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Old 31-01-2016, 17:40   #1
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Alpacka Fjord Explorer as sailboat tender

Came across a backpacker raft that's advertised in part as "small roll-away sailboat tender." It only weighs 6 pounds; costs about 1000 USD. It looks like a good possibility for my small sailboat which is under 23 feet. It doesn't have a motor mount, which means less space and less room. It can be paddled like a kayak or a frame can be added for rowing. Does anyone have any experience with these or thoughts?

https://alpackarafts.com/product/fjord-explorer/
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Old 31-01-2016, 20:34   #2
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Re: Alpacka Fjord Explorer as sailboat tender

Boatster, it really depends on what you need it to do. If you use it to carry fluids (water and fuel) to the boat, or all the shopping for a passage, or two months worth of laundry, that when clean, you will want to stay dry on the way back to the boat, you will a larger dinghy. If all you need it to do is a little exploring, and to and from the shore, and plan to go in to marinas if you want to do laundry, repairs, or shop, you can get by with a less capable dinghy. If you want to row out an additional anchor when it's blowing 30 knots, forget it. Little inflatables are skittery, and poor row boats--and the larger ones are only slightly better as rowboats.

To me, the dinghy is like the family car or pickup truck. It's a workhorse, not a show pony.

Ann
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Old 03-02-2016, 12:14   #3
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Re: Alpacka Fjord Explorer as sailboat tender

Thank you, Ann, for providing helpful context for considering the purchase of a dinghy. Looks like I might be the first one to give a backpacker version a try!
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Old 04-02-2016, 08:32   #4
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Re: Alpacka Fjord Explorer as sailboat tender

If you are looking for a light but rugged tender , check out the NRS inflatable kayaks....cheaper that the alpaca , heavier material , much like an average dinghy , and less than 30 lbs
The only drawback is that , since they are made for whitewater kayaking , they are self bailing....meaning you get your tush a little wet.....
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Old 04-02-2016, 08:52   #5
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Re: Alpacka Fjord Explorer as sailboat tender

Boatster,

My girlfriend and I own 2 Alpaca rafts. Best boats we've ever owned. We take them with us everywhere. Mine has been to Thailand, Honduras, Mexico, etc. We also use them as our main dinghy on our 30' Junk in Alaska (much safer than our homebuilt nutshell pram). I have owned an Alpaca for about 5 years now and have run it though the gauntlet but can't puncture it. I have run class IV whitewater in it without flipping, paddled through much bigger seas than I felt safe motoring in our 10' Achilles, and I have gone on 5+ day unsupported backcountry trips hauling over 75lbs in this boat. I urge you to talk with Alpaca raft. They are a super cool small business once based out of Anchorage Alaska but now are in Colorado. If you need more convincing I can send you photos or links to some pretty cool videos. Also, I see them come up for sale pretty cheap around Anchorage, AK pretty often, in fact I sold a pair of them for $1000 2 years ago to upgrade to their newer model.
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Old 04-02-2016, 08:54   #6
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Re: Alpacka Fjord Explorer as sailboat tender

BTW the NRS boats (atleast their older models) are heavier, bulkier, (yes cheaper) but nowhere near the quality as Alpaca. Plus they have a "self bailing" cockpit which actually keeps water in and make for a bit of a wet ride.
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Old 06-02-2016, 10:48   #7
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Re: Alpacka Fjord Explorer as sailboat tender

Quote:
Originally Posted by koolfrog View Post
If you are looking for a light but rugged tender , check out the NRS inflatable kayaks....cheaper that the alpaca , heavier material , much like an average dinghy , and less than 30 lbs
The only drawback is that , since they are made for whitewater kayaking , they are self bailing....meaning you get your tush a little wet.....
Thanks, Koolfrog. The NRS look good. One thing I should have mentioned is the extreme light weight of the Alpackas appeal to me, since it would be possible to carry the boat easily after a landing and not have to leave it behind. That would be of benefit from a security viewpoint but also it would make it possible to head back to the mother ship from a different location.
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Old 06-02-2016, 10:51   #8
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Re: Alpacka Fjord Explorer as sailboat tender

Thanks for your sharing your experience and recommendations, jjlyons. I'll have to check out Craigslist for Alaska to see whether any alpackas are available.
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