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Old 17-12-2016, 12:13   #1
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Dinghy choice

I've a Tashiba-31 with a cutter rig and I need to get a dinghy. Space is a premium and I don't have davits.

I'm considering two ideas -

1. An inflatable dinghy for the times when I'm anchored out and need to ferry in supplies. I would supplement this with a kayak for fun and exploring.

2. A nesting dinghy with mast and sail for fun, exploring and ferrying supplies. I think there is room aft of the mast for storage.

In either case I would probably be rowing as I don't want the additional hassle of dealing with an outboard.

I've considered a porta-boat but am ruling it out for now.

So I have 2 questions -

Just how hard is it to row an inflatable that doesn't have a hard bottom?

Are there issues with nesting dinghies I need to consider?
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Old 17-12-2016, 12:22   #2
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Dinghy choice

I routinely tow an air floor 8 1/2' inflatable in costal hops and settled weather behind my Tayana 42 which has a 44 hp inboard. It tows fine. Costs about 1/4 to 1/2 knot in moderate air nothing noticeable in heavier air. It rows ok not great, better than a flat floor inflatable.
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Old 17-12-2016, 17:17   #3
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Re: Dinghy choice

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Originally Posted by Tayana42 View Post
I routinely tow an air floor 8 1/2' inflatable in costal hops and settled weather behind my Tayana 42 which has a 44 hp inboard. It tows fine. Costs about 1/4 to 1/2 knot in moderate air nothing noticeable in heavier air. It rows ok not great, better than a flat floor inflatable.
What model is it?
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Old 17-12-2016, 17:29   #4
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Re: Dinghy choice

I've had a couple over the years, off brand PVC air floor types. Aqualine ( lasted 5 years mostly covered) and Delphinus (lasted 3 years in constant used never covered) were the last two. I just bought a Walker Bay 10'2" hypalon that I haven't towed yet but expect it will be similar.
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Old 17-12-2016, 17:35   #5
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Re: Dinghy choice

One point on rowing the inflatables, they do much better with only one person. Add another person, some supplies and some contrary wind/waves and they do pretty poorly.
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Old 18-12-2016, 06:46   #6
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Re: Dinghy choice

For the last 18 summers, we carried a 9.5-foot flat-bottom hypalon Avon Redcrest, the later model with larger tubes, deflated on our 26-footer.

Rowed much of the time, though we had a motor mount and a 22lb 2hp outboard (which worked quite well). Agree that it rows much better with only one aboard. Possible with two, tough to get very far with three. Have rowed a good distance against 15-20 knots of wind with two - when I was younger - pretty good exercise.

A key to happy rowing: get a pair of real oars, correctly sized for the dinghy, not the undersized take-downs that come with it. We had 6.5 foot Sawyers, and they made a world of difference.
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Old 18-12-2016, 07:28   #7
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Re: Dinghy choice

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Originally Posted by dmksails View Post
I've a Tashiba-31 with a cutter rig and I need to get a dinghy. Space is a premium and I don't have davits.

I'm considering two ideas -

1. An inflatable dinghy for the times when I'm anchored out and need to ferry in supplies. I would supplement this with a kayak for fun and exploring.

2. A nesting dinghy with mast and sail for fun, exploring and ferrying supplies. I think there is room aft of the mast for storage.

In either case I would probably be rowing as I don't want the additional hassle of dealing with an outboard.

I've considered a porta-boat but am ruling it out for now.

So I have 2 questions -

Just how hard is it to row an inflatable that doesn't have a hard bottom?

Are there issues with nesting dinghies I need to consider?
You're creating more hassles and limiting your range by not having an outboard. Just purchase a small used 2 or 4 stroke model off Craigslist for short money. Problem solved.
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Old 18-12-2016, 07:50   #8
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Re: Dinghy choice

Don't plan on rowing the inflatible in weather conditions any stronger then you'd swim in. Not that they'll dump you, it's just that they have too much drag. And if you settle on one vs. a hard dinghy, perhaps look at something with a hard floor, like a roll-up. Who's keel should help a bit with control under oar power. And the floor is assistive in damage prevention re; hard edged cargo.

On nesting dinks, the 2 issues I see are assembly/disassembly, & getting the 2 parts onto your cabin top. With both of these being issues in that it's wise to stow one's dinghy onboard/out of the water at night in the event that weather blows in, & you're forced to leave suddenly. And with a nesting dink, putting it together, or taking it apart, in boisterous conditions could be something of a challenge if done in the water.

The other issue is checking to see how your dinghy storage will affect visibility forward, along with handling your ground tackle, & sails. Which, on many cabin tops, a stored dink makes one's dodger "opaque". But it's often the only real option.

A few good accessories for either choice are long oars, 7' minimum. A small drogue. Cable & lock. Lights. Also, there are some great tips on outfitting, using, storing, & towing dinks in Bruce Bingham's The Sailor's Sketchbook.

EDIT: With hard dinks, hull flare really helps with ultimate stability. Though they're more tender at first. But at 100kg, I could stand on the gunwale of my 9' dory (wooden) & she'd stay dry inside. Along with her unflappable handling, & rowing characteristics.
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Old 18-12-2016, 08:29   #9
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Re: Dinghy choice

Check out takacat inflatable cat. You can purchase through redbeardsailing.com we are purchasing one to replace our aging Caribe inflatable this spring. Super light stable and according to their website very easy to row. Redbeardsailing.com also has several other nifty small boats that you might be interested in.

Good luck
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Old 19-12-2016, 08:26   #10
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Re: Dinghy choice

I built a Danny Green nesting dinghy 20 years ago for use on my Westsail 32 and have never regretted it. I carry it between the mast and the dodger. They are designed to be assembled easily in the water. To launch and recover it I use a simple 2 point bridle and a halyard. My wife cranks the wench and the bridle allows me to flip the section as it goes over the lifelines into whichever orientation I need (upside down or right side up). When assembled you end up with a 10' dinghy with a 4' beam. They are tough and long lasting but can take time to build although I watched a Scotsman build one on the deck of his sailboat in 3 weeks.
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Old 19-12-2016, 08:51   #11
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Re: Dinghy choice

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Originally Posted by dmksails View Post

I've considered a porta-boat but am ruling it out for now.
May I ask why you are ruling out porta-bote? They stow more easily than most dinghies and are easier to row than most inflatables (although with gunwhale flex not as easy as a small hard dinghy). They don't deflate. They'll take a beating. I've never used or even seen the sailing kit, but there is one available.
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Old 21-12-2016, 08:05   #12
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Re: Dinghy choice

Here's my 3 cents (adjusted for inflation). Speaking from experience and the proud owner of 7 dinghies, the best combo that works for me is a 8' roll up inflatable at 70 pounds and a 6.5' Mini-Paw stitch and glue plywood dinghy at 45 pounds. I can stow the Mini-Paw on top of the roll up inflatable on the fore-deck and still have room to get forward, set anchor etc...this works well for "stowing" two dinghies on my Islander 32 when under sail or motoring. When "launching" off the fore deck I use a whisker pole attached to the jib halyard, along with a set of pulleys to get either one over the life lines and into the water. This is more awkward than you'd think but works. Rowing on a windy day is like walking up a hill of sand two steps forward and one step back, especially with anyone else aboard. You'll want a small outboard. I also have a Two-Paw nesting dinghy (with sails) that I haven't used on the sailboat for the two logistical reasons, stowing and launching! If your going to tow your dinghy that's different all together but not always easy on a windy day in the Puget Sound.

P.S. five of my dinghies are for sale! go figure.
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Old 21-12-2016, 08:36   #13
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Re: Dinghy choice

I have been rowing inflatables for like 20 years now. Sure a hard shell may row and track better but when you see a guy in an inflatable rowing in circles, the problem is not the dinghy.

All the inflatables we had, pumped up hard, rower pretty well. We had a Bombard slat floor and then a Suzumar slat floor.

I tend to sit on the floor to row hard and far. The bench is good for pussies and only short distance in light conditions.

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Old 21-12-2016, 09:23   #14
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Re: Dinghy choice

Let me toss a laughter grenade into this mess...

Go get your



I purchased an inflatable for our sailboat prior to our departure from Daytona to enable us to anchor in the ICW on the way home and not be stranded should anything happen (running aground, etc.) in a less traveled section (we were moving this boat in a stormy condition, and there were not that many other boaters out there, largely because we were more stupid at the time than most and had a timeline but no weather window for moving a sailboat that had no installed running rigging, but did have two rather large tarps and some crappy Harbor Freight rope to hold them tied to the forestay and main boom, and the same used for halyards over the spreaders to make a couple half sized storm sails in case we got a dead motor (we did) and outboard failed (it did not, great thing that outboard!!)).

The first time I actually inflated this dingy, I thought it was sufficiently stiff and tossed it into the drink, back in Palatka. I then proceeded to climb in from the boarding ladder off Equinox' stern.

Have you ever seen a human taco? The fore and aft halves folded over my head, and I was stuck inside it like a pearl in an oyster! My brother in law was on the pier, and laughing so hard he could not use his cell to take pics or video, hence I have no photos to prove the lunacy. At no time did my 300 lb weight sink the "vessel", but a 4 person dingy with one person in it should not do that (fold up OR sink), in my opinion. That is why I bought the four person unit. I wanted it to haul up to say 700 pounds, and not do, well, THIS!

Now, the floor of this thing was NOT solid, it was inflatable, and its tubes were inflated separately than those of each side, a selling point in my opinion at the time. I think there are something like 3 or 4 different tube inflator valves, one for each subsection.

I know that it was a severe pain in the butt to row this sucker too, due to the fact that I had to lie down to keep it flat on the water. The pic on the box showed three people in the thing with big smiles on their faces. I was smiling, but not sitting upright like they were. I was almost stranded in the river on this dingy. Floating just fine, but wadded up inside it. Even when I finally managed to get lying flat, peeking over the side for navigation, the resistance was like stated by Uncivilized, excessive and difficult to overcome.

I could have used longer oars, but they only would have made real difference if I could have sat upright, preferably on a bench of some sort because part of the problem was that there was no solid floor and I could not sit upright because there was nothing to keep me that way while this thing kept taco-ing on me... It does not help that I am 6'2" tall and 300 lbs, either.

I think if I made a 3/4" ply skin with epoxy on both sides and some sort of padding under and around it to protect the dingy, I can use it to make a hard floor, and then this thing becomes potentially usable. Until then, however, it will stay folded up for use as a means to entertain us on a boring day with recall of those events and the telling of them to the Admiral (who thankfully was NOT in attendance on that day!), take up excess space until I run out of that, and hopefully I will find something better.

My Jonboat is NOT better, either, because it is so unstable laterally and sits so low in the water (only a couple to three inches of freeboard) that it worries me.

Anyway, there it is, imagery of ol' SailingFan, floundering in a rubber clamshell, attempting to get a look at where he is rowing to using those crappy screw together oars, while getting thoroughly soaked and worried about the alligators and miscellaneous parasitic critters that inhabit the tannic waters of the St. John's River....
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