Greetings, While I am probably in the minority I Am a strong advocate of a rigid dinghy. Most hard dinghys will probably not be able to plane, ie. be as fast, as a inflatable.I do believe they are more durable,will have a longer life, and are less expensive.
My wife, two kids and I sail Lake Superior.We anchor out a great deal,about three nights a week for almost six months out of the year.Our last boat was a very beamy Gulfstar with a wide transom. On that boat we used a extra wide 12'' aluminun boat as our dinghy and loved it.While it may not have looked extremely "yachty" it was stable and durable being pulled up on beaches and rocky shorelines.The boat we now have is longer, but not as beamy so we purchased a Pelican Scorpio which is 10''+ long and just over 5'' wide.I like this for a dinghy,but before we go cruising in the near future I will have a custom aluminum dinghy made as I believe that is more durable then the Pelican Scorpio.I now many local sailors who use inflatables and like them,but in some cases I now they receive very little use, but need patching yearly...Good luck,Dave
We use a Pischel inflatable with a rigid floor. Pischel was one of the first to make rigid-bottomed inflatables and the work and materials are superb. They use a sandwich material with Hypalon on the outside so the inflatable weathers very well. It planes well and has a superior load capacity. Plus it isn''t nearly as tippy as the hard dinghys I''ve used.
I just got rid of my hard dingy and went for the best of both worlds. A rigid hulled (aluminum) hulled inflatable. We got (OK, my wife bought it and I bought the engine) a 9 ft Aquapro that (weighs only 74 pounds) because the kids kept banging and scratching the hull of the boat when they rowed the hard one back alongside. The rigid hull planes easily (with an 8 hp Yamaha and two people) and hold four without problems while it still rows (tracks) like a rigid hull and is far easier on the hull. I''d suggest its a good compromise but then they are a lot more expensive too.