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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I started this project about a year ago and worked on it sporadically when I had the time or inclination. It's made of marine hardwood ply and epoxy, sheathed in fiberglass cloth and resin. It wasn't hard to build and the instructions that were provided were clear (and Danny Green answered any questions by email). I'm making a pair of laminated wood oars and as soon as I've finished I'll take my new dinghy down to the boat. Then I'm going to have a ritual burning of a leaky inflatable that has given me nothing but heartache for a few years ... :)

Here are a few pics.
 

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Looks like top notch workmanship. Having seen the Chameleon in use by a family of 2 adults and 3-4 little kids, I think it's a great design for a nester. Small nesting package but big enough to be a real working dinghy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the kind words. I'm not sure it's "top notch workmanship", but from a distance it looks pretty darn good. It is strong and tough though, and that's what I was looking for. It's a big dinghy (just over 10 feet) and I hope it'll be big enough for the 4 of us. Nested it's quite a bit smaller than my inflatable. I'll store it behind the mast on the coach roof. I do worry about getting it on and off the boat alone though - each half weighs about 45lbs (20 odd kilos) and is awkward to handle alone. It can be assembled in the water. I'll post more pics once it's in the water and of the laminated oars.

And Jon, I'll buy my daughter a pair of sunglasses! Poor thing. :)
 

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Awesome job, having built a non-nester I can appreciate the level of effort.

Can you use your main halyard perhaps with a bridle to launch and retrieve?
 

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It would be great to see a photo of it nested.

T I do worry about getting it on and off the boat alone though - each half weighs about 45lbs (20 odd kilos) and is awkward to handle alone.
I use the spinnaker halyard and a 4:1 block and tackle to assist lifting our 90lb rigid dinghy out of the water. It's possible for me to do it solo, but it is a lot easier with some assistance. A 45lb section should be quite a bit easier to do solo.

Dead lifting a 45lb section from the boat without that assistance would be a lot harder.
 

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It would be great to see a photo of it nested.
{snip}
Center photo -- 3rd in from left or right.

Nice work,Copa!

PS -- and a hat to go with the sunglasses. :)

Sailing Hat
<img src="http://www.navyonline.com/webitemimages/460/604672.jpg">
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Alex and Chuckles, I will probably resort to using a main halyard if I can't wrestle it on board alone. I was hoping I could manage under brute force :). One of the reasons I built a nesting dinghy was to be able to handle the 2 parts alone as well as having a small footprint on deck. If I were single or just a couple I would have shortened the dinghy to 8 feet.

It nests quite snugly.
 

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Very nice job. This is something we are considering doing. Our inflatable has been a royal pain to deal with.
 
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Lifting an ill-balanced rounded awkward shape up over the life lines and away from the boat can be difficult, it's not like dropping a kayak in.

Using a bridle to lift the section up flat, cleat it off when it's say 5 feet over the lines.
Then use a boat pole to push it outboard and a single hand to uncleat and lower it.

If that doesn't work, make a painter line up to the section, lead it forward and around a block at the bow. Lift the section as before, then when it's up use the painter to pull the boat forward which will eventually get it over the side as the boat narrows at the bow.

Alternatively, put a gate in the life lines and toss it over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Very nice job. This is something we are considering doing. Our inflatable has been a royal pain to deal with.
Killarney, I got so tired of my inflatable letting me down that I finally decided to build this nesting dinghy. One of us had to go... :)

Also, I like to row and the inflatable just doesn't go into chop or wind. I don't have an outboard and don't want the hassle of having one, so I really had no choice but to go with a hard dinghy. I also appreciate the fact that a hard dinghy is tough and can take being abused very well. I think I'll only miss my inflatable when landing on beaches in a surf!... :eek:
 

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Alex and Chuckles, I will probably resort to using a main halyard if I can't wrestle it on board alone. I was hoping I could manage under brute force :). One of the reasons I built a nesting dinghy was to be able to handle the 2 parts alone as well as having a small footprint on deck. If I were single or just a couple I would have shortened the dinghy to 8 feet.

It nests quite snugly.
The one I saw last summer was launched off the foredeck of a 30' sailboat. The husband and wife lifted and dropped each section gently over the lifelines. It was easy for them.

As to putting it together, she got into the stern section off a sugar scoop in their transom(just a slim ledge). Then she put it together is seconds. I remember thinking, wow, that was easy.

Then they loaded 3 or 4 little kids, and headed to the beach(she rowed). They did it a lot faster than the fastest inflation-outboard set up, ever.

With that load, it was overloaded but they knew it and prepared accordingly. They knew what they were doing. With one our two adults, it would row quite nicely.

Here they are assembling it;



And here they are loaded and off.

 

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Thanks for the photos of it nested, I was going to ask. I happened to be reading about the Chameleon last night, so it was timely to see this post today!
 
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