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  #11  
Old 01-24-2010
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Dinghies and outboards

I'd second the recommendation about Hyphalon over PVC.

For best portability, consider a 2-3hp and a dinghy style that rolls up completely. I had an Avon for years with a 2HP Honda and stowed it in a lazarette in a Catalina 25. After a long cruise, it could be pulled out and launched in 10 minutes.

If you want to consider deck storage, most Zodiacs are at a disadvantage. West Marine, Achilles, Avon and many others have three air chambers for the hull (plus the inflatable keel); you can deflate just the bow and lash down a smaller package on deck. Most Zodiacs have a port and starboard chamber eliminating the option to shorten through partial deflation.

I've used 2, 4, 6 and a 7.5 on various inflatables. Size is determined by how you are going to use the dinghy. If you have to travel more than a few hundred yards out to a mooring or will take the dinghy in tow when coastal cruising, the littlest motors (including electrics) have some limitations. But, the little ones can be removed and rail stowed without a davit/hoist.

I currently have a 7.5 and like the ability to really scoot when solo and still plane with two aboard. This next season is my first with this combination and, having no davit/hoist, I'll need to keep it on the transom and tow the dinghy when cruising.

Oars only can have some serious limitations. You don't want to venture very far from your mooring and need to be very cautious when cruising. Inflatables don't row well (they don't carry the momentum of the oar thrust) and wind, current and tide can sometimes prevent you from getting to or from where you want to go.

You'll have oars on any of your choices. Use them as much as practicable, yeah. But be careful about having no outboard.

A good electric trolling motor is an excellent choice; you can buy inexpensive solar panels that will keep the battery topped off.

Here's some more information you may find handy.

Dinghy selection overview

Hull type selection

Hull material and floors
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Old 01-24-2010
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Seems to me that Oars, Sculling or even Paddles are an option at this point.

Paddles: Ok not for everybody but I grew up with Canoes and they can do much more than people think. In this case it would have to be moored when the sailboat is in use so it has to float high when flooded. As well the passengers really will have to pitch in some times. Not likely a good first choice here.

Sculling Single Oar: I like what I see and some paddle strokes are similar so my next tender will have this option. Not sure why these are not more popular, I guess I'll find out.

Rowing: This seems like a good first option here but it would have to be an actual row boat. Rowing is not popular because power boats and Inflatable’s are really not row boats so few people have experienced a good row. Rowing, like sculling, gives a mechanical advantage that paddles do not have (though paddles more versatile) so can really power a boat through the rough stuff even loaded. It can be tricky getting a well balanced, dry, easy to handle row boat that can carry a load but once you try one of these you will love it. I would suggest looking for one of these to be the ferry boat and have an inflatable on board.

BUT the easiest thing is to get an inflatable that can be stored on the boat, then a small outboard (don’t forget Tohatsu), and keep an eye out for a cheap good ferry boat.
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Old 01-24-2010
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How come nobody's mentioned the porta-bote yet?

So far it's been, "oars!" "oars!" "you can't have oars, your inflatable won't go anywhere"
...

Porta-Bote Boat Reviews - Portable small Boats folding porta boat fishing review polypropylene

It's a hard bottom that folds, glowing reviews, quite durable, not cheap. I've been pinging craigslist daily trying to snag a used one.
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Old 02-11-2010
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NB - I've hit a couple of other posts that mentioned the Porta-Bota and got no response. I'm very interested in this option but can't find much "Real Life" experience from the sailing community with them. I like the weight, size, capacity, etc. But, it's like the "Too Good To Be True" scenario from most Infomercials. I found a few fishing types that seem to like their boats but like I said - no response from any sailors.
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Old 02-11-2010
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The biggest challenges I see with a portaboat on a monohull under 40 feet is storage and assembly. yeah,it folds into a relatively flat package, but it is still 11' long and 2' high. You can strap it to the stanchions, or the stern rail, but it just becomes 22 sq ft of additional windage. Then, you need to find room on deck to assemble it.
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Old 02-11-2010
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BL - good point - I didn't consider the windage issue. But I did find another post on this - http://www.sailnet.com/forums/seaman...html#post51012. It's a little old and I'm still looking for more info and if anyone has tried hanging it from davits. Durability will be an issue for me up north with rocky shorelines.
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Old 02-11-2010
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i will never forget the comic videos of some poor slob trying to deploy/assemble one of thos folding boats. I am laughing as I type. He straddled the thing trying to open and lock it, with a foot on each gunwale and it lept up and swallowed him like a venus fly trap. In an instant, there was nothing in the photo but the placid, still folded boat.
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