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Old 05-02-2011, 13:19   #1
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Will I Regret Buying a Rowing Dinghy ?

I've read most of the other threads & almost all seem to prefer a RIB with a high powered outboard on a cruising boat. I am used to a rowing dingy and don't even carry an outboard on my current boat which mostly stays close to home on Lake Macquarie. My new 42' which is taking forever to build will go far from home and I am agonising over the dingy choice. If I hadn't read so much about RIBs here I would have just bought a 10' Walker Bay rowing dingy and put a small outboard on the stern rail for occasional use. Also, being a centre cockpit with a permanent inner forestay, there is no logical place on deck to put the dingy when underway so both a RIB and a hard dingy would have to stay on the davits when underway. The davits are better than most in that they pull the dingy well off the water and 50% of the beam of the dingy ends up over the sugar scoop anyway, so it would take an absolute monster to clobber the dingy from astern.

If I did buy the rowing dingy with the occasional outboard, when am I going to regret it?


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Old 05-02-2011, 13:22   #2
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I row when ever I'm going a short distance or not facing a strong current. I've an Avon RIB so not a good row boat. I use the motor to cover distance mostly.

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Old 05-02-2011, 13:31   #3
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Yup.... your gonna really regret it when all those ribs leave you rocking in their wake...
But a small rowing dinghy's fine... I mostly row nowadays.... does it have flotation chambers..??

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Old 05-02-2011, 13:42   #4
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I think the Pardleys had good advice on this. For a short trem cruise the inflatable/outboard option is preferable, but if going off for long term voyages a hard dink is best. Nice thing about the hard dink is you have the option of mounting a motor, whereas rowing an inflatable is frustrating to impossible in some conditions.
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Old 05-02-2011, 13:59   #5
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I would think rowing would be a better upper body workout than turning the speed control or pushing and pulling the motor tiller, and wouldn't be bad for your heart either. Do you plan an exercise regimine while cruising?
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Old 05-02-2011, 14:12   #6
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There is a case to made for both, much is personal preference. There were areas that I would have considered difficult and perhaps impossible without an engine. Timing would cure that problem in tidal currents, the trade off being timing being a consideration.
If one does not suit after trying it out you are allowed to change your mind.
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Old 05-02-2011, 14:38   #7
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Originally Posted by GorillaToast View Post
I would think rowing would be a better upper body workout than turning the speed control or pushing and pulling the motor tiller, and wouldn't be bad for your heart either. Do you plan an exercise regimine while cruising?

Oh Yeah. I guess you've never been in a current heading towards the rocks and had a small outboard flood before!
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Old 05-02-2011, 14:59   #8
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Old 05-02-2011, 15:00   #9
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Please dont laugh...

I row out to Boracay almost every day using a 2m fibreglass dinghy, and when my SO comes we use a 9' aluminium dinghy, also rowing (made 2m oars, commercial ones too short).

We've tried an airfloor with a 5hp outboard. Just too heavy, cumbersome, desirable and fragile round Sydney.

So as I row out each day I dream of the perfect dinghy. So far it must be:-
* 20 Kg or less
* stable (at least 1.2m beam)
* row well
* be durable
* have noticeable untheif properties
* take a small outboard (2hp) with integral tank.
* have highly social fenders.
* be boardable from the water (like an inflatable).

My design for the perfect dinghy, all in my head so far, is a catamaran, prototyped using stitch and epoxy glue using strips of 7 mm pine ply (no knots, "A" bond) and covered with light fibreglass cloth. I'd glue on that blue gym mat foam for fendering.
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Old 05-02-2011, 15:00   #10
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I don't think you have to look at it as something you will be required to live with forever. If you design your choices to give you options later, you can decide what works best for you and move on. By that I mean, get something that will sell. I'm a "horse trading" sort of guy and that philosophy just works for me. But I also fall into the trap of winding up with all the toys. (those of you who know me personally, please stop laughing)

If you want to hit the ignore button now, I understand.

One important point that makes it work. I don't buy new very often. New instantly turns into old as far as value goes. But "old" can be in new condition.

I will mention here that I'm on a 36 ft boat and I carry one of each. And each has it's own outoard. It took a bunch of head scratching, but in the end they both live on the boat in very conventional ways... sort of. (My boarding ladder and stern arch do double duty and act as davits for my Walker Bay 8. Very slick). Point is, your new boat is 6 ft longer than mine, and while I realize it's a center cockpit, there are dinks that make surprisingly small but effective packages. More on that below.

Walker Bay 10. Very good boat. Not easy to resell. I've only had one pass thru my life. The 8 ft is more popular (IMHO) because the 10 ft is a monster compared to the 8 ft. The 8 ft just fits more people lives.

There have been some RIBs come on the market that have folding transomes. They go by the "lite" designation. Besides being able to deflate into small packages, people actually do it!! Buy that I mean that with other inflatables, even air floors, people rarely stow them deflated for passages. Too much pain to make the ready to launch otherwise.

I seriously enjoy my Walker Bay. That's because I sail it. Of course I can row it as well. There was a time when I was living in a slip that I even used it's outboard motor alot.

While I do seriously enjoy my WB, my "Go Fast" gets more useful miles on it.

So I vote, pick up a second hand Walker Bay (you won't find too many 10 footers, but if you do and that's what you want, get it. Just don't buy it new, and remember that it will not likely sell as easily as the 8 ft).

Get the sail kit, have fun and don't beat yourself up for not choosing an RIB. You can get one of those too. Many important advantages to having 2 dinks. That's a whole other thread.

Do get external flotation for the WB. Big plus. My flotation is not factory.
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Old 05-02-2011, 15:21   #11
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when you are looking hot and every one else is not-- you will be soo glad you keep tellin yerself that--i have to tell me that-- i use kayak and a row dink.. 8'walker bay--i also have a roll up with small outboard-- we will see how long it takes me to get another rib and big engine..or whine about not having one......
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Old 05-02-2011, 15:24   #12
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Not directly relevant - but a 9 foot Avon inflatable can get onto a plane........under oars

Admittedly only one onboard. and not for great distances but once you are up the effort required drops considerably.

.....of course those rubber Avon rowlocks always brought things to an end
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Old 05-02-2011, 15:49   #13
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Dinghies are a very personal choice so you need to think hard about what fits you. I started with an 8' Fatty Knees sailing dinghy. It sailed very well, it rowed well, and putted along nicely with a 2hp outboard. A lot of the rowing performance was down to some nice 8' spruce spoon tips. I landed on a lot of beaches (and more importantly, got off those beaches) with the oars. The downside is that it was just not rugged enough and I was having to repair the hull too often. In the beginning I dragged the dinghy up the beaches (above high tide) but that took a toll on the keel - so I got some large wheels. I rarely sailed her after the first year - I get plenty of sailing in as it is. Motoring was fine for modest distances.

While in Venezuela I bought a 2.60m (8.5') AB fiberglass RIB with a 15hp Mercury 2-stroke. The increase in useful range is dramatic, not to mention the speed. Obviously it is more stable for boarding, and has great carrying capacity. It makes anchoring further out, away from the noise and swimmers, a practical possibility. And I have used it as a towboat on a number of occasions. I kept the spoon tips, which help, but ultimately a RIB is not a very satisfactory rowboat. And it is a lot harder to get off a beach without a dunking in an inflatable, at least for me. Although I bought a really nice wheel kit, the extra weight of the RIB makes it difficult to roll up a beach.

I am still considering what to get as a replacement. Weight is a big concern, for taking up a beach more than hoisting aboard. I am unwilling to go back to a 2hp slowpoke but miss the nice rowing, and don't have room for both types aboard my 31'. If I had room for both to be conveniently stored and used then I would have both.

So, back to your question: will you regret buying a rowboat? If you enjoy rowing as I do then the answer is "no". But you may regret not getting a RIB as well. Whatever you do make sure the boat is ruggedly built, can be repaired in a distant location, and weighs as little as possible. And consider a wheel kit - but not the silly 5" wheels that dig furrows in the sand...
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Old 05-02-2011, 16:00   #14
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Originally Posted by Eleebana View Post

If I did buy the rowing dingy with the occasional outboard, when am I going to regret it?

So far, we haven't. We left the RIB (already owed but in need of a retubing) on shore and switched to a nesting dinghy capable of sailing, rowing and motoring (my 9 year old loves the sailing part), and a Portabote capable of motoring and rowing. We bought a Honda 2 HP, which my smallish wife can one-arm.

So far, so good. We have yet to be in a rolly anchorage, however, but I can't see "going up on the plane" in such conditions, anyway.

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Old 05-02-2011, 16:19   #15
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G'Day Greg,

This subject has been thrashed about endlessly, and it all boils down to what your use will be. If you are gonna go long-term foreign cruising, and live away from marinas much or all of the time, the rowing option becomes less desirable IMO.

Consider Heidi going shopping, say in Noumea... on her own (you're busy fixing the inevitable broken something or other). She sets out from your anchorage in Baie de Orphelinat (the spot you have chosen to get out of the throngs around Marina Moselle) and starts rowing towards town and the shops. It's about 2 klicks (+/-) but what the hey, it's a nice morning. Finally gets there 30 minutes later, ties up at the free dinghy wharf and hits the shops. Returns a while later, laden with provisions. Hmm, the sea breeze has picked up and we now have twenty plus knots on the nose, with attendant chop and it looks like a long row back. Even with a good rowing dinghy, heavily laden, two kilometers upwind isn't a good prospect. She finally gets back to the boat two hours later, sweaty and pissed off and with 8 rolls of wet, soggy bog paper in the bag. The next day you are at the local inflatable dealer buying a RIB and an outboard big enough to get it on a plane... at Noumea prices!

So, OK, this is hyperbole, but really, for the realities of cruising and living away from the ease of marina life, the biggest and fastest and driest dinghy you can afford and manage will become your fondest possession. I haven't seen the deck layout of your new boat, so can't make specific suggestions, but here's what we do on I-2: Our RIB (Gemini alloy hull, 47 kg empty, 3.5 M nominal LOA) is carried on deck, upside down, deflated and between the mast and the baby stay. We arrived at this dink by measuring the DEFLATED size of a lot of different models, and choosing the biggest one that would fit in this spot. Interestingly, not a single dealer knew how big the deflated dinghy he was flogging was... we hadda measure them all! We lift it up bow first with the spinny halyard, lower it on deck to about 45 degrees, let the air out and then suck the remnants out with an electric in/deflater, drop it down the rest of the way and lash it down. Takes about twenty minutes, ain't all that hard to do. The motor (a Yamaha 15 2-stroke) has a home made harness and is lifted off and on with the main halyard and stored on a bracket on the stern rail. Takes about 2-3 minutes, no sweat at all. Can even do all of these things single handed if required. We do tow the thing around in protected waters with the engine off, don't find that a problem -- RIBs tow very well.

I know that the traditionalists will disagree with this approach, but after 24 years of cruising, I'm quite convinced that this is a good tradeoff. We'd be happy to discuss it further next time we're on the lake!

Cheers, and give the builders a kick up the bum... it's time to launch her!

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Towlers Bay, NSW, Oz

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II back in Port Cygnet doin' the isolation tango.
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