Hi Neptunes Gear
, Not sure if your response was general or not.
Our two new dinghies were bought having seen the exact same model on another cruisers boat. Our new dinghies (yeah, two) were bought specifically to fill our requirements. The 3.3meter (10ft 10inches) shall normally run with our 25hp Yam Enduro and be used for open sea, scuba diving
, and other longer trips. If used for ship to shore then we'll be using our Yam 5hp.
The small dinghy
(2.6meter, or 8ft) shall use a 15hp and be for the use of our boys - when they go to friends, go fishing
, or just exploring. Its important they have their independence. Their small motor
is a Yam Malta
3hp. Any trip of any distance the spare motor
also goes along. Part of our safety
culture, along with life jackets, harnesses, two hand held VHF's, pencil flares etc. Our big dinghy
(our last was an Aquapro which came apart - Chinese made) sits with its outboard
motor fitted on our aft platform (catamaran) and is well within load carrying capacity. On passage
it is ready with our grab bags and water
cans - all clipped in. We do not carry a life raft. The Ocean Craft is certified in Australia
purposes and our tubes are foam filled to ensure flotation. We always fit an overall cover to shed any green water
- never happened to us yet but better prepared. The 2.6 meter RIB
shall lay upside down on the fore deck
We are not a heavily loaded cat - rather we have cut down on our stocks of spares for spares for yet more spares and now just have what our experience tells us to carry. We undertake thorough checks regularly, especially on our rig, sails
, motors, skin fittings, electrical
and water systems and replace anything we are uncomfortable with. This is not as expensive as it might sound. On our last cat we sailed for many years with minimal expense, on a very tight budget
, as we started with everything in 100% condition. At the end of the day there shall always be lighter dinghies, or other alternatives. No one dinghy serves every purpose. I would not wish to take my still very serviceable 20 year old roll up 3.1 meter Avon
hypalon dinghy with a 5hp for a 20 mile trip between islands in anything but flat calm conditions. However, I would be happy to take my RIB + 25hp in most conditions and know it shall take whatever nature chucks at us. The old Avon
is perfect for crawling/exploring up shallow rivers, or in high loss risk area's, whilst the deep V of the RIB is totally useless for really skinny water. Its horses for courses. In my belief, the AB range are excellent, as are the New Zealand
made AquaPro's. The Caribes are also excellent altho' we found them pretty heavy but solid.
To my mind, the ideal is a a deep V semi rigid and a shallow draft
roll up. It really depends on storage
space, weight carry capacity, the ability to lift
the dinghy both ashore and on to the mother vessel, the limitations of your existing outboards motors and of course how much you wish to spend. If its a single
dinghy, then I would have to compromise somewhere. I would also not take most 2.6 meter dinghies of any type across a 20 mile channel - then i would take the main yacht. However, with a 3.3m & 25hp we can zip across very quickly and quite economically without having to leave our anchorage. Notwithstanding, we did a great deal with Ocean Craft in Australia
who were incredibly helpful and we are really looking forward to receiving our two new semi-custom ducks. Being 100% aluminium also makes them pretty unique and that hopefully shall reduce the likelihood of someone else wishing to acquire either of them. My last comment is that regardless of what dinghy is bought, we have found that adding fold down big fat transom wheels makes a big difference when beaching the duck.