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sanibel sailor 16-06-2020 18:03

Trying to pick my dinghy poison
Considering a different dinghy solution.
Hoping to go to the South Pacific next year if the world stabilizes. . Anticipate 2, occasionally 3 crew
I currently use a 10 foot panel floor PVC inflatable. It is heavy and bulky for storage, inconvenient to assemble on limited deck space, and PVC makes me concerned about lifespan. I am concerned about inflatable durability being pulled up on beaches. I also own a rigid dink that doesn't fit on deck well, takes up the entire foredeck limiting access to ground tackle, etc. The rigid dink is FG, heavy and needs repair.
In the past, I've used an Avon Redcrest donut as well as several prams, always with oars or a 2HP outboard. This restricts practical range which impacts anchoring location choices and exploration opportunities.
I have always envied those with planing inflatables and anticipate wanting to go farther distances in the dinghy than I have in the past. However, due to past problems with crappy old outboards, I doubt I will ever completely trust them. Currently have a HP Nissan 2 stroke. I have looked into buying an 8HP Yamaha Enduro once I leave the US.

On my 35 footer, storage is a key part of the puzzle.
Just say no to davits.
I dislike on-deck storage.
No room in cockpit locker or lazarette.
Weight and bulk for storage below are an issue- quarterberth would be home below.

Options that seem unsuitable-
Donut or rollup inflatable- slow and still inconvenient to inflate.
Kayak or Porta-Bote- bulky on deck storage seems like a potential problem on long offshore passages.
Traditional full size rigid dink- storage not solved and slow.

More appealing-
Smaller high pressure floor inflatable. Lighter, less bulky, easier to store, somewhat easier assembly/inflation. Floor durability a concern as these seem trouble prone. Still need to be careful on rocks, beaches, etc.

A smaller panel floor would marginally improve storage and assembly a bit. Other issues unchanged.

A very small RIB would solve durability/beaching issues and provide speed, but require on deck storage. With tubes deflated, it might fit better on the foredeck than a rigid dink.

Final thing I have considered is a nesting dink designed to fit the available deck space. I've designed and built several prams and one custom fitted nester before. Would solve durability issues. Potentially more easily rowed which would mitigate my outboard mistrust issues. Without yet doing much detailed design work, looks like I could fit a 9-1/2 foot blunt nose rigid dinghy on the foredeck without restricting access too much. A shallow V hull with flat run might allow planing speeds. I could build it much cheaper than buying a new inflatable. It doesn't solve my dislike of on-deck storage but neither does a small RIB. It would free up the quarterberth for other storage.

I am still in the throes of trying to pick my least objectionable alternative. Any choices I may have overlooked? I know that RIBs are probably the most common choice, although most cruising boats currently are larger than mine, I seem to be in that awkward in-between size where boats a bit smaller must abandon hopes of a planing dink and not much bigger makes storage much easier.

slug 16-06-2020 18:10

Re: Trying to pick my dinghy poison
A tender is always a compromise

In a perfect world it’s big , powerful and robust

Unfortunately on a 35 footer you can’t have any of the above

It’s a problem

Thumbs Up 16-06-2020 18:30

Re: Trying to pick my dinghy poison
How about a walker bay with tubes and 3hp?

sanibel sailor 16-06-2020 18:38

Re: Trying to pick my dinghy poison

Originally Posted by Thumbs Up (Post 3165799)
How about a walker bay with tubes and 3hp?

10 feet wont fit, 3 HP won't plane it.

Muaddib1116 16-06-2020 18:44

Re: Trying to pick my dinghy poison
If you're convinced that your boat is the right boat to explore the south pacific with, then how about an F-rib? You could store it in it's valise in front of the mast. I think they only come in pvc, but maybe a nice set of chaps will do well enough for protection.

sanibel sailor 16-06-2020 18:50

Re: Trying to pick my dinghy poison

Originally Posted by Muaddib1116 (Post 3165816)
If you're convinced that your boat is the right boat to explore the south pacific with, then how about an F-rib? You could store it in it's valise in front of the mast. I think they only come in pvc, but maybe a nice set of chaps will do well enough for protection.

What's a F-rib?

Muaddib1116 16-06-2020 18:52

Re: Trying to pick my dinghy poison
F-RIB | Revolutionary new Foldable RIBs (F-RIBs)

Pretty neat design. Not as deep a V hull as a full rib, and the tubes are not quite as large diameter, but by all accounts a decent rigid hull boat. I think I read that Oyster is offering them as original equipment now on their boats.

slug 16-06-2020 19:01

Re: Trying to pick my dinghy poison

Originally Posted by sanibel sailor (Post 3165820)
What's a F-rib?

With a 35 footer I would buy a small high quality inflatable floor tender and power it with a small put put motor

This dingy lives below for passages and serves as your primary tender

When you get on station you purchase a 3 meter rib powered by a 8 hp two stroke

This sport tender would always be towed

When you must move out , cross an ocean , you sell the 3 meter rib to the next cruiser

LittleWing77 17-06-2020 02:10

Re: Trying to pick my dinghy poison
Those F-RIBS look pretty sexy. Not sure what "Mirasol" is versus Hypalon - and how it would hold up with UV exposure over time, but I did send a query to the manufacturer about it.

As for me, for the South Pacific trip, the boat did have an inflatable dinghy with 5hp O/B stored uninflated and folded on deck while on passage and on arrival after anchoring, would inflate with a foot pump and launch.

Not a planing dinghy, but well-suited for ferrying the 4 crew onboard to shore and back and for provisioning and such. Never understood the need for a go-fast dinghy. Mostly the reason I've gone off sailing is to go slow and really take in the beautiful places I've had the privilege of visiting... but that's just me.

Good luck picking your poison!
LittleWing77 :wink:

odonnellryan 17-06-2020 05:01

Re: Trying to pick my dinghy poison
It is PVC but my new takacat seems to be a decent design. It can plane and I got it up to 12+ knots into a headwind.

65ish lbs and can hold 800lbs or so. Not super expensive.

Probably not what you're looking for as it is completely inflatable. Neat idea for a dinghy though.

funjohnson 17-06-2020 05:43

Re: Trying to pick my dinghy poison
We first cruised our 34' with an 11' RIB deflated on deck for passages (2 ocean crossings like that). But like you, I don't like having it in the way, exposed, and just lashed down on deck. So we sold it and switched to a high pressure inflatable floor model for this time round.

The new dinghy rolls up, goes down below, and sits on the floor of the v-berth when on passage. It can't catch sheets or be washed away down there. The cat sleeps uses it as a bed :)

It's incredibly light weight and we easily carry it up a beach without having to drag it and potentially damage the bottom. Our old RIB could only be dragged.

If the bottom does get a leak, it's only going to be in the hull part which doesn't hold any air pressure. The high pressure floor is a removable part and even with water in the dinghy, it kind of floats above. It would be an easy non pressurized area to patch if you do cut the bottom.

Ours is a Walker Bay Hypalon 310.


funjohnson 17-06-2020 05:53

Re: Trying to pick my dinghy poison
S/V Panope has the same Walker Bay inflatable floor model as we do, and he was able to plane with two people in the low double digits with a 6hp Yamaha. The benefit of the 6hp vs 8hp is the light weight and internal fuel tank. With these you can still connect an external tank for long distance runs.


Jammer 17-06-2020 05:59

Re: Trying to pick my dinghy poison
Take a look at the plans for the GV10 Fast Garvey. Lightweight planing boat. Maybe you could build it a few inches shorter to fit your situation. They also can be towed. Should easily plane with 3 people with 10 HP. Some builders put on another layer of fiberglass and then run 15 HP.

4 people cruising in a 35' sailboat will involve many compromises, dinghy choice among them.

HP floors may work for you although the received wisdom is that they are fiddly enough to inflate and deflate that people who have them only do it for occasional difficult passages. So you would still want something to fit on deck.

Captn_Black 17-06-2020 06:05

Re: Trying to pick my dinghy poison
For a long term cruising solution, inflatables suck, imo. Maybe try a two part solid one like this?

Mike OReilly 17-06-2020 06:39

Re: Trying to pick my dinghy poison
I cruise with a 10' portabote for going on two decades now. I started with this dinghy on my 34-foot ketch where I had very little side deck storage space. Now on my 37-footer I have much more storage space for this bote, but it still takes up some space for sure.

To me, the portabote has been the optimal compromise dinghy. I have no davits (and don't like them anyway), and do not want to drag something behind and have a preference for a dink that can be rowed, and that will move well with a small outboard. Durability is also a factor. The potabote scores well in all these things.

The biggest downsides I have with the portabote is the on-deck storage for both the bote and the seats, and then the assembly/disassembly process. But it ticks all the other boxes for me.

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