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Old 11-04-2017, 19:53   #1
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Rigid versus inflatable dinghy

If I plan on getting a 45 to 50 ft blue water cruising boat with either davits or enough room on the foredeck to be lashed down, why do I want to get any version of inflatable dingy?

Inflatables seem to have a much shorter lifespan, higher maintenance requirements, less/no storage, and reduced performance compared with a rigid dinghy like a Boston Whaler tender.

But, most people seem to have inflatables, even when it seems like they never deflate them, so why get them?

I assume that inflatables weigh less and are easier to 'beach", are a little less expensive, but that seems to be all.

Any one know of any good articles comparing rigids (like a Whaler) versus inflatables?

Thanks,

Dan
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Old 11-04-2017, 20:31   #2
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Re: Rigid versus inflatable dinghy

I cannot answer for others, but my preference is the inflatable. There are several reasons, but one of them you may wish to disregard immediately: My boat is too small for something like a Boston Whaler. I can and do lift the relatively small outboard I have. I can also lift the inflatable too, with the help of the boom if needed. I can and do deflate it for longer trips or when headed home. I tow it, without outboard, on shorter location changes. The ability to ground the inflatable is fairly important in my usual sail area. It is better than the hard dinks I have had in the past in these aspects, but I suppose it does wear faster (I do sell them if worn, and have purchased used ones), and it and may be an easier theft target, although I have not had that happen so far. Knock on wood.
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Old 11-04-2017, 20:51   #3
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Re: Rigid versus inflatable dinghy

Your dinghy will bump into your hull about 10,000 times a year. If you are OK with that, get a whaler.
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Old 11-04-2017, 22:09   #4
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Re: Rigid versus inflatable dinghy

Reasons for an inflatable:
1] Less topside damage from bumping and rubbing.
2] Small stowage volume
3] Stability when loaded or when loaded to one side.

I have an inflatable for my boat, but only because there was absolutely no way to make a hard dinghy work on my boat.
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Old 11-04-2017, 22:14   #5
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Re: Rigid versus inflatable dinghy

Ribs still float when full of water.
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Old 11-04-2017, 23:59   #6
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Re: Rigid versus inflatable dinghy

Yes, inflatibles cost more over any given span of time. Though they're more tolerant of overloading, as well as questionable/poor seamanship & handling. Such as paying attention when coming alongside a large vessel. And no, they're not as tolerant of beachings. But for many folks they're almost the only option, as very, very few boats are designed nor have space on deck for a rigid dinghy. And on smaller boats, hanging something as heavy as a BW off of davits is simply too much weight. Plus on a lot of boats, dinks in davits run the risk of getting filled by waves offshore.

The bumping the mothership with a dink's a non-issue, assuming basic boathandling skills. That, and attaching a small drogue to the dink when it's tethered behind the mothership. Which is wise with any type of dink anyway. Though a good rubrail's a necessity regardless. And are easy to fabricate, including DIY on the cheap, needs be.
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Old 12-04-2017, 00:23   #7
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Re: Rigid versus inflatable dinghy

Personally, I'll take an aluminum rigid over an inflatable every day of the week. I grew up with aluminum. No problems at all. Inflatable boat? No thanks!

You plan on having a 45- to 50-foot boat, so the following should be fine. Weighs 75 kilograms, and is 3.3-meters long. A 25-hp outboard and 10 people is OK. Cushioned on the outside, so it won't mar up your boat. Hitting rocks? OK! Beaching? Always OK!

I have no relationship with this company: Ocean Craft All aluminium inflatable style, cylinder craft, oceancraft boat builder,high speed military vessels used as coastal patrol boats intercept vessels and certified military vessels Caloundra, manufacturers, leisure, recreation, travel, trans
(Tel: 0416-293-686)
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Old 12-04-2017, 00:51   #8
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Re: Rigid versus inflatable dinghy

I like the idea of a rigid because it's better for rowing, but how about thinking of a roto (polyethylene) instead of aluminum. Plus an inflatable for diving off of since it is storable.
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Old 12-04-2017, 02:06   #9
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Re: Rigid versus inflatable dinghy

weight is important. Can your crew lift the dingy up the beach to the high water mark? There are often no wharf or docs to tie to. Anchoring off leads to getting wet. Stability of a RIB is unmatched in any given size. Rib is a car, tug, dive boat, big fender etc etc when cruising.
I have a 2.9 RIb weighs 38KG. Does 20Knots with a 15HP. Has transom wheels for use with the 15 (about 36 KG) on suitable surfaces, as the Admiral and I cannot carry it with the 15, fuel etc. With the little (2.5hp) we can carry it up the beach, and the two of us can lift the dingy onto the deck without a winch. Its carried upside down on the foredeck of a 40ft boat.
Personally I'd not have anything else, except another RIB.
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Old 12-04-2017, 03:07   #10
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Re: Rigid versus inflatable dinghy

With a boat the size you are planning on getting, no reason whatsoever to have an inflatable. To be honest, I think I would get a real boat rather than a RIB since weight and size should be of little concern.
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Old 12-04-2017, 04:15   #11
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Re: Rigid versus inflatable dinghy

Quite honestly, on a boat that size it doesn't make sense not to have one of each. Get a long, slender, hard dink which sails & rows well. Including rowing stations for 2 rowers. And that'll both carry a load well, & do well crossing the surf line.
For your other dink, get a RIB or inflatable with an OB. To use for trips further away from the mothership via the OB, & on trips where stability is paramount, like diving.

The reasons for 2 are simple & common sense. For example, at some point one will need maintenance, & you don't want to be dinghyless while this is going on. The inflatable may develop a leak or a hole when onshore, & you then need to row in with a patch kit. Or a new set of oars for the hard dink, etc. At times you'll have guests, & they'll sometimes be on different sked's than you, so again a 2nd dink comes in handy. Plus, if you have kids, or niece's & nephew's commonly visit, you'll surely want them to have a dink of their own, if for naught but some occassional peace & quite. This and 101 other reasons, up to & including that (cringe) one may get taken. So again you don't want to be dinghyless if this transpires.

Also, some folks have alternative dinks. Anything from inflatable kayaks, or take down/origami kayaks, to folding/collapsible hard dinghies like the Porta-Bote. Along with "spares" in the form of hard dinghy kits stowed below, that can be assembled in a few days/a week if needed. Which can be quite useful; for you, or perhaps your neighbors. Call'em good trading goods, or rainy day investments.
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Old 12-04-2017, 04:26   #12
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Re: Rigid versus inflatable dinghy

One of the key reasons I like rigid bottom inflatable is the softness of the ride when you are in cross seas... And if you do get thrown around a bit....you are bumping into something soft.....
same at night when climbing on board after a few beers
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Old 12-04-2017, 08:31   #13
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Re: Rigid versus inflatable dinghy

You can certainly get whatever you want with the boat size you're planning on. We bought an inexpensive inflatable our first season, but when it developed a leak at the seams over that winter we went with a hard dink and haven't looked back.

We like that hard dinks are virtually indestructible so you only have to buy them once, they row well and some come with sailing kits (if you're into that kind of thing - we are), and they hold much more than the equivalent-sized inflatable. Ours also tows like a champ behind the mothership.

I've heard people talk about how much more tippy they are, but they aren't THAT tender and like anything, you get used to it. As for constantly banging into the mothership, it hasn't been a problem for us at all. We have a canvas rubrail on ours so it doesn't leave a mark on the rare occasions we haven't let out enough line.

Currently we have a Fatty Knees which we love, but we're reluctantly coming to the conclusion that we'll need a nesting dinghy because our Fatty will take up too much room on the foredeck. We're going to order up an 8' nesting Nisqually from Gig Harbor Boatworks, but if our boat was 45'-50' we'd stick with our Fatty Knees.
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Old 12-04-2017, 08:53   #14
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Re: Rigid versus inflatable dinghy

Have a look at the PT11 nesting dink, & it's sister the PT Spear at www.PTwatercraft.com Both are incredibly well rowing, & sailing boats.

For the OP, also, do a bit of reading on dinghies in the Dashew's books, free for download at SetSail FPB » Free Books There's a good bit on dink seamanship, features, etc. in several of said PDF publications.

I'd buy one of Russell's (PT Watercraft's) dink's in a heartbeat, or barring that, a 12' dory with a tombstone stem, & similarly shaped, but larger transom. I had a 9'er which with me weighing 240lbs then, I could stand on the gunwale & she wouldn't take on any water. And she rowed & handled like a dream. Even with 500-600lbs onboard.

She was my fav when living aboard, as I could go ashore & vice versa, regardless of the weather. Though the surf line, & or dodging breakers. If it was blowing 40kts+, etc.


Here's another good resource Chesapeake Light Craft | Boat Plans, Boat Kits, Boatbuilding Supplies, Boat Kit, Kayak Kit, Canoe Kit, Sailboat Kit
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Old 12-04-2017, 09:05   #15
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Re: Rigid versus inflatable dinghy

Good answers above. Bottom line is many many people try to do something else than an inflatable and after that they end up with an inflatable anyway. A few do not.
-Stability in rough water,
-ease of getting in and out of into the water,
-unsinkable,
-comfort
-lightweight,
-wont damage your mother ship
.....etc are all some of the reasons. A good Hypalon RIB will last a long time. The AB RIB I had was still going strong after 8 years in the FLorida and Carribean sun when I sold the boat. An Achilles I had and bought used was from the 90's (blue hypalon) The hypalon was in great shape when I sold it in 2013.
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