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Old 02-11-2020, 17:03   #61
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

We have an inflatable with an aluminium floor, ours is 8Ē, the size is somewhat important as the bigger the dinghy the bigger the pontoon chambers. We had smaller dinghies in the past but with the smaller one we always got placed and wet either going ashore or returning to the boat. The larger the better to reduce this splashing. In relation to outboard we have a 4 up two stroke, itís light and easy to handle, wonít plane the dinghy, but the dinghy is only a mean to get to shore or visit other boats. Inflatable tend to be more stable when getting on and off, they do however need more looking after.

In relation to storing them it doesnít matter what you do they are always awkward and difficult, ours is on a davit and needs to be tied and check properly as in a rough sea it will move.
The other thing about a dinghy on a davit is that they can double up as a life raft in case of trouble and you can have it already set up with your emergency bag.

Thatís my humble opinion, whatever you get you will found issues with it.
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Old 02-11-2020, 17:21   #62
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

Poor, inadequate and overloaded dinghies kill people. I know of several people who have died going back and forth to their boat in bad weather in my local area in the last few years. In each case, they were in tiny dinghies that were kept small so that they could easily handle them on deck. They were all experienced sailors. Whatever dinghy you get, picture youself trying to go to windward with it in 15 to 20 knots with a few groceries onboard in a chop.


So I would go for the biggest dinghy you can....especially if you are going to have more than one onboard. I am in favor of nesting dinghys about 10 feet long that can be rowed or powered with a small outboard. Danny Greene's Chameleon is a great design. It can hold a load and still go well. Some people like inflatables but they can be a bear to row. Either way, I would rather have a rollup inflatable a rib or larger solid dinghy than a 6 or 7 foot dinghy that is inadequate and unsafe.
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Old 03-11-2020, 15:51   #63
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

We just returned from a circumnavigation with an 8-foot Walker Bay. 3.5hp motor. Two people. No davitts or lifting stuff. There were times when something more stable and seaworthy would have been very desirable. Flipped once in surf. Sunk once in rough weather. Sunk many times by Sea Lions in Galapagos. But, on the whole, it's about the best fit we could hope for. We were willing to make trips of about 1.5 miles from the mothership with two of us and a load of dive gear. It was easy to drift-snorkel in current while towing the dinghy with us. 6' for one person would be ample I think. You might need to limit jerry jugs if it's choppy.
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Old 03-11-2020, 16:12   #64
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

if you intend to do some diving....no ifs, ands and buts..an inflatable is the only way to fly...a roll up is a fine choice...get an 11' footer, you'll thank me later..it folds up to a size of a small suitcase.
at night, I would tie the dinghy alongside the boat by the bow towline, not behind the boat...on the stern of the dink, I had a plastic covered wire cable, about 1/4" dia. bolted onto the dink transom, the loose end had an eye and was wrapped around a stanchion with a lock. This kept the dink nice and snug up against mamma boat....if it was really rough, I would slide a small fender between dink and boat.

in 35 odd years of cruising, never ever had any problems with my dink disappearing.

finally, though I started of with a 15 hp, it was a beast to get and off the dink...I replaced it with an 8 hp....it was a jewel as I could pick it up with one hand....trust me on this...one hand on the engine...the other hand balancing yourself, grabbing something, etc, is a must. 8 hp worked just fine.
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Old 03-11-2020, 17:41   #65
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

a reality check is this...

the likelihood of having 4 passengers in the dink cannot be discounted, it will happen more often than one thinks....

in the dink, will be oars, fuel tank, fuel jugs, water jugs, towlines, bailer, lifevests, seats, fenders, groceries....and any number of other odds and ends.

dinking around in flat water is fun, but in an anchorage, there will ...at the very least.... be a chop, plus 15-20 mph winds on the nose...

your destination may be several miles from the mother boat...

can this be done with a 6' dink....maybe, but why ??

there are several salvage yards around that sell good, serviceable used dinks...they might have a patch or two, but so what, who cares what they look like...a dink is a workhorse....

a 11' dink that can be deflated is really your only logical answer...
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Old 04-11-2020, 03:46   #66
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

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Originally Posted by MicHughV View Post
a reality check is this...

the likelihood of having 4 passengers in the dink cannot be discounted, it will happen more often than one thinks....

in the dink, will be oars, fuel tank, fuel jugs, water jugs, towlines, bailer, lifevests, seats, fenders, groceries....and any number of other odds and ends.

dinking around in flat water is fun, but in an anchorage, there will ...at the very least.... be a chop, plus 15-20 mph winds on the nose...

your destination may be several miles from the mother boat...

can this be done with a 6' dink....maybe, but why ??

there are several salvage yards around that sell good, serviceable used dinks...they might have a patch or two, but so what, who cares what they look like...a dink is a workhorse....

a 11' dink that can be deflated is really your only logical answer...
I appreciate how strongly you have your opinion. However, I'm of the strong opinion that an inflatable is always the wrong answer. If you learn how to row properly, a 6-foot pram is a fine one-person ride. The problem is most people are too lazy to learn to row.
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Old 04-11-2020, 06:42   #67
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

my first dink was a plywood pram that I built myself....it was around 6' in length, I had it as my dink for several years, so it's fair to say, I have some experience with it.

like you say...it is good for 1 person....2 maybe.....if you sit on the very ends...
it requires a high proficiency of fitness and agility to get in and out...and youth is clearly and advantage here. If you are over age 50, it's a different ballgame.

for diving it is worthless....completely worthless...
that dink did not have any engine...I rowed it...
it was a bear to put on the boat as it would not fit anywhere...it comes out of the water and has to be flipped over on deck...a pain in the arse..
and it leaked....
but I gave it a go....as I had no other choice....so my opinion is based on fact !!!!

I finally traded it in for a fiberglass dink of around 9' in length....that was a HUGE step up. I also rowed it, but I also had a 2 hp outboard for it.
I could dive from it, but it was difficult.
As before, it was all I had, so I learned to deal with it's shortcomings.

When I was finally able to move up to an inflatable, it made me really appreciate it's abilities.

If wood and fiberglass dinks were the answer, you'd see them on every boat, but you don't.

I don't think it's a matter of being too lazy....using a dink to go diving may involve a trip of several miles...that would take some rowing....

I don't care how good a rower you are.....rowing a 6' pram into a 3' chop and 20 mph breeze is simply not going to get you anywhere, but I wish you the best of luck.
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Old 04-11-2020, 06:56   #68
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Dinghies - How small is too small?

I had an 8í walker bay and it was just barely large enough (also it rode barely above the water) for my wife and I and a load of provisions. We upgraded to the 10í and much better (now we have a 10í RIB with a 15hp and I wonít look back). Overall the 8í walker bay was a pretty good dink for the two years we had her. Id your ok with only carrying one additional person at a time then it was great.

In my opinion A 6í boat Having a capacity of 450lbs doesnít sound like it would be able to hold 2 people and motor/gear and pass USCG ratings.

ďIf your boat does not have a capacity plate, the U.S. Coast Guard recommends the following formula for calculating maximum occupancy: multiply the boat's length times its width and divide by 15.Ē

While Iím sure you wonít get a ticket (once we did have an FWC officer check our max hp on the walker bay) the capacity ratings are a nice safety measure I think should usually be followed...and yes I do know that USCG and European capacity formulas are different.

On and I second the above posts point about rowing. Where Iím anchored there are a few rowers and they are always either stuck in shore or waiting for a ride. Nothing like rowing against a 3-4knot ICW current and 15-20mph on your nose (And somehow itís never from behind)...
The walker bay rows very well I think but Iím still grateful for the motor. FYI Iím 34 yo and in good shape.
Now we are thinking of buying the sailing kit for the walker bay and if we had that I would probably rarely use its outboard.
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Old 04-11-2020, 07:39   #69
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

Have a 9'6" 290CM Achilles with wooden floor that can be folded up, rides on the fore deck but also have davits, and for us we would never go smaller. Have a 6hp 4 stroke Tohatsu that planes with 1 but wish we had an 8hp or 9.9hp.

Rollup bottoms give to much and are hard to plane, the price to pay for portability.

Another thing to compare is tube size, which I want as large as possible. Another aspect to consider is the bow, if it is raised up little it keeps it much drier.

Going forward I want a 17" or 18" tube size in around the 9 to 10 foot range, looking for a lighter model, most likely a rib that will also be drier at speeds.

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Old 04-11-2020, 08:18   #70
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

well, nothing beats a hard body inflatable dink or RIB as they are known today......that is for sure....but stowage is most impractical without davits and a 15 hp on the back is certainly plenty of power, but getting it on and off the dink is best done with an outboard crane.
As a compromise I had the inflatable with the plywood floors. it did an adequate job with a 8 hp 2-stroke. It could zip around, but was easily managed and fuel consumption was infinitely better. Obviously, with the plywood floors, it was not as good as a RIB, but at the time I did not have davits, so the ability to take it apart and stow it on the foredeck made it a logical choice.

I eventually moved up to a RIB, when I got a boat with davits, that came with a 15 hp engine, but that engine was a pain in the arse to get on and off and I reverted to the 8 hp 2-stroke again.

For me, it was a winning combination. I've seen countless boats with every possible type of dink and power combo and it's usually a case of too much or too little.

I only offer my thoughts based on what I've been thru'. Dinks can be had in any make, size or shape, length, etc, same with power options.

I tend to agree with the larger tube diameter, as 99.9% of the time, this will be where you sit.

Happy dinking y'all !!
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Old 04-11-2020, 12:44   #71
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

A question for the OP:

Kelsey, will you be singlehanding your boat, or will there be someone else aboard? The nesting dinghy option can handle two, as well as one. Not sure what the weight limit is for an 8 ft. inflatable. I do like inflatables for swimming from, snorkeling and diving, but one does learn how best to use what one has.

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Old 04-11-2020, 13:50   #72
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

If I were singlehanding, a hard sit-in kayak, no question. There have been detractors, but I'm guessing they are not paddlers. Cold, waves, carrying capacity, boarding... no problem with the right boat and the right skills. Much more trouble-free.



If there were two people, a roll-up. I had davits on my PDQ 32, and that was sweet, but that is a catamaran, so completely different.


Another option is a folding or inflatable kayak, but that is more for well protected waters.
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Old 05-11-2020, 06:58   #73
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

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If I were singlehanding, a hard sit-in kayak, no question. There have been detractors, but I'm guessing they are not paddlers. Cold, waves, carrying capacity, boarding... no problem with the right boat and the right skills. Much more trouble-free.



If there were two people, a roll-up. I had davits on my PDQ 32, and that was sweet, but that is a catamaran, so completely different.


Another option is a folding or inflatable kayak, but that is more for well protected waters.

This is bad advice.
Any kayak is for protected waters and/or for fun in my mind. I routinely have to help kayakers get back to their boats with either gear or provisions. Itís actually pretty annoying. Either they get help from those of us with real dinghies or they end up sleeping on the beach or at a bench.

What if you want company? Are you seriously never going to have to bring someone over?
There simply is no way you can get to your boat in a kayak against 3í waves with 2 sec period and 20kt wind while still keeping your gear or provisions dry...thatís if you make it. Iím a frequent and adept Ďpaddlerí and decent sculler but I realize there are limitations to what is safe and practical.
There is also simply no way you can bring any amount of items totally larger than a plane carry on bag. Where are you going to put it? Sailboats often need large/heavy items brought back and forth.
If you are in a very sheltered area and also have a proper dinghy a kayak could be a good addition.
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Old 05-11-2020, 07:02   #74
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

Why worry about fitting it on the foredeck also? Just get a decent hard dinghy, keep the bottom clean, and set up a proper towing bridle with floating line. We towed our walker bays for three years without the slightest issue.
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Old 05-11-2020, 23:10   #75
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Re: Dinghies - How small is too small?

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Now we are thinking of buying the sailing kit for the walker bay and if we had that I would probably rarely use its outboard.
Now Iím curious: how many people have a sailing dinghy and actually use sail as their primary propulsion? I would think between lack of wind and heeling with supplies aboard when there is wind, sailing wouldnít be so practical. But it is much cooler.
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