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Old 17-11-2006, 23:09   #1
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What About a Micro Dinghy?

For solo sailing on a small cruiser, which has exactly 1.67m of usable coach roof for dinghy storage, how small can a dink be and still be worthwhile?

I'm thinking of building Half-Pea to find out. At 4' feet roughly square, the Half-Pea is barely a boat. But maybe it can serve the needs, or at least serve as a learning project.
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Old 18-11-2006, 01:44   #2
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The Half Pea might be fun to build, and amusing to display; but I don’t see any utility (in it) for a cruiser. It looks like a total waste of time & space, to me.
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Old 18-11-2006, 02:57   #3
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Wouldn't want to be half p....ed when you got in it
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Old 18-11-2006, 04:33   #4
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Micro dinghy sounds great to row around in, but what about the rest of the crew and the propane tank and groceries you need to bring back?

There is only one size rule for boats. It has to be big enough for you and all your stuff.
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Old 18-11-2006, 05:13   #5
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Add some wheels and it'd be a nice shopping trolley
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Old 18-11-2006, 06:25   #6
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build several, stack them, then when you need to carry extra stuff, make a little train out of them by tying them together
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Old 18-11-2006, 09:33   #7
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::laughing:: Great responses!

There is a *tiny* amount of seriousness in this proposal... I don't have to carry any other crew. Period. And my pre-cruise weight is about 75kg. As for ferrying gear... in 10 years of sailing I've never reprovisioned except at the float. The largest thing I've *had* to row out was a jerry of water/fuel, 20kg, which would still be possible in the half-pea.

Pblais: if that's the one rule for boats, then my cruising boat (Cape Dory 25D) is too small because it cannot store an 8' dinghy on deck. On the other hand, I don't have crew, I don't have propane ::sigh::, and I'm sure the half-pea can carry a couple of bags of groceries at a time if I make a mistake and run out somewhere there isn't a marina or public dock. So maybe it would pass your rule after all. And I'd suggest a corrolary: a boat must fit the dock/storage that you have or can afford.

What the pea *can't* do is carry out an anchor in rising storm conditions. Or let me row a mile or two in from an anchorage, especially across any lumpy water.

If anyone knows of a design up to 5.5', please let me know!
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Old 18-11-2006, 11:21   #8
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Aloha Amgine,
I had a friend who cruised the South Pacific with his wife on an Offshore 41. They had a 6 foot dinghy (small people). That was the smallest I've seen that was of any practical use. Have you thought about a nesting dinghy?
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Old 18-11-2006, 13:03   #9
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The choice of tender for a micro-cruiser is a challenge. Expandability becomes the watchword. Folding designs, i.e., the porta-bote, aside, a nesting dinghy is likely to solve the problem and give you the best of both worlds: stowable on your tiny foredeck and "just enough room for you," that seems to appeal to you, and expanded load-carrying capacity when you need it (and brother, you know you'll need it sooner or later).

If you make it a nesting dinghy, you will be able to have a "normal" eight or nine foot deployed length for carrying stores/occasional passengers. Of course, there's no need to use both pieces if you're by yourself, so you can have your snug little 5-footer when you're just rowing yourself to the dock.

Separate sets of chocks for the two pieces will allow you to store the dinghy inverted on your foredeck. Technically, when stored, they wouldn't even need to touch each other, each having chocks of its own. You would take off the outside (the main, rowing) hull without having to bother with the secondary (fore) hull at all when you don't need it.

If you're not sanguine about nesting, you might be able to find a non-nesting design, or modify a too-large design, to fit within that 5' footprint, likely by chopping off some of the bow. As long as it's a DIY project and you are in control, you might as well make the largest dink that will stow on your foredeck. If you do that, it will be 25% longer than the Half-Pea, a considerable improvement when you're talking about tenders that small.

Or follow the lead of other micro-cruisers and get a kayak, tough & lightweight, and tow behind wherever you go.
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Old 18-11-2006, 14:16   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amgine
For solo sailing on a small cruiser, which has exactly 1.67m of usable coach roof for dinghy storage, how small can a dink be and still be worthwhile?

I'm thinking of building Half-Pea to find out. At 4' feet roughly square, the Half-Pea is barely a boat. But maybe it can serve the needs, or at least serve as a learning project.




That IS small!!

Funnily enough would make quite a good boat for me to use just to get accross the harbour to my boat (and leaving it tied up to the harbour wall 24/7) - but of course just cheaper / easier to have a cheap s/h "Full Sized" dinghy.

I suspect that for "real" use it would just too tempting to overload it / try and go too far and the weather turns for the return leg.........

But still handy to have something to paddle ashore with, just not sure if this is conveniant enough to keep onboard for minimal use.

Not that I know what the answer is!!
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Old 18-11-2006, 16:30   #11
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Amgine,
A couple of thought. First check sailfar.net (I think that is the site), All of the boats are under 28 feet and you might get some advice from the "been there, done that" crowd. Folding dingy's use very small motors. I ended up using an AVON R285, fits on a 27 footer. Finally I have biult several dingy's. The first one went straight from the garage to the dumpster. Starting small and simple is a good idea so your half pea may make a good project if only as a learning tool.
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Old 18-11-2006, 16:37   #12
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Perhaps check out Portaboats. The folks that have them love them. You can put a motor on them and haul serious cargo as well. They do fold flat.

http://www.porta-bote.com/

I have seen them tied to lifelines on under 30 ft boats. The pea while interesting can't handle much .
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Old 20-11-2006, 19:07   #13
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::grin:: Thanks for the advice Pura Vida! Yes, my plan is to build the half-pea as an experiment and learning experience, and then probably give it to the grandkids as a pool toy. If construction works as expected I'll be working on another dinghy which will fit the very limited storage aboard my boat, maybe a nesting and maybe a folder.

I'm checking out Sailfar.net as well... interesting crowd there.
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Old 20-11-2006, 19:21   #14
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Wouldnt half a folder or a nester make a half-pea?

Might save a bit of work.
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Old 20-11-2006, 19:55   #15
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I have a small inflatable dinghy, manufactured in New Zealand. It justy over 6' long when inflated, and is rated for a payload of up to 220kg (450 lbs). when deflated it packs into a holdall. The packed size is only about 1m x 0.6m x 0.4m. I run a little 2 horse outboard on it, which pushes it along fine.

I can easily stow it on my foredeck. In fact, semi-inflated, it would fit somewhere even smaller

Frankly, though, having used it, I can saythat I would not want to use this dinghy in any sort of swell/chop. However, when I am coastal crusing, I am invariably anchored in a spot that is well sheltered from both wind and waves, so in that case it is just fine for the Admiral and I to go ashore.
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