we've had a watertender 9.4 for eight years. bought it one year old for $250. the admiral prefers it to the inflatable
which i've kept folded on deck
for many years now.
i have a 3hp yamaha 2 stroke
on it, which will plane me (190lbs) when i'm alone. it also rows really well with one person, but it's tough getting a good seating position with two, although i've done it many times. we always tow it in the icw
and the bahamas
, but put it on deck
when crossing the gulf stream
. luckily, it actually fits flat on deck on my csy 37
. i use the staysail halyard
to pick it up and put it back.
got a couple of watertender stories.
we were going ashore through a heavy chop in the exumas
, wife in the front well and me in the back, engine
running. in these conditions, we both sit in the 'footwells' to keep weight low. normally i sit in the rear footwell and she sits on the center seat. at one point she decided to lean forward over the bow (still don't know why). the bow dipped under and the entire boat immediately filled with water
up to the gunwhales. but she was still floating level and the engine
was still running. i immediately shut down the engine. we were sitting waist deep in water
. got out the bailing bucket and bailed like mad. soon we had most of the water out and continued on to shore.
there was a terrific rainstorm one night while we were anchored in the exumas
. but when i got up in the morning i looked up at the sky and it was bright blue. i looked down to check my dinghy
. she was full of water - clean rainwater. so i told my wife to get the laundry
and some liquid detergent. i washed the clothes in the back footwell, rinsed it in the front footwell, and handed it up to her to hang on the lifelines
coming in to treasure cay (abacos) at low tide, i misjudged the channel and ran into a sand bank. i quickly put her in reverse, not even looking behind me to check the dinghy
. then i turned a quick left and gave her some power and we were back in the main channel. that's when my crew said 'look behind you'. i looked and saw the watertender upside down and running just beneath the surface. no place to stop in the channel so i had to just keep going up into the anchorage area, about a quarter mile ahead, towing the upside down submerged dinghy behind me. after we anchored we righted the dinghy, hauled her up by the stern with the staysail halyard
and opened the drain plug
(in the bow on the watertender) to remove all the water it had taken on while being towed underwater. no problem.
the good. it's inexpensive, almost indestructable, can be bottom painted, tows and rows really well. never worry about it when tying to docks or rocks. never worry about punctures.
the bad. unless you can store it on deck you need to always tow it or get davits
. friend of mine has his on davits
. at 100lbs i don't think you'd need superstrong davits.
i keep telling myself i need something better, but i've yet to find anything better, at least for my requirements.