First post here (I'm Valiente on Sailnet.com if this seems familiar; it's the name of my old racer-cruiser).
We determined after having a perfectly good Zodiac
for a few years that this and a 9.9 HP wouldn't work for us on a planned world cruise
set to begin in a couple of years. Partly was the difficulty of dealing with a 9.9's weight in a seaway, and partly because we've experienced a davit breakage in just five foot Lake Ontario
"seas", and have come to agree that davits
and ocean passagemaking don't mix unless it's a fairly substantial yacht.
We decided that our requirements were less fun than practical, and that "getting up on the plane" wasn't a priority. Consequently, we determined that our tenders are a) for bulk transport of provisions and supplies, and therefore had to be rugged; b) people movers from boat to shore with little more than a satchel or a tote bag; c) recreation/exercise for ourselves and our kid in calm anchorages
to "go exploring".
We have about 20 feet of foredeck on our pilothouse cutter
; space is not so much a problem as is visibility. We therefore decided on TWO tenders: one is a 10 foot folding Portabote, bought used, and the other is a pricey but beautifully made nesting dinghy
called the NN-10 built by a guy in B.C. called Barry Niccolls. The Portabote, I needn't mention, folds like a surfboard on the rails, and the nesting dinghy
, well, nests down to a five foot-six low-profile boxy object that will be secured to the foredeck hatch
, which leads to the forepeak "workshop"
The Portabote can be rowed easily...my six-year-old took a crack today and obviously has the strength if not (yet) the co-ordination to get the boat moving. The NN-10 dinghy can be rowed or sailed with a simple main and jib
rig, with a centerboard
, and the two pieces bolt together quickly, float independently and weigh about 90 lbs. in total. Both can be propelled by our 2 HP Honda
4-stroke, a noisy (aircooled) but blessedly light object my five-foot tall wife can single-hand in and out of the boat with little effort.
The advantages of two rather different tenders are many. Carrying capacity at about 1,100 lbs over the two tenders is about 100 lbs. greater than the equivalent 10-foot Zodiac RIB
, but I prefer to think of this capacity as 20 feet of boat space, as I will never have more than three people or that much cargo in either tender
. Two tenders means no one is "stuck on the boat" and gives my kid as he gets more capable (he'll be eight or nine when we go long-term cruising) a sailing dinghy to use to "get away" to visit other boats or just to go exploring. Both boats are far easier to hoist and manipulate on deck
than the 110 lbs. of RIB, and while not as stable in absolute terms, can be made more so with inflatable "collars", if desired, which are easily stowed. Finally, neither the Portabote nor the FG nesting dinghy are prone to UV damage, leaks
or tears, nor are they likely to be quite as attractive to thieves.
This seems to us a good solution, with the very minor "con" that we can't get on the plane with a 2 HP. If we change our minds, however, RIBs are everywhere we are likely to go, and getting one would be simple. So far, however, certainly from a stowage point of view, it's great not to be staring at the stern of an inverted RIB on deck
from the inside helm