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Old 31-10-2017, 00:18   #1
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Tenders

Hi everyone I'm about to buy my first tender. I don't have Davits so I have to keep it on deck on my Beneteau first 41s5. Decision time, rib with aluminium or fibreglass hull or air deck with inflatable hull. I really like the Whaly plastic boats but they are heavy and I think I would then need Davits. What would you buy in my position?
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Old 31-10-2017, 03:27   #2
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Re: Tenders

Which you choose is largely dependent on how you're going to use it and stow it.

If you do much passage making you'll want a model that you can stow securely, i.e. either roll up and get off the deck or one with a folding transom that can be adequately flattened on deck. Some will argue that a hard bottom with a hard transom stows fine on deck, but that's personal choice and is somewhat a function of the waters you sail. If you expect green water on deck, it's a risk, depending on how and where you can secure it.

If you use the tender for longer trips you'll appreciate a hard bottom; smoother ride, easier to plane, etc. If you're just putting from the boat to the dock and back you probably won't care.

Fiberglass and aluminum hard bottoms are heavier than inflatable floor models, although wrangling a heavier model up on deck with the proper tackle is not all that difficult.

I have a 10' fiberglass bottom with a folding transom. It collapses down into a package about the size of a fat surfboard and I can lash it securely on my coachroof. Without davits I needed something stowable, but also need to take the tender on longer trips ergo the hard bottom. I'm limited to 10' so the collapsed boat fits entirely on my coachroof fore of the mast.

So think about how you're going to use it and how you're going to stow it and choose what best suits your needs.
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Old 31-10-2017, 04:01   #3
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Re: Tenders

Hi Harro, I faced similar challenges with our mothership. No davits possible, and I certainly didnít want to have to tow something around all the time. I wanted something that could be rowed well, could take a good load, be durable, and be stored on deck, yet not get in the way. My solution for over a decade now has been a 10í portabote.

Itís not for everyone, but it has worked really well for us for over a decade now.
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Old 31-10-2017, 04:41   #4
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Re: Tenders

I've tried Portabote, hard dinghy, air floor, RIB with fixed transom, and RIB with folding transom. I have settled on RIB, and am somewhat indifferent on whether the transom folds but if you're going to put it on foredeck the folding transom is a plus.


Portabote and hard dinghy are most durable, and both can scratch/scuff topsides of the mother boat. Portabote has lots of little pieces and is not easy to assemble or disassemble on deck. Portabote advertised weights (last time I checked) are about 30 pounds lighter than actual because they don't include seats/transom/oars and folding stick. Don't believe the stowage claims either, because the seats/transom take significant extra room. Portabote is narrow and at the bow and not stiff so it requires serious agility to board from the bow at a crowded dinghy dock. Most people will need to board a Portabote from side via someone else's inflatable.


Air floors can be problematic if the inner threads separate or if the floor leaks. They also tend to accumulate a lot of water weight beneath the floor.


Also FYI, I have tried many methods of lifting with halyard; and I generally think its best to lift the dinghy in a vertical position from its bow eye. It's a 2-person operation (one on the winch) but generally it's easier to control the dinghy from below when you only need to deal with the stern cross-section and you can maneuver it right-side up or down as you please while lowering (as opposed to lifting it horizontally on slings, and having to flip it after you place it down).


In a pinch you can also do this single-handed and "walk" it around by keeping it near-vertical while you lift and move the stern one step at a time, but that also requires repeated trips to the winch to adjust height while maneuvering. Regardless, it's more challenging when the wind is gusting above about 15 or 20k.
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Old 31-10-2017, 16:40   #5
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Re: Tenders

Thanks everyone for your thoughts on tenders, you have been most helpfull. Didn't know about the folding transom, this I think is part of my solution.
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Old 31-10-2017, 16:45   #6
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Re: Tenders

I have my heart set on a Portland Pudgy. Well worth a look before deciding... https://www.sailmagazine.com/boats/portland-pudgy
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Old 31-10-2017, 18:34   #7
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Re: Tenders

Prime considerations are:
Rowing or outboard motor?
If rowing, a inflatable floor dinghy goes nowhere fast. The wind will blow you around faster than you can row.
If motoring, the horsepower of the outboard will be a consideration. More HP, more weight to manhandle.
If you are going to put it on deck, the actual weight of the dinghy will become very important.
Fiberglass bottom RHIB's tend to be heavier than the aluminum bottoms for the same length boats.
The plastic boats, such as Whaly and Pudgy get very heavy in comparison to their length. Also tend to scuff the topsides due to the hard plastic when (as is inevitable) when the boat contacts the topsides.
To answer your initial question, I would opt for the aluminum bottom RHIB, about 9 ft long. will fit the bill for your boat and handling.
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Old 31-10-2017, 18:38   #8
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Re: Tenders

Iíve had a SWIFT 3.1m alloy RIB for 4 years now and can't fault it. I have davits but for any long distance trips it lives up on my fore-deck, only weighs 49kg dry so no problem getting it up there, smaller ones available...

https://swiftmarine.com.au/swift-tenders-2-4-3-1/
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Old 31-10-2017, 18:49   #9
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Re: Tenders

The solution is to have (egad) two inflatables. One for blasting about the local area, and one to roll up and take with you on longer journeys. The first is a RIB with a 15hp, the second a smaller roll-up floor with a 4hp.
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Old 31-10-2017, 19:22   #10
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Re: Tenders

OK. I have a question. What choices are there if the mothership is 28 feet?
If placed on the foredeck, better not have to deal with anchoring, because there's no room left...
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Old 01-11-2017, 05:12   #11
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Re: Tenders

Quote:
Originally Posted by TreblePlink View Post
OK. I have a question. What choices are there if the mothership is 28 feet?
On that small of a boat you are probably going to be limited to something with an air floor (which will roll up very small), or something like a portabote.
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Old 01-11-2017, 05:20   #12
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Re: Tenders

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
On that small of a boat you are probably going to be limited to something with an air floor (which will roll up very small), or something like a portabote.
Agreed. If you can find space for the seat storage (which is no small thing), then a 8-foot or perhaps a 10-foot portabote could work. Depends on which 28-foot boat you have.
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Old 01-11-2017, 05:31   #13
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Re: Tenders

Great questions, and you've gotten some great answers.

The tender is one of those problems that doesn't have an ideal solution on any boat less than about 100 feet long. Every choice we make involves a BIG compromise, not a little one, or two or three.

I struggled like hell with it myself for years.

I can recommend, as one possible choice, what some others above have recommended -- a folding transom RIB.

A RIB vs. soft floor dinghy has a whole list of advantages, which I don't need to go into -- I think you're already aware of them.

But RIBs tend to be heavy, and you can't roll them up.

Davits are convenient for getting the dink up and launching it, but cause all kinds of problems of their own -- windage, ugliness, dink chafing and swinging in a seaway, etc.

So what do you do?

I went from a large, heavy, wheel-steered dinghy, Avon 340 with 25hp Mariner, to an Avon Lite 310 with a tiller-steered 8hp Selva.

The new dink is considerably less seaworthy, less capacious, and slower than the old one. The old one was a proper little motorboat -- I used it in open sea quite a bit. I used to run it back and forth between the Isle of Wight and the mainland -- and this was fine (and FUN!) in anything from F5 and less.

I tried to use the new dink on that run once -- NEVER AGAIN!

But that's not the main purpose of the dinghy -- for me, it's getting back and forth to shore when I'm anchored, exploring, knocking around cool islands in the Baltic, etc. For the second two purposes, planing ability is a great plus, but planing the loaded dink with people and supplies is not essential for me. So I can live with that compromise.

And unlike the old dink, which weighed about 250kg with the motor and console, the new dink is light as a feather, and can be lifted onto the foredeck single handed.

I changed my old electric troublesome big davits for small manual light ones. I use the davits for short inshore trips, and for storing the dinghy when I'm not using the boat. For going out to sea, I pull the engine off with a block and tackle hung from the end of my boom, and lift the dink with a halyard -- the way someone above said -- vertically, from the bow eye.

Then deflate it and put it into its bag, and lash it down to the foredeck, where it does not interfere with vision or sails or anything.

I'm very pleased with this compromise, and it's one you might consider yourself. The folding transom RIBs weigh like half what the normal ones do -- single-skin hull. And they fold up as flat as a surfboard. I could not believe how compact the 310 Lite is in its bag -- like a surfboard. I think most people could find room for that, and then you have all the advantages of a RIB.
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Old 01-11-2017, 05:46   #14
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Re: Tenders

Another thing, by the way, you'll have to decide is what kind of motor you want -- another whole thing.

If you have an engine crane, then you will be more relaxed about the weight. Like most people, I don't, and the weight is kind of a big deal. The engine I have now is as light as a 2 stroke -- it's a one-lunger, el cheapo Italian Selva. But it is just at the edge of what is even barely acceptable for man-handling around the deck -- 27kg.

It's a pretty good match for the 310 Lite -- it will plane fairly readily with two people, and can sometimes manage it with 3. It putters around happily in the harbor -- an advantage of a four-stroke.

But I would probably give up that planing ability for something 10kg lighter, which I could easily carry around to the pushpit. I doubt if I'm planing even 3% of the miles I do with this dinghy. I reckon 4 or 5 hp would be enough.

YMMV of course depending on whether you need to use your dinghy over very large distances or with very large loads.

Concerning one-cylinder four strokes -- hot ticket. They vibrate a lot compared to two cylinder engines. Which is approximately zero disadvantage on a dinghy. The Selva engine appears to be unbelievably cheaply made -- looking more Chinese than Italian -- but I've had zero problems with it. It's harder to start than my previous two stroke, but I have slowly come to like it. The fuel consumption seems to be about 1/10 of what I used to use in the 25hp Mariner -- not exaggerating. Carrying an extra jerry can of petrol now seems completely unnecessary -- I think I can get almost a whole summer out of one normal tank.
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Old 01-11-2017, 06:53   #15
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Re: Tenders

How much room have you got on the foredeck to inflate or store a dinghy? any standing rigging in the way?

Unfortunately we are limited to about 2.7m inflatables because the inner forestay takes up so much room. However, we don't do long trips in the dinghy. If we did then a rib would be a boon.

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