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S/V "MACKINAC"
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Need thoughts about dinghy's
Should be purchasing a Pearson 35 in a couple of weeks and I will be in need of a dinghy.
Doesn't necessarily need to be "powered"... Can be rowed.
So need thoughts on type... Conventional dinghy or inflatable?
Can I get away with just towing or use some sort of davit system ?
Will be doing some coastal cruising with the need to be ashore at least twice a day (say small dog!!!!!)
Thanks

Bill
 

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No easy answer. If you're going to row, you would probably prefer something with a rigid shaped bottom, so that it tracks easier. The whole dink could be rigid, or just a rigid bottom inflatable . I personally prefer the RIB. If weight is an issue, get a single hull version.

If you're coastal cruising, you might get away with towing, if you only sail in benign conditions. Otherwise, you'll want something you can either get on the foredeck or have davits to get it out of the water. Nothing worse that a dinghy that has flipped over, while being towed. Further, the inflatables will float, if this happens. Traditional dinks may hang below the boat on the painter, depending on what weighs them down.
 
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If you want to row, I think you'll need a hard dinghy. An inflatable is impossible to row against any real wind or chop, whether it's a RIB or not. You can build your own in marine plywood and epoxy using the stitch-and-glue method for very little money (have a look at Danny Green's Chameleon, for example) or buy a ready-made one like a Walker Bay. I just built a Chameleon and it's not difficult for an amateur builder. Rows and tows like a dream! Also, as it's a nesting dinghy, it takes up very little space on deck (no need for davits).
 

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If you need to row it, go borrow an inflatable, and go for a row in moderate wind. Even the rigid bottom inflatables, row pretty badly.

That's one of the many reasons, I got rid of my inflatable and went to an eleven foot Boston Whaler tender. It's heavy, but it rows like a dream.

Nice when you need to make a short trip and don't feel like putting the outboard on.
 

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Consider also the TAKACAT catamaran dinghy. www.takacat.com

My experience and thoughts:

boat came with a Walker Bay 8. Rowed extremely easily. Very unstable, but you can get the inflatable bulwark thingies. Very limited as to capacity; I was nervous with 2hp Elgin, me, and a big load of laundry. Couldn't stow it completely away, obviously. I detested it.

found a West Marine (Avon 10) air-floor. Hard to row, but carried a good amount of stuff. Stowable. Difficult to board, and fairly heavy even with the air-floor. Nevertheless, a better boat than the WB AFAIC.

Decided to try the Takacat Lite. So far, is as advertised. Rows pretty well, goes with the 2hp Elgin. Easy to board. Light. Can easily stow it. Floor did develop a leak, and the guy at Takacat contacted a local chandlery who repaired it, so although Takacat is not local, they dealt with the issue locally. the Lite is PVC so I built covers for it. If it dies I'd replace with a Hypalon version.

--oh, BTW, I'd never tow a dink. Did that once on a charter and it was such a pain. I'd pay whatever it took for davits, or get that thing on deck.

thass my story an' I'm stickin' to it
 

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Need thoughts about dinghy's
Should be purchasing a Pearson 35 in a couple of weeks and I will be in need of a dinghy.
Doesn't necessarily need to be "powered"... Can be rowed.
So need thoughts on type... Conventional dinghy or inflatable?
Can I get away with just towing or use some sort of davit system ?
Will be doing some coastal cruising with the need to be ashore at least twice a day (say small dog!!!!!)
Thanks

Bill
We're coastal sailors and have towed and rowed for decades. Our sailing let's us choose our weather and avoid conditions that will cause problems with a towed dinghy(even on an overnight off the coast).

But what you tow makes a huge difference. Some dinghys are designed to tow, most are not. We've been using a Joel White designed Nutshell pram for the last couple decades(this is our second pram tender). This is a big pram, 9'6" long. We've always sailed with kids and dogs(in fact we two small dogs), we need a real boat for a tender.



I like a hard dinghy for the simplicity, just oars(and we carry a sail rig for it). It's reliable, simple. And we like to row, the excercise, quiet gunkholing, dinghy sailing, it's part of coastal sailing for us.

If the rowing and simplicity are not what you're after, an inflatable could be a better choice, especially over a hard dinghy that is not designed to tow well. Putting most hard dinghys on deck for coastal sailing would be too tedious for most people. I've never put either of our prams on deck(too big)
 

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Old soul
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Our solution for the past seven years has been a 10' Portabote. It folds and stows easily along our side deck. It is very light compared to an inflatable, making it easy to row and motor. It manages a large load, can take a small outboard, and rows very well. You can tow it if need be, but unless we're only going on a short hop and are very confident of the forecast we always bring it up on deck. It only take 10-15 minutes after all.
 

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inflatable dinks dont row well.
walker bay 8 is a tender tender.
fits on deck tho....

i upgraded from wb8 to wb10 with happiness, and still fits on my coach house under my main boom, but my boat i s huge.

friend was towing a hard dink and painter got caught in the prop, causing all kinds of mayhem including shipwreck. tow isnt always the best method of transporting dinghy. yes he had been cruising the same waters over 6 yrs.
here, a towed ding is someone elses dinghy. they go gone.
 

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It depends! Ha!

We have both a Dyer and Avons. I row both. I enjoy the time it takes me to get to out to the mooring. It isn't a lot of work to row a dinghy. Sometimes it is rough and I have to tack into the wind or plan my crab angle to make it. There are times when I enjoy drifting with the wind if it is working for me.

Your question is which one? The Avon! Hands down! The convenience of having a rubber dink wins! The added difficulty of rowing a soft dinghy doesn't amount to that much. It is valuable upper body exercise. The Avon is more stable. It can be dragged up on shore with ease. It comes aboard easily. It can be deflated and stowed. It doesn't "bang" into the boat. It will handle a 2hp obm easily if rowing is a problem. On most inshore days along the Maine coast I just tow it. If I am going "outside" on a busy day I drag it up against the transom. If it looks like I won't need it for a couple of days it and am headed "outside" I deflate it and stow it. A good custom cover for your towed inflatable makes towing much simpler and safer. One of my Sailnet friends built himself a beauty and posted it here in "low buck projects". Thanks Rik. It is on my "to do" list.

Get both!;)

I keep a 16' rowing P-Pod at the dinghy dock for days when I want to go for a row. It is a boat I copied from an old cedar canvass Morris pod I have had for 40 years. The one at the dock is Kevlar. Light, fast, capable and fun. I do have a pole mounted radar reflector at the stern.

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I still row my Whaler for exercise on the bay near where we live sometimes. I will usually row all the way across the bay and back, over two miles. I have learned to take the motor off, because, with the motor on, so many people assume I have broken down, and come over to try and tow me in (because, what idiot would row a boat with a working motor? :D).

It's amazing how far, and fast, you can row a good hard shell dinghy. I have an electric trolling motor I use sometimes to (30 pounds of thrust) and I can row about twice as fast as it will push the boat on full throttle. :D

I always wondered what people with inflatables plan of action was, if they ever had a motor failure with a breeze or current taking them out to sea.

Inflatables have a lot of good qualities, but what happens when the motor quits, isn't one of them.
 

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I have a small Achilles (LS-2) inflatable with a 2HP Yamaha 2-stroke. Tows well and the engine is only 22 lbs so easy to move back and forth. Actually rows OK. If necessary, I can put the inflated dinghy on the foredeck. Works for me.
 

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It depends! Ha!

We have both a Dyer and Avons. I row both. I enjoy the time it takes me to get to out to the mooring. It isn't a lot of work to row a dinghy. Sometimes it is rough and I have to tack into the wind or plan my crab angle to make it. There are times when I enjoy drifting with the wind if it is working for me.

Your question is which one? The Avon! Hands down! The convenience of having a rubber dink wins! The added difficulty of rowing a soft dinghy doesn't amount to that much. It is valuable upper body exercise. The Avon is more stable. It can be dragged up on shore with ease. It comes aboard easily. It can be deflated and stowed. It doesn't "bang" into the boat. It will handle a 2hp obm easily if rowing is a problem.

Get both!;)

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Yup, pretty much my thoughts, too... But if he's just gonna be cruising coastally around Maine, towing a small rigid dink will work, as well...

To the OP, whatever you do, please don't even THINK about putting davits on such a sweet boat... :)


 

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Bill,

Congratulations on your P-35, I've had one since 2001 (1980 hull #481). While I don't cruise with a dog I have friends who do, and I can tell you when you have dog duty you do not want to be rowing twice a day. If you decide to row then as other posters have noted a hard dinghy is the way to go because inflatables do not row very well.

Since I imagine you'll have a stern swim ladder an inflatable will allow you to step on the tubes and get into your boat without having to deploy the swim ladder every time you go aboard. I typically use the ladder only when guests are coming aboard or if we are going to be going up and down it a lot (and of course for swimming.) Last year I replaced my old inflatable with a new PVC inflatable from Coastal Inflatables in NH. I went with the aluminum deck and so far so good.

Our sailing is limited to coastal cruising, and we tow our inflatable when we bring it with us. We have a motor caddy that allows us to pull the outboard off the dinghy and store it on a wood block on the stern rail. Taking the motor off is kind of a pain, but a lot less work than bringing the entire dinghy on deck. We recently went from a 6 hp to a 9.9 hp. The 6 was a lot easier to handle and our wood block is too small for the 9.9 so now we put the 9.9 in a cockpit locker.

If you get a proper bridal to tow the dinghy you should never have issues about getting the painter caught in the prop. (Especially with where the prop is on P35).

Our boat is kept on a mooring and for me the most important thing is how quickly I can get out to the boat. I'm on the boat multiple times a week, so if I can save 5, 10 or 15 minutes every time I make a trip, it makes a big difference for me.

Good luck with new boat!
 

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Bill, if you decide to go the route of hard dinghy I have a nice Cape Dory 10 for sale that would go perfect with that classic Pearson. Rows and sails like a dream. It comes with oars and a sailing rig. it also has a motor mount on the transom for a small OB. Presently located in Belgrade but I can get it to Portland if you are interested.

 

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Chesapeake light craft sells the kit to built a nesting pram. As my boat is only 23 feet long, the idea of getting an 8 foot pram that unbolts into a 4x4 box in a few minutes is very very tempting
 

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You can probably find a nice used dinghy on Craigslist for less than a CLC kit will cost you new. It is hard to find nesting dinghies used, but rigid dinghies (like my Dyer Dhow and a friend's Ranger Minto) are quite common.

I really like my Dyer Dhow Midget. It is stable and rows very well with 1 or 2 people. It sails pretty well and motors well with a 2hp motor. It fits on the foredeck of my Pearson 28-2 without blocking the anchor locker and while providing decent access to the foredeck. It tows nicely too. I am happy towing much of the time, but consider on-boat storage a requirement in case the weather turns nasty. We use the spinnaker halyard and a 4:1 tackle to make lifting it onto the foredeck pretty easy.
 

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Chesapeake light craft sells the kit to built a nesting pram. As my boat is only 23 feet long, the idea of getting an 8 foot pram that unbolts into a 4x4 box in a few minutes is very very tempting
I'd strongly suggest mocking that nester in cardboard first, and seeing whether you really want to live with it... That is still gonna be a HUGE box on the deck of a 23-footer...

I went south one winter with a nesting Spindrift on my 30-footer... I quickly realized it was not a good solution for me.
 

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I have a mercury air floor inflatable and love it ; Rows well, motors well, tows well, stores well,and can ride on deck. fast set up, comes compleat. very stable....Dale
 

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Been down all these roads...

For general use and 'quiet', an inflatable wins, esp if you've a small outboard. Hopefully there's no need for a large engine so that you can plane (makes it a heavier job to deal with the engine)

Hard dinghies for rowing and the option of a sailing kit.

Our primary tenders when we don't have guests have been couple of 9 foot plastic kayaks. Good for shore ties, exercise, exploration, we kept a roll-up Zodiac below until we had visitors. We upgraded to a small 7.5 foot aluminum RIB this fall, so we'll be towing and stowing on deck again as appropriate, but will continue to carry the kayaks.
 
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