Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 25-01-2015, 13:37   #1
Senior Cruiser
 
sneuman's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2003
Location: Jamaica
Boat: Tayana 37 Cutter
Posts: 3,167
Images: 37
Engineless dinghy?

I have a hard dinghy that rows well and I fancy myself a fairly expert rower.

As the admiral and I are getting ready for extended voyaging in the Caribbean and (perhaps) points west, my question is this:

Is it really practical to have a dinghy without an outboard or am I just deluding myself?

If at all possible, I would like to avoid the expense and hassle of carrying a (probably gasoline) outboard in exchange for the Pardyesque simplicity of a pair of oars. I do realize that I will have to battle wind and current with my arms, but if it's doable, I'm strong enough to do it -- besides, I'll be far away from the gym and will need the exercise.

But, if it's potentially dangerous not to have an engine, I'd bite the bullet and change my thinking.

Opinions?
__________________

__________________
sneuman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-01-2015, 14:21   #2
Marine Service Provider
 
W32PAMELA's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Wewahitchka, FL
Boat: Westsail 32 - Pamela
Posts: 270
Re: Engineless dinghy?

I would get a small outboard. It will give you more options. How well does the admiral row?
__________________

__________________
Bob Stewart
W32PAMELA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-01-2015, 14:50   #3
Senior Cruiser
 
colemj's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Presently on US East Coast
Boat: Manta 40 "Reach"
Posts: 10,049
Images: 12
Re: Engineless dinghy?

I don't think it is "dangerous" unless you are requiring your dinghy to do specific tasks for which an engine would be necessary to keep you out of danger.

However, I'll bet a dollar that after a few months you will be looking for an outboard.

If you don't want gasoline, there are propane and electric options available.

Mark
__________________
www.svreach.com

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
colemj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-01-2015, 14:55   #4
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 19,342
Re: Engineless dinghy?

It depends on your cruising lifestyle. If you anchor close to town, never go exploring, snorkeling etc rowing is fine. OTOH, you are missing much of what I like about cruising... a good stable dink with a good motor to get a load of groceries back to the boat in 25 knots of wind is a godsend. You wont row back a mile or two in that. Also, if you don't have a watermaker, you will need to carry several 5 gal jugs in the dink in the same conditions at times. With a fast good dingy I've commonly explored 5 miles away from the mothership. Some great times doing that without risking the mothership.
Your choice. To me it's a bit like asking, "Do I really need a car to drive to work and back? Why not a Bike?" Some do it... in the right situation...
__________________
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard











Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-01-2015, 15:02   #5
Registered User
 
Dhillen's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: South Pacific
Boat: Oyster 53
Posts: 359
Re: Engineless dinghy?

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.

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.

However, if you cruise deserted areas in the off-season then you will have plenty of choices anchoring close in without the need for an outboard. My advice is only for those who plan on cruising far off destinations.

Finally, a RIB won't row, nor will an inflatable - especially if there is any chop or wind to deal with. That means your dink will have to be a hard one with all the attendant hassles of tippy-ness, storing it on board and enjoying the sound of it banging in to the hull while tied off at anchor.

Dhillen
__________________
www.theseaissalt.com
Dhillen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-01-2015, 15:09   #6
Registered User
 
Steady Hand's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Crewing All of 2017 Available Globally
Boat: OPB = Crewing in 2017
Posts: 4,851
Re: Engineless dinghy?

Howdy!

I like this topic you raised.

My thinking is that I want to get a dinghy that rows well (my primary means of propulsion) and can take a small motor when needed or when I want to motor. I hope to do more rowing than motoring, as I too like to row quietly for the joy of it and exercise.

On the many dinghy threads on this forum it is clear that people have their own reasons for choosing their dinghy. It can be a matter of personal taste or perceived advantages. I think it is fine to have "different strokes for different folks." The most popular dinghy choice appears to be a RIB with 15hp four stroke engine. I can appreciate their appeal as they are fast, available, popular, and can get one to some distant shore quickly.

While those may be fun to zip around in, I would not prefer them.

Why?
My interest is in something that is lighter in weight (dinghy and motor) and for that reason I am inclined to get something different.

My choice at this time would be:

1. 10 foot Porta-Bote
Porta Bote | Porta Bote | ROWBOAT+Electric

2. Carefully selected good oars (selected by me for efficiency and comfort while rowing)

3. Optional Small motor that is light in weight and easy to board and stow on sailboat (e.g. 2 - 4 - 6 hp). I would use the motor in times when wind speeds would make rowing more difficult and frustrating.

Why Light Weight Dinghy and Motor?

My first reason is that I will likely be single handing a sailboat most of the time. Or I might have a mermaid with me if I am lucky. So I want a boat that can be easily taken aboard my sailboat, even in challenging conditions (wind and waves). The same with the motor. I want a motor that is not too heavy to "man handle" or "woman handle" (!) by my mermaid.

While most cruisers would not require a light weight dinghy or even see a need for it. I am thinking of the situations that challenge a single mature (50s, 60s, 70s) person to handle the gear safely and quickly and in remote locations. For example, I can imagine a rocking anchored mono sailboat (that does not have davits and is not a cat) in freshening winds and a need to get the dinghy back on board and secured quickly, in case I want to get out of a situation relatively quickly.

The 10 foot Portabote weighs just 78 pounds with a capacity of 585 pounds (including motor and up to 3 people). In comparison a typical West Marine RIB that is 10 feet long weighs twice as much (about 161 pounds).

The motor (e.g. Tohatsu 4hp 4 stroke) would be about 60 pounds (57 lbs. or 26 kg). A comparable 15hp motor is about twice as much (116 pounds).

I am confident I could handle either 60 pound item separately or together easily with a simple lightweight block and tackle (no need for electric), winch or halyard if needed. And the lighter weight would be easier for a mature mermaid to handle too, and I want to keep my mermaid happy and without stress.

Porta Bote | Porta Bote | Porta-Bote vs Inflatables

Part of what influenced my preference to get a lighter weight dinghy (and motor) is the following video clip. It shows a yacht's RIB that flips at a beach on a day with very calm seas. The group of five people who came ashore in the dinghy included several men and they could not flip the capsized dingy over (to right sided up) because it (with motor) was too heavy, for even a group of people to right. They had to be "rescued" by another boat in order to flip the dinghy back over. Their dinghy motor was damaged and required repair too. This dinghy was from a moderately sized sailboat (probably about 45-50 foot) and not some megayacht.

What is instructive is that this happened on an ideal weather day, with moderate winds and very calm water (almost flat). I encourage everyone to view this short video, as it shows how quickly and easily a calm day in a dinghy can be turned into a challenge and a problem.

Fast forward to 1:55 if you want to see the capsize and only that.



This is how I see the topic now. I reserve the right to change my mind later.
__________________
Ahoy All Sailors! Need experienced crew for a passage or delivery in Atlantic, Pacific, Caribbean, Med, PNW, ICW, coastal or across an ocean anytime in 2017? I am available on 24hr notice. See my CF Profile "About Me" page for details. Happy to lend a hand!
Steady Hand is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-01-2015, 15:14   #7
Registered User
 
NoShoes's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Halfway In The Sea
Boat: Alajuela 38
Posts: 99
Re: Engineless dinghy?

Get an outboard, seriously you will need one, especially on them windy choppy days and current. Find a small 2 stroker maybe a 6 hp or 9 hp that is easy to handle in and out the mothership. Remember, you will need a short shaft.
__________________
You do not ask a tame seagull why it needs to disappear from time to time toward the open sea. It goes, thatís all. People who do not know that a sailboat is a living creature will never understand anything about boats and the sea.
NoShoes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-01-2015, 15:34   #8
Registered User
 
snort's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Trunk (boot) of my car
Boat: Tinker Traveller...a dozen feet of bluewater awesomeness!
Posts: 1,031
Re: Engineless dinghy?

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).
__________________
snort is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-01-2015, 19:27   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Vancouver Island
Boat: 55'alloy performance cruiser
Posts: 122
Re: Engineless dinghy?

Hi there, Do follow your instincts on this. I too really like a decent rowing boat and have cruised extensively with them. On our last trip of 20+thousand miles , we took a Joel White "Shellback" and a Avon airfloor with an 8 hp outboard. We used the inflatable for one week when my family was visiting, other than that the Shellback was the boat of choice. We tossed a small 2 hp outboard on it when we needed to go for miles , but other than that, we rowed everywhere.
We have since sold Candlewin with the Shellback, but our new boat will definitely have another good rowing dingy aboard, either a Shellback or the slightly larger Pooduck.
I really agree with you that it is not all about covering ground fast, but staying healthy and fit, and a big one, no one is going to steal that rowboat
We sold the Avon and motor in the Marquesas to a couple who had their RIB blow off their deck at night in a blow. Now there is a lesson!

Greg
__________________
Mirar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-01-2015, 22:46   #10
Registered User
 
Snowpetrel's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Hobart
Boat: Alloy Peterson 40
Posts: 3,071
Re: Engineless dinghy?

Row, if you enjoy it go for it. you can always pick up a small 2 hp if you change your mind. Or even a little electric motor. Can be useful for big loads and long distances.

I had a half decent rowing dinghy and a 2 HP outboard. I hardly used the outboard but a few times it was nice to have. I also had a small lugsail with no centreboard and an oar for a rudder. It was fun for beam reaches and downwind.

The Big rib, big engine brigade are potentially often one engine problem away from a disaster, with no backup plan. At least with oars you are more conservative in your approach.

I just designed a little 8.5 foot dinghy designed purely for rowing. Its a pleasure to row a really nice rowing dinghy, sadly not many around these days.
I'm very pleased with how well it worked out.
__________________
My Ramblings
Snowpetrel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-01-2015, 06:43   #11
Eternal Member

Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 848
Re: Engineless dinghy?

I agree with Mirar and Snowpetrel, but I also think colemj's hunch is correct. Chances are good you may be looking for a small engine after awhile out there :-)

Like you, I've always loved rowing, and it remains my favorite form of exercise when I'm home and can jump in my open water shell. But I'm not a big fan of hard dinghies for cruising, primarily because of the small boat I sail. I find they're just not a good fit for me, and a RIB is a better all-around solution, particularly for bringing back aboard and stowage underway. But if a rigid tender works for you and gives you pleasure to row, by all means you should stick with it, while giving some thought to picking up something like a 2hp Honda or Suzuki before crossing over to the Bahamas (assuming that's your plan)...

Parts of the Bahamas are the most likely places where you'll really have to exercise some caution when rowing, or with a small engine. Around the cuts in places like the Exumas, the currents can run very strongly, you'll need to be careful then... Otherwise, I'm not seeing where relying solely upon your own muscle power will present any real "danger"...

Seems a shame that so few cruisers bother with rowing anymore... Always a bit of a head-scratcher to see someone struggling mightily to lower their 90 pound outboard onto their tenders in a place like Beaufort or Annapolis, in order to make their way to the dinghy dock less than 100 meters away. The widespread notions that inflatables can't be rowed stems largely from the fact that so many brands feature 'oars' that are better suited for use in a swimming pool... Using a pair of 'real' oars 7' in length, with a set of oarlocks that permit the oars to be feathered, my Avon RIB can be rowed quite nicely... However, the 28 pound, 2 HP Honda that can be lifted back onboard with one hand, sips gas, stows in the cockpit locker even on a boat as small as mine, and that nobody wants to steal, definitely comes in very handy from time to time... :-)

Here's a good piece from Tom Zydler on beefing up Avon-style oarlocks for more serious/effective rowing:

How To Modify Dinghy Oarlocks | Cruising World

btw, Snowpetrel - that's a VERY sweet-looking boat, nice job there...
__________________
Jon Eisberg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-01-2015, 04:00   #12
Registered User
 
Snowpetrel's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Hobart
Boat: Alloy Peterson 40
Posts: 3,071
Re: Engineless dinghy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Eisberg View Post
Here's a good piece from Tom Zydler on beefing up Avon-style oarlocks for more serious/effective rowing:

How To Modify Dinghy Oarlocks | Cruising World

btw, Snowpetrel - that's a VERY sweet-looking boat, nice job there...
Thanks,

Thats a good tip about beefing up the rowlocks on an inflatable. I have a Tinker traveller that has some half decent rowlocks and it actually rows quite well as long as you aren't punching into a strong wind.

But nothing beats a really good hard dinghy, and I suspect most people that have given up on rowing would be surprised if they actually had a good row in a top notch rowing dinghy, rather than the normal ok ish ones like the walker bay.

The biggest issue is balancing a short dinghy with two people. The normal bow rowing position is too cramped and the rowlocks are too narrow. In any chop the boat pitches badly and is wet and slow, not helped by often being trimmed by the bow slightly. The alternative is worse if one sits in the stern with the oarsman in the middle. Then the boats drags so much stern that it's very slow.

The best solution I've seen is the fatty knees type short longitudinal seat with the aft person sitting forward on the floorboards on a fender, and the oarsman (or woman) sitting only a little bit further forward than normal, maybe 2 feet fwd.
__________________
My Ramblings
Snowpetrel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-01-2015, 05:13   #13
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,737
Re: Engineless dinghy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
... a good stable dink with a good motor to get a load of groceries back to the boat in 25 knots of wind is a godsend. .
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).

I have an engineless hard dinghy for getting to and from my mooring -- works great, but that is sheltered water and less than a cable to the landing.

I would not go cruising without some kind of power for the dinghy, for all the reasons mentioned in the post above. Propane and electric is great for many people, but the cheapest and simplest and highest power density by far comes in a little tank of petrol/gasoline. I don't think anyone has yet invented dinghy power which remotely compares to a 5 hp two stroke petrol engine in terms of power density and bang for the buck.

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.
__________________
Dockhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 27-01-2015, 05:19   #14
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,737
Re: Engineless dinghy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
Thanks,

Thats a good tip about beefing up the rowlocks on an inflatable. I have a Tinker traveller that has some half decent rowlocks and it actually rows quite well as long as you aren't punching into a strong wind.

But nothing beats a really good hard dinghy, and I suspect most people that have given up on rowing would be surprised if they actually had a good row in a top notch rowing dinghy, rather than the normal ok ish ones like the walker bay.

The biggest issue is balancing a short dinghy with two people. The normal bow rowing position is too cramped and the rowlocks are too narrow. In any chop the boat pitches badly and is wet and slow, not helped by often being trimmed by the bow slightly. The alternative is worse if one sits in the stern with the oarsman in the middle. Then the boats drags so much stern that it's very slow.

The best solution I've seen is the fatty knees type short longitudinal seat with the aft person sitting forward on the floorboards on a fender, and the oarsman (or woman) sitting only a little bit further forward than normal, maybe 2 feet fwd.
A very good point, but optimizing the dinghy for rowing means un-optimizing it for just about all other dinghy purposes. A really good-rowing hard dinghy will be narrow and long, so hard to store (if not impossible), will have very little load carrying capacity, and will be subject to be swamped in rough seas. Will also scratch your topsides. A bad-rowing inflatable is just so much better in every way for dinghy service -- unsinkable, unswampable, very high load carrying capacity for its size, much easier to store, won't scratch your topsides.

A third option might be something like a portabote which might be better rowing without all of the disadvantages of hard dinks. I can't really say as I have no experience with them.
__________________
Dockhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 27-01-2015, 07:36   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 4,875
Re: Engineless dinghy?

It's fallen off my radar since it's stored in the back of my brother-in-laws pole barn but before we headed out I was building an outrigger canoe with the idea of using it as a dingy (didn't finish and traveling took precedence)

I had it set up so the outrigger and arms were pinned simply and could be dissassembled in a few minutes. If needed, I could put everything but the main hull in the back cabin and the hull could be secured upside down to the davits (so it couldn't fill with water). The length equaled the beam of the boat.

The idea was with the narrow hulls, it would be easy to paddle or mount a small motor which would move it at a good clip. Being outrigger based, it should be stable and should be able to mount it from the water and no concern flipping it while getting in and out.

The only downside was ultimate cargo capacity. Load it up with 6-8 people and sinking becomes a concern. For 2 people and some groceries it should have plenty of capacity.
__________________

__________________
valhalla360 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
dinghy, engine

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Going Engineless SPCarroll Seamanship & Boat Handling 28 15-06-2011 13:51
Electric Motor for Engineless 40' Ben M-P Engines and Propulsion Systems 27 18-04-2011 04:54
Backing Up in a Slip ( Engineless ) otherthan Seamanship & Boat Handling 1 01-02-2011 17:51
Atolls for Engineless Cruisers . . . pressuredrop Pacific & South China Sea 59 24-11-2010 20:02
Almost 'Engineless' - Need Opinions otherthan Monohull Sailboats 19 17-09-2010 05:15



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:43.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.