Originally Posted by Parksider
Having cruised the East Coast of Australia happily for a year or so, I have been generally pleased with our Zodiac inflatable and 5hp Suzuki - having said that I'm always looking at RIBs with a degree of longing. What I would really like, though isa tender that I could sail - keepingthe Zodiac packed away as a reserve. Has anybody had any success with a sailing dinghy as a tender?
We use a Tinker Traveller for tender--it is a 12' fold up inflatable that was designed for rowing and sailing first, you can use it with a motor (3 to 5 hp) but we don't. The load capacity is great so it makes a wonderful tender--and it sails great, too. Added bonus for us is that it only weighs 65 lbs (without a motor), can be launched by either one of us without the use of davits, and folds up so it can be stowed below very easily so it doesn't have to be on deck during a passage. The downside for you is that Henshaw stopped making them a little over a year ago (scuttlebutt was that they were too costly to make in the UK and Henshaw wasn't willing to send the production offshore, but I don't know if that's true)--so at this moment they're not available new. There are used ones that show up on the market in great shape all over the UK and less so in the US. I don't know about other locations. I suspect that now that they're out of production, another company will start copying the design of the Tinker line of sailing dinghies by Henshaw.
The other sailing dinghy that we'd seriously consider if we didn't already have a Tinker is something called the Portland Pudgy. We have a friend with one and he loves it. My husband and he were supposed to have a "sail-off" competition with the two but we never managed to link up for them to do it--and now we've moved on to a different place.
Here are websites for both--
Here's a blog link to a cruiser using the Pudgy Pudgy
Here's a link to a video of a Tinker Traveller sailing in a regatta
Many people have made sailing kits for other dinghies. Not many people would use a canoe as a tender--but our back-up to the Tinker Traveller is a Prospector canoe and as a matter of fact, we love to canoe and many years ago we made a sailing kit for our canoe (there's a American Canoe Association set of directions for doing this) which involved lee boards and a lateen sail. A friend of ours has just found a way to put a similar set of lee boards and lateen sail on her 10' aluminum dinghy.
If you google it, you'll find places that sell sailing kits for all kinds of dinghies. You may find one that is useful for your existing tender.
Here's a video by someone who made their own rig for an inflatable
In my estimation, what makes for a good tender is capacity (both the Tinker Traveller and the Prospector canoe have over 1000 lb load capacity), ability to be rowed (rather than just motored), ability to use a small motor and a sail kit. Suggest you start with a similar set of "tender criteria" that meets your own needs.