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I have a 28 footer I'll be sailing along the New Hampshire seacoast for which I will need a tender. Most use will be daysails or weekends, with a few multi-day trips per season. We expect 4 adults (max) on board for normal use. I'll be mooring in a yacht club with launch service.

So... my plan is a PVC inflatable with 850+/- pound capacity that will be powered by a 3.3HP 2-stroke. I have a great deal of locker storage and plan to store the boat deflated and only inflate it when needed with a powered inflator. The use will be anchorage exploring and ferrying into shore from anchor, speed is not a concern.

So the core questions here are:
1. For those who have stored your tenders deflated and inflated them only for each use, how much of a hassle?
2. Is a wood-slat-floor roll-up the best design for this use?
3. I'm considering 9-foot PVC models that weigh 75+/- pounds with 4-person capacity. How unwieldy are these to inflate, store and deflate?

Any other advice is welcomed.
 

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So the core questions here are:
1. For those who have stored your tenders deflated and inflated them only for each use, how much of a hassle?
2. Is a wood-slat-floor roll-up the best design for this use?
3. I'm considering 9-foot PVC models that weigh 75+/- pounds with 4-person capacity. How unwieldy are these to inflate, store and deflate?

Any other advice is welcomed.
I was in the same boat a few months ago, and bought a zodiac with a solid wood floor. It is a hassle to inflate and assemble, mostly because of the solid floor. It cannot practically be assembled in the boat because you need a large flat surface on which to partially inflate the dinghy, then install the floor, then the aluminum brackets for the floor, then fully inflate, then use the foot pump to get full pressure.

I have been just towing it for these reasons, and may wind up building a simple plywood tender that I can store upside down on the foredeck for extended cruising. That said, the inflatable is extremely stable and can take four passengers no prob.

I am not sure whether an air or wooden slat floor is that much easier to inflate, but it would weigh the same and be just as bulky I'm sure. It is possible to haul the deflated boat around, but a real pita as it is bulky and heavy.

I notice alot of the sailors in my marina don't bother with dinghies, instead opting for plastic kayaks. But it must be difficult getting into one of those from a rolly anchorage into some chop without taking a splash!
 

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Stand Up Inflatable Paddle Board -- takes up much less space, is a lot easier to inflate on deck, easy to board once you get the hang of it, and requires much less maintenance and attention.
 

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Inflate/deflate with each use sounds like a total butt pain to me. I use an 8' Achilles on my Catalina 309. I don't need it for daysailing. For weekend and week+ trips I bring it along. Usually tow it.

It has a roll-up wood floor and yes, I can inflate on the bow or the cockpit. Would NOT go through that for each use.

Let me ask you this: do you want to pull it out of the water, roll it up, and put it away wet? I've never put mine away wet, and wonder what input others may have on this regards mildew, plague????

We also use Kayaks on some trips. I lash them to the bow. Not a bad way to go, but without a swim platform, they could be tough to deal with. Can't take a passenger (other than our cats), but they'll haul a fair amount of gear. Don't like to tow them, but they're fun to play with once you get where you're going.

The perfect tender does not exist. They get you around, but they also make you work...they seem to kind of own you.

All that said, an inflatable IMO is likely your best bet for what you're doing.
 

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You really dont ant to be inflating and deflating an inflatable so dont worry about it. IMHO, once most inflatables are inflated, they stay inflated for the rest of their life of service.

Inflatables are wonderful devices, and make coming and going a breeze. Buy a good one, you'll keep it forever. Get at least a 10.5 foot boat, anything smaller is too small, especially for four adults, even if the load ability it there, it'll feel scary. Get at least a 8HP motor, you will find the ability to zip in and out at 20 MPH both fun and extremely convenient.

My kids always liked the inflatable more than the sailboat...
 

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Google catspaw nestable dinghy, it's a self build plan , I think there are 2 sizes in the nestable model. Might work 4 u.
 

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From my limited experience, skiffs are a necessary evil. I had plans of inflating/deflating mine when I needed it (about every 6 weeks). Those plans were changed the first time I put the dinghy together. I'm on a 36' boat and couldn't imagine inflating my 10' on board. It has yet to be deflated and I doubt I will. I store mine up on the bow when sailing but would tow it if I had to.

My advice is to at least consider that what every you buy, may end up being towed. If at all possible, do you have any friends with an inflatable? See if you can borrow theirs and mess with it on board before investing in an inflatable.
 

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I have a 28 footer I'll be sailing along the New Hampshire seacoast for which I will need a tender. Most use will be daysails or weekends, with a few multi-day trips per season. We expect 4 adults (max) on board for normal use. I'll be mooring in a yacht club with launch service.

So... my plan is a PVC inflatable with 850+/- pound capacity that will be powered by a 3.3HP 2-stroke. I have a great deal of locker storage and plan to store the boat deflated and only inflate it when needed with a powered inflator. The use will be anchorage exploring and ferrying into shore from anchor, speed is not a concern.

So the core questions here are:
1. For those who have stored your tenders deflated and inflated them only for each use, how much of a hassle?
2. Is a wood-slat-floor roll-up the best design for this use?
3. I'm considering 9-foot PVC models that weigh 75+/- pounds with 4-person capacity. How unwieldy are these to inflate, store and deflate?

Any other advice is welcomed.
Forget inflating and deflating, and don't even think about trying to stow it onboard. It ain't fun, it ain't pretty and it ain't necessary. On a 28 foot boat you are gonna need all the storage you can find aboard for general cruising stuff. On our 23 footer we installed davits for storage, but most often find ourselves simply towing our inflatable. It slows us slightly, but not enough to be horribly annoying, and the fact that it is ready to go when we drop anchor or tie up is a nice advantage after a long day.

 

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On our 35 footer we carry a slat floor roll up inflatable, a 7.5 foot Zodiac. Since we also carry a pair of 9.5 foot plastic kayaks, the dinghy spends most of its time rolled up in the forepeak.

We break it our when we have company, or have to make a major shopping expedition. It takes maybe 5-10 minutes to pump up, or to restow. Since we do have the kayaks for normal shore duty we only have to do this a few times a year.... so for us it's no biggie.

We also carry a 3.5 hp o'b for those days we need the dinghy.. no way you're going to plane with the soft floor anyway, so no need for power. We can carry 4 adults but only in calm conditions.
 

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I have two dinghies and three kayaks. The two man ocean kayak is OK to tow, the 8 foot river kayak ins good on the foredeck and the inflatable kayak is good to stow. The 9.5' soft floor inflatable is easiest to inflate and the 10.5' aluminum floor inflatable with a9.8 HP. merc is the best all around utility vessel. As you see none of these are the perfect choice and you just have find which boat is best for what you need or you'll end up with a bunch boats on the inclined wall or in storage at the Marina like me.
 

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I have an inflatable with an aluminum floor, but would not want to inflate on board our P30 if I could avoid it. That said, I'm very happy with the Baltik brand dinghy I purchased on eBay. Receives very light use, but it's been very durable. Usually tow, but have also brought it up on the bow. Think I have a 9' -- two adults or one adult and 2 small kids.
 

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The internet is clearly populated with some studly sailors. I certainly wouldnt want to be slinging the weight of a 9-10 hp engine from dink to stern rail and cant imagine slinging that much weight off the back of a 28 footer is gonna be great for sailing performance.

My recommendation would be a slat floor style roll up with as light an engine I could find. Honda has an air cooled 2hp for example.

Leave the dink inflated and tow unless you expect foul weather then stow on board. Always hang the outboard on the pushpit when towing.

Good luck.
 

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Forget inflating and deflating, and don't even think about trying to stow it onboard. It ain't fun, it ain't pretty and it ain't necessary. On a 28 foot boat you are gonna need all the storage you can find aboard for general cruising stuff. On our 23 footer we installed davits for storage, but most often find ourselves simply towing our inflatable. It slows us slightly, but not enough to be horribly annoying, and the fact that it is ready to go when we drop anchor or tie up is a nice advantage after a long day.

Davits are great but on a 23' boat? How does a 100# dinghy hanging above the waterline effect performance?
 

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A high pressure air floor inflatable would be the easiest to inflate on deck, and the lightest but it still requires a lot of room to do it. Just plan on towing it like everyone else does, you probably don't have the storage room for it when it's deflated anyway (they take up a lot more space once you open them up than when they are new in the box).
 

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We have an 8 foot wood slat floor inflatable on our 31 foot sailboat.
We are able to inflate and deflate on the foredeck with little trouble however I don't think we would be able to easily manage anything larger in the available space. We do not tow this dinghy except very occasionally so it is regularly inflated and deflated, and sometimes stowed wet with no apparant ill effects. It does not fit in any of our lockers so we stow it on the cabintop or in the v berth.
The flat bottom dinghy does not row well at all so an outboard becomes necessary. We have a 2 hp suzuki that works well.
All that being said we can only carry 3 adults max and that is on a calm day.
As with all dinghy solutions this one is not ideal.....
Tanya
 

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We had an 8 foot soft floor inflatable with a 2 HP Honda. Worked well, not fast but could beat against chop and current. I would say 2 adults would be max capacity. Not too big a bundle when deflated if rolled tightly. Had the motor for 25 years, still have it, runs great, bullet proof and only weighs 27 lbs and the little one quart tank will take you a long way & back.

Dabnis
 

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Because if you run into unexpected weather, you won't have to pay for expensive engine repairs if the dinghy flips.

I've had it happen when an afternoon thunderstorm whipped up enough waves to get the dink rocking and the wind took it from there. All I lost was a seat bag and the number plates, because I at least moved the outboat to the pushpit. I now remove everything when towing.
 
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