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Old 27-01-2015, 21:44   #31
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Re: Engineless dinghy?

No one has mentioned oars.
Most I see are just planks, we use shaped spoon blades, make an amazing difference in rowing a hard dinghy.
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Old 27-01-2015, 22:42   #32
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Re: Engineless dinghy?

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Originally Posted by olaf hart View Post
No one has mentioned oars.
Most I see are just planks, we use shaped spoon blades, make an amazing difference in rowing a hard dinghy.
Ha, now where getting into interesting stuff. I subscribe to the inuit school of paddles
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not much more than an airfoil shaped blade. Very efficient for rough water use. the technique of use is totally different to a wide spoon bladed euro paddle, with more of a sweeping motion, almost a scull. I notice I use the same flick with a "skinny"oar when rowing, and it give many times the thrust that a straight beginners pull with the same oar does. Effectively I use the oar as a high aspect lifting surface, not a stalled parachute type surface. The old timers always used skinny oars for rough water, often not bothering to feather them to save wrist fatigue. In flat water the spoon oar has more pure thrust, but I find it harder on my body. The "skinny" oar has a varible thrust with a soft start thats almost like a variable pitch prop in use. But this is all my wacky theories...
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Old 27-01-2015, 23:02   #33
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Re: Engineless dinghy?

Spoon oars, rolling seats, and foot braces improve efficiency and exercise value.
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Old 28-01-2015, 01:04   #34
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Re: Engineless dinghy?

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Ha, now where getting into interesting stuff. I subscribe to the inuit school of paddles
Attachment 96162
not much more than an airfoil shaped blade. Very efficient for rough water use. the technique of use is totally different to a wide spoon bladed euro paddle, with more of a sweeping motion, almost a scull. I notice I use the same flick with a "skinny"oar when rowing, and it give many times the thrust that a straight beginners pull with the same oar does. Effectively I use the oar as a high aspect lifting surface, not a stalled parachute type surface. The old timers always used skinny oars for rough water, often not bothering to feather them to save wrist fatigue. In flat water the spoon oar has more pure thrust, but I find it harder on my body. The "skinny" oar has a varible thrust with a soft start thats almost like a variable pitch prop in use. But this is all my wacky theories...
So your flick is wrist up at the end of the stroke, and blade square to the surface at the beginning of the stroke?
Or is the blade at an angle throughout the stroke?
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Old 28-01-2015, 04:01   #35
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Re: Engineless dinghy?

One of the reasons people reject rowing dinghies, IMO, is that a lot of them are designed like Dockhead specified, long, narrow and fine at the ends, which makes them unsuitable for cargo or passengers. But the one I designed is rather broad at the bows, so I can stand on the triangular bow seat without mischief, even when it's unloaded. It also has high freeboard to keep us nice and dry, and maybe it's builder's pride, maybe I don't know how easily other dinghies row, but I find it not burdensome to row. Now that the family is too big for the mothership, that the dinghy is getting squishy with three growing girls is a very secondary issue. But if I was to cruise again with only the little wife (and we might, once the kids are gone), I would not seek a different dinghy. Sure, it's harder to row when fully loaded, but the fact that you can put two adults and three kids, two sailbags of laundry, and all the groceries we can carry into it and still row out to out boat (which we don't always seek to anchor super-close), makes it perfectly sufficient for me. If I were to upgrade to a bigger family boat (dreamin'), I'd build a 14-ft rowing dinghy and we'd run two pairs of oars at once.
The tone of some suggests that you'd be an idiot not to have a small outboard. That's idiotic. You can by all means cruise wherever you like without a power dinghy. Not getting down on those who have engines at all, just saying that rowing only IS a viable option.
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Old 28-01-2015, 05:03   #36
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Re: Engineless dinghy?

we have been out a while and have a 9'somethin wm dink with a wood floor and inflatable keel. it can rowed and not to badly but we don't. we have a short shaft merc 5hp 2 stoke engine. both are fairly lite weight. i can pick up the engine and put it on the rail and the dink goes on the foredeck for transits and it is not that heavy. for long runs we deflate the dink and store it below.

one thing most may never think of is as a towoat for the boat. i know of one guy in the icw lost his engine and quickly attached his dink to the side of his boat and was able to negotiate a bridge and to to a safe place to anchor.
we pulled out of an anchorage in ver lite winds and suddenly lost our engine. we were in deep water and quickly pulled dink to the stern as we were towing it, put the engine on as we never tow the dink with the engine, tied the dink to the side of the boat and got back into the anchorage and anchor down to work on the engine. without that we would have just drifted while trying to get the engine going and i am to old for that kine of stress.
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Old 28-01-2015, 05:28   #37
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Re: Engineless dinghy?

Interesting thread. We've been debating the same thing - an outboard or strictly rowing.

We had an inflatable our first season with the boat. After we found two holes in the seams we decided having to periodically buy a new dink didn't make sense for us, so we bought a Watertender which we've been happy with. We know that for us, we want a hard dink when we go cruising. That's half of the dilemma solved.

As for an outboard, we have one now but we've been thinking about strictly rowing when we finally cast off the lines (we'll need a long-shaft outboard for the cruising dink, which we don't currently have). We like the idea of having one less thing to hassle with re: maintenance, and not needing the gasoline is very appealing. However, some of the negatives that we thought about (and have been posted) does give us pause.

I'm not sure what we'll end up deciding, but we may spend the season before we go simply rowing as a "test." It won't be under cruising conditions, but it's the best we can do. If it doesn't prove to be too restrictive, then we'll head off without an outboard. As Mr. cthoops says, we can always change our mind and pick one up (preferably a two-stroke) if we need to.
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Old 28-01-2015, 05:44   #38
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Re: Engineless dinghy?

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Originally Posted by olaf hart View Post
So your flick is wrist up at the end of the stroke, and blade square to the surface at the beginning of the stroke?
Or is the blade at an angle throughout the stroke?
It's actually really hard to say exactly what happens. Greenland Paddles and wing paddles are similar and much more studied. This is the greenland catch

I think the pic is heavily idealised, in reality it is very very sensitive to angle of attack and that depends on speed through the water and force applied. At some point the flow over the blade reverses and I think this is what gives the snap feeling of power, much like when sculling hard(with one oar over the stern, not modern rowing shells) . Also perhaps a hysteresis effect that temporarily increases the lift just before stall due to rapidly increasing angle of attack.

Anyway the best stroke with a skinny blade seems to me to be more circular and the blade has a slight angle of attack to the water, trying slightly to pull the blade deeper. And almost scooping water out at the end. It's entirely guided by feel so slippery rowlocks that allow slight rotation help get the angle just right. At speed in calm conditions it's not so important, but when punching into a chop short rotational strokes seem to develop more power with less slip.

Most good oarsmen automatically do this sort of stroke anyway. It's only when you see a beginner try and they seem to have no power that you realise whats going on. I think a modern rowing shell gets about 55% of its power from lift (hydrolift) and 45% from straight drag. I think our skinny blades need to get much more from lift to work well. Since we are sailors, it's just like the loss of power when you oversheet and stall a sail, you stall your oar. No tell tails but vibration, flutter and the pull on the oar can guide us.

In some ways it's like sculling a dinghy, very feel based but you know when its working and the oar doesn't stall.

I've done a fair few experiments with greenland paddles and I'm pretty happy with a simple ovalized blade as being close to ideal. I do have a concaved one that is quite powerful, but it is nasty on my wrists and much more tweaky to get in the groove, and in the surf it's dangerous not having a power face on either side. Based on these trails I'm pretty happy that the simple skinny oar shape is not actually as bad as it might seem.

I think getting good footrests also helps enormously, and I'd love to play with a sliding seat, more for exercise. But to be honest for long exploration trips my 3 part kayak is what I like to use, so my dinghy mostly gets the short trips where it's not so much of a problem.

All I can suggest is try putting the blade in the water and pulling straight. It will slip. Then try a more circular path, and play with a slight angle so the oar dives slightly. Hopefully it will give more resistance.
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Old 28-01-2015, 05:58   #39
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Re: Engineless dinghy?

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Originally Posted by olaf hart View Post
No one has mentioned oars.
Most I see are just planks, we use shaped spoon blades, make an amazing difference in rowing a hard dinghy.
That's a good thought. I'm looking to buy a new set of oars (the old wooden ones got go weathered looking that my wife appropriated them for a decoration on the wall of the house!

The idea of something with a more efficient blade makes sense. I used to have an Alden Ocean Shell many years ago that had the much more efficient (and new to me at the time) curved blades and that thing, while tippy, would fly.
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Old 28-01-2015, 06:56   #40
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Re: Engineless dinghy?

This seems to me to be a buffet of choices, except most of the choices have some icky elements. There is no one right answer. Try them all and see what works for you.
The dink dilemma in intimately tied to boat selection and vice versa. What is right for a singlehander/25 footer will not be ideal for a fully crewed 50 footer.
I generally prefer a hard rowing dink, with a 2hp outboard as an option. I mistrust outboards generally, probably because I am too cheap to buy a good one. Stowage is I think the driving element in choice. For small boats, a soft-tail inflatable (eg Redcrest) is readily stowed, a choice I made for my Cape Dory 26. A hard transom makes it much harder to jam it in the cockpit locker. A hard dinghy is real tough on that size boat.
On my 28' Bristol Channel Cutter, I had more room and storage. I used an 8' plywood pram for a while and I still carried the Redcrest as a spare as I had to tow the dink and figured I would lose it sooner or later. For offshore sailing, I was able to design and build a 9'-4" pointy nose nesting dinghy that worked great, rowed fine, not bad with my little outboard. I made it fit perfectly between the mast and dodger. It had an hybrid lee/dagger board in a slot at the rail on one side and a gaff rigged sail with short spars. I made it so that each half could be launched separately without shipping water. Each half was about 35-40 lbs.
On my current boat, a 35 footer, my wish for a self steering vane and a desire to minimize stern clutter precludes davits. Storing a RIB on deck on medium size boat is a significant challenge. I strongly dislike having the thing in the way. I have a hard tail inflatable and will likely design/build another nesting dink.

I will also admit to some envy when I see folks zipping off to distant areas, but I am not sure I want to make the compromises that come with that choice.
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Old 28-01-2015, 07:12   #41
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Re: Engineless dinghy?

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Is it really practical to have a dinghy without an outboard or am I just deluding myself?
I would not consider having a dinghy with an outboard, nor would I consider having any sort of combustion engine, or any device whatsoever that requires fuel. I cook on wood and electric.

I have sailed to many countries in the last 5 years about 18,000 miles, now on my way to indonesia.

Quote:
But, if it's potentially dangerous not to have an engine, I'd bite the bullet and change my thinking.
It is dangerous to have an engine you rely on as you can get yourself stranded. I recently had to tow a local 5 miles into kudat (malaysia) because his engine wouldn't start. This is a common occurrence and can be fatal.

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Without an outboard you will find your anchoring possibilities limited. By that I mean you will find yourself forced to choose places to anchor that are close enough to row in from, whether those spots are the best for the boat or not.
I have never intentionally anchored in a bad place so I wouldn't have to row farther. I have never heard of this. It sounds like a bad excuse to use an engine.
Quote:
Also, don't forget to consider often it is flat calm when you row in to shore and then the breeze picks up to 20 knots while you are shopping/sightseeing, etc. Coming back to the dingy you will find yourself pinned to a lee shore (usually fully loaded with groceries and laundry) and there ain't no way you will be able to row back to the boat.
20 knots? I am able to row against a lot more than that.

At one point I was anchored in wellington new zealand during a storm and it reached above 50 knots of steady wind for a time, and unfortunately a few miles of fetch created steep swells. With spray now in the air and debris flying, it became impossible for me to row against it to my boat because the waves were so large I got swamped. At this point I was forced to swim, and although the water was cold, I was able to safely reach my boat.
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I have no experience with these, but Torqeedo electric outboards or something similar may be something you might want to consider (that is, if you really want to stay away from storing gasoline on board).
Avoid torqeedo, they won't supply parts, and don't want you to attempt to fix the motor if it burns out. They will instead insist you buy a whole new one. Their products are very high priced for what they are made of, and break easily. If you go electric, either get a minnkota (cheap and quiet but not optimum efficiency which doesn't matter for a dingy anyway) or build your own custom one.
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What he said.

An engineless dinghy is splendid until the day you have to haul a passenger and load of groceries a couple of cables (never mind a couple of miles) into a 15 knot headwind (never mind 25 knots).
So there is wind? Great, now I can sail so I don't even need to row.
Quote:
Besides hauling stuff and people, I use my dinghy for very enjoyable exploration, around anchorages, up rivers, etc. -- also a part of cruising as I understand it. Rowing is great, but sure doesn't give you much range to do that.
Again.. sailing, I have strayed as much as 15 miles and sometimes spend the night camping in small islands which are inaccessible to yachts. This has allowed me to explore long distances in waterways which can only be traveled in 6 inch draft. I can cover a lot of miles under sail (I have homemade junk rig)

I have had several people offer me free outboards. I believe it is because they feel silly for using one themselves when they see someone else who travels a lot more places and doesn't find a use for one. If they give me one, then they wouldn't feel so silly, but so far I have always refused.

I have often passed people who are using small outboards when I am rowing because their dingy is so inefficient at moving in the water.

If you row rather than use an outboard you will save time. Even if you reach the beach after someone with an engine. This is because rowing is exercise and is enjoyable and therefore isn't wasted time. In addition, being healthier will allow you to live longer and a more productive life which saves even more time.

What I can't understand is the argument of exploring the reef. So, you want to burn petrochemicals which is causing the coral reef to die so you can see a dead reef? I guess these must be the same kind of people who would cut the tree down to get the coconuts.
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Old 28-01-2015, 07:37   #42
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Re: Engineless dinghy?

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That's a good thought. I'm looking to buy a new set of oars (the old wooden ones got go weathered looking that my wife appropriated them for a decoration on the wall of the house!

The idea of something with a more efficient blade makes sense. I used to have an Alden Ocean Shell many years ago that had the much more efficient (and new to me at the time) curved blades and that thing, while tippy, would fly.
I'm using these aluminum oars with a spoon blade from West Marine… I find them to be surprisingly good…

WEST MARINE Adjustable Aluminum Oars | West Marine

The overall length, and the positioning of the oarlock collars is adjustable. They can be broken down into pieces for more compact storage, a very useful feature for storage on a boat the size of mine… The only drawback is the quality of the 'stainless' springs used for the locking pins, crappy Chinese that needs the usual attention to keep them working freely… But overall, I'm pretty happy with them. Add a pair of Caviness foam grips, and I'm good to go…

Many spoon blades will be worthless unless the rower perfects the technique of feathering the oar on the recovery stroke. The blade on these oars is fairly wide, so they'll want to catch the water surface often if they're not feathered. As I mentioned earlier, I think the primary reason so many people assume inflatables can't be rowed is due to the worthless toy oars, and fixed pin oarlocks that prevent feathering, that many brands other than Avon are equipped with...
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Old 28-01-2015, 07:37   #43
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Re: Engineless dinghy?

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one thing most may never think of is as a towoat for the boat. i know of one guy in the icw lost his engine and quickly attached his dink to the side of his boat and was able to negotiate a bridge and to to a safe place to anchor.
As for all this talk of using the dingy to tow the big boat if your engine fails. Well I don't really have to worry because I don't have an engine that might fail.

I have a sculling oar. I negotiate bridges using tidal current. Going against 15 knots in a channel too narrow to tack is possible.

Sculling oars are proven to work on boats of 60 tons powered by 60 year old women. This is because they are so very efficient.
Quote:
without that we would have just drifted while trying to get the engine going and i am to old for that kine of stress.
I was becalmed for 40 minutes last night in deep water just drifting. What a perfect time to catch some squid using homemade lures! It was the first time I tried this, but I had success!
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Old 28-01-2015, 08:19   #44
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Re: Engineless dinghy?

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Originally Posted by boat_alexandra View Post
At one point I was anchored in wellington new zealand during a storm and it reached above 50 knots of steady wind for a time, and unfortunately a few miles of fetch created steep swells. With spray now in the air and debris flying, it became impossible for me to row against it to my boat because the waves were so large I got swamped. At this point I was forced to swim, and although the water was cold, I was able to safely reach my boat.

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Old 28-01-2015, 08:23   #45
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Re: Engineless dinghy?

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Originally Posted by sanibel sailor View Post
On my current boat, a 35 footer, my wish for a self steering vane and a desire to minimize stern clutter precludes davits. Storing a RIB on deck on medium size boat is a significant challenge. I strongly dislike having the thing in the way. I have a hard tail inflatable and will likely design/build another nesting dink.
I've experimented with pretty much every tender option over the years… As you know, cruising on a 30-footer certainly limits your options :-)

Built a nesting dinghy years ago, a beautiful design and wonderful boat called a Spindrift… But for cruising, I quickly came to detest it… No matter how I modified the joining bulkhead to fit the bow section to neatly conform to my coachroof…





…by the time the stern section was nested on top, it represented a massive, ugly box on my foredeck that took a tremendous amount of real estate, and greatly restricted visibility forward from the cockpit… And, getting it launched, or back on deck, I found to be an incredible PITA, and I wound up towing it pretty much everywhere… It certainly does tow very well, and I still use it from time to time when messing around in my local waters… But for going places where it will have to be stored on deck, no freakin' way, I'm done with that chore…

The ultimate solution for me, has turned out to be an Avon Lite, a RIB with a folding transom… The ability to fold the transom flat and keep the profile low makes all the difference in the world re foredeck stowage on a smaller boat, the best of all worlds, for me…






Bringing it back aboard is pretty easy, hoisting it vertically, deflate the tubes, then lay it down where it literally 'drapes' around the forward portion of the coachroof... About as unobtrusive as a RIB with 17" tubes can be aboard the deck of a 30-footer...





Unfortunately, the current choices of folding transom RIBs - with Avon no longer in the picture - are pretty limited. I believe Achilles offers one, not sure who else… But you might look around, I think such a boat might be a good solution for you… My 2 hp Honda is all the power I need, or want to deal with, but put an 8 hp on one of these things, and you'd be able to fly…

Right along with everyone else out there, today… :-)
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