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Old 17-03-2014, 09:26   #1
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Dinghies and their outboards - how little is too little?

Hi there,

I'm in the market to buy my first dinghy and I'm left with some questions. First of all I know that as far as comfort is concerned bigger is going to be better, but a lack of budget and space on my 29 footer led to the search for the smallest possible setup that still is liveable.

I've considered portabote's and nesting dinghies, but the first is too expensive and the latter simply won't fit. I have no place on deck anywhere to store the dink other then the cabin roof (only for short passages). Because of this RIBs are also out of the question.

I've found an inflatable with a floor that consisted of some sort of planks that could be rolled up, so the deflated dink would just be one very manageable "saucage". I liked the concept, the stowability and the price. It was for sale in a store that specialises in inflatables, completely patch free for 250. If I'm not mistaken the total length was about 2,5m. Is that too small? I'm looking at carrying 2 people back and forth to the boat and some supplies.

Then, engine... I see some 2hp outboards on the second hand market, but I'm not sure if that would get you anywhere. 4hp seems reasonable, and the guy at the shop advised against 6hp since the dink will have long reached its top speed and the rest of the power just wastes extra fuel. Is there any truth in this?

What do you guys reckon?
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Old 17-03-2014, 09:42   #2
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Re: Dinghies and their outboards - how little is too little?

I agree on power a 2-3 hp is all you need on a little dink like that. Thats about a 7 ft. plus dink so sure 2 people can get by with that and your right when you are sailing a smaller boat you need to be space conscience. Have fun!
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Old 17-03-2014, 09:47   #3
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Re: Dinghies and their outboards - how little is too little?

I'd agree with Robert in general. But the times we saw people wish they had a bigger motor was when they were trying to get off a beach with rollers coming in (like in Mexico at times), or, it was too windy. I have friends who wanted to be able to carry more people but that's a dink plus motor thing. You'll be good with a small dink and small motor. If not, someone will be selling a good motor for some reason and you can get it. New ones are not cheap in some foreign countries though. Have fun.
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Old 17-03-2014, 09:53   #4
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Re: Dinghies and their outboards - how little is too little?

That's the point... I can easily get a 2-5hp motor where I live for less then 250$ and service it myself. I won't be able to do that underway so easily, and I'm sure they won't come that cheap

Any comments on the size of the dink?
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Old 17-03-2014, 09:56   #5
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Re: Dinghies and their outboards - how little is too little?

Personally I would go with maybe 9 ft in a rollup. It really doesnt cost you any space and is much more comfortable and dry in a chop. If you are not planing, 2-4 hp is fine. If you add an outboard bracket to hold the outboard to the back of your boat, a 4-5 hp will move the mothership in a pinch too!
I think a 7 footer would be penny wise and pound foolish. Also, get a good name brand. I've heard good things about the Achilles air floor (as air floors go anyway). My friends took an Avon rollup with vinyl floor slats throughout the South Pacific.
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Old 17-03-2014, 10:02   #6
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Re: Dinghies and their outboards - how little is too little?

There should be a manufacturer's patch or plate specifying the maximum carrying capacity - I would go by that. I would think 7' should be able to carry two people and some gear. Also the plate should specify the max engine size. I would go with the largest engine, as there will be times when you need to push through wind and waves and will need the extra horsepower.
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Old 17-03-2014, 10:17   #7
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Re: Dinghies and their outboards - how little is too little?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orchidius View Post
...I've found an inflatable...the total length was about 2,5m...
That is known as a pool toy. Even if you are an excellent swimmer you should still try to get a real dinghy.

For a motor, match it to the dinghy. A 2 hp is pretty limited but beats rowing. A 4 hp will plane my Avon roll-up, with just me in it. The 2-stroke outboards with only forward and neutral (like the 3.5 hp Tohatsu and Nissan) are very light and powerful enough for a smallish dink.
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Old 17-03-2014, 10:18   #8
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Re: Dinghies and their outboards - how little is too little?

My 2cents . We have a 9'8" West Marine , don't care who actually made it.I don't have any faith in the PVC boats, find a hypalon model..With 2 people aboard there is room for a little baggage (groceries, propane tanks etc.) It has an aluminum slat floor and 10 hp max. rating. With the 8 hp Honda it will plane with two aboard but takes a little time coming up. I would not go any smaller if you plan to haul anything else with you. At 90 lbs. the Honda is a little heavy but not having to mix gas was worth it to us. There seem to be plenty of good used Hondas available at a decent price. You'll want to find a short shaft model
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Old 17-03-2014, 10:27   #9
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Re: Dinghies and their outboards - how little is too little?

From my experience get the biggest dink and biggest motor you can afford/carry. Now that being said I mainly use my Fatty Knees and row ;-).. But when the family needs to go or I want to explore I'm thankful for something bigger with some power. Our setup is a 12 Hypalon rollup with an aluminum slat floor and a 20 horse Yamaha 4 stroke. (same weight as the 15hp)
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Old 17-03-2014, 10:41   #10
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Re: Dinghies and their outboards - how little is too little?

Do your homework there is more to a dingy. Especially research Walker Bay and guarantee.
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Old 17-03-2014, 10:45   #11
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Re: Dinghies and their outboards - how little is too little?

so whatcha reckon' is the minimum acceptable size? I see how one would think 8.2ft (the 2.5m I have my eye on) would be too small, but wouldn't quite call it "pool toy" either... 9ft is barely longer, and I doubt the tubes would be any bigger. Making it an equally wet/uncomfy ride with a tiny bit more room.

That size dink is mostly rated "up to 10hp", which is way too much in any case. I'm not pulling waterskiers... I'm not getting 2hp because I want to be able to get around/off the beach with some wind/chop. Don't have to be planing with 2 peeps and gear in it, but would like to be able to use it to do some exploring. So... would 4hp do that on a dink that size?
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Old 17-03-2014, 10:53   #12
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Re: Dinghies and their outboards - how little is too little?

4 hp for which size..? I guess it doesnt maatter, if not planing , 4 hp should work fine. The advantage of most 4 hp over 2 is it has a gear box too. I've had 8ft, 9 ft and 10 ft. The 10 is a lot better than the 9, but as you say it's a matter of inches... but somehow those few inches matter. 8 is a very wet ride, 9 is better, 10 is great. for 4 hp 9 would be fine.
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Old 17-03-2014, 12:16   #13
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Re: Dinghies and their outboards - how little is too little?

"Too little" depends on what you're doing. We have two dinghys: a 7-foot (no transom) and a 9 1/2 foot (RIB).

The 7-foot rolls up to a little bigger than a basketball (plus a ~18"x2' floorboard and a small transom-thingee), and will (sometimes...) plane with me and a 2HP. It and it's 27-pound motor are AWESOME for hauling around. It's also downright scary in any kind of chop or with any kind of weight, dogs hate it, it's not stable enough to sit on the tube so my butt's always wet, etc. It's just generally a pretty sorry boat - but it fits in carry-on luggage, in the baggage area of a Supercub, in pretty much any locker, and my wife can easily handle it and it's motor.

The bigger dinghy is a a completely different boat: it's dry, safe, fast, and stable, even in big water carrying a lot of weight. The extra 2 feet WAY more than "doubles the size." It's an awesome boat - but it's also a pain to deal with on deck, we have fuel cans everywhere, we have to use a halyard or crane to move the boat or motor, we have to have wheels, it BARELY fits on the foredeck, etc.

My boat came with a 8.5' plywood floor with a 4HP motor, which was the worst of both worlds - about the same weight as our current "big" dinghy, about the same performance as our "little" dinghy, and a huge pain to get the floor in and out. It did roll up into a fairly unobtrusive package, but still big enough to need to live on the foredeck.

If you just want to go a couple miles in calm water, the little 7-foot "inner tube with a floor" and a small motor would serve you well, and they are really great to stow and move around.

If you're going to be in any kind of rough water, get the biggest dinghy you can deal with. If you want to explore over longer distances, think about a RIB and a bigger motor. We want to go where we want when we want, so we deal with a heavy motor, a big hunk of plastic in the way on the foredeck, lots of fuel cans, etc.

I generally dislike air floors, especially with larger motors, but if you need a "big" dinghy and don't have room for a rib, that might be an acceptable compromise. It's where we were headed before we found our "big" RIB, which fits only because it has a folding transom and a combination of big tubes and a small hull. You'll spend a lot of time digging sand out from under the floor, hoping that strange "sproing" thing doesn't ACTUALLY fold the boat in half like it always seems it's going to, and probably get to know the warranty folks (if you can find something that HAS a warranty).

If you don't know what you need, get something that's either disposable (eg, used PVC) or resaleable (major brand, common size hypalon) and see what happens. ALL dinghys are a compromise, you just have to decide what you need, and what you're willing to live with (or without).
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Old 17-03-2014, 12:26   #14
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Re: Dinghies and their outboards - how little is too little?

I like my air floor dinghy. It is 8'6" which is just big enough for 2 plus the dog, groceries etc. Would buy a 9'6" air floor next time. 3.5 up Tohatsu pushes it fine but not on plane with more than one aboard.

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Old 17-03-2014, 13:47   #15
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Re: Dinghies and their outboards - how little is too little?

The only inflatable experience I've had is with an Avon that had the put together plywood floor over an inflatable keel. After awhile the plywood would swell so that it was not easy to install in the aluminum pieces it was made for. Also, sand would get under the sole between bottom and plywood and would be hard to get out until you dismantled it and hosed it out with a high pressure hose. Those are just things to think about. It performed well but no inflatable is easy to row so make certain your outboard engine is a reliable one.
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