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Old 29-11-2013, 08:06   #1
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New Inflatable

So we're looking into a new dingy, inflatable seems to be the way to go (???), our vessel is 14' abeam, so I think a 12' would be a bit clumsy. An8 footer just too small, so I'm thinking a 10' inflatable would be good. I look into them at West Marine, and now I have to consider an rib, which I think would be best, but is cost prohibitive ( my wife and I have looked, and looked, we have been totally unable to locate that tree that grows it......lol). Then there's wood bottoms, roll-ups (boards of word running side to side), inflated bottoms.... Etc. So now I realize I need some advice. We'll be using a swim- step mounted David system, so rolling it up, or even deflating what ever ewe get is unnecessary, we'll keep it on the davit with a cover. Thanks for any help!
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Old 29-11-2013, 08:11   #2
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Re: New Inflatable

Avoid the wood floors. A RIB will give you the best service. Look on Craigslist for used. Make sure they are hypolon tubes (much better UV resistance). Caribe or AB are top brands.
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Old 29-11-2013, 08:13   #3
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Thanks for that, another thought.....are trolling motors really adequate for a dingy? We get some pretty decent river currents in the Spring high water season, or should we stick with a small outboard?
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Old 29-11-2013, 08:18   #4
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Re: New Inflatable

I'm partial to the West Marine 310 compact RIB. It does have a fiberglass rigid bottom, but the transom folds flat (relatively) so the whole thing can be stowed in a case about 8'x4'x.75'. While you'll be stowing yours on your davits most of the time, you'll certainly want to stow it on deck for longer passages or when you're not using the boat, particularly if you get a PVC boat (as hypalon is significantly more expensive) which you really don't want to leave out in the elements if you don't really have to, which will shorten it's lifespan.

While the fiberglass bottoms are more expensive, they make up for it with dramatically better performance and durability. You can push the boat with a smaller, lighter motor, they handle better, and are generally safer. Yes it's a couple of hundred dollars more, but over the life of the boat, which can exceed 10 years if you take good care of it, it's a worth putting out the extra cake.

As far as the outboard goes, if you're putting around from anchor to shore a small 2.5/4 hp is fine. If you're looking for something for excursions, like for snorkeling and cay hopping, you'll want 8+ hp to get several people and gear up on a plane. I personally would not consider a trolling motor for anything other than still water.

If it were me, I would look for a used two stroke outboard on Craig's list since they are cheaper, significantly lighter per HP, and generally speaking simpler and more reliable.
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Old 29-11-2013, 08:21   #5
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Re: New Inflatable

I would strongly recommend a small outboard. Even though it's on davits you will probably want to remove the outboard when you do longer passages so look at weight carefully. Sometimes different HP will be similar weights. An 8 hp is ideal provided it is not significantly heavier than a 6hp. I like the small Mercurys since the throttle and shift are both in the handle. No separate shift lever. Again, these are frequently available on Craigslist. Just make sure they start it up in front of you at least twice.
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Old 29-11-2013, 08:56   #6
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We used a MinnKota trolling motor on our air floor dinghy for several years because I didn't want to carry gasoline on board and we liked the silence. We used it mainly for getting from boat to dinghy dock or puttering around in protected water. Since we are now going cruising we replaced it with a small Tohatsu outboard. The trolling motor pushed the dinghy well enough even in winds up to 20 knots. To get extended range between recharging we used two 6v Trojan batteries which worked extremely well and lasted easily for a week long vacation at anchor, but they weigh 62 lbs each. That made it tough to drag the dinghy up the beach. And tough to lift the batteries from dink to high freeboard boat.
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Old 29-11-2013, 09:04   #7
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Re: New Inflatable

my friend uses a trolling motor on his west marine inflatable. it works well enough in still waters but any kind of wind or sea slows it considerably. for rough work he has a 3hp outboard....
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Old 29-11-2013, 09:46   #8
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Re: New Inflatable

Quote:
Originally Posted by silversailor View Post
Avoid the wood floors. A RIB will give you the best service.
We've had an Avon with a wood floor for the past 13 years. A plywood floor will take incredible abuse and it comes out when you want to roll the dinghy up for a passage or to store in your attic for the winter. The plywood is painted. When the paintwears off (ours still hasn't) you can easily repaint it. However, I agree that if you want to go really fast, a RIB will give you better service.
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Old 29-11-2013, 09:53   #9
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Re: New Inflatable

First you have to determine what you're going to use the dink for. For cruising the islands a 10'06" RIB with a 15 hp ob. But for getting out to a mooring a smaller one with a small ob will do. If you're in marinas most of the time go cheap on the dink, if it's going to be your main transportation like a pick-up get the best you can afford. PVC is cheaper than Hypalon. You get what you pay for.
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Old 29-11-2013, 10:00   #10
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Re: New Inflatable

Look at used Porte Botes. Expensive new, but I have shopped carefully and bought three nearly new for decent price. It rows pretty good. If you replace the standard oar locks with real oar locks and some backer they row even better. Screw the ob.
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Old 29-11-2013, 14:16   #11
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Re: New Inflatable

Thanks very much, everyone, for your responses, sure is good to get advice from folks doin' what you're lookin' at doin'...... Appreciate it!
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Old 29-11-2013, 14:42   #12
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Re: New Inflatable

Cost wise, this may not be what you want to hear.
With a 14' beam on your boat, I would without a doubt go for the 12' dink.
A 10 footer would work. No doubt about it. just consider though that there is room needed for you, at least one other person, the gas tank, the life jackets, small anchor and prolly groceries at times. Remember, when they measure a dink, its total from the front to the end of the pontoons. That space between the stern and the end of the pontoons is not usable.
I have had 6 inflatable dinks in my lifetime. My current one is my first RIB. It is by far the best way to go and I would never buy anything but a RIB.
No beaching worries, better steering, better rowing and more efficient with lower HP on outboard.
Get Hypalon for durability and longevity.
Get an 8 - 10 HP motor.

Things to consider:
1). Your intended use now - Probably as a get back and forth tender.
2). What you will probably actually use it for - exploring and just flat out playing. The bigger the dink and the bigger the motor, the more exploring and playing you will do. This is usually the reality.
3). Myself and others I know use their dinks just as much if not more than the regular boat. Sometimes it's fun to go visiting other boats by dink. We even do nite cruises in the dink with a candle and a bottle of wine. Sometimes you only have 3 hours to kill and want to get on the water - the dink!!.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that the more comfy and the faster the dink will go, the more you will use it. I realize that the bottom line is always money so the decision making process is difficult.

Good luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 29-11-2013, 16:32   #13
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Re: New Inflatable

Do a search here on Walker Bay before you buy. Buyer beware.
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Old 29-11-2013, 16:49   #14
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Got a source for a good 12' or so hypalon RIB?
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Old 29-11-2013, 16:56   #15
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Re: New Inflatable

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Got a source for a good 12' or so hypalon RIB?

Defender usually has good sales at the end of the summer season.
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