This is one of my favorite topics. To me, dinks play a HUGE part in making our motherships so enjoyable. Try being without a dink and see what I mean.
Before I go any further, I have to say that I have both, a sailing dink and an inflatable, and they are both on my 36 ft boat. I have worked it out for me.
As said so many times before, They all have their pros and cons. But for me.... Well, I have to chime in on the quote by Southern Star on hard dinks.
#1 "It cannot be stowed below decks..."
(a given). But stowing an inflatable below decks has it's disadvantages as well (unless yours is an airfloor, which has it's own limitations).
..."it interfered with visibility/movement if stowed on deck"
As does an inflatable, if stowed on deck.
2. "It is much less stable to get into and out of than an inflatable."
Agreeed. That's (1 reason) why I have the flotation tubes on my sailing dink.
3. "It is less stable under power than an inflatable."
It's a different purpose boat. I would not try to plane my hard dink, but I do have a 2.5 hp motor
for it. With that power, it's very stable.
3. "It had a tendancy to 'bang' into the transom or topsides when reversing, anchoring
. or just while drifting when under anchor. This not only creates an annoying below deck noise
when sleeping, it tends, even with a decent rubrail, to scrape/abrade the topsides of the mothership."
I was going to use just segments of that quote. But because he's right, I wanted to drive home all the things that can be overcome with the flotation tubes. I hated my hard dink if for no more reason than that. But I loved it for other reasons that I figure I had t make it work for me. The flotation tubes took care of all that beautifully.
My sailing dink gets a lot more use. That's because it's so easy for me to lanuch and retrieve. My boarding ladder does double duty and acts as my davit. I can pull the dink way up that way and it would be less vulnerable to following heavy seas. LESS, does not mean invulnerable of course.
My inflatable is my "go fast" toy. Very nice to have as well. But a royal pain to put together.
Now to be fair, I would always leave it pumped up and ready to go with the segemented plastic roll up floor in place (I REALLY HATE WOOD FLOORS.. hear the yelling?), but with the hard dink already taking up space. I don't wanna, and you can't make me.