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Old 22-01-2019, 06:25   #16
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Re: History of dinghys and a deep think on why we like RIBs

RIBís are insanely stable, give a pretty dry ride, have huge carrying capacity and donít cause damage to the mother boat, mine right now is happily bouncing off of the port side of my boat.
Downside is their limited lifespan and expense.
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Old 22-01-2019, 06:42   #17
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Re: History of dinghys and a deep think on why we like RIBs

I've had inflatable dinghies (with and without an outboard) and now a Chameleon nesting dinghy. All have their pros and cons. I think a largish RIB with an outboard is a great choice, but it entails carrying gas, maintaining an outboard and accepting the limited life of the RIB tubes. They also need davits or a large deck space to carry. They are pretty heavy as well. Moreover, inflatables are pretty crappy to row in any wind. I didn't want an outboard to maintain or to carry gas on board. I wanted simplicity and a dinghy that could be rowed efficiently. I'm happy with my nesting dinghy, but it's probably not a solution for everyone. I think it is perfect for cruisers on small boats on limited budgets who want simplicity. The drawbacks are limited speed and range (under oar). I might get an electric outboard one day to increase range, but where I cruise now I haven't felt the need so far. Choices...

BTW, a rubrail of some sort solves the problem of banging the mothership. I used split plastic hose and it leaves no marks on the hull.
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Old 22-01-2019, 06:46   #18
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Re: History of dinghys and a deep think on why we like RIBs

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The "bumper boat" aspect, as well as the great advantage when it comes to snorkeling and diving, weigh very heavily in favor of RIBs for me.

Help me out here. Any of the nicer hard dinks have a soft edge that is supposed to prevent damage when coming alongside. The PT-11 has an (optional) grey EPDM outwale bumper. Others use Dacron-covered foam. Are these treatments ineffective?


Diving, snorkeling, swimming, not sure I see it. With any boat the trick is getting back in at the end of the dive. I usually dive solo. I take my gear off in the water and pull it aboard with a rope after I'm in the boat. So any boat I can get into from the water will work. I can do it with a canoe or kayak, a 12' or 14' dink would be easier. Again it's about size, a little 8' dinghy is going to be prone to swamping.
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Old 22-01-2019, 06:51   #19
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Re: History of dinghys and a deep think on why we like RIBs

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I didn't want an outboard to maintain or to carry gas on board. I wanted simplicity and a dinghy that could be rowed efficiently.

This is where I am at, myself, also. Outboards are fickle things, and I don't like depending on them. Sometimes they are a great convenience but sometimes they are harder to get going in the morning than a teenage child.
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Old 22-01-2019, 06:58   #20
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Re: History of dinghys and a deep think on why we like RIBs

i found r i b to be fun speed boats planing easily with a not even heavy engine. two issues... deflating and engine maintenance. both suck.
but the planing was fun.
rollups fit on deck easily but still have the reflate deflate issues. floor too soft to carry garafones of water plus me. and gods forbid cat..ok..
formosa came to me with walker bay 8. ugly lil cutee, and rowed well enough, could be handled sola, and not carry too much heavy stuff, but did carry 3 jerry jugs. ok.... took an hour to row across outflow from a 'cane in barra de navidad.. nope and nope. not gonna cut it if i am swept to open ocean, gggrrr... so a 10 ft walker bay slid into my life and i can row it even with bottom growth, cannot manage it sola, so will place davits for it and solar panels, and i can carry 3 garafones and propane tank. has a sweet dry floor and rows easily. still off the top ten hits for theft, so i win, and no engine to need maintaining every second outing. no planing???
oh well btdt, so is all good.
works well with a torqueedo, but donot land on a beach with the torqueedo.......
so i row. rowing does no harm.
and, ps--- thereis an avaialble blow up rim that is good to play bumper boats with, and spozedly makes em mopre stable. i find 10 ft wb fairly stable. but i donot jump onto the rail to enter a dinghy. and they donot leak. amazing. i was a kid when i learned you MUST get to sailboat in a leaky old rowboat, so i win again. no leaks. even when tied to a wharf with lots of riprap to cut and slice the reflatables.....
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Old 22-01-2019, 09:52   #21
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Re: History of dinghys and a deep think on why we like RIBs

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RIBís are insanely stable, give a pretty dry ride, have huge carrying capacity and donít cause damage to the mother boat, mine right now is happily bouncing off of the port side of my boat.
Downside is their limited lifespan and expense.

Indeed.


And one more thing -- for their size, capable of much higher speeds than hard dinghies.


I've had hard dinghies, and I still have a 16' fiberglass skiff at my lake house. I've had different RIBs, presently a 3.1 meter folding Avon, and previously a 3.4 meter big Avon (that one with 25hp and wheel steered).


I don't know what size hard dinghy it would take, to match the load capacity, seaworthiness, and speed of the big Avon. Not 16' -- maybe 18'? 20'? The big Avon could plane at 25 knots with 4 people, was rated to carry 5 people or 1200 pounds. Immense stability and great seaworthiness -- I used to blast across the Solent all the time on it, and use it in open sea in all kinds of conditions. And yet was only 11' long. Try that with an 11' hard dinghy or even a 16' one.



Even the small Avon, which folds up like a surfboard, is pretty decent -- certainly more stable than my 16' skiff.



THAT is why the vast majority cruisers use RIBs instead of hard dinghies. The only downsides are cost, wearing out, and poor rowing ability.


I had a hard dinghy for years, which I held on to for a long time because I liked rowing it to and from my mooring, when I had a mooring in the Hamble, and because I didn't mind leaving it in the water. But other than rowing and leaving it in the water, there was not much good I can say about it -- you had to be really careful not to bang it against the hull, and you would never be able to board it from the water, and I was always worried about tipping it over. Use it in any kind of waves? Fuggedaboutit. As the OP correctly pointed out -- you would need a much, much bigger hard dinghy, to use in the same conditions, a much smaller RIB would work in.
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Old 22-01-2019, 10:05   #22
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Re: History of dinghys and a deep think on why we like RIBs

Apolize,haven't read the whole thread.

I've had two hard dinghies, one inflatable flat bottom zodiac dinghy, one catamaran style dinghy (takacat) and now a fibreglass bottomed rib. And cruised full-time with all of them.

The 3.6m rib wins hands down by a long shot, absolutely no competition.

As long as you have the room to carry one, preferably davits ,a rib is the ultimate get around vessel. I have the luxury of a small 3.3hp outboard that I use mostly and a 15hp go places fast outboard when I'm in an area that benefits from its usage. Combine this with davits for coastal cruising and its hard to improve.

Also wheels add to the pleasure.

Would not have anything but a rib.
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Old 22-01-2019, 10:11   #23
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Re: History of dinghys and a deep think on why we like RIBs

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Apolize,haven't read the whole thread.

I've had two hard dinghies, one inflatable flat bottom zodiac dinghy, one catamaran style dinghy (takacat) and now a fibreglass bottomed rib. And cruised full-time with all of them.

The 3.6m rib wins hands down by a long shot, absolutely no competition.

As long as you have the room to carry one, preferably davits ,a rib is the ultimate get around vessel. I have the luxury of a small 3.3hp outboard that I use mostly and a 15hp go places fast outboard when I'm in an area that benefits from its usage. Combine this with davits for coastal cruising and its hard to improve.

Also wheels add to the pleasure.

Would not have anything but a rib.

To add to this --


RIBs have also penetrated other markets, and not just cruisers' dinghies.


They have replaced hard boats in a lot of different use cases.


All the expedition vessels I saw in the Arctic had RIBs, often big orange ones.


All the superyachts i have been on, have used big RIBs, although there is plenty of space for any kind of hard boat or pinnace you could possibly want.


A lot of sporting motorboats are now RIBs.


A lot of law enforcement boats are now RIBs.



Despite a couple of drawbacks, particularly cost, RIBs are wonderful.
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Old 22-01-2019, 10:28   #24
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Re: History of dinghys and a deep think on why we like RIBs

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In the end it is always going to be a matter of trade-offs, and that makes it a matter of personal preference. Which trade-offs have more value for you? So any attempt to declare one as "better" than another is always just going to be a personal opinion. Educate yourself on the pros and cons of the different kinds, and pick the one that suits you the best.
This sums it up perfectly. Any attempt to define the "perfect dink" is doomed to failure as everyone has different needs, desires, and opinions. So just pick the one that suits you best, and let others do likewise.

However, if you want to convince me that your choice is better than mine, buy me a beer and let's discuss it while watching the sun go down :-)

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Old 22-01-2019, 10:32   #25
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Re: History of dinghys and a deep think on why we like RIBs

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This sums it up perfectly. Any attempt to define the "perfect dink" is doomed to failure as everyone has different needs, desires, and opinions. So just pick the one that suits you best, and let others do likewise.. . .

Sure, but I don't think anyone in this thread has claimed to have identified the "perfect dink". Obviously every type has tradeoffs.


I love my 16' hard fiberglass skiff -- for the specific purpose I keep it for. If you really love to row, then for sure you'll want a hard dink. Or if you love to glide through the water at displacement speed using very little power from a small outboard. The OP correctly stated that you will need a longer hard dinghy, to get roughly similar performance (except speed), out of a hard dink.
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Old 22-01-2019, 10:41   #26
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Re: History of dinghys and a deep think on why we like RIBs

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I've had dinghys on the brain and have been trying to understand the reason so many people like RIBs.


I started with the history. During the age of sail, tenders of various sizes were used, all chiefly propelled by oars. "Two Years Before the Mast" mentions a quarter-boat, a long-boat, a gig, a launch, a jolly-boat, and a pinnace. There is little detail about the sizes or construction of these, but at one point there's mention that the crew of one of the boats was made up of a coxswain, a bowman, and four men. In adSpdition the boat would carry cargo or passengers. A later passage mentions six men in the jolly-boat. Another mentions a gig being crewed by a captain and four men. Another mentions the quarter-boat having a crew of four and carrying a passenger.


Other sources give the sizes of the Whitehall Rowboat as being 14 to 22 feet in length at the pinnacle of its development, prior to the adoption of the internal combustion engine; the related Whitehall Gig is slightly longer, up to 25 feet.


Joshua Slocum's Spray had a tender on deck positioned athwartships between the fore and aft cabins. As the Spray was 14 feet abeam and the tender all but reaching rail to rail it must have been about 12 feet long.


More modern yachts with a single raised cabin extending from the foredeck to the cockpit, and a cabin roof cluttered with rigging, dorades, and hatches, don't have space for a 12 foot tender. I gather from my reading that in the 1960s and 1970s, before the heyday of hypalon and PVC, that 8 and 10' hard dinghys were the norm, for cruising yachts.


Which isn't big enough. And that's the central problem of dinghy selection, that a large enough dinghy is just out of the question. Growing up, my family had aluminum fishing boats -- a 12' one with a 3hp outboard, a 14' one with a 5.5hp outboard, and a 16' one with an 18hp outboard. There were clear differences in seakeeping ability from one craft to the next were obvious enough to me as a child. We came home in whitecaps more than once in the 16', after being caught out in increasing winds, and while we got wet and were bounced around, it wasn't nearly the fright it would have been in either of the smaller boats.


We rowed all of them, at times, so as not to scare the fish. They had oarlocks, and we always had a good pair of oars on board as a hedge against the motor failing. The 12' and 14' were easy enough to row, despite being planing hulls intended for motorized use; the 16' was more difficult.


I think the central problem of hard dinghys is that they are all too small. I would think that, questions of storage aside, the perfect hard dinghy would be around 14' for rowing or 16' for motoring.



RIBs, I surmise, and other inflatables, were adopted by the cruising community as a means of solving the size problem, because they can carry more weight and tolerate higher seas for their length than hard dinks -- and they can be deflated for storage. So we started out, if I understand the history correctly, with 8' donut dinghys in the 1970s and have more or less moved to a 10' RIB as being tender most people choose if they have room for it, with a few people having slightly larger RIBs.


I haven't been in a RIB, but I would guess that the practical capacity and seakeeping ability of a 10' RIB is more or less the same as a 14' boat made entirely of aluminum or fiberglass or wood. The 14' boat made of, say, fiberglass, will be more durable, and require half the horsepower, and can be rowed or perhaps sailed. It will weigh about the same as the RIB.


RIBs are well-suited to volume production. They can be manufactured in low-wage countries and easily packed onto a pallet and shipped, and go through a distribution chain very much like that of a lawn mower or table saw. They are used for all kinds of reasons other than as tenders for cruising ships, and because of their short life there is a robust replacement market. That's convenient, because it means there is a ready supply of them, more or less worldwide. Need a new dink? One phone call to the dealer is all it takes.


I'm seeing nesting dinghys as a better answer. They solve the size problem in a different way -- not by packing more seakeeping ability into every foot, but by packing twice as many feet of boat onto the foredeck or cabin top. They are a niche product that has not attracted the interest of higher volume makers and distributors. A careful review of the designs of the most successful nesting dinghys shows convergence -- the Spindrift, Chameleon, and PT-11 are remarkably similar in their dimensions and lines. The differences are in ease of construction, in how reserve flotation is provided, in the rig, in the sophistication of the rudder and centerboard or lee boards, in how the halves are connected, and in fine details.


Like a one-piece hard dink, a nesting tender has clear advantages over a RIB. These become especially clear if comparisons are made based on storage space required: an 11' nesting dinghy fits in roughly the same space as a deflated 8' rib. The nesting dinghy has greater durability, half the horsepower requirement, and a hull shaped to allow effective rowing or sailing.


The problem, as I see it, is that there's no market. You can get plans or a kit, or have a builder construct one for you, bespoke, at a bespoke price and on a bespoke schedule.


We went down this road. Have seen too many RIBs with soft tubes hanging from davits. The conclusion was a RIB style tender that was all ridged but with the same carrying capacity and sea keeping ability. After much research, we decided on a Whaly brand boat. (Having a system in place to prevent dinging the mother ship when they kiss is most important.)
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Old 22-01-2019, 10:50   #27
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Re: History of dinghys and a deep think on why we like RIBs

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I don't know what size hard dinghy it would take, to match the load capacity, seaworthiness, and speed of the big Avon. Not 16' -- maybe 18'? 20'? The big Avon could plane at 25 knots with 4 people, was rated to carry 5 people or 1200 pounds. Immense stability and great seaworthiness -- I used to blast across the Solent all the time on it, and use it in open sea in all kinds of conditions. And yet was only 11' long. Try that with an 11' hard dinghy or even a 16' one.


Even the small Avon, which folds up like a surfboard, is pretty decent -- certainly more stable than my 16' skiff.
It depends on the design. These will go 25 knots. Now, they would make terrible dinghys for other reasons, mainly that they are too heavy, and have that windshield which is just going to break.



These might actually make a good dinghy for anyone who can find room for 16'. They have a rating for 25 HP, max, which in my experience will scoot them along to the tune of at least 15 knots. What if someone built a lighter one that would come apart into two nesting pieces, and maybe added a mast step and partner for a freestanding rig?


Quote:
THAT is why the vast majority cruisers use RIBs instead of hard dinghies. The only downsides are cost, wearing out, and poor rowing ability.

  • Cannot be sailed
  • Subject to puncture from nails sticking out of docks, submerged rocks or debris, and sharp objects on beaches
  • Susceptible to damage if used for fishing, from hooks on tackle, knives, gaff hooks, and fish with sharp fins
  • Difficult to repair if damaged or worn
  • Require large, heavy, expensive outboards to achieve stated benefit of high speed
  • Uneven build quality with many credible reports of early seam failures across all vendors; vendors do not honor their warranties in a useful way
  • Aesthetics

And I get it, those tradeoffs are worth it to many people.


Quote:

I had a hard dinghy for years, which I held on to for a long time because I liked rowing it to and from my mooring, when I had a mooring in the Hamble, and because I didn't mind leaving it in the water. But other than rowing and leaving it in the water, there was not much good I can say about it -- you had to be really careful not to bang it against the hull, and you would never be able to board it from the water, and I was always worried about tipping it over. Use it in any kind of waves? Fuggedaboutit. As the OP correctly pointed out -- you would need a much, much bigger hard dinghy, to use in the same conditions, a much smaller RIB would work in.

If the only points of comparison I had were a 6' or 8' rowboat and a 16' skiff, I'd rather have a RIB, too.


The central point I'm trying to make here, is that the alternative of a two-piece, nesting, hard dink that is sized to fit the larger cruising boats that now make up most of the fleet, hasn't been given serious attention by enough designers and builders. We have the PT-11, which is, by all reports, great for what it is, but is slightly too small and is only available as a kit.


Also unexplored is the idea of a semidisplacement nesting dink that is designed for higher speeds with an outboard of moderate size, with no provisions for sail, but that can be rowed acceptably.
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Old 22-01-2019, 10:55   #28
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Re: History of dinghys and a deep think on why we like RIBs

i am sooo glad i got the need for speed out of my system before i went voyaging. there is no reason to need to speed thru an anchorage in a rib, or any other kind of small boat. yet this is THE occurrence of the day. gotta plane. dang .
so speed thru an anchorage in a dinghy then cuss out the motor boat speeding thru same anchorage.
see any hypocrisy in this ???
the positive aspect of having a large engine on a r i b oversized for the dinghy dock is towing. but then i found towing is easier in any good dinghy with a smaller engine. it all depends on shape of underside of hull.
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Old 22-01-2019, 11:01   #29
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Re: History of dinghys and a deep think on why we like RIBs

Way back in the dark ages I had a rollup inflatable we used and abused for scuba diving in Northern California. Getting on/off the beach meant 2 strong people had to carry it, not drag it as that would destroy the tubes quickly. Being mid 20's who cared. The RIB's came around. These you could drag on the beach, handled better in the sea but cost way more and didn't store all that well.

I had a Porta Note which I liked for many reasons but like everything, it had it's drawbacks too.

Now I have a Walker Bay 10 which will also double as a dive platform. I have the Hypalon Tube kit effectively turning a nice dink that rows very well, is indestructible (think coral reefs) but is as stable as a RIB. Can't handle a large engine which is fine with me. I'm going cruising, not racing. With the tube kit I can put on a 6hp instead of the 4hp I have now if I choose.

Like buying the perfect cruising boat, to each their own.
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Old 22-01-2019, 11:16   #30
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Re: History of dinghys and a deep think on why we like RIBs

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I think you summed it up very well.
Two things you didnít mention that make inflatables more desirable as a dinghy is that they are basically bumper boats, wonít damage the topsides of the big boat. The other thing is they are very stable making them easy to board from the larger boat.

The desire for speed drove the change from donut boats to RIBs. Back in the late sixties and seventies, the 9í Avon Redcrest with a Seagull on the bracket was probably the Cruisers choice. Then came inflatables with real transoms that could carry more horsepower and go a little faster. Then came the RIBs that went even faster but retained the bumper boat and stability that makes inflatables desirable.
I think this sums up modern desire for a RIB. Since I travel across bays and anchorages, I like the speed of a RIB.
Any dingy is fine for me. But many people, including my spouse, need a very stable dingy that will not swamp if they step on the edge or lean over to look into the water. An inflatable is as stable as they come.
The only complaint I have is that I cannot fish from my RIB. The ocean fish have razor-like fins, chutes, teeth, and spines that I will not bring aboard an inflatable. Next season I will have a port-a-bote as a spare dingy and fishing skiff.

If anyone is interested, the Yankee Whaleboat is described in "Logbook for Grace". It had 2 oars on one side and 3 oars on the other; 5 men on oars plus a harpooner at the fore and a steerer aft. After the harpoon was planted (NEVER thrown!) the helmsman and harpooner traded places and the boat steerer became the line tender/lancer and the harpooner (the master of the whaleboat) navigated the boat.
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