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Old 26-03-2023, 04:39   #1
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Tell me about your dinghy and what you like about it

So now my west marine pvc dinghy is starting to come apart at the seams in a different area.

It’s done.

I have a tohatsu 9.9 that I’m not looking to get rid of. So that’s the motor. Fuel injected. That’s why I’m keeping it.

The current dinghy weighs 113 pounds. It also obviously can’t sink.

Ideally, I’d like to get a dinghy that can put up with my 9.9 weight and power, which the West Marine couldn’t. But it also should be unsinkable.

Looking for:

*Around 120lbs or less
*Dry ride
*Can handle choppy days/wakes
*Can handle 9.9 Tohatsu
*Structurally sound to last forever
*Unsinkable

——size unimportant current dinghy is west marine 310

Tell me about your dinghy and what you like about it.
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Old 26-03-2023, 05:28   #2
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Re: Tell me about your dinghy and what you like about it

Well, we have a ten foot Portabote weighs in around 90 pounds, it is a dry ride compared to our former inflatable, can be dragged onto a rocky beach with impunity, it can only go up to a Six HP engine weight wise. We use a 4HP Yamaha 2 stroke, it will plane easily with my 210 pounds in it, and cruises very well with me and the Admiral on board, it has the capacity for an additional 90- ish pound of stores with both of us on board, so reprovisioning is easy. Unsinkable? Thats what they said about the Titantic…,

Fair winds,
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Old 26-03-2023, 05:36   #3
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Re: Tell me about your dinghy and what you like about it

If you want a dry ride #1 is Highfield (by far), #2 is AB, rule out Achilles. I have experience with only those 3.
I did own a Portabote at one time and sold it because:
- cheap seats and transom that will not hold up
- difficult to board over the bow which is flexible and narrow, a disadvantage at a crowded dinghy dock when you can’t board from the side.
- the black seams left marks on my topsides.
- when you factor in the seats and transom it’s not really a space saver when folded.
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Old 26-03-2023, 05:38   #4
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Re: Tell me about your dinghy and what you like about it

If you want a dry ride look for a deep hull, not just inflatable tube size. A deep hull adds more buoyancy and lets the tubes ride higher.
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Old 26-03-2023, 05:40   #5
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Re: Tell me about your dinghy and what you like about it

Highfield CL340. We have a Tohatsu 20hp on ours which weighs the same as the 9.9. Or you could go for a CL310. Either would sit nicely on the davits of a cat like yours. Aluminium bottom cuts through chop and is very solid.
If coin is not a problem then maybe an OC Tender? They are pricey but will last forever. OC330 looks sweet but at NZ$13k it is a stretch for most.
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Old 26-03-2023, 05:40   #6
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Re: Tell me about your dinghy and what you like about it

Chotu,
There is a wide array of possible options for you, depending on your budget.
But first of all, I'd suggest a hard bottom as the #1 priority, a RIB.
Many varieties exist. Weight and length are all over the map, depending on your budget.
A RIB is really the best all worlds. It can take a big engine, it can be beached without fear, and the rubber tubes allow for good seating, as well as easy climbing back on board while diving.
I've owned several RIB's powered by an array of motors, and loved them all.
I really think something in the 11' range is the minimum length you need.
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Old 26-03-2023, 05:50   #7
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Re: Tell me about your dinghy and what you like about it

We have an Offshore Cruising Tender 3.5 which ticks all your boxes. Light, handles up to 15hp, indestructible except for cloth hull pads which are susceptible to barnacle bites.

The only downside is cost, about $16 K USD.. They’re reasonably priced for a hard dinghy where they are made in NZ, but importing one to US adds significantly. We inherited ours so bundled with cost of the mothership, otherwise probably would not have done it.

https://octenders.co.nz/
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Old 26-03-2023, 05:52   #8
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Re: Tell me about your dinghy and what you like about it

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chotu View Post
——size unimportant current dinghy is west marine 310

Tell me about your dinghy and what you like about it.
I had one of those and the transom started coming apart in 1 year. At 3 years it was so bad I had to replace it. Rest of it was just fine as I had ugly chaps for it. You are at the max power for it

I replaced with another PVC West Marine dinghy. But not the folding transom, one with the bottom and transom in 1 piece. I made new chaps for it, which second time around look a LOT nicer. It is also rated for 15HP outboard so the transom must handle more stress.

I looked at options and it seemed to get a "good" dinghy was going to be $4k plus shipping, taking a chance on a $1000-1500 used one, or getting another West Marine one. In the end the price and hassle to get the dinghy drove me to getting a new one at WM. I didn't have to ship it anywhere and just had to rent a Uhaul pickup for a day to move it to boat.

It has been find so far in 4 months of anchor out cruising use.
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Old 26-03-2023, 05:59   #9
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Re: Tell me about your dinghy and what you like about it

Quote:
Originally Posted by MicHughV View Post
Chotu,
There is a wide array of possible options for you, depending on your budget.
But first of all, I'd suggest a hard bottom as the #1 priority, a RIB.
Many varieties exist. Weight and length are all over the map, depending on your budget.
A RIB is really the best all worlds. It can take a big engine, it can be beached without fear, and the rubber tubes allow for good seating, as well as easy climbing back on board while diving.
I've owned several RIB's powered by an array of motors, and loved them all.
I really think something in the 11' range is the minimum length you need.

Whoops.

It’s inevitable when I make a post I’d leave something out.

Hard bottoms only. Be that RIB or just a hard shell dinghy or Jon boat.

I stopped using the sloppy floppy dinghies decades ago. They never lasted. Floor boards alway ripped through the floor eventually.

Current dinghy is 10ft so I’d say that’s the smallest.
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Old 26-03-2023, 06:05   #10
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Re: Tell me about your dinghy and what you like about it

SailorBoy: that is exactly where it’s failing. Same spot. Transom is coming apart. It’s separating down at the floor and now separating at the tubes as well on each side. It couldn’t take the 9.9. Even though it says it can. It did OK with the old 8 hp Tohatsu

I was also considering going the same route you did.

Boat itself was great. If it was higher quality. It actually worked really well when it was in good shape.

And yes. The transom is definitely the weak point on this particular dinghy. I was thinking all one piece of the same might be good. And I would have to get actual chaps for it. That’s some pretty good logic you have going there. It seems like it might be the best way to get a good dinghy going for the least amount of money.

I’ll also wait and see what happens with the thread. Maybe there’s something I don’t know about.
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Old 26-03-2023, 06:13   #11
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Re: Tell me about your dinghy and what you like about it

Another long time, and happy, Portabote owners here. I have the 10-footer, which definitely won't take a 9.9. Maybe the biggest PB would, but the fact is, you don't need anywhere near that size motor on a PB to make it move fast. My 3.5hp (4-stroke) will easily get the bote on plane with one person in it, and can do it with two in calm conditions.

As PC says, fairly light, nearly indestructible, don't have to worry about hard landings. Takes a good load, motors well, rows well, even has a light sail rig if you want to play. And of course, folds down to a surf board or SUP kinda shape, so easily stowed and carried out of the water.
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Old 26-03-2023, 06:17   #12
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Re: Tell me about your dinghy and what you like about it

Important: I’m not willing to switch Outboards. I will not give up fuel injection and have to deal with carburetors anymore. I hate carburetors. A lifetime of doing this has really soured me on them.

I just don’t want the hassle of carburetors anymore.

I like to just start an engine and go immediately without having to worry about all of the problems, special fuels, etc
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Old 26-03-2023, 06:30   #13
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Re: Tell me about your dinghy and what you like about it

We're using an ancient 12 foot StarCraft skiff. It's about 150 lbs, so a little bit heavy. And it's only rated to carry 600 lbs total, so putting a heavy outboard on it wouldn't be ideal. But it's still in good shape after 55 years and is very durable. I've had no concerns about landing it on a rocky beach.

Other than the weight initiation, it's been a great dinghy. It would absolutely fly with 10hp, and it's rated for 15. We have a 6hp on ours and it'll do 13 kts with about 180 lbs in it (plus fuel, oars, anchor, etc. that are always in there). After adding small trim tabs, it'll do 9.5-10 kts with 400 lbs of people and stuff. And you get to run it facing forward on a bench seat rather that sitting sideways on a tube. It's comfortable to run, I think the longest continuous run I've done with it was a bit over an hour while exploring.

The ride is nice and dry, although run too fast in a chop lightly loaded and you might be shopping for a new spine. It'll pound something fierce, but it handles well. Run down wind in the same chop and it's just fun at WOT. I've run it into about a foot of chop with 400 lbs aboard. We were down to 8.5 kts at full throttle against the chop and 20 kt headwind, but the ride was comfortable and still pretty dry (would have been totally dry with a little more speed based on the little bit of spray I did get). I've hit some pretty nasty looking wakes with it and it's never felt sketchy, never gotten a drop of water aboard from a wake either.

As much as this isn't the perfect dinghy for you, I expect there might be something similar out there that would be a better fit. The biggest challenge will be meeting your 120 lb requirement without being forced back to a RIB. If you can handle the size and weight, a slightly bigger (13-14 foot) skiff will be more capable than ours.
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Old 26-03-2023, 06:31   #14
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Re: Tell me about your dinghy and what you like about it

Tohatsu fuel injected is the best. We run a 15 on our Highfield CL290, family of 4. 5 years, love it. Get hypalon. The compartment for fuel in bow is great.
I didnít want bigger as that would be heavier. The 15hp can pull up my kids on a tube or wakeboard (they weight 100lbs). So a 9.9 would work for planing with 2 adults and gear I imagine.
Last year I did buy a lower pitched prop than standard to give better power to get on a plane when fully loaded, which decreased top speed from 20-22 to 18-20, which is fine by me since 12-15 is a sweet spot for cruising. Last year managed to plane with 3 adults and 2 kids (maybe 660 lbs total weight) and it was marginal to get up.
Canít say anything bad about the boat after 5 years. Itís a great tender.
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Old 26-03-2023, 06:32   #15
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Re: Tell me about your dinghy and what you like about it

We’ve been using Achilles 9’6” Dinghys for about 30 years. The first was a “Sport Boat” that I recall was a unique offering by West Marine. I liked it because it had high-visibility red bow panels. Two seats rested on top of the gunnel tubes secured by velcro. Between sunlight and regular use the velcro eventually had to be replaced. No biggie. We used that dinghy for almost 20 years. It developed an inner-seam leak that would not have been hard to repair by someone who knew what they were doing. Not me. Had I done that, I would probably be happy with that dinghy today.
About ten years ago we replaced that dinghy with a near-duplicate. The seats are secured on sliding runners inside the gunnel tubes, which seems to be a little more long-lived method. On the “new” dinghy the seats and floor boards are painted instead of varnished, also more maintenance-friendly than the predecessor’s varnished pieces. The current placement of the seats is also slightly more secure for the passengers who now ride slightly more “in” the boat rather than “on” the boat.
I’ve looked at a lot of dinghy’s in my cruising career, and I have yet to see one that exceeds our Achilles for design, construction and suitability to our use.
We do not use davits. I do not care for davits on a boat as small as ours (41 feet) for a host of reasons, though we have all seen them on boats much smaller. It is easy to retrieve to its stowage on deck with the spinnaker pole topping lift.
We power this critter with a Mercury 5 HP two stroke. It is our second motor, after the theft of the first one from a “secure” boat yard in San Augustin Fla. it has powered us faithfully uncomplaining about the abuse heaped on it. It spent two weeks on the bottom of the Neches River after our boat sank in a Hurricane in ‘05. (‘Nother long story not for today.) New rings and bearings have allowed it to kick us along to this day.
Its 5 horses gets us up on a plane with two passengers and light luggage and groceries. It weighs 38 pounds, which is all these old shoulders want to left up to eye level from the dinghy, when the water always seems to be choppy. It benefits from a new plug once a season, and likes to have the fuel run dry from the carb. BTW, it’s amazing how much water will accumulate. In the tank and carb.
Our dinghy, like most, has a set of oars. They have been used more than once when we ran out of fuel, or forgot to open the tank vent, or overlooked any of the other things that keep motors running.
When we have to be out at dusk, I use a set of suction-cup battery-powered running lights. When we are on a strange dock for any amount of time, I carry a chain and sesame lock.
I would like a fuel-injected four stroke, but the additional weight ( and expense) are deal breakers that keep me using what we have.
I’m not trying to change minds or influence decisions. This has what’s worked for us.
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