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Old 13-04-2020, 14:21   #1
FEC
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Zodiac MilSpec as a dinghy?

Hello, I was thinking of purchasing one of these https://www.defender.com/product.jsp...007&id=6574394 as a dink for my 50' sailboat. Overkill? This will be my first dinghy purchase and not sure about the pros and cons. some insight please
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Old 13-04-2020, 14:40   #2
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Re: Zodiac MilSpec as a dinghy?

As with all things sailing, the answer is It Depends

How are you going to be using the dinghy? How many people? Where? How will you use your sailboat? coastal? or ocean crossing? Visiting remote places? Or "civilized" ones?

That's a HUGE dinghy to carry on a 50 foot boat. And it weighs a TON! Well, not literally, but 350 lbs--before you add an engine big enough to move it! You will very likely end up with a boat that weighs well over 500 lbs fueled and ready to go. How do you imagine storing it on the boat? Lifting it out of the water? How much fuel will it need?

Don't even dream of beaching it without a full crew of buff navy seals to carry it up the beach for you.

I am all for having a dinghy that can run fast and explore. And big enough to keep me dry in a chop, and roomy enough to fish from, but...I have a 53 foot boat, and there is no way that I could handle that monster.

Unless you have a really specialized need for something like this, you would be way better off picking something more "typical."
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Old 13-04-2020, 14:57   #3
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Re: Zodiac MilSpec as a dinghy?

I've had the opportunity to drive a console dinghy about that size. I didn't like it very much. The steering is really vague compared to the tiller steering on open dinghies. It could have been just the particular installation, but our 13 ft. dinghy with the 15 hp o/b is far more maneuverable.

In our cruising usage, we do like large, competent dinghies, and what we did was find a rib that fits between our inner forestay and our mast. We carry it disinflated, and upside down, so that there is room to get around it on passage. Used that way, it cannot be used for a life raft substitute, because it would have to be inflated and the engine put on before it could be launched.

Most vendors to not know what space the dinghies they sell will take up. We wound up finding one who was willing to make the sale contingent upon its fitting where we needed to stow it. So, measure the available area, however you plan to stow it, and bring your tape measure when you go look at dinghies.

Some people want to carry large heavy, inflated dinghies, in davits off their stern. These impair performance, render wind vanes useless due to disturbed air flow, and seem to be difficult to engineer to be strong enough to withstand the loads imposed by large dinghies. When they are under engineered, the davits develop cracks, and the whole lot puts huge loads on the attachments, and the load shifts around, not a happy deal. It costs time and money in port to fix, repair, or replace. Think weeks, not days.

Ann
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Old 13-04-2020, 15:17   #4
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Re: Zodiac MilSpec as a dinghy?

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Hello, I was thinking of purchasing one of these https://www.defender.com/product.jsp...007&id=6574394 as a dink for my 50' sailboat. Overkill? This will be my first dinghy purchase and not sure about the pros and cons. some insight please
Bit on the small size

Wife , kids , couple bricks of beer ... size matters

Best to go even Bigía
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Old 13-04-2020, 16:38   #5
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Re: Zodiac MilSpec as a dinghy?

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Bit on the small size

Wife , kids , couple bricks of beer ... size matters

Best to go even Bigía

+1 !!!!
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Old 13-04-2020, 17:48   #6
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Re: Zodiac MilSpec as a dinghy?

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Bit on the small size

Wife , kids , couple bricks of beer ... size matters

Best to go even Bigía

hahahaha!!! I get it, it just looked like a cool thing to have but it is rather large and heavy but these 8 and 10 foot dinghies look so flimsy and not very safe but hey, they're everywhere so I guess they're not all that bad.
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Old 14-04-2020, 09:16   #7
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Re: Zodiac MilSpec as a dinghy?

Check out Highfield Rib, aluminum hull, hypalon fabric, 10 foot was average size among the 400 plus cruisers in Georgetown, Exumas, Bahamas. Great for four persons, but if regularly carrying four think about the 12-13 foot
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Old 14-04-2020, 10:02   #8
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Re: Zodiac MilSpec as a dinghy?

The first response to your post is a good one- That said, when I think back over my fifty years or so of screwing around in boats, some of the most compelling recollections consist of incidents that occurred while using the tender. The most capable one that you can carry and launch wonít be a waste of resources.
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Old 14-04-2020, 10:23   #9
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Re: Zodiac MilSpec as a dinghy?

It’s the current version of the vernerable (and venerated) Avon searider. For many years they defined the benchmark for ribs, and indeed the SR5.4 was the world’s first commercial rib, with the Royal Navy as the launch customer. I used to use a 4m teaching sailing to a large fleet of dinghies in the 90s with a 40hp two stroke on it. It was very quick - 35 knots plus (no gps then) in a 4m boat.

The SR’s unique feature is that the hull below the deck floods at very slow speeds. There are a pair of vent holes at the bow and a big exit hole in the transom. When you accelerate onto the plane the bows rise much higher that most boats, and the stern then steps up, once the water is out. The great benefit of this system is that at rest the boat is very stable as it rests on its tubes all the way round. Recovering people from the water is easy too, due to the low freeboard. But you also get the sea keeping of a properly deep V hull along the whole boat’s length allowing high speed operation in quite big waves without slamming. In displacement mode it behaves like a displacement launch and is really docile - but there is a lot of momentum due to all the water in the hull. Once you get used to them these boats are great, in my view - and I know a bit about the subject. These boats are really serious bits of kit. I’ve recommissioned ex-RN 5.4m versions after 15 years of military use and 20 years on they are going strong (though one was retubed at about 30 years old).

I’d love to have one as a tender, but couldn’t carry it on my 43’ sail boat. And then you’ll need at least at 25hp outboard you push it onto the plane with more than a couple of you on board. If you’ve got beefy davits and a big fuel locker then it’s great kit.

Ps - happy to chat direct if you want to know more..
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Old 14-04-2020, 10:31   #10
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Re: Zodiac MilSpec as a dinghy?

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hahahaha!!! I get it, it just looked like a cool thing to have but it is rather large and heavy but these 8 and 10 foot dinghies look so flimsy and not very safe but hey, they're everywhere so I guess they're not all that bad.
Not sure where you're cruising (or who you're planning on invading) but around here there are 12' limits on dingy docking (specifically Catalina Island - Avalon Harbor) And the weight of this one would be deal killer for me. Look for an 11'er less than 100 lbs in Hypalon with a hard aluminum bottom - or even better one of those O.C. Tenders in carbon if you can afford it (which it appears you can as this one costs 13 grand - heck, you could buy a nice pocket cruiser for that much money) - should outlast your boat and maybe even you
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Old 14-04-2020, 14:06   #11
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Re: Zodiac MilSpec as a dinghy?

I bought one for a new 100’ ketch that I was Captain/project manager of. It was the best riding dinghy dink I’ve ever ridden. The deeper Vee and the motorcycle seat were very comfortable in rough water and allowed for great fishing and diving space. If your boat can accommodate the size and weight go for it!
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Old 14-04-2020, 18:44   #12
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Re: Zodiac MilSpec as a dinghy?

Iím thinking that when your dink can carry more people than your sailboat its toooo stinkiní big...I have a 9 foot avon with a 3.5 hp outboard....the only time Iím on plane is in the airport....good luck in your hunt..
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Old 14-04-2020, 19:00   #13
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Re: Zodiac MilSpec as a dinghy?

Bill's First Rule of Boat Buying Happiness: Anybody who tells you what boat to buy without spending an hour asking you questions is actually telling you what boat THEY want to buy.

That applies to dinghies as much as main boats. Maybe more so.
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Old 15-04-2020, 09:41   #14
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Re: Zodiac MilSpec as a dinghy?

Bought my smaller dink at inflatableboats.net. Couldn't find them cheaper. Had good results.
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Old 15-04-2020, 09:58   #15
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Re: Zodiac MilSpec as a dinghy?

I run into a decent number of dinghy docks that limit the size to 12 feet. However, I do see a few that are larger. They are very inconvenient for others. A couple of times last year, 14+ foot dinghy's were blocking the thoroughfare on the backside of the dock, so nobody could get by them.

Once we had a difficult time leaving. Twice there were spots on the dock, but nobody could get to them.
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