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Old 22-08-2009, 05:42   #1
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Dinghy for Bahamas, RIB or Soft Bottom ?

My avon 310 RIB met its demise recently due to an encounter with a I/O prop and we're getting ready for a first time trip to the the Bahamas. Should I part with the bucks to replace it with another RIB or conserve a few dollars with a soft bottom? We usually boat in the Chesapeake. Got a pal who just bought a Avon soft with inflatable keel and floor and I'm impressed with its performance but it is a bit wobbly compared to my RIB.
Also I'm concerned about corral ripping the fabric.
thanks for your opinions
bob
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Old 22-08-2009, 06:17   #2
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It seems like you have answered your own question with your last sentence.........
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Old 22-08-2009, 06:53   #3
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definately RIB for your own reasons
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Old 22-08-2009, 06:59   #4
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My heart says RIB with Hypalon - UV degradation and rough beaches/coral.

My head says - where do you plan to stow the RIB, that will be safe in bad weather?

If it is angled up sufficiently that breaking waves are not your concern (they should be), what about the "sail" area in a 50 kt blow.

Just as confused!
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Old 22-08-2009, 12:07   #5
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The vast majority of cruisers in the Bahamas are running RIBs. You see a few inflatable floor and wood floor sport boats, but only a few. Beginning to see a few catamaran inflatables. My cat inflatable is a wetter ride than a rib in rough water.

I think the majority has the right idea.

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Old 22-08-2009, 12:47   #6
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I have had the floor board dinks, and inflatable keels. I would do my best to avoid those. A hard bottom will take up half the foredeck, and for me personally I worry about davits in crummy weather..........i2f
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Old 22-08-2009, 12:56   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunspot Baby View Post
The vast majority of cruisers in the Bahamas are running RIBs. You see a few inflatable floor and wood floor sport boats, but only a few. Beginning to see a few catamaran inflatables. My cat inflatable is a wetter ride than a rib in rough water.
I have no difficulty with the coastal cruising - RIB requirement. I was answering from a blue water viewpoint. I agree with I2f that a RIB in deep water passage is a bit of a liability. I would want to deflate my dink and stow it away.

Worth a read of Richard Woods experiences and troubles with his dink in the storm that ended in his abandoning his Eclipse (see Woods Designs Sailing Catamarans under articles - eclipse - perfect storm)
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Old 22-08-2009, 13:37   #8
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Talbot: No argument. However, since the question was related to use in the Bahamas where cruisers tend to island hop and seldom make long offshore passages and make every effort to avoid big weather when they do, and considering using the dinghy very often I still think the majority has it right. Boy talk about a sentance that runs on. :-)

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Old 22-08-2009, 13:55   #9
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In the Bahamas we pretty much used our dinghy every day. One way or another that bottom will take a beating over time. RIB or other hard bottom will last a lot longer for that kind of use.
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Old 22-08-2009, 14:03   #10
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My response was probably also coloured by the fact I would have to travel over an ocean to get to the Bahamas.

I well understand the utility of a dink that doesnt puncture, and gets on the plane faster etc etc,

However, bad weather is also a concern.
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Old 22-08-2009, 14:34   #11
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I'll also endorse having a RIB in the Bahamas/Caribbean. I have a 10 year old Apex with a 15 hp 2stroke Yamaha. It is the ideal combination comming in at about 200 lbs. Ihave been impressed with the AB aluminum RIB from AB. It is lighter and stronger than fibreglass and will really take a beating.

Davits are usually fine for interisland sailing, but I would deflate and lash the dink for any passage more than 2 days. It is not that difficult and most boats could accomodate it on the foredeck or cabin top.

Unless you are marina bound, it is your primary transportation and it had better be reliable.
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Old 22-08-2009, 14:53   #12
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Hard Dinghy Option

Another option is a hard dinghy. We made several trips to Bahamas with our Livingston catamaran dinghy and love it. Compared to our RIB and soft bottom inflatables, it is far and away a better dink for us. Here are some advantages: it is dry and stable; I can stand on the gunnel without flipping it; with a 15hp it planes with 2 large adults and groceries; it never gets soft over night; it has stainless rub strakes on both keels for beaching; the sun doesn't "eat it"; it is impervious to fish hooks, spear tips, and lobster feet; it handles like a real boat; it rows well; we are not confined to the boat waiting for repair patches to dry; the weight is about the same and it is half the cost of a RIB.
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Old 22-08-2009, 15:03   #13
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A dinghy that never gets soft over night????????????????? I couldn't help myself...heeheehee.....i2f
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Old 22-08-2009, 15:06   #14
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I've needed to go with a soft bottom on a few of my smaller boats due to storage issues. In about 150 days of Bahamas use, I never hit any coral with it. That said, I much prefer a RIB if I can manage it.

In addition to storage issues, the thing that has kept me away from hard dinks is that most are hard to enter from the water after snorkeling.
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Old 22-08-2009, 15:08   #15
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A dinghy that never gets soft over night????????????????? I couldn't help myself...heeheehee.....i2f
What he said,,
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