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Old 28-05-2015, 16:28   #1
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Which Dinghy

A the age old question! Which dinghy to buy.

Now before everyone jumps in and starts tossing brands they like, or advice like "Buy the biggest", ect.

I'm looking for the most affordable option for a dinghy that will be reasonably fast with a 9.9hp and be able to carry 2 adults and 2 children (11 and under). AFFORDABLE..

Of course I'm drawn to the Walker bay with the tubes, but gun shy due to the bad reputation. I have read a few posts that they simply don't stand up in the Caribbean. I believe Mark on SVReach posted that they are the #1 failed dinghy they see.

I'm also drawn to the Port-a-boat, but I said reasonably fast (I know if can't handle a 9.9hp). The port-a-boat is anything but fast.

Are there other options I'm missing?
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Old 28-05-2015, 16:53   #2
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Re: Which Dinghy

FWIW, the portabote is fast even with it's lower hp rating. They are very light but strong. Also row well when you need to, like when you're engine dies. Four of us adults were zipping right along in a 10' portabote with a 5hp yamaha.
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Old 28-05-2015, 16:55   #3
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Re: Which Dinghy

Yeah, buy a RIB. I find it hard to believe so many people like the Walker bay with tubes, why? It's not a rib or a hard dinghy. Without tubes it's a piss poor hard dinghy and with tubes it's a piss poor RIB. However, if it's all you got, it's great.
If you are on a budget, buy a Defender RIB on sale.
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Old 28-05-2015, 17:02   #4
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Re: Which Dinghy

With the Porta Bote you'll probably have to go to the 12 foot model to get adequate payload capacity and even then you might be pushing it if you're bigger people. The smaller models really won't leave you much margin to carry all 4 plus groceries, water, fuel, etc.

We went through a similar decision process last fall and bought a lightly used Caribe C10 RIB and a 15 HP 4 stroke. So far we love the Caribe although it's a bit heavy when lifting on deck. If it had been in the budget I would have sprung for the aluminum bottom model. The four stroke 15 is a beast at 114 lbs. It isn't fun to lift onto the rail even with a crane lift but we chose it over the 9.9 because we had heard getting a 10 foot RIB on plane with a 9.9 could be iffy with more than 2 people aboard. We initially considered trading the 15 down to 9.9 but after giving it some time we really love having the power. If buying the motor in the islands had been possible we probably would have waited and bought a 2 stroke 15 HP at 85 lbs.

My advice is to buy a RIB. Look for one used in good condition if the budget is tight. Good deals are out there.
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Old 28-05-2015, 17:08   #5
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Re: Which Dinghy

Do you already own the 9.9 hp outboard engine?
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Old 28-05-2015, 17:21   #6
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Re: Which Dinghy

Pick up a good used hypalon 9 or 10 foot RIB. It may not plane with everyone on board, but it should go close if you can fit a fine pitched prop.

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Old 28-05-2015, 17:23   #7
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Re: Which Dinghy

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
Do you already own the 9.9 hp outboard engine?
No I own a very crappy Yamaha 5hp, but 9.9hp are common enough to pick one up pretty cheap.

As to the comment on the port-a-boat zipping along. Maybe your idea of zipping is different then mine. The ones I have seen are not fast at all, especially with adults.

People are drawn to the Walker bay for 3 reasons.
1. PRICE
2. Capacity, it can hold a lot for the weight.
3. Stability. With the tubes its pretty stable.

The problem with a RIB is the price. IMHO they are overpriced for what they are. 6-8K plus motor is not affordable.
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Old 28-05-2015, 17:47   #8
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Re: Which Dinghy

Define affordable.


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Old 28-05-2015, 17:52   #9
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Re: Which Dinghy

I'm not sure where you're seeing prices of $6-8K for a RIB. I'm seeing new hypalon 10 foot RIBs from AB and Achilles starting around 3.5K for a fiberglass bottom and 4.5K for an aluminum. The bow locker models are somewhat more but, IMHO, this is not a feature you need or want as it needlessly adds weight for not much storage space. Our used Caribe was under $2K and, apart from a few cosmetic issues basically looks and holds air like new.

Also, as gets pointed out whenever this type of question comes up, there's a reason RIBs with 9.9 or 15 HP motors vastly outnumber all other dinghy choices among full time cruisers. A lot of people have put themselves through much frustration and wasted money to learn that the hard way. If you really want to consider an alternative, I'd strongly recommend figuring out a way to borrow one and test it out thoroughly before buying.
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Old 28-05-2015, 18:01   #10
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Re: Which Dinghy

Any chance you have the time, interest and inclination to build your own? Would give you a boat that motors, sails and rows well, plus self-repairable at a cost of about $1k.


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Old 28-05-2015, 18:17   #11
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Re: Which Dinghy

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Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
As to the comment on the port-a-boat zipping along. Maybe your idea of zipping is different then mine. The ones I have seen are not fast at all, especially with adults.
We go cruising to slow down. "Zipping" to me is maybe 10 knots.
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Old 28-05-2015, 18:18   #12
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Re: Which Dinghy

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I'm not sure where you're seeing prices of $6-8K for a RIB. I'm seeing new hypalon 10 foot RIBs from AB and Achilles starting around 3.5K for a fiberglass bottom and 4.5K for an aluminum. The bow locker models are somewhat more but, IMHO, this is not a feature you need or want as it needlessly adds weight for not much storage space. Our used Caribe was under $2K and, apart from a few cosmetic issues basically looks and holds air like new.

Also, as gets pointed out whenever this type of question comes up, there's a reason RIBs with 9.9 or 15 HP motors vastly outnumber all other dinghy choices among full time cruisers. A lot of people have put themselves through much frustration and wasted money to learn that the hard way. If you really want to consider an alternative, I'd strongly recommend figuring out a way to borrow one and test it out thoroughly before buying.
I should have said I'm looking for at least 10' preferably 12'. Looking on Defender.com shows boats around the 6K mark plus shipping.

Affordable is $3500 BNIB.

While I understand your point about the "Hard Way", cruisers are also the most change resistant people I have ever met (not a bad thing when sailing). So I believe there is a better option. Livingston boats may fit this critera, but they don't fit the affordable criteria.
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Old 28-05-2015, 20:13   #13
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Re: Which Dinghy

So why would you consider a walker bay but not a portabote? Walker bay is much slower right? I think rated <5 hp.


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Old 28-05-2015, 20:48   #14
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Re: Which Dinghy

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So why would you consider a walker bay but not a portabote? Walker bay is much slower right? I think rated <5 hp.


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Thats a good question..

My understanding is in reality they are about the same speed once loaded with passengers. Two reasons the Walker Bay is more attractive. 1. It can be boarded from the water, easily. 2. Its more stable. The portabote is not easily boarded from the water unless you have the ladder kit. I've been told the portabote has a feeling very similar to an aluminium fishing boat.
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Old 28-05-2015, 21:22   #15
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Re: Which Dinghy

Quote:
While I understand your point about the "Hard Way", cruisers are also the most change resistant people I have ever met (not a bad thing when sailing). So I believe there is a better option. Livingston boats may fit this critera, but they don't fit the affordable criteria.
Believing that a better option exists does not make it so! Folks with limited experience at long range cruising often have beliefs like these, and ignore the accumulated wisdom of the masses of experienced folks. If they stick around long enough they often see that those "change resistant people" had good reasons for being obdurate.

So, if you do come upon the better option and select it, please report back to us after a few years of usage. We may be change resistant but we sometimes capitulate in the face of something really good!

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