I have and love my Minto. It is a beautiful hard shell dinghy that both rows and sails well. You can see photos and adventures with it on my website at https://ben.lobaugh.net/?s=minto
What I love about the Minto
- Elegant, classic looks in the water.
- Proven design. The Minto has been around for a long time. It was the dinghy
to have in the Northwest till RIBs became popular. It is still a more common dinghy to see.
- The wife thinks it is cute and loves it.
- It rows exceptionally well. Smooth and easy through the water. We rowed a mile out from a marina to our anchorage and it was a piece of cake. Good speed while rowing too.
- It sails like a boss! I regularly get it into the 4 knot range. The Minto is amazingly stable under sail. The wife and I love to go out sailing in it. You sit on the bottom, not on the benches.
- It easily accommodates my wife and two dogs (Lab, Boxer), and myself.
- Easy to get in and out of. Sure it is tippier than a RIB, but once you know how to get in it is easy. I life my dogs by hand over the transom of my Lancer 36 and plop them down into the Minto no problem.
- Super tough fiberglass shell with teak railing.
- Sail rig is easy to set up, can be set up in a couple minutes.
- Sail slides up a track, not a sock! You can raise and lower the sail on demand. There is also a lot of tweakability on the sail, which the racer in me likes. In fact there is a small collections of Mintos on Lake Union, Seattle and we race each other when we are not on our "big boats".
- If desired you can put an up to 4 hp motor on the back.
- Neutrally buoyant. Yes, I filled one to the gunwales with water to test it. The Minto on the back of my neighbors boat
- Tracks really well when towed. Hardly feel any pull when it is behind my big sailboat.
What I do not love about the Minto
- It can noisily bang the hull. This is not truly a detractor from the boat itself. The issue is endemic to any hard shell dinghy. Figure out how to tie it up properly and there will be no issue. That first night on anchor that is smacked the hull was like an alarm waking me up! Now it is a non-issue.
- Tippier than a RIB. Duh, this is by design of most hard shells vs RIBs. Spend some time with it and you will quickly learn how to deal with the tippiness. Non-boaters get nervous getting in and out of the boat the first few times. I have a RIB also, which I recommend you keep around. It provides a lot of flexibility when cruising when you can decide which dinghy to bring based on wh will be with you.
- Space it tighter than a RIB. Even the smallest RIBs let you sit right on the gunwale without issue. In the Minto you have to be inside. I mentioned my wife, two dogs, and myself fit but there is not much room left. It is not uncomfortable, just full. This is an issue with any hardshell.
Overall I highly recommend the Minto. Great boat. Rows and sails awesome. Looks great.
Here is a pic of my buddy sailing it in the infamous Seattle Duck Dodge race