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Old 02-05-2013, 10:34   #1
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Using an [Inflatable?] Kayak as a Dinghy

apologies in advance if this has been covered before... I did a few searches and didn't find the information I was hoping to.

long story short, I'm looking at kayaks [possibly inflatable?] to fit my 31' Grampian as opposed to inflatable rafts.

what the search did tell me was that I should be prepared to get more wet than I would in a raft, which I'm fine with. I'm also wanting to stay as far away from motoring if I can, so wouldn't need something that could handle an outboard.

anyone have any experience with this?

and, if so - pros/cons on an inflatable [stores better] as opposed to a hard shell [possibly latch it onto the side?]

... as you can probably tell, I'm a newbie to all of this, so forgive me if I'm overlooking any basics that most already know.

many thanks!
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:43   #2
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Re: Using an [Inflatable?] Kayak as a Dinghy

I have a Sea Eagle 370 inflatable kayak, and have thought about using it as a tender. I love it as general "messing about" kayak - it's excellent unless you want to go a long way, when it's lack of speed becomes a problem.

I just have some lingering doubts about the practicalities of getting into it and out of it from/to a boat. A good swim ladder or platform would help. Do you have either?
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:48   #3
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Re: Using an [Inflatable?] Kayak as a Dinghy

Done all the time. Inflatable life rafts either fail to inflate or blow away in strong winds.
I would recommend a rigid kayak on a long leash on deck.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:49   #4
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Re: Using an [Inflatable?] Kayak as a Dinghy

i use 2 kayaks and a walker bay 8 as my tenders, depending on my location and if i have a friend who is dependent on my dink for shore duty.
one kayak is an entry level flat water perception swifty. packs stores well and easy to paddle at speed...
my other kayak is a zydeco by i dont remember who and is good in slightly busier water and packs less stores.
walker bay is walker bay--without sailing capability, due to po.
i used the swifty for 12 yrs as a tender in sd bay for my boat from mooring to beach at coronado moorings. they rock.

after my pinrails and pins are completed, the 2 kayaks will reside on the aft pinrails , outboard sides.

walker bay is in residence on coach house roof. makes a great windscoop.....when i dont row it.

btw--with walker bay dinks--ye dont have to lift out of water here in mexico--the thieves seek inflatable ribs with engines of any kind.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:25   #5
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Re: Using an [Inflatable?] Kayak as a Dinghy

When on a boat that dinghy acts like your car. You want a car that is reliable and comfortable to drive (get ashore or visit other boats). Using a kayak as a substitute for a real dinghy would be like using a foot-push-driven kids scooter vs a car. Use the kayak for fun but not for daily transportation. I can imagine balancing a couple cases of beer or Coke paddling back to the boat.

Judy
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:38   #6
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Re: Using an [Inflatable?] Kayak as a Dinghy

Inflatable kayaks can be difficult to manage in wind. They tend to be slow when compared to rigid sea kayaks. They will also be more prone to broaching in surf.

I strongly advise use of some sort of ladder to facilitate the transition from cockpit to kayak. My boat has a sugar-scoop transom, and even there I generally extend the ladder before getting into a sea kayak. (We use sit-insides, but that's mostly for play. The serious work of transportation is the province of a RIB dink on our boat. )
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:15   #7
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Re: Using an [Inflatable?] Kayak as a Dinghy

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I can imagine balancing a couple cases of beer or Coke paddling back to the boat.
Having done a few month-long white water expeditions on kayaks, I totally can [imagine that]. As soon as you learn to do an eskimo roll (and therefore, to support your own weight with a continuous paddle stroke), balancing a kayak soon becomes natural. Carrying a hundred pounds load isn't a problem, either.
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Old 02-05-2013, 17:25   #8
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Re: Using an [Inflatable?] Kayak as a Dinghy

no one needs to do an eskimo roll,as we do not white water--and as for packing beer--i have fit over 2 cases plus food for a week-- in my flat water kayak that i used as a dinghy for over 12 years--i only used that thing and i can pack into it as much as i can pack into my walker bay 8.
use a ladder to board your boat , or a loop of rope made into a ladder for your boarding pleasure. i have done each way.
until i got my wood ladder functioning, i liked to use the loop of line best. now i use ladder--it is a secure one, not a mount on rail kind.

in windy and choppy situations, the kayak is a lot better than a walker bay 8, i can promise you.
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Old 02-05-2013, 17:49   #9
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Re: Using an [Inflatable?] Kayak as a Dinghy

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Originally Posted by svBeBe View Post
When on a boat that dinghy acts like your car. You want a car that is reliable and comfortable to drive (get ashore or visit other boats). Using a kayak as a substitute for a real dinghy would be like using a foot-push-driven kids scooter vs a car. Use the kayak for fun but not for daily transportation. I can imagine balancing a couple cases of beer or Coke paddling back to the boat.

Judy
No, it is like using a bicycle. And bicycle a lot more reliable than any car. Just try to push a car with dead motor a mile or two...

I use plastic 10 ft sit in kayak , relatively narrow and fast, as my daily driver. I can pack in most of the staff I need daily, sure have no problem to have a couple of cases in, but it is "packing" and "unpacking" every time. I also have cheap inflatable Savylor Colorado Canoe as my "pickup truck" It is a bath tab, slow, but I can carry a passenger and a bag of coal, or all grocery bags and 20 gal of water... Getting in and out shouldn't be a problem with a little practice. It is relatively easy to stand up in the kayak, while holding to stantions. then it is no different than getting from any other low crafts.
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Old 02-05-2013, 18:05   #10
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Re: Using an [Inflatable?] Kayak as a Dinghy

I would think a dink should be used to go ashore to ck in in places without dockage used to do so! you are gonna look better not being wet and ship shape when ya get to shore in a kayak! Of course you can get wet in a dink to, but theres less chance of it! Years ago ya could swim ashore to ck in but those days are long gone !! LOL and it helps to look clean and well kept when ya ck in !( don't ask how I know this LOL) I like Kayaks as much as the next guy, and we have 2 aboard ! Both hard bodies, one a ocean yak, and one a fishing yak. We use both at times, but mostly for fun and not humping food and drink, heck try bringing 5 gal diesel jugs in your yak !! Great fun LOL but then we are old and need a dink !
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Old 02-05-2013, 18:51   #11
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Re: Using an [Inflatable?] Kayak as a Dinghy

I used an inflatable for a long time in Palau. Works fine. It's for the physically young since getting in and out takes some finesse. And your pants are often wet unless you carry a dry pair ashore. Friends with dinks give rides with the big loads. Good exercise. Quiet. Cheap. I've carried batteries and cases of beer on the kayak, no big deal.
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Old 02-05-2013, 22:10   #12
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Re: Using an [Inflatable?] Kayak as a Dinghy

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no one needs to do an eskimo roll,as we do not white water
What I mean is that, as soon as you figure out how to do an eskimo roll, you no longer need to keep your head over the centreline and rely on the initial stability of the kayak to prevent flipping. Instead, you can now put your upper body anywhere outside of the hull boundaries and easily support it there for as long as you want, by leaning on the paddle and doing slow sculling strokes. Having this skill makes the whole "balancing" thing trivial.

Sorry, I don't have proper English vocabulary for this stuff, hopefully I'm making some sense here
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Old 02-05-2013, 22:35   #13
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Re: Using an [Inflatable?] Kayak as a Dinghy

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What I mean is that, as soon as you figure out how to do an eskimo roll, you no longer need to keep your head over the centreline and rely on the initial stability of the kayak to prevent flipping. Instead, you can now put your upper body anywhere outside of the hull boundaries and easily support it there for as long as you want, by leaning on the paddle and doing slow sculling strokes. Having this skill makes the whole "balancing" thing trivial.

Sorry, I don't have proper English vocabulary for this stuff, hopefully I'm making some sense here
Yes, you are making sense. I understand you to be explaining that as soon as you learn to roll, you no longer need to roll because now you can brace.
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Old 02-05-2013, 23:03   #14
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Re: Using an [Inflatable?] Kayak as a Dinghy

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Yes, you are making sense. I understand you to be explaining that as soon as you learn to roll, you no longer need to roll because now you can brace.
Yeah, this sounds about right, thank you.

You can learn bracing on its own. Knowing how to roll is what allows you to brace effortlessly and without fear of flipping. To stretch your bicycle analogy, learning to roll is like learning to ride without the training wheels
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Old 03-05-2013, 04:29   #15
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The kayak is far easier in the surf. Takes abit of practice but when you have tiny bit of talent it is far safer than a dink.
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