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Old 08-08-2012, 02:41 PM   #1
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Default Dinghies

Downsizing creates problems of space. I have had hard plastic dings, a RIB, an aluminium and a timber dinghy. Now I need a new one to suit the new boat. I have been looking on the web and would like to buy a roll-up with a slatted floor, purely because of the space anything rigid would take up.

Has anyone had experience with a roll-up? If so, please share your thoughts.
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Old 08-08-2012, 03:42 PM   #2
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We have a foldup (ply floor) made by Henshaw--a Tinker Traveller--love it but they don't make it anymore. You might find one used. Nice thing about them is that they weigh only 65 lb--this means easy to deal with getting onto and off of boat w/o a davit system. We've seen, our and around the anchorages, a couple really good looking foldups with the removable aluminum floor. I'll see if I can't find a link to one. Oh, and the other sturdy thing out there is the Porta-Bote (they fold up slim and they're light weight). We've seen a few on cruising boats. One fellow has both an inflatable w/aluminum floor and a Porta-Bote. He's my hero!
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Old 08-08-2012, 05:59 PM   #3
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I have a 30 foot boat and have the same problem. I can't find a good answer either.

The problem with the porta-bote is that the shortest one is 9'3" folded which doesn't really go anywhere in my boat. If they made a 6' model I would probably buy one.

I have a similar folding boat which folds to 6'4" and fits either in my quarter berth or my V-berth. I can't say it is a great solution either, It is wood rather than aluminum. It fits one well, two acceptably, and I have had three in it which works only in calm water. It is also a bit delicate. It is beautiful and gets admiring compliments wherever I take it. It is in 4 parts, disassembled, plus the oar-locks and oars. and It rows well but not fast. Weighs about 50 lbs and comes on deck nicely with a halyard. I have to build it on the cramped foredeck as it is the only place I have enough room.

The down sides are that it is only marginally fits, takes 10 minutes to put together, and makes access difficult to the lockers under whichever berth it occupies. I also often find myself moving it to deck as soon as the anchor is down. This is OK as it gives me something to do while checking the holding before starting on the first glass of wine and starting dinner. As stated before, it is a bit delicate. It's design allows me to hook the straps of two floating cushions under the thwart leg to make it unsinkable.

I also have a Sevylor Caravelle 2-Person Inflatable Boat. This was something like $40 and is intended only as a backup. I've considered cutting a plywood floor for it and keeping it under the berth cushions, but haven't yet. It is really workable only in calm conditions or where you are able to go downwind both ways.

I just don't know anyone who has found anything that really works for a small boat.

Moitessier mentioned in a book that he took an old truck inner-tube and hodged together a spare dinghy, but it was really intended for the tropics where he didn't mind getting wet. San Francisco Bay is far too cold for that. Even San Diego is a bit cold some of the year, and if you need to wear actual clothes once you get to shore, you have a problem.

I would love to hear what you come up with.
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Old 08-08-2012, 06:39 PM   #4
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Oh, Coyote, now you're making me laugh about a fellow cruiser I met in SoCal during winter weather. He was a retdired Navy Seal. We anchored near him at a place where there were no public docks to tie up to (a common SoCal problem for anchorages). Our solution was to stay aboard during our time in that anchorage. His? He put his clothes in a drybag and swam to shore, put them on, and walked to his destination. The water was cold, cold, cold but he didn't care.
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Old 08-09-2012, 05:31 PM   #5
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Those Seals are crazy - every one of them. I lived in Ocean Beach for many years and since it is a beach community near enough to Coronado, lots of Seals end up there. One lived next door to me for a couple years.

"Hey, Brian! What are you guys doing this weekend?"

"We went surfing this morning. We are having breakfast in a few minutes, then we are going skydiving. Tomorrow we are diving, then we're having a party at the house."

Skydiving, surfing, rock climbing, sailing, shooting, running, swimming, 4x4s, backpacking, everything all the time.

He taught me to dive. Crash course, one weekend. ALL weekend. Super smart, super tough and a very nice guy.
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Old 10-18-2012, 01:53 AM   #6
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Default dink

I have always used a standard inflatable dink w/hard sectioned floors & a transom. The Avon 10'6" was great for many years, but now Zodiac now makes them. Deflate them & store below and you'll have a dink after any storm.
I bought the Zodiac Classic (grey & black) and after 7 years, 3 as my dink voyaging, I've had no leaks or problems. I have the alloy floors and other than being extremely slippery when using soap to wash the sailboat's hull, they are great. I can throw a 55 gallon drum in it if I need.
I believe the secret to inflatables is to keep them as light as possible, so they bounce off concrete sea walls or even nails or bolts sticking out of docks. Hard bottom inflatables weigh a great deal more than soft bottom ones, & most I see around here do have leaks, coincidentally?
I know Zodiac is more expensive, but my "Ferrari" is a quality boat and it's certainly a very important part of my equipment. In dinks, IMO you get what you pay for.
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:39 AM   #7
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I have an Achilles LS-4RU I bought from ACHILLES inflatable boat, boat shop, surf rescue @www.inflatableboats.com.au - Boats : inflatable boats, inflatable rescue boat, dinghy, boat tender, inflatable craft, kayak, sport boats, river boat, lake boat, craft, motor boat, ruber, bateau, yatch -- pretty good price for a hypalon dinghy of that size even. Bright red so it matches my yacht. I'm pretty happy with it. I bought the option to have an inflatable floor, it's just as good as the plywood floor if not as sturdy, lighter, and the entire thing folds down into almost nothing.
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Old 10-18-2012, 07:04 AM   #8
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Delatbabel, is yours the 7'6" or 8'8" model. I have been looking closely at these from Defender and there certainly look like the sort of thing I want along with a 3.5hp donk.
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:55 AM   #9
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It's the smaller one, 7'6". My 2hp Honda drives it just fine.
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Old 10-18-2012, 07:32 PM   #10
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try calling the guy from botcwindsolar
very knowledgeabe and easy to talk with
he has them made at his factory in china
any size and colour
at great prices
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Old 10-21-2012, 11:33 AM   #11
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We have the Achilles 9'6" Inflateable floor (Now 11 years old!) that we purchased used 5 or 6 years ago. On passage we deflated it and stored it below with the outboard on the aft rail-mount. It takes 30 minutes to an hour to set up (at a leisurely pace), but we have been quite pleased with it. It would not be an easy fit in our lazurettes, but a smaller size would. We love it for cruising, but would prefer a RIB or more rugged tender for staying in one place. It is our everyday boat, and we will likely purchase another.
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Old 10-21-2012, 09:59 PM   #12
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We replaced our very old Achilles with a Quicksilver inflatable with inflatable floor in 2006.
Drier ride than the Achilles and easier to stow and relaunch. It still looks good after a lot of abuse.
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Old 10-22-2012, 04:49 AM   #13
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GoneTroppo, oddly enough the quicksilver was exactly the unit that I replaced with the achilles. I wouldn't rate one as drier than the other, although I prefer the floor on the quicksilver (and I've kept it because the achilles is about the same size so the floor is more or less interchangeable). The quicksilver was good for about 4-5 summers with a fair bit of use but died fairly impressively after that.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:52 PM   #14
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Delatbabel, our very old(we were third owners) achilles had smaller diameter tubes compared to our quicksilver, so the difference was noticeable. Was your quicksilver hypalon? and where did it fail? Just want to know what I should keep an eye on.
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Old 10-24-2012, 02:10 AM   #15
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Hi Stephen, no the quicksilver I had was PVC. The seams went in the end, there was a small leak along one that was hard to track down, I ignored it for a while (the dinghy was fine, it just needed more air every 48 hours or so) and then after about another year the seams started all going everywhere at once. The tubes on my achilles and the ones on my quicksilver are about the same size. There are a lot of different models of each, though.
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Old 11-02-2012, 02:01 PM   #16
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Has anyone any experience with the Maxxon inflatable boats. Definitely well priced and the specs look good. Defender has the 8'8" for $600. Seems like a bargain, but I don't know anything about them.
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Old 11-03-2012, 11:21 AM   #17
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Hi Auzzee, there are a lot of different types of low end cheap inflatable boats around. Google any of the chandleries up and down the east coast and they will all have their own specials, even Whitworths has a "Chinese Cheapie" for a bit over $600.

All of the ones I have seen reviewed have one thing in common -- cheap glued (not welded) PVC and poor quality construction. Several folks at the marina I was at the year before last bought some that were going on a "fell off the back of a truck sale" and none lasted more than 6 months.

I am not trying to cast aspersions as to the Maxxon brand but check out the specs and have a really close eyeball at it if you're going to get something at that price.
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Old 11-03-2012, 11:57 AM   #18
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Thanks Del. I am still in the research phase and there is a lot of conflicting information out there. This is particularly so in the hot welded versus cold glued discussion. With PVC and especially where rollup or folded dingies are concerned is seems the quadruple overlap cold glued system comes up trumps.

Hyperlon seems to be more suited to the molecular bond provided through heat welding. I am a long way from making a decision at this stage but Maxxon stands out in the cheapie department because of the fabric type and the 5 year warranty on seams.

I have looked carefully at the more expensive range ($12-$1500) and can't help but think the extra $600 will buy a reasonable amount of tucker...or an AIS.

I may well make the wrong decision in time...but if that is the case, it will be the world's mose well researched blunder.
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:42 PM   #19
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As an unbiased opine and not having a dog in the race, I find the Hypalon ( I believe is the correct name ) used in the Avon (all Avons?) to have great UV-resistance as well as sturdy seams. Mine has lived for years now 24/7 either on deck upside down or in the water. Almost no visible signs of deterioration. The bottom that collects mussel-spawn I treat with diluted hydrochloric acid on occasion and have not noted any ill effects from this barbaric treatment either.

Gluing Hypalon is a bit tricky and takes some ketone-based (?) primer etc. but can be done. The "liquid tape" used by electricians seems to work well enough for temporary patches or a season.

Anything PVC does not seem to have the same robustness as the hypalon in a SUNNY clime and I'd consider PVC only for limited or temporary use. Like in water wings or a rubber ducky.

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Old 11-04-2012, 03:05 AM   #20
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Thanks Linnupesa. I appreciate your thoughts. In researching the differences, I come across the same things over and over again. (1) PVC today is not the same PVC that was used for making boats 15-20 years ago. It is far better. (2) Hypalon is UV resistant whereas PVC will degrade over tme. (3) The Hypalon coating is harder wearing than PVC. (4) Hypalon is twice the price. (5) Hypalon is more reliably repairable.

So far, Hypalon leads the race. But then the next point is made over and over in literature from all camps: (6) Hypalon is not as suitable for roll up dinghies as is PVC.

So here's the dilemma. Given that I want an 8'+ roll up and that I won't carry it on deck when cruising, UV is not the major problem. It will be deflated and rolled frequently (especially on the Pacific crossing). I don't think the 'micro leaks' which are warned of in the various sources I have read are wildly significant for the Hypalon material when used in a roll up, but still, the warnings are there. The sizes I am looking at suggest I will be paying either 6 to 700 dollars for PVC, or 11 to 1300 for Hypalon. Then, there are the warnings that all Hypalon boats are not created equal.....

Bugger!
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