Dinghy for Cruising Caribbean

You will be using your dinghy a lot more than you expect and for a lot longer distances in rougher water than planned. The common engine size of 9.8HP (2-stroke) is sufficient for one-three people in a small dinghy. I would recommend getting a hard-bottomed dingy rather than an inflatable bottomed one, it will make life much better in the long run. Aluminum bottoms are lighter than fiberglass, but the common Caribe or AB models with fiberglass double-walled hulls are great and only a bit heavier.
I regret having gone for a soft-bottomed one this time around - particularly on long rides, i.e. from Marigot to the far end of the Simpson Bay Lagoon in St. Martin (a couple of miles in a mix of choppy lagoon waters and deep-swell ocean ones.
10-29-2012 09:55 AM
Re: Recommend a Dinghy for Cruising Caribbean

Get a hypalon rib, [NO PVC NOT EVER] AB or Caribe are the favoured makes out here in the Caribbean.

An 8 ft model with an ali floor is the lightest option and plane with a 10hp.

BUT the heavier 9 ft ribs do better in a chop and a 15 or 18 will pop you up on a plane in a headwind with a load of shopping and some light fouling on the bottom.
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