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Old 26-10-2020, 17:50   #16
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

I have a slightly different viewpoint.

The weight is more important than size - of both the dinghy and the engine.

IME, dinghies get damaged and the lighter the dinghy, the easier it is to care for. Likewise the engine.

The OP does not have a lot of options regarding length, she is limited to something between 6 and 8 feet. Once away from areas where dinghy docks are common, the dinghy has to be carried once on shore. In areas with large tidal ranges, the dinghy has to carried a long way at times. They get heavy fast!

I have only cruised on small yachts (28 to 31 feet) so have only used small dinghies but I have found that the weight is a deciding factor for me.

And I have never needed an engine greater than 2 hp. Handling a 2 hp engine in a bumpy anchorage in way easier than a heavier engine.

Go small and light and enjoy life .
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Old 26-10-2020, 18:04   #17
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

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Originally Posted by KelseyB View Post
Yea I am definitely going to make myself a bracket, that's no question. In terms of a lift, I haven't decided on that yet; the boat really isn't that tall and even if I get 5 or 6 hp, which is arguably too much, I don't foresee having trouble lifting it. (The other trick is everything I install has to be drilled and tapped through the steel hull, and I'm quite reluctant to drill any holes I may want to close in the future because then I have to get a welder)
I foresee trouble lifting the 6 hp engine from the dinghy to the rail single handed.

I agree you don't need a crane if you can lift the engine one handed above your head while standing in a unstable dinghy along side your boat with 1 to 2 foot sea running and the wind sailing the boat around at anchor. One hand and both feet are very busy keeping the dinghy sort of stable and close along side the hull. That leaves the other hand to lift the engine up and manipulate it onto rail mount.

I can do that with a 2 hp engine, I can't do that 5/6 hp engine although I am sure stronger people can.

YMMV.
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Old 26-10-2020, 21:57   #18
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

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I am about to leave on a roughly year-long trip, down the ICW and then hopefully through some of the Caribbean and back, and I need a dinghy. The trick here is that I would prefer not to shell out on davits and my boat is only 30 feet (so minimal room to store on deck). I am looking at a used one that is only a bit more than 6 feet long, from Bombard. It claims to fit 2 people, max 4 hp outboard, and max weight of 450 pounds, and it would fit on my foredeck, whereas even an 8 foot dinghy would be quite a hassle up there (and under the boom lowers my visibility too much). My question is - is 6 feet too small? I am a small and lightweight person and I'll be traveling solo or with only one other crew, but my concern is more stability and running supplies between shore and a mooring/anchorage. I don't mind taking extra trips or getting splashed sometimes, my standards for that aren't super high - but is it safe? Will I be legitimately uncomfortable running jerry cans if there's a breeze in the harbor?
Iíve seen a lot of sailors zipping (well, almost...) around in the Caribbean with 7í inflatables (roll up or with removable floor boards) and a 2.5-3.5HP outboard, so should be ok for you. You really want to stay as lighter as possible, but I think 6í is a bit too small even for a single.

These are small enough and fast to inflate (get a 12V electric pump), so you donít need to carry it on the front deck.

If you are anchored in relatively sheltered places, you should be fine with this. While my boat is bigger, I had to struggle with the size and weight of my 12í RIB and 15HP outboard so now offered for sale for a smaller and lighter dink.
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Old 27-10-2020, 06:43   #19
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

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Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
I have a slightly different viewpoint.

The weight is more important than size - of both the dinghy and the engine.

IME, dinghies get damaged and the lighter the dinghy, the easier it is to care for. Likewise the engine.

The OP does not have a lot of options regarding length, she is limited to something between 6 and 8 feet. Once away from areas where dinghy docks are common, the dinghy has to be carried once on shore. In areas with large tidal ranges, the dinghy has to carried a long way at times. They get heavy fast!

I have only cruised on small yachts (28 to 31 feet) so have only used small dinghies but I have found that the weight is a deciding factor for me.

And I have never needed an engine greater than 2 hp. Handling a 2 hp engine in a bumpy anchorage in way easier than a heavier engine.

Go small and light and enjoy life .
I definitely agree with this weight thing - the one I am looking at is a shocking 30 pounds! As a kid I always remember it being a hassle to wrestle our massive Zodiac that was meant to fit the whole family and I hated it, I wasn't strong enough to drag it up the beach or hold it next to the boat if the waves wanted otherwise. I'm obviously stronger now as an adult, but still, I agree that weight is a big factor for me.
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Old 27-10-2020, 06:45   #20
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

A roll up inflatable is a possibility to be able to store something in a compact size on deck. You will have to be in the mind set to not mind inflating/deflating often and the electric pump or a good 2 way manual pump will make the job easier. Another plus will be you may take it up on deck more often so it doesn't sit in the water and foul out.

Compared to a hard dink, the inflatable doesn't row well and you will be more dependent on the ob to get around. Also inflatables are more prone to leaks and can't take a beating against a pier or barnacle laden piling.

These are the common trade offs that you need to weigh out in your dinghy choice.

It was mentioned that if you get an OB that it be light enough for you to lift easily one handed onto the rail mount. Hard to stress this enough as you will be in rolly anchorages that will make it almost impossible to do in a controlled manner. An example of a "light" motor would be a Honda 2 hp weigh ~30lbs or if you can find one a Johnson/Evinrude 4hp ~33lbs. Even these can be a handful in a rough anchorage. IMO the much safer way is to get an engine lift, but that ends up being more gear on the boat.
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Old 27-10-2020, 07:13   #21
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

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Originally Posted by KelseyB View Post
I definitely agree with this weight thing - the one I am looking at is a shocking 30 pounds! As a kid I always remember it being a hassle to wrestle our massive Zodiac that was meant to fit the whole family and I hated it, I wasn't strong enough to drag it up the beach or hold it next to the boat if the waves wanted otherwise. I'm obviously stronger now as an adult, but still, I agree that weight is a big factor for me.

Think of adding wheels to the stern to get it up the beach. Can handle a heavier dinghy easier and one doesn't really want to damage any dinghy by dragging it up on a rough beach.
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Old 27-10-2020, 09:51   #22
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

We have a 12m boat (40ft in Americans) and have always had a 1.85m (6ft in Americans) dinghy. 2 Adults weighing 75kg (165 Americans) each and well within the weight limit. Gave up with the outboard because A) it was too damn heavy and B) it was going to cost too much to repair/service so we just paddle or row it.

Best thing is it fits neatly on the bow of our boat without impeding access to the anchor or bow cleats so we don't have to tow it or hang it off davits (something personally I hate and wouldn't work with our fold down transom anyway) and it is light enough for my wife to man handle it up and over the guardrails to recover it.

Just my experience
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Old 27-10-2020, 09:53   #23
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

I have a 33 foot boat and a 2.6m inflatable tender which I use with a 3.3hp Mercury outboard.

A lot will depend on sea conditions and distance you want to go in the dinghy. If the sea is bouncy, then a hard tender will ride the waves much better and if you want to go distance then a 5hp will be better than a 2.5 or 3.3hp, especially if it has an external tank Ė small outboards are surprisingly thirsty especially when run at speed. But a 5hp or bigger may be rather heavy for a small inflatable. Does your boat have a sugar scoop stern? How will you get a heavy outboard into your dinghy in a bouncy sea?

The drawback with a hard tender is getting it back aboard and where you store it without davits. I can pull my 2.6m tender back on board on my own and, deflated it sits neatly between the mast and the baby stay.

Many inflatable tenders are 2.3m. I would strongly advise on getting a 2.6m one. The extra space is worth it. I can get two crew and myself in my 2.6m tender and although a bit cramped, itís fine for a run ashore of up to 1nm or so. Also look carefully at the oar fixings. I like the ones that are secured with screw caps. I sold a very light 2.6m inflatable because the oars didnít have those and it was possible to lose them overboard quite easily. You need oars in case your outboard plays up and you do NOT want the possibility of losing them!

Iíd also recommend getting an electric pump. It will save you a lot of time. But look carefully at the pump fittings and its power. Some seem designed for blowing up beach balls rather than dinghies.
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Old 27-10-2020, 10:02   #24
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

Inner tubes and water wings NOT GOOD
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Old 27-10-2020, 10:47   #25
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

Hi as far as getting the engine onto the boat , With the dinghy alongside lift it off the dinghy transom and lay it in the sole tie a line around it then get onto your boat and lift the engine onto the boat with the line. It's just as easy to get it into the dinghy this way
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Old 27-10-2020, 11:28   #26
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

I concur with "Wotname" with respect to size and weight of the outboard. As the purpose of a dinghy and outboard is primarily to get back and forth from a mooring to dock there should be no need for overpowering a small dinghy. I recently sold my Yamaha 4 hp outboard as at 59 lbs, it just became too heavy and dangerous (even using a lifting line) to be moving from stern rail of sailboat to inflatable and back again. Sure, there may be times, in current for example, when you wish you had a more powerful outboard, but these will be greatly outnumbered by the times you struggle with a heavy outboard. Just remember, while right now you may feel yourself able to readily handle a 60 pound outboard (about what a 4hp/5hp motor will weigh), that motor is going to be heavy to start with and will get heavier with the passage of time! Go with the small inflatable and an outboard, probably no greater than 2.5 to 3 hp (at under 40 lbs). You might not get reverse gear in a small outboard, but doubt if you would ever miss it! As for the dinghy, an inflatable is definitely not fun to row (one reason you get the motor), but definitely more stable when moving the outboard. BEST WISHES!
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Old 27-10-2020, 11:51   #27
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

One thing I have heard of over and over from experienced people is to get as big of a dink as you can afford and handle. Last year I replaced a 10' fiberglass dink with a small Highfield UL260 (aluminum hull) and love it. The 10' dink fit on my foredeck but its length made anchoring a bit difficult. The smaller 8.5' Highfield fits better with no interference to anchor locker. I could have gone one size smaller but wanted as big as possible. It still blocks my view when sitting low in the cockpit but traveling with it on deck is a must as I don't like to tow unless in protected waters. If I had a 30' I'd be going with a 6' baby dink if that is the largest size that would stow on deck.
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Old 27-10-2020, 12:07   #28
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

Think about an inflatable catamaran. Light, deflatable, uses small engine to get on plane. one example https://www.takacat.com/
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Old 27-10-2020, 12:14   #29
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

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Think about an inflatable catamaran. Light, deflatable, uses small engine to get on plane. one example https://www.takacat.com/
Definitely a nice dinghy option, however, for a cruiser in the Caribbean not the best one as it is hard to safely move (and keep dry) luggage, supplies, food etc on this very open structure.
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Old 27-10-2020, 12:16   #30
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KelseyB View Post
I am about to leave on a roughly year-long trip, down the ICW and then hopefully through some of the Caribbean and back, and I need a dinghy. The trick here is that I would prefer not to shell out on davits and my boat is only 30 feet (so minimal room to store on deck). I am looking at a used one that is only a bit more than 6 feet long, from Bombard. It claims to fit 2 people, max 4 hp outboard, and max weight of 450 pounds, and it would fit on my foredeck, whereas even an 8 foot dinghy would be quite a hassle up there (and under the boom lowers my visibility too much). My question is - is 6 feet too small? I am a small and lightweight person and I'll be traveling solo or with only one other crew, but my concern is more stability and running supplies between shore and a mooring/anchorage. I don't mind taking extra trips or getting splashed sometimes, my standards for that aren't super high - but is it safe? Will I be legitimately uncomfortable running jerry cans if there's a breeze in the harbor?
Why not a total inflatable? Roll it up for transits. Tow on the ICW. Hoist with a bridle and spare halyard at night anchored.

Smallest we have seen was less than six feet. It looked like the promo you see at the boat shows. I think the owner was crazy.

You might need to plan your shore visits but with your boat you can anchor pretty close. You may have to forgo some exploration and snorkel opportunities due to the sea state and distance. Some anchorages in the eastern Caribbean have crazy long dinghy rides to town but mostly sheltered.
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