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Old 27-10-2020, 12:28   #31
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

1) Get a good brand (Avon, Achilles etc) rollup inflatable. BEST choice for 30 ft mothership. IMHO. I had friends who sailed US to NZ with one and had a 44 ft boat!
2)Get a good RIB that fits up there. 7-8 ft RIB. (and I dont blame you, broke a rib on a foredeck hard dingy at sea once)
3)Otherwise Get a FolBot

I would not get a small hard dingy. I had a good one on my first cruise, but they are easy to swamp just going into town.
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Old 27-10-2020, 12:48   #32
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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?
What's your shoe size?
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Old 27-10-2020, 13:12   #33
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

If I were in this situation, I would get the lightest inflatable, perhaps even a light duty type (Sevylor) with good aluminum oars, and an electric trolling motor with a dedicated solar panel for charging the battery. Suggest getting two small batteries rather than a single large one. Expect using 20A current at 12 V on average, so 2 30 A*h batteries should suffice for typical use cases. You may have difficulties, occasionally, going against the wind, however most of the time you will be fine. If you go the Sevylor way, make sure you get a motor bracket at the same time you buy the boat, they may be hard to find.
I cruised with the above setup on 26 and 21 foot sailboats in Florida Keys, it is doable and almost practical.
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Old 27-10-2020, 17:45   #34
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

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What's your shoe size?

Shoe size may not be germane in this instance. I'm only 5 ft. tall, but I have women's size 10-1/2 shoes, and they do fit.

For Kelsey,

I'd think a small, used, hard rowing dinghy would work for you, and keep you from hassling with an o/b, as well. If there will be more than yourself to row ashore, think about constructing a dinghy for yourself from scratch, and if you make a nesting one, you'll find that an 8 ft. will row REALLY WELL, due to the additional waterline length.

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Old 27-10-2020, 18:01   #35
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

Kelsey, if you have not as yet done this, here's a suggestion:

Wander some docks until you find a boat with a 6 foot inflatable and wheedle a short test ride in it. Especially if you can find some choppy water to do the test in!

A little experience in a little inflatable may well discourage you from pursuing that route.

IMO, based on some experience, such a small dink is nigh unto useless for practical cruising. It's tiny interior and low freeboard and short LWL conspire to make it wet, slow and easily overloaded. The first time you are swamped whilst returning to the boat with your freshly dried laundry or an 8-pack of TP or a couple of loaves of nice fresh sourdough bread you will realize that coping with a larger dinghies greater weight is a worthwhile effort!

I had an 8 foot Achilles "doughnut" dink some years back and felt it to be the absolute minimum size for a cruiser.

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Old 27-10-2020, 18:03   #36
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

Has anyone mentioned the port-a-bote? $$$ but a good fit for a big dinghy and small mothership.


Check this out....
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Old 27-10-2020, 18:53   #37
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

We are a very fit 60-year-old couple and have been using our higher quality inflatable kayaks to stay that way - After sitting on a boat for hours and days, we need and want exercise and love the paddling speed and tracking a double inflatable kayak offers. Good enough to carry two plus a dog and gear and a great workout while exploring too. 35 pounds and fits into a 9x18x36 inch bag. 5 mins to inflate and also to deflate and store. Ours is an Advanced Elements model with spay skirt on bow and stern and great seats Might be a great option for you in a small sailboat! Then again we are already odd-balls with no wires holding up our masts!
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Old 27-10-2020, 19:14   #38
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

Donít think anyone mentioned this yet - about the outboard, you can use the boom and a boom vang to get it onboard. That lets you easily get the outboard on deck without worrying about your balance.
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Old 27-10-2020, 19:55   #39
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

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We are a very fit 60-year-old couple and have been using our higher quality inflatable kayaks to stay that way - After sitting on a boat for hours and days, we need and want exercise and love the paddling speed and tracking a double inflatable kayak offers. Good enough to carry two plus a dog and gear and a great workout while exploring too. 35 pounds and fits into a 9x18x36 inch bag. 5 mins to inflate and also to deflate and store. Ours is an Advanced Elements model with spay skirt on bow and stern and great seats Might be a great option for you in a small sailboat! Then again we are already odd-balls with no wires holding up our masts!
I have one of those as well - really love it, but could hardly recommend it for full-time cruising as a dinghy replacement. Very difficult to board vs a dinghy, can be a very wet ride unless conditions are calm, and difficult to carry much stuff (fuel, groceries, etc) back and forth to the mothership. Also they get blown around quite a bit when the wind picks up.
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Old 27-10-2020, 19:57   #40
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

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Donít think anyone mentioned this yet - about the outboard, you can use the boom and a boom vang to get it onboard. That lets you easily get the outboard on deck without worrying about your balance.
Yes you can!

However when single handed IME, this gets old quickly!

YMMV.
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Old 29-10-2020, 08:28   #41
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

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Originally Posted by KelseyB View Post
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
Every person makes compromises as needed.
I used a 5 foot Livingston as a dingy when we had a 23 foot sailboat. It was like sitting in a bath tub and there was no way to use it at all in rough weather. It was so unsafe that I gave it away instead of selling it.

You might look at the 8' port-a-bote. It folds and might work.
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Old 29-10-2020, 10:00   #42
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

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... As the purpose of a dinghy and outboard is primarily to get back and forth from a mooring to dock ...



The purpose of our dinghy is to get away from anchor and get to farther-away places to explore, safely and quickly.


Our boat is a lowly, slow Catalina 30TR.


The dingy is an AVON 310 Rib with a 15HP Merc 2 Stroke. It does not fit on deck. Period.


The longest haul I've done in the dingy is 30 mile round trip. Which is 45 minutes each way with that 15hp.


We tow it. If it's 3-4 hours and decent weather, motor stays on. If it's longer haul or bad weather, I take the motor off.



It's towed perfectly fine for 75 miles (120km) and through six foot seas. While towing with the motor on, it costs roughly a knot, which, yes, is sometimes painful. With the motor off it's less than a half knot.


It IS a big rig for a small sailboat. But it gets us to beaches, shorlines, swamps, hidden channels, etc that we otherwise could not enjoy. In Thousand Islands we drop anchor, and that dink gets us to other islands without the need to re-anchor. Day trips, provisioning, and runs to restaurants are more likely, because it's much faster and a heck of a lot less work that taking the sailboat.


No way I'd trade for anything else.
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Old 29-10-2020, 10:20   #43
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

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The purpose of our dinghy is to get away from anchor and get to farther-away places to explore, safely and quickly.


Our boat is a lowly, slow Catalina 30TR.


The dingy is an AVON 310 Rib with a 15HP Merc 2 Stroke. It does not fit on deck. Period.


The longest haul I've done in the dingy is 30 mile round trip. Which is 45 minutes each way with that 15hp.


We tow it. If it's 3-4 hours and decent weather, motor stays on. If it's longer haul or bad weather, I take the motor off.



It's towed perfectly fine for 75 miles (120km) and through six foot seas. While towing with the motor on, it costs roughly a knot, which, yes, is sometimes painful. With the motor off it's less than a half knot.


It IS a big rig for a small sailboat. But it gets us to beaches, shorlines, swamps, hidden channels, etc that we otherwise could not enjoy. In Thousand Islands we drop anchor, and that dink gets us to other islands without the need to re-anchor. Day trips, provisioning, and runs to restaurants are more likely, because it's much faster and a heck of a lot less work that taking the sailboat.


No way I'd trade for anything else.
yeah, me too. The dink is an exploring machine. But I dont advise towing much. I'd go rollup rather than tow very far.
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Old 29-10-2020, 10:36   #44
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

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The purpose of our dinghy is to get away from anchor and get to farther-away places to explore, safely and quickly.

Our boat is a lowly, slow Catalina 30TR.

The dingy is an AVON 310 Rib with a 15HP Merc 2 Stroke. It does not fit on deck. Period.
.
Interesting to read how different sailors here consider their approach to the dinghy handling.

In my case, even on a 43' flash deck, I wouldn't even think of hoisting the 12' AB fiberglass RIB. Apart from short daily hopes in calm seas, I have never left the 15HP Yamaha on a tow.

Yes, for motoring long safe ranges around the Caribbean, in almost any sea and wind conditions, carrying tons of supply and friends, the dink was a reliable super strong little support ship that served well during long stays in marinas and anchoring. However, the size and weight made it extremely difficult in offshore passages, even when hanged on the very solid davits and railing mounted outboard.

So, as we resume sailing (fingers crossed...) in May, there will be a new dink; 8' removable aluminum floor and a 3.5HP outboard we can easily inflate/deflate, stow inside or lift on the front (or aft) decks or hanged on the davits with the outboard for short daily trips.

The old dink will be looking for a new mother ship - if anyone interested...
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Old 29-10-2020, 10:55   #45
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

I cruised with an 8' rollup, and it was about perfect sized for one person and some supplies. It was rated for 3, and I did often have 3 in it, but it got very wet and un comfortable. For myself I would not consider smaller than 8', and I am looking at going a bit bigger next time around.

I found I used a kayak quite often as well, and often preferred it to the dingy in warmer climates. If one will fit on your side decks, or if you could stow an inflatable kayak, give that some consideration as well.

If you get a rollup, keep it dry when rolled up, and get the best you can afford. Storing it damp will shorten it's life.
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