What size dinghy/motor hp for mooring access? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 17 Old 10-11-2009 Thread Starter
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What size dinghy/motor hp for mooring access?

I just officially entered the ocean sailing community with my first large boat purchase today! I now have a Bristol 30 that I am going to keep in Buzzards Bay, MA in a mildly protected marina. The marina has a lot of motor boat traffic and maybe 20 moorings for sailboats (cheap place to get started).

Although inflatables are arguably the least nautical vessel on the water, they are useful, soft, and available. How large of one will be sufficient for accessing my mooring with a group of 2-4 people and weekend worth of stuff? I would think 2 trips would be OK, but 3 would start to get annoying.

Finally, how big of an engine would you recommend?

Thanks for reading!

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1976 Bristol 30, Mariah
Fairhaven, MA
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post #2 of 17 Old 10-12-2009
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Oars. Pilot gig. Be cool, not a tool.
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post #3 of 17 Old 10-12-2009
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If you are going with an inflatable, I would consider a small rigid hull if you don't plan on bringing it with you most of the time. If you have to tow it I find that RIBs tow far better than soft bottom boats. I have a 10' force 4 (From NZ) and a 4 stroke 9.9. I love the boat, carries 4 adults and we stay dry if the water is calm. I do however regret the engine. I find it very heavy to load and offload from my boat and doesn't have the guts that my 2 stroke did. If I could do it over again I would get Yamaha 2 stroke about 15 pounds lighter and you don't have to store it upright like a four stroke. That said a small 6 horse would get me to the boat and back just fine. Oh, the ribs also row much better than soft bottoms.
Do some research, if I could do it all over again I would get a walker bay type boat with the inflatable tube add ons. Slap a tiny outboard on that and your laughing, carry one under each arm.

Last edited by SVPrairieRose; 10-12-2009 at 07:00 AM.
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post #4 of 17 Old 10-14-2009
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Go as big as you can handle, you will regret going small. Two people, fuel cans and supplies take up more room than you think add a third and their gear and a 10 foot dingy gets mighty small. As you have a boat less the 40 foot I suggest a fully deflatable so you can store it inside if going off shore or even costal some of the new air floors fold up quite small.


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post #5 of 17 Old 10-14-2009
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Hey Simon...good to see you back here!

I agree that if you need to ferry more than a couple of people, plus gear in a busy, choppy harbour you'll need more than your minimal 7' inflatable and a 3 hp kicker.

If you plan to take it with you on deck then find the biggest one that you can stow on your foredeck and still sail the boat. This will likely put you up into the 9-10 foot range, and maybe up to about 6-8 hp. You'll also be looking for an outboard davit at that size...

However, without a trailer this may now become problematic to transport if you plan to take it home with you between trips....

As ever, it's gonna be a compromise.


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post #6 of 17 Old 10-14-2009
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You need to get at least an 11.0 inflatable (usually 10'6' or so) to have enought carrying capacity and stability. If you pay the extra for a RIb you will never regret it, they are wonderful dingy's.

Even a 2hp will do the job, a 6hp is quite adequate and 8hp will plane the dingy at 20MPH+ with two POB. More hp is of little value.

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Last edited by sailingfool; 10-14-2009 at 12:28 PM.
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post #7 of 17 Old 12-28-2009
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I was given some good advice on the dink and especially motor sizing. Make sure that your dink and its motor have enough guts to pull your otherwise incapacitated boat to safety in an emergency. For us, that meant 15 HP. As much as I love the four-strokes on all of my other boats, the two's are lighter for the power and easier to service and repair. We have a lifting davit for the motor (and other heavy stuff) and an outboard storage bracket on the rail. If you have to lay the motor down a four stroke may pose issues. (some can be stored horizontal but only in one position)
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post #8 of 17 Old 12-29-2009
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Really nobody else is proposing oars? What is this, motornet?
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post #9 of 17 Old 12-29-2009
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a few thoughts,

If you have a 30 ft boat in buzzards bay, at some point you are going to want to go somewhere: Martha's Vinyard, Nantucket, Block Island, Newport, Cuttyhunk etc etc.

I would want something that I could easily store on deck. I went with a Zodiac inflatable, with air floor/keel. A motor that you could single hand/lift off the dinghy to your boat. (by yourself) The Honda 2hp 4 stroke is very light. (27lbs) Mercury has a 2.5 and a 3 that's a little heavier ( 38lbs) That's as heavy as you'd want to go imho. The mercury 4 hp is 55 lbs, and you will have a hard time getting it onboard your big boat from your dinghy, without help, or a davits.

I went with the 4 hp, thinking I'd use it elsewhere: fishing on lakes etc, which works fine, but it's really overkill for use on my sailboat, as a tender.
I wish I had a lighter outboard when I'm cruising, the 4 hp is too heavy!

If you are loading and unloading passengers and gear for a trip, many people just motor to the dock to do that. You didn't say whether or not there was a dock at your marina.

There are an infinite number of choices in dinghys, I think mine is 10'2"
which is pretty roomy.

If you do choose an inflatable, make sure it's a Hypolon material.

Last edited by tempest; 12-29-2009 at 09:15 AM.
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post #10 of 17 Old 01-02-2010
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Oars only, please. To belabor the obvious: Outboards are heavy, smelly, polluting, and noisy. For a weekend foursome cruise figure two trips in an 8- to 10-foot dinghy to ferry two pairs and gear.
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