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Old 11-02-2016, 21:57   #1
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Dinghy recommendations

We bought our first sailboat large enough to cruise but it does not have a dinghy so I'm curious what you'all would recommend for our occasional cruising needs? ie brands, sizes, anchors, oars, etc. We plan to use it when anchored around the San Juans or visiting Port Townsend for a few days. We want to keep the budget low as practical and are willing to row to shore and want something which tows and stores easily.
Thanks,
Christian
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Old 11-02-2016, 23:47   #2
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Re: Dinghy recommendations

Well, if you don't mind rowing, maybe you'd consider paddling too. After trying all dinghy options, and I confess I like motoring around, the one I have settled on in my 29 foot boat is a heavy duty white water inflatable kayak. It holds 850 lbs, my wife and I and two kids can easily take it just about anywhere, it is much faster than a raft, has an inflatable floor that is quite rigid, it can be paddled against a headwind, it rolls up into a fairly manageable package and I know I can let my 10 year old daughter go play in it and she'll be fine, and she will probably make it back to the boat! In my case I have a Sea Eagle 420x and it has been fine for me, but there are other brands. It is tough, I can drag it over river or beach boulders, but, though it probably would be ok, I don't dare test it against barnacle covered rocks. (I am cruising around the Channel Islands, south of you a bit.)
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Old 12-02-2016, 02:26   #3
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Re: Dinghy recommendations

Your choice of dinghy will depend on all the chores you expect it to accomplish for you. If you need to row an additional anchor out in over 30 knots, imho, you will need a dinghy with an engine. If you want an easy dive platform, you want an inflatable, for ease of entry. Inflatables are also pretty stable, so easy to enter if it is bouncy. If you like to explore long distances (5 mi. plus) you want an inflatable with a larger motor, so as to plane. When we started out, we would take the dinghy those kinds of distances away to go for better snorkeling. Slowing down a bit now, and mostly don't go so far, without a good reason, but want a boat capable of that. And coming back to the mother boat against a 20 knot sea breeze if necessary.

Our dinghy is our pickup truck, ute, to the Ozzies. We used it to take our broken boom ashore, we used it to tow the broken furler ashore; we use it for laundry and grocery shopping, that we want to get home dry.

It all depends on what you want it to do.

Ann
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Old 12-02-2016, 03:38   #4
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Re: Dinghy recommendations

Ann T. Cate's description above sums up our uses for our dinghy, but I would add one more factor. We did well with a rowing shell earlier in our cruising, but in addition to transporting laundry, groceries, bicycles, etc. we found another reason to have the RIB with the outboard. In our fifth decade of cruising we've discovered that we're aging! This might not be a factor for you, but we're doing better by stepping to and from a less tender platform.
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Old 12-02-2016, 14:29   #5
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Re: Dinghy recommendations

I have been considering a Takacat but am leaning more towards a Whaly now.
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Old 12-02-2016, 14:38   #6
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Re: Dinghy recommendations

"occasional cruising...low budget...rows to shore...tows and stows easily"

Have you looked at a Port-a-bote? -- not the best rowing dinghy, but far better than an inflatable for rowing, moderately priced, optimal for stowing, tows ok. If port-a-bote is too dear for you, perhaps a small hard dinghy could work if you are comfortable towing it everywhere.
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Old 12-02-2016, 15:30   #7
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Re: Dinghy recommendations

I saw these at the Dusseldorf boatshow 2 weeks ago and im waiting to purchase one..
They are a folding rib and the quality was exceptional. They take a maximum 15hp for a 2.75 mtr rib.
They were solid and fold in half.
I have looked at the Portabotes and other folding or options and this patent is ingenious.
F-RIB | Revolutionary new Foldable RIBs (F-RIBs)

Also comes in a sailing option where you have a rig installed etc.
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Old 12-02-2016, 15:47   #8
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Re: Dinghy recommendations

try looking at a watertender 9.4.
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Old 12-02-2016, 17:23   #9
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Re: Dinghy recommendations

The ability to plane seems a big deal. Whether it is a hardshell or inflatable, both can have hard planing bottoms.

I remember listening to a guy really annoyed at his soft bottom inflatable. Apparently, he felt it took forever to get anywhere.
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Old 12-02-2016, 17:40   #10
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Re: Dinghy recommendations

for your 28 ft boat, it will be tough. Up here in the PNW you need something with a hard bottom due to all the sharp barnacles on beach rocks etc. The trouble is, a small non inflatable is easily swamped or tipped... and you have maybe 15 mins at the most in the cold water. So to me, in a short dingy, a RIB makes the best, but not perfect, choice. Unfortunately, they are expensive and have to be stored on the foredeck of your boat.
Some on this forum like the port-a-boat. may be the best compromise on your boat. That or buy an inexpensive "rollup" used inflatable, then be careful about the beach, and figure for a few hundred bucks you can replace it if necessary.
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Old 16-02-2016, 09:55   #11
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Re: Dinghy recommendations

Thank you all for sharing your various experience and suggestions. I like the idea of an inflatable kayak as we are kayakers and could use it for visitors. The cold water is certainly a concern here so stability and re-entry will be key in whatever we choose. I have plenty to research for now so thanks again for advise.
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Old 16-02-2016, 10:12   #12
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Re: Dinghy recommendations

That particular kayak has pretty large tubes so it is fairly stable for re-entry and keeping water out. We usually can stay fairly dry if we want to.
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Old 17-02-2016, 18:41   #13
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Re: Dinghy recommendations

Getting in and out of a kayak can be more exciting than you might like if there are any waves. Also, where does the other crew sit? And the groceries? You may end up with a kayak longer than the motherboat. Inflatables don't tend to paddle as well as rigid kayaks either. Try one before you buy one.
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Old 17-02-2016, 19:39   #14
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Re: Dinghy recommendations

Christian,
Congratulations on your new larger boat. I think for me the biggest issue for the dinghy selection was stowage verses towage, (that ryhmes). As in where to put it when not in use. Towing is easiest when you're actually in the San Juans and usually not that bad when crossing the straights. But you can and will get caught in some blustery weather, swells and waves. Not to mention those funky currents in between the islands.

What works best for me is a roll-up inflatable (an RU-260) its light weight, fairly durable, easy to tow, holds 4 adults, motors with a 3 hp. But more importantly for me is it stows easily rolled up on the foredeck and leaves room to walk both sides. Its light enough at 60lbs to lift on and off the deck. On longer voyages I have a 6' plywood dinghy that fits upside down over the top of the roll-up when stowed on deck. Jut in case I lose one!

It all comes down to personal preference, what works best for you. Stowage verses Towage. I hope you have good trips and a great sailing season
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Old 18-02-2016, 11:54   #15
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Re: Dinghy recommendations

Quote:
Originally Posted by psk125 View Post
Getting in and out of a kayak can be more exciting than you might like if there are any waves. Also, where does the other crew sit? And the groceries? You may end up with a kayak longer than the motherboat. Inflatables don't tend to paddle as well as rigid kayaks either. Try one before you buy one.
They do come with seats, and it will hold a lot of weight in the center. That model can hold 850#. The floor is separate and "drop stitched" so it is fairly rigid, you can stand on it. Even with a lot of water and groceries, you can paddle it really well into a headwind, Also comes with a removable skeg to keep it straight when paddling/towing.
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