Hi Tony, I dont entirely agree as it is important to understand the cruising grounds. We lived aboard on our near circumnavigation
. We started with an Avon 3.1 roll up with the interlocking plastic deck
, driven by a 15hp Yam. It would plane under perfect conditions with four adults on board. We sold
it when we upgraded our cat to a larger size - both were still in A1 condition after years in the tropics and no cover was ever used on the Avon. We upgraded as mentioned in one of my other posts. By far the most popular dinghy arrangement we saw on RtW boats were RIB's with 15hp motors, often with a 2-3hp as an alternative. It is fine to have the 3hp under some conditions but when you have miles of open sea to cross, or need an emergency
tug, or simply some fun, like water
skiing, or travelling 5 miles to a dive spot, then it makes perfectly good sense to have a bigger motor
. My kids
were born aboard and used to take off fishing
to a reef - yes we could have up-anchored and sailed to the fishing
spot but that would be a mission, there would no spontaneity or independence for the kids
and the time would be much more. I still believe a lightly planing 15hp uses less fuel than a labouring 3hp for a given distance in that the 3HP will be running flat out to maintain drive and for probably 6x times the duration (3kts vs 18 kts). Our 4x kids would often go over the horizon - the only rule
was to stay within VHF
contact and to return immediately if there was any doubt about anything. In an emergency
I could jump into our bigger duck with the 25hp and be with them swiftly. That never happened. On our cats we had 'goal posts' and these made hauling the engine aboard in any sort of motion safe and easy. Im big enough to manage a 25hp solo, but when there is any sort of motion it became precarious. Hence, I always used the goal posts. Our trolling engines did get most use when we were in certain locations like the few marina's we used or when pottering about up rivers and creeks or going ashore on a non-surf beach, or boat-2-boat. Our 25hp was used to help a flotilla of similar engined ducks pull another catamaran
of a sand bank in the Indian Ocean
when the mother boats could not get close enough due to shoals, it was used to tow quite a bit as well (others). There are loads of instances when a big engine makes total sense, just as there are similar instances in favour of a small engine. I will be making my next cat purchase
in the near future and my all aluminium RIB and 25hp Yam Enduro with 3.5hp Yam Malta
, shall both be coming along (yes, I kept both dinghies and all outboards when we came ashore for my wife illness, and my kids to start at university). Lastly, I still have rolled up my hypalon Avon Rover. That is around 25 years old and it gets blown up once a year to check it. It is still perfect. I had it on board in case the Ali ducks ever both got stolen. It was, and is, my ultimate back up. Crazy? I even thought so myself until one evening, in day light, anchored at Inhaca Island (Mozambique), two fast dhows appeared and literally slashed everyones painters and left with half a dozen dinghies and their motors. At the time, we had the Roll up Avon & 15hp but our housekeeping rules were to lift the dinghy when not in use - it took seconds with our goal posts. So we didn't lose our duck. No guesses as to how many boats had an alternative dinghy? Theft is not rare and nor is damage. In that instance we used our Rover (and its the only time we used it) and our roll up so all the men
could go to a distant village where the radar
showed the thieves had gone. It was not nice but all dinghies and outboards were recovered once the police were called (the thieves claimed they had found all the dinghies adrift and wanted salvage!). I don't believe there is a perfect single dinghy/outboard suitable for every occasion - its all about compromise and what works for the user. .
Originally Posted by TonyDove
This seems to be one of those perennial questions. I've had a number of tenders and outboards over the years, hard dink, RIB, Inflatable soft bottom and outboards from 2.5 hp to 10 hp. So here is my two-penny-worth.
I wouldn't have a hard dink again
too easy to flip or swamp, has limited payload and is a constant source of 'bumping'.
The soft bottom inflatable 'keel' is good for folding up and stowing
which is useful on a long cruise
but not really a requirement for 'average' cruising.
If planing is important to you then a catamaran tunnel hull design is gonna get you up on the plane the easiest.
A lightweight RIB is my pick
plenty of buoyancy and very stable.
Size? This is the big question
I'd rather have something with a good payload but not so big that it is awkward to stow on deck. So that depends on deck-space limits. Making a couple of trips ashore to ferry
the whole crew and provisions isn't a big problem
and is preferable to having an unmanageable beast to stow. How often are we in such a rush that everyone HAS to go in the same load? Most cruising is relatively relaxed. So my pick is around 3 meters - maybe 3.5.
Size of engine? Is it really necessary to plane? Where are you going in such and all fired hurry? Ferrying crew and provisions from ship to shore and back is the usual job of a tender
and I see no need to plane for that. And wringing the neck of the turkey
to get it up on the plane is poor fuel economy for short trips and more wear and tear than the engine deserves. Being able to lift it off the tender and onto it's storage
point - one handed in a bit of chop - is the biggest limiting factor
I've had great service
from the 3.5 hp size
and, yes, with one person going out for a fish
it could get a 3.5m RIB onto the plane.
So that's my humble opinion. Good luck and good sailing.