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Old 10-06-2013, 06:53   #16
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Re: DINGHY - HARD OR SOFT?

Before any useful advice can be given we have to know the size of your boat and how you intend to use the dink. If you're just rowing out to a mooring a small hard dink might do. If you're cruising, a small hard dink would be at the bottom of the list. Most cruisers prefer RIBs. If your boat is big enough, a small Carolina Skiff might do the trick or a large RIB with center controls and a good sized outboard. Also your budget might be a factor.
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Old 10-06-2013, 07:01   #17
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Re: Dinghy - Hard or Soft?

this is my opinion if you are not traveling a lot and do not have to hoist your dinghy up and down on your boat very often I'd go with a fiberglass boat ,a small Boston Whaler or Carolina Skiff or the like if I needed to hoist it up often. Then a rib would be my choice. fiberglass boat has an almost unlimited life span , inflatable boat not so much
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Old 10-06-2013, 07:10   #18
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pirate Re: Dinghy - Hard or Soft?

It also depends how 'Green' you are... do you prefer to leave a small wake... or would you rather charge through the shallows at 15kts+ wreaking havoc on a fragile eco system...
Suddenly something simple like buying a dinghy takes on Earth Changing Proportions....

Always tickled me when neighbours would complain about the Jet Bike tours in various places... and the next morning roar past in their RIB at 10kts+ spilling my coffee..
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Old 10-06-2013, 07:36   #19
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Re: Dinghy - Hard or Soft?

For SCUBA divers getting to a remote place after anchoring, a hard shell dinghy is a must have; 4 divers, 8 tanks plus gear.
Mauritz
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Old 10-06-2013, 07:55   #20
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Re: Dinghy - Hard or Soft?

i find a dinghy is as personal as is a car... do you like z cars or camaros...do you like trucks or do you like sedans--is samewith dinghies---try em all and buy what you like best....and what you can handle and what fits onyour boat....is a personal thing...
happy sails and have fun!!!
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Old 10-06-2013, 07:57   #21
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Re: Dinghy - Hard or Soft?

As mentioned by several posters, it's largely a matter of how you intend to use the dink. If you're just rowing/motoring between the city dock and your mooring or a nearby anchorage, a hard dink is fine, and if you buy a sailing one you can do that too.

But an inflatable can carry much more, is more stable, and is generally faster under power. If you're going any farther distance the inflatable is going to be much safer too for the simple fact that if you fall out, or swim from it, you can get back on/in without much trouble. Try getting back in a Dyer Dhow from the water...almost impossible if there is not someone already on it to counter balance your weight.

A well taken care of inflatable can last 10+ years or more. Mine is 10 years old and has no appreciable wear and no repairs to date. I have a West Marine 310 compact RIB (a rebadged Zodiac) with a folding transom that packs in minutes into a package, with case, the size of a wide surfboard, about 8" thick, and lashes perfectly onto the cabin top. It rows perfectly well with the hard bottom although tracking is not quite up to par of a hard dink.
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Old 10-06-2013, 08:52   #22
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Re: DINGHY - HARD OR SOFT?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benz View Post
With five people aboard my boat, I probably carry more people and cargo than most other cruisers, since our laundry and grocery needs are more, and yet my hard rowing dinghy is sufficient. It is foolishness to call a hardworking rowing dinghy a toy, when it's affordability and lifespan and usefulness is so much greater than an inflatable's. If a hard dinghy calls your name, by all means give it a try. They are truly a joy to cruise with.
I'm curious, Benz...

Where on earth do you stow a hard dinghy big enough for your 5 man crew on a thirty foot boat? Sounds impossible!

Cheers,

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Old 10-06-2013, 18:40   #23
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A dinghy is a very personal choice. You need to tell us what your requirements are. For us, only a large, hard, rowing/sailing dinghy will do. To get one on the deck of a smaller sailboat, though, you'll probably need a nesting dinghy. Why it works for us:

No outboard/fuel cost = $$
Can row to windward in 25+ knots with chop. Try that in an inflatable.
Rowing/sailing is quiet and doesn't stink. Beautiful way to enjoy time on the water.
Durable which reduces lifetime cost. Our current dink is 30 years old. (hasn't always been a cruising tender, though)
Exercise which keeps us in good shape.
No wet butt
Rowing out an extra anchor is way easier than motoring one out when the weather picks up, IMHO
Engine doesn't break, hull doesn't deflate = reliable

Inflatables have their advantages, too:

Good diving platform
FAST (which can be important in an area with 2+ knot currents and long distances to cover)
Built in fender
Usable as a yawlboat to push your main boat along if the engine fails (a hard dinghy with an outboard can do this too)
If soft bottomed, very stowable.
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Old 10-06-2013, 18:52   #24
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Re: Dinghy - Hard or Soft?

We have a walker bay 8 with float tubes on it; makes it really nice and if it ever gets a flat it's really no big deal. Additionally you can get creative and use fenders for the tubes.

If I had my druthers I'd have a huge RIB with an equally huge outboard. But I like to be portable, not have davits, and be able to stow the dinghy (properly) rather quickly.

This is not at all accurate across all vessels, but it definitely seems like the size of your dinghy is inversely proportional to your underway time. The biggest tenders I see are from boats that aren't going anywhere ever again.
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Old 10-06-2013, 19:04   #25
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pirate Re: Dinghy - Hard or Soft?

I think the best all round dinghy ever made was the Tinker Tramp that came out in the 70's... row boat, sailing dinghy, power dinghy, life raft capability...
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:52   #26
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Re: Dinghy - Hard or Soft?

The biggest questions to ask are "where will I put it"?..and "how much will I spend"?

If you can afford davits and engine hoists and have the cash then RIB +20HP it is.

In my case, I did not wish for davits, and so a high pressure inflatable floor dinghy was the logical choice... it can be deflated and stored in a spare bunk or the head for passages.
For engine I went with 6HP, as this weighs just 55lbs and so can be hand managed easily onto a launched dinghy...no hoist required.

while not the speed, ruggedness or capacity of a RIB, it is the only real high performance (ie planing) inflatable solution and with 2 up, this combo will plane easily.. with groceries, gas and water?.. a bit like the little engine that could..lol
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Old 12-06-2013, 07:19   #27
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Re: Dinghy - Hard or Soft?

It takes much less horsepower to plane a good hard dinghy than an inflatable, I had a 1.2hp Tas motor on an 8'6" fiberglass dinghy years ago and with a tiller extension so I could trim it right it was plenty fast. Fast foreward 35 yrs and I bought an almost identical sears gamefisher (12lbs) and it barely pushes an inflatable of the same length. I like hard dinghies that are light, with small motors that are light, set up so I can stow the oars and motor securely, flip it upside down and portage it like a canoe, I never see anyone doing this anymore, yet its so easy.

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Old 12-06-2013, 07:31   #28
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Re: Dinghy - Hard or Soft?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mystic38 View Post
The biggest questions to ask are "where will I put it"?..and "how much will I spend"?

If you can afford davits and engine hoists and have the cash then RIB +20HP it is.

In my case, I did not wish for davits, and so a high pressure inflatable floor dinghy was the logical choice... it can be deflated and stored in a spare bunk or the head for passages.
For engine I went with 6HP, as this weighs just 55lbs and so can be hand managed easily onto a launched dinghy...no hoist required.

while not the speed, ruggedness or capacity of a RIB, it is the only real high performance (ie planing) inflatable solution and with 2 up, this combo will plane easily.. with groceries, gas and water?.. a bit like the little engine that could..lol
Do you have a model that you'd recommend?
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Old 12-06-2013, 07:47   #29
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Re: Dinghy - Hard or Soft?

I've had both and finally settled on an 11 foot Boston Whaler tender as my only dinghy. But, I have a 42 foot boat and it wouldn't have worked as well on my last sailboat, a 32 footer (I had an inflatable for that boat).

I'm still young enough (55) to easily haul mine up and store it inverted on my foredeck. When, I'm 75, I admit that may not seem like as good a plan.

Hard shell (and speaking mainly of the Boston Whaler, that I have).
Pros:
1. Almost indestructible
2. Can be rowed (miles in fact if you are in good shape)
3. Cost (cheaper to obtain, last forever)
4. Tows much easier, (when using the right set up)
5. Unsinkable (you could machine gun it, and it would still float).
6. Motors unbelievably fast with a large motor (mine will do over 30 knots with a 25 HP on it).
7. Sunlight has no effect on it.

Cons:
1. Can't be deflated, it is what it is, all the time
2. Bumps against hull, without a really good rubrail (like a thick Taylor Made).
3. Good ones can be heavy (my Whaler weighs 280 pounds)
4. Needs sturdier davits, is heavier to raise and put on the foredeck.
5. Is not going to plane with a small HP motor (important to some people, not important to others. I always hated other people zooming by me fast, so I really avoid doing it to others.)

Inflatable:
Pros:
1. Lighter (making it almost a necessity for older or less physically fit people)
2. Can be deflated and stored like that.
3. Motors well and easy to get on plane, with smaller HP than most hard shells.

Cons:
1. Can be damaged, quite easily and unexpectedly, at times (I've lost count of how many people I saw patching inflatables on my last cruise, including me).
2. Can't be rowed very well (your motor quits and you are screwed)
3. Are much more expensive new, and it is hard to tell the real condition of a used one.
4. Only tows well in calm seas (tendency to flip over in really rough or breaking seas).
5. Can sink if tubes get punctured.
6. Some materials really don't like sunlight and should be covered when possible.

I understand why lots of people pick inflatables. They do have a lot of good qualities. You couldn't give me one, though.
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Old 12-06-2013, 08:00   #30
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Re: Dinghy - Hard or Soft?

For serious cruising I would recommend a RIB as a tender. If you want to have fun sailing get a separate little boat for that purpose.

You want a high freeboard - large tubes, 3 or more chambers, a double sole so that dry under most conditions and the *bilge* can be pumped out. They are very stable and one can even stand on the tubes.

I've had many inflatables over the 28 years of coastal and offshore cruising and I've arrived at a 10' RIB as the best solution. It planes with one or two aboard and tows fine. It's not easy to stow on deck... but doable for offshore passages...

There are several good brands out there. Go RIB
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