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Old 27-05-2017, 04:46   #1
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Folding Transom RIB and Dinghy Musings

I'm now in my second season with my latest dink -- an Avon Lite 310 RIB with folding transom.

This replaced an Avon Rover 340 with console steering and a 25hp Mariner.

Dingy storage is one of the really terrible design challenges for sailboats, even bigger ones. My previous dinghy could not in any way and nowhere be stored on deck, so I was 100% dependent on the davits. The davits unfortunately were really poorly designed Cooney-Simpson electric ones which were constantly breaking down.

I got rid of the big heavy dinghy and the carpy electric davits.

The folding transom RIB, when folded and put into its bag, fits nicely on my foredeck, between two dorades, and not interfering with any part of the rig, not even the self-tacking staysail. When I started off with this new setup, I doubted that I would be able to overcome laziness and fold it up much on passage, except for the longest or stormiest trips.

Well, in fact, deflating and folding it up is easy enough that I have not actually been so lazy. In fact, I haven't even used my davits so far this trip. It's helped a lot that I have finally figured out a way to get the engine on and off without risking life and limb. I preventer out the boom and lift the dinghy engine with a tackle and electric winch, swing the boom in, and carry it easily to its place on the pushpit.

The dinghy, once the engine is off, is pretty light, and so I just haul it up on a halyard, swing it over the rail, let it down on the foredeck, and deflate it.

The only rub is that the dinghy's storage bag is poor quality, already has some rips in it, and is slightly too small so that it's a real struggle to get the dink in it. I will have a new bag made out of sunbrella, which is slightly larger, which should solve that problem.

The dinghy itself -- motivated by an 8 hp single cylinder Selva -- is much slower, much less seaworthy, and less capacious than the old one. But for me this is a small price to pay! To be able to sail ocean passages without a huge RIB hanging off the transom and swinging around. To not be dependent on davits. The difference in windage is really noticeable when sailing upwind.

I'm currently sailing from near Kalmar, Sweden, to Gotland, and I guess I spent 30 minutes this morning, single handed, stowing the dink. It's much faster and easier with crew.


I'm slowly working on a design specification for a new boat, and the dinghy question has really given me a lot of headaches. But now I'm thinking that a folding transom RIB may be the way to go. I wonder if you can buy one one size bigger than this one? Then I would just need a simple cradle for it on the foredeck. Or possibly it could be stored in a dingy garage -- just a dramatically smaller one since it would only need to take the deflated dinghy. Kept in a garage, it wouldn't need to be inverted or put into a bag -- you could put it on a rolling cradle, deflate it, lash it down with ratchet straps, and roll it away.

Hmmmm . . . .
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Old 18-08-2017, 11:30   #2
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Re: Folding Transom RIB and Dinghy Musings

Walker Bay has a 340 with folding transom. Here

I have not used one.
But I have read both positive and negative reviews.

Rich Boren (don't recall his user name here) , who have much respect for, gave it a big thumbs down.

I was going to buy one... but am holding off until I can see a few and talk to the owners of such.

Let us know what choice you make ... and why.
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Old 18-08-2017, 11:39   #3
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Re: Folding Transom RIB and Dinghy Musings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
The only rub is that the dinghy's storage bag is poor quality, already has some rips in it, and is slightly too small so that it's a real struggle to get the dink in it.
Seems to be one of Murphy's Life Rules. Things never go back into their original shipping container. Or if they do, they surely don't make it in as neatly as originally packaged.

Sometimes I don't even bother trying.
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Old 18-08-2017, 12:47   #4
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Re: Folding Transom RIB and Dinghy Musings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluefielder View Post
Walker Bay has a 340 with folding transom. Here

I have not used one.
But I have read both positive and negative reviews.

Rich Boren (don't recall his user name here) , who have much respect for, gave it a big thumbs down.

I was going to buy one... but am holding off until I can see a few and talk to the owners of such.

Let us know what choice you make ... and why.
I'm still using the Avon Lite 310.

So easy to lift, deflate, and stow that I haven't even used my davits this summer.
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Old 18-08-2017, 12:59   #5
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Re: Folding Transom RIB and Dinghy Musings

We've got the Avon lite (270) folding transom rib. We love it, like Dockhead the original bag was crap, but we purchased a new bag that's great. The hull shape isn't like a real rib, actually closer to the shape of an inflatable keel boat. However it shows easily on the cabin top aft of the mast and forward of the dodger.
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