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During 20-25 years sailing on charters and with own boat on the Maine coast I have always towed. Never once had any dinghy on deck. Most have been RiBs with the engine on the dink. Never once had any problems. RIBs in my opinion are very stable when towing with or with out the engine. Possibly because of their low cent of gravity their resistance to almost any kind of tipping. The waters in general vary from very protected to fairly exposed to the ocean swells but protection in most instances is fairly close. The greatest concern I had was with a non RIB inflatable w/o an engine. Just seemed too light and easy for the wind to get underneath it. Still it never did.

In other than very calm waters I will tow with two lines, one from the port and starboard cleats. This makes it possible to really fine tune the location of the dinghy, both in distance from the boat and side to side as needed depending on the wind and wave conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 · (Edited)
Whoa Jon and Christian. I listened to you guys last year and thought it would be cool to row and it sucked! I almost got in fights daily.

"Nice rowboat boy, your mom get that fer ya?"

"No your mom did, I just dropped her off"

You get it.

This one is fun. I tried it the other day for the first time. It's like a jet ski practically.

Back to reality. Here is my pushpit. Do you think it looks too big for standard store bought solutions?
 

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Whoa Jon and Christian. I listened to you guys last year and thought it would be cool to row and it sucked! I almost got in fights daily.

"Nice rowboat boy, your mom get that fer ya?"

"No your mom did, I just dropped her off"

You get it.
Really? I spent about 7 weeks cruising in the same grounds as you, rowing or sailing the dinghy almost all of the time, and never had any of those comments. I know you were out for longer, but I'd assume that if you got multiple comments that I would hear at least one.

I spent a lot of my evenings rowing around anchoring grounds and had a lot of nice conversations with other sailors that would have been impossible had my outboard been going.

I don't like rowing inflatables. I've been curious about RIBs, but haven't tried one. I'm not sure that I get the advantage of a RIB over a rigid dinghy, it seems like the 8' RIBs out there are heavier than rigid dinghies and have the disadvantages of a rigid dinghy (storage is hard) and of an inflatable (they can deflate). I do get the advantage of an inflatable, they pack down small. I used one on my 25' boat for that reason.
 

· Shanachie, Bristol 30
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Rowing is the classier way to go.

With a good rowing dinghy, you can work up a good speed. Not to mention avoiding gasoline on board, fiddling with a finicky outboard, disturbing people in the harbor with wake and noise, etc.

I have an inflatable due to the size of my boat and have found that it rows OK with longer oars. I keep a Yamaha 2hp on the stern rail for longer trips, but prefer to row.

Of course, the problem with rowing is that you have to be in some kind of shape to do it. If you aren't strong enough to pull a dinghy aboard with a mast winch, you aren't going to be able to get any speed with a rowing dinghy. You also won't be able to get the outboard onto the stern rail.

So towing a dinghy with an engine on board becomes the only option.
 

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Heard a quote that went something like; "the best laid plans of mice and men..."
The biggest problem with all your thoughts about when you will tow, with motor or without, is that you can't control the weather and the seas. And the weathermen are so reliable, aren't they? Whatever you are doing, if the weather does change, you are NOT going to be able to do a darn thing about it underway. You might get away with it 50 times, but on 51, when you've flipped the dink w/the motor on, or filled it with water, or it has broken free and you (singlehanding if I recall correctly?) will probably not be able to recover it, even if you do see it go.
Spend your time and effort designing a efficient and simple way to get the dink aboard for every trip and forget about trying to take short cuts that will probably cost you your dinghy one day. An ounce of prevention....
 

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I spent a lot of my evenings rowing around anchoring grounds and had a lot of nice conversations with other sailors that would have been impossible had my outboard been going.
yeah, it's a pity to see that aspect of cruising disappearing from the scene, the only place I still see it done routinely seems to be Maine. Great way to meet people, simply meandering about a harbor or anchorage by rowing, rather than under power...

I don't like rowing inflatables. I've been curious about RIBs, but haven't tried one. I'm not sure that I get the advantage of a RIB over a rigid dinghy, it seems like the 8' RIBs out there are heavier than rigid dinghies and have the disadvantages of a rigid dinghy (storage is hard) and of an inflatable (they can deflate). I do get the advantage of an inflatable, they pack down small. I used one on my 25' boat for that reason.
You might be surprised how decently some RIBs can be rowed. The key is to use 'real' oars and good oarlocks, as opposed to the crap some inflatables are fitted with. I hate those hinge pin oarlocks that are common, they're virtually worthless, and you can't feather the oars... The Avon style oarlocks are the only way to go, in my view...

I've cruised with just about every kind of tender over the years... As much as I like rowing, and admire small boats that row well, hard dinks for the sort of sailing I do represent way too much drama, are just not a good solution at all. I did one winter trip South several years ago with a Spindrift nesting dinghy, a wonderful little boat... But I quickly came to hate dealing with the hassle of stowing it on the foredeck... At the Miami boat show in February of that year, I bought an Avon Lite RIB, and it has turned out to be the best all-around tender I've ever used, nothing else comes close...

RIBs with a folding transom like the Avon Lite are a great compromise. The folding transom makes all the difference, permitting it to be stowed as a pretty low-profile package on deck, I'm really surprised every manufacturer doesn't offer a folding transom model... They must be noticing the percentage of small sailing yachts now sporting davits, I suppose... :)

 

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Well rowing my AB 9 ft RIB sucks donkey breath.

In light wind conditions, say 7 kts, it is possible to make some slow progress. In typical east Caribbean trade wind conditions the best I can do is control the direction of my down wind drift.

Incidentally I do take the point that better oars and rowlocks might help. I had to row my RIB for real when my 2 year old Tohatsu 18 hp failed catastrophically in Falmouth harbor Antigua. The supplied telescopic oars bent alarmingly and after 50 yards one of the rowlocks peeled of the tube as the glue joint failed.

That is why I ALWAYS carry a dinghy anchor and a 100 ft of line.

Waited for a tow.

Full story on the OB failure and the runaround I got from the supplier here ELEPHANTS CHILD: BUDGET MARINE TOHATSU WARRANTY
 

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north ocean Im not trying to stop you...I have towed many a time including kayaks...and done fine in many different places...however it was not the standard operating way for us...

on small boats you also have handling scenarios that dont happen on bigger boats...

for example on the 37 foot steel cruiser I sailed for a long time it had an rib a really nice one...no davits but it was always stored on deck ready to be deployed...likewewise it had a dedicated hauling winch as well as straps etc...

my point was that if the crap hits the fan what is your plan?

it sounds like you are going to start your cruise with the dink in the water...ok so that means it will always be in the water...no problem

until............

you HAVE to put it on deck...have you tried muscling a 120pounder up on the foredeck? what system do you have?

if you cant youll have to let it go in an emergency and retrieve it at a later date...

anywhoo

I agree with all thats being said with ribs, versus wood slat or soft floor dinghies its true...but its also true that those smaller dinghies are more practical for the small boat sailor...

even storing in a lazarette makes you less susceptible to windage not to mention having it fly off or get sun damaged etc...

on my old wooden boat we kept a zodiac at the forward mast covered..it took 10 minutes to deploy...not good in an emergency but better than nothing...a ready to use dinghy would of been great I can do that now on this boat...just keep it 90 percent inflated so it doesnt get too bloated in the sun...

anywhoo....

have fun...
 

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It took a while to find one, but Achillies is making a RIB with a folding transom:
Achilles Inflatable Crafts

At 86lbs it is a little heavier than many rigid (fiberglass, wood, or plastic) dinghies and offers less interior volume. It has much more exterior volume, so it is harger to fit on the foredeck unless you do deflate it. The load capacity is much higher than a rigid dinghy of this size though (most 8' dinghies would have a capacity around 500-600lbs), which could be a big asset if you are often carrying 3 or 4 more passengers. This also should make them more stable to step into.

What is the drama of rigid dinghies that you are referring to?

I don't quite understand the benefits over a rigid dinghy, but I'm glad that you like yours. Sometime I'll have to try rowing one.
 

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Well rowing my AB 9 ft RIB sucks donkey breath.

In light wind conditions, say 7 kts, it is possible to make some slow progress. In typical east Caribbean trade wind conditions the best I can do is control the direction of my down wind drift.

Incidentally I do take the point that better oars and rowlocks might help. I had to row my RIB for real when my 2 year old Tohatsu 18 hp failed catastrophically in Falmouth harbor Antigua. The supplied telescopic oars bent alarmingly and after 50 yards one of the rowlocks peeled of the tube as the glue joint failed.

That is why I ALWAYS carry a dinghy anchor and a 100 ft of line.

Waited for a tow.

Full story on the OB failure and the runaround I got from the supplier here ELEPHANTS CHILD: BUDGET MARINE TOHATSU WARRANTY
funny and sad when I remembered my old cruising frugally days

I had a very old and donated zodiac...no motor just those oars...

down here sometimes when the bus came late and I missed the tides to get to the boat I would have to row in 4-5 up to 6 knot currents...of it was the rainy season...sometimes I didnt make it and had to wait for the next tide in...

I got really good skirting the shores where there is less current go way past the boat up stream if you will, then hammer it rowing like a mad man with the current hopefully not pushing me past the boat which was 300 yards or so from the shore.

jaajaja sometimes I missed and I had to wait at somebody elses boat or anchor chain or whatever...

somtimes I would get a ride, but at night most were asleep so I just waited

patience they say...jajajaja:)
 

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What is the drama of rigid dinghies that you are referring to?

I don't quite understand the benefits over a rigid dinghy, but I'm glad that you like yours. Sometime I'll have to try rowing one.
I just found mine to be far more unwieldy when deploying and retrieving. Much greater risk of doing at least cosmetic damage to the topsides, deck, or the dink itself... Lose control, and drop a 75 lb Spindrift on your deck, you're gonna hurt something, and hard dinghies and Awlgripped topsides often do not a favorable match make... In fairness, much of my frustration with my Spindrift was with the fact it was a nesting dinghy. I know there are those out there who love theirs, but I found dealing with the constant assembly and disassembly an incredible PITA after time, which resulted in my towing it more often, and sometimes in marginal conditions... I find an inflatable so much easier, and more 'forgiving', to bring back aboard, and deflate and re-inflate...

I still use mine from time to time in local waters, but only when I'm alone... Although she love the 'look' of the Spindrift, my GF hates the damn thing :) The Avon is SO much more stable, and a far drier ride, in comparison to the Spindrift, she would be soaking wet after any ride even in a light chop...

'Interior volume' is almost meaningless when comparing inflatables to rigid tenders. You usually sit on the tubes of an inflatable under power, after all... whenever going ashore with a bicycle, or bringing provisions back to the boat, my inflatable comfortably accommodates far more stuff than the hard dink. No comparison regarding stability, one can step on the tubes of the Avon when climbing back aboard, if I tried standing on the gunwale of my Spindrift, I'm going for a swim... And, although I built a lot of floatation into my nesting dinghy, in the event it ever became swamped, I'd be in far more danger than if in the inflatable... Finally, when cruising places like the Bahamas, where one does a lot of swimming or diving/snorkeling from your tender, I've yet to figure out how one gets back into a hard dink from the water - while alone and without someone holding down the opposite side to stabilize it - without half-sinking it, or coming away with a few bruises...

Re TQA's comments about crappy oars and oarlocks on some inflatables, Tom Zydler had a piece in CW recently about modifying Avon-style oarlocks to make them more suitable for 'real' rowing...

How To Modify Dinghy Oarlocks | Cruising World



I love to cite sailors like Tom and Nancy Zydler when countering the popular perception that cruisers really need an SUV-style tender if they're really gonna be 'going places'...

Last I heard, the Zydlers plan to be rowing their tender to and from their boat in freakin' Greenland this summer... :)

Tom and Nancy Zydler interview: Skills most needed for offshore sailing - Ocean Navigator - March/April 2003
 

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That is a nice hack to get real oarlocks on that RIB.

I hear you on a nesting dinghy. I've been tempted by them multiple times, but whenever I think through the reality they seem like a major hassle. I'm sticking with a one part dinghy. My dream one would be a 50lb rigid (perhaps using carbon fiber and foam core everywhere but the hull to get the weight down), but until then my 85lb Dyer Dhow does the job.

I've noticed a huge difference in stability of rigid dinghies. My Dyer Dhow has hard chines and a fairly flat bottom and I can easily stand in it despite it's small size. I have two friends who own Ranger Mintos (a very popular rigid dinghy in this part of the country) and they are a lot less stable due having a rounder bottom, even though they are a much larger boat. I tested a NN10 nesting dinghy and it wasn't as stable as my Dyer either, even though it had almost a foot more beam. The Spindrift looks pretty similar to the Dyer in hull profile, though with a bit more depth in the hull.

I was thinking about interior volume of the RIB while rowing. I'm only interested in dinghies that row well enough that rowing would be my primarily or only means of powering them. I do own a 2hp Honda outboard for the dinghy, but would like to sell it.
 

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I think you all are missing an important point with the powered inflatables. In a pinch, they can be hipped up to the mother ship and used as emergency power. I have pushed a 65' gaff ketch, all be it slowly, several miles to the dock with a 10'6" Avon inflatable and a 5 hp Seagull motor. I have no doubt that should I need to move my Pearson, if the engine isn't working, my Zodiac and 15 hp Johnson will get the job done. Please don't come back saying that it will never work in a gale; in a gale the boat will sail anywhere necessary, but when there's no wind, the the inflatable will do the job just fine.
For those wanting a definitive answer as to what sort of dinghy they should have in a particular area, just take a stroll down several dinghy docks in that area. As in anything else there are always the odd balls, but at the dinghy dock you will see what most people are using.
 

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I think you all are missing an important point with the powered inflatables. In a pinch, they can be hipped up to the mother ship and used as emergency power. I have pushed a 65' gaff ketch, all be it slowly, several miles to the dock with a 10'6" Avon inflatable and a 5 hp Seagull motor. I have no doubt that should I need to move my Pearson, if the engine isn't working, my Zodiac and 15 hp Johnson will get the job done. Please don't come back saying that it will never work in a gale; in a gale the boat will sail anywhere necessary, but when there's no wind, the the inflatable will do the job just fine.
Well, I believe you may be overlooking an important point, as well:

The OP is sailing a 26' boat... :)

True, having the ability to hip-tow the mother ship might be nice, someday... However, in the almost 18 years I've owned my present boat, a circumstance where that has either been necessary, or practical, has yet to arise... So, for me, I'm not feeling compelled to make the tradeoff of having to carry a bigger engine, more gasoline, adding a dedicated motor hoist to lift the damn thing from the dink, having a target much more attractive to thieves than my puny Honda that nobody wants, and so on.... based upon the extremely remote possibility I might have to use my tender in such a fashion, someday... Others' mileage will vary, as always...

For those wanting a definitive answer as to what sort of dinghy they should have in a particular area, just take a stroll down several dinghy docks in that area. As in anything else there are always the odd balls, but at the dinghy dock you will see what most people are using.
Hmmm, I don't know about that... If I based my own decisions upon what most other folks out there were doing, first thing I'd need to do before taking my own boat south again, would be to add a full cockpit enclosure... :)
 

· Closet Powerboater
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I've yet to figure out how one gets back into a hard dink from the water - while alone and without someone holding down the opposite side to stabilize it - without half-sinking it, or coming away with a few bruises...
You board from the stern. The boat is inherently more roll-stable this way and the leverage of the weight of the bow keeps it from tipping up too far. Granted, getting back in an inflatable is easier, but the method is worth pointing out from a safety perspective. It works very well, but it's not necessarily intuitive. If you have an outboard, it gets in the way a bit, but the prop or cavitation plate provide a step and the rest provides hand-holds.

MedSailor
 

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I believe this is international and not just relating to Australia but as far as I am aware Avon no longer produce the fold down transom boat that JE has. However since the takeover of Avon by Zodiac, Zodiac themselves now offer a fold down transom in two sizes. I'm guessing its basically the Avon in Zodiac colours.

How do Achilles compare to Zodiac ?
 

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Well, I believe you may be overlooking an important point, as well:

The OP is sailing a 26' boat... :)

True, having the ability to hip-tow the mother ship might be nice, someday... However, in the almost 18 years I've owned my present boat, a circumstance where that has either been necessary, or practical, has yet to arise... So, for me, I'm not feeling compelled to make the tradeoff of having to carry a bigger engine, more gasoline, adding a dedicated motor hoist to lift the damn thing from the dink, having a target much more attractive to thieves than my puny Honda that nobody wants, and so on.... based upon the extremely remote possibility I might have to use my tender in such a fashion, someday... Others' mileage will vary, as always...

Hmmm, I don't know about that... If I based my own decisions upon what most other folks out there were doing, first thing I'd need to do before taking my own boat south again, would be to add a full cockpit enclosure... :)
Gee Jon, I am so very sorry. I didn't realize that you were the only person on this thread (web site?) and that no one other than you would have any interest in an opinion someone with 3 times more experience than you
(as a professional, no less), might offer.
Though hipping a 10' inflatable alongside a 26' boat may be a bit of overkill, it just could save any boat, once the idea is on the table. But since you disapprove so heartily, I'll retract the suggestion, just in case someone other than you is actually reading this thread. Pretty much the same goes for checking out dinghy docks. I certainly wouldn't want them to get any suggestions from anyone other than you.
Once again, I am so very sorry for posting on your thread (or existing in your world, I guess).
 

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You board from the stern. The boat is inherently more roll-stable this way and the leverage of the weight of the bow keeps it from tipping up too far. Granted, getting back in an inflatable is easier, but the method is worth pointing out from a safety perspective. It works very well, but it's not necessarily intuitive. If you have an outboard, it gets in the way a bit, but the prop or cavitation plate provide a step and the rest provides hand-holds.

MedSailor
That was my original plan, I even had a rigid boarding ladder suited to the task. Unfortunately, on my Spindrift, it was all but impossible unless the motor was off the boat, the far better option was to flop over the side, then start bailing the thing out...

Only cruising ground here on the East Coast where I see many folks still using hard dinghies, is up in Maine, and into the Canadian Maritimes... I suspect if the water up there was warmer, and more sailors were swimming and snorkeling from their tenders, that percentage would be lower... For anyone who enjoys going in the water from their dinghy, seems to me a hard dink is a serious liability in the tropics, and I rarely see them in my own trips down south... And whenever I do, it almost invariably seems to be one of those Walker Bay tenders, that has been fitted with the inflatable tubes...

Florida Keys might be one exception, some of the liveaboard locals down there are using all manner of 'tenders'... :)

 

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Gee Jon, I am so very sorry. I didn't realize that you were the only person on this thread (web site?) and that no one other than you would have any interest in an opinion someone with 3 times more experience than you
(as a professional, no less), might offer.
Though hipping a 10' inflatable alongside a 26' boat may be a bit of overkill, it just could save any boat, once the idea is on the table. But since you disapprove so heartily, I'll retract the suggestion, just in case someone other than you is actually reading this thread. Pretty much the same goes for checking out dinghy docks. I certainly wouldn't want them to get any suggestions from anyone other than you.
Once again, I am so very sorry for posting on your thread (or existing in your world, I guess).
Guess you must have missed my "Others' mileage will vary, as always..." disclaimer...

"Three times more experience", huh? Hmmm, I wouldn't be so sure about that...

Especially, if the total number of miles put behind a variety of transoms is used as the Dick Measuring Stick... :) Hell, even a dumbass like me can rack up a fair number of miles, running at this sort of speed...

:)

 
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