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Old 04-21-2011, 10:55 AM   #1
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My wife and I are closing in on the boat portion of our dream/plan. It will be 35-40', not too beamy. In the short term we will be doing short trips in the Northeast (Nova Scotia to Cape Cod) and hopefully the Caribbean sometime next year. On the topic of the best option for a tender, I have the opinions of two salty friends - one says a good hard bottom inflatable with a 10hp (8-10 ft) and the other says a sturdy lightweight row boat is best. They both make compelling arguments - just wondering if any of you kind folks would weigh in on this?

Did not see anything on the topic in the cruiser wiki or earlier topic discussions. Hoping this is not redundant.
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:16 PM   #2
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Here are some quick links to other topics about tenders here in the forums:

http://www.cruiserlog.com/forums/ind...howtopic=11479

http://www.cruiserlog.com/forums/ind...howtopic=13768

PS--we row (and sail) an inflatable Tinker Traveler--but they're no longer made (stopped production about a year back) we bought it used (but in like new condition) on craigs list for about 15% of the new price; we also paddle a canoe. No motors. Someday we'll get a motor for the Tinker but it will be oversized for dingy duty and rather will do tender-to-the-mothership duty (e.g. kedging and push duty).

Good luck
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Old 04-21-2011, 11:59 PM   #3
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I lived aboard for a year on a mooring, had to paddle about 200 metres in and out every day for work etc. I used a homemade 7 foot dinghy called apple pie. Ply with a flat bottom, stable carried 3 adults and one could row right in till stepping off without wetting one's feet. I also have an inflatable with slats of wood to stiffen the bottom which is nowhere near as good to use as the hard dinghy. I sold the Apple Pie with the yacht attached so I'm building an 8 foot Benford dinghy which will be beautiful if I ever get it finished!! The hard dinghy's row better in nasty weather. Rowing is much easier than p ing about with a motor. What have you got against beamy?
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:06 AM   #4
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This is a bit of a waffle-ey answer with one of my "we weren't too smart" stories, but I hope it helps.

Different places will call for different choices. And what works for Redbopeep is not what would work for us. Different destinations will also call for different dinghies and tactics. In Australia it seemed that most of the tenders there were aluminum boats - tinnies.

For New England, with all the rocks and rocky shores, a hard-bottom dinghy is probably a good idea. The problem will be carrying the dinghy, and unless you have davits, that will be a strong argument against a hard dinghy. You do not want to tow your dinghy any distance at all.

For tropical cruising, where beaches are usually coral sand, an inflatable dinghy is an easier option since you can easily carry that dinghy high up on the beach. Because it's lighter, you can use a smaller outboard to drive it, and again, that makes it easier to carry up (or down) the beach. It will also use less fuel, an important consideration if you will be traveling to the more out-of-the-way places.

Towing the dinghy. When we left to go cruising in 1986 we had a wonderful Boston Whaler Squall, a self-bailing sailing dinghy. Very heavy. Unsinkable. You could sail it, row it, use a reasonably small outboard to drive it. And getting it up on deck was more work than we wanted to consider, so we towed it. Well-secured, with a bridle, etc. And then we sailed south in front of a norther (yes, we weren't paying nearly enough attention to the weather forecasts, and we were in a hurry). I thought we were going to die. The dinghy was on a line 50-feet or more behind the boat, and every huge wave that rose up lifted that towed dinghy over our heads, and as we nearly surfed down that wave, the dinghy surfed just a little faster, and aimed right for my head and the backstay. We got through that night, but it was really, really scary. And since we had had the dinghy since we bought the boat, we didn't realize that towing that dinghy slowed us by about a knot. Not so much, but in bad weather it meant an extra several hours or more out in it before we could get to port. We sold it. Regretfully, but sensibly.

We got an inflatable with a hard floor. Great. Much, much easier to lift and pull up the beach. Pretty easy to deflate and stow, but a bit of work to inflate and install the wood floor on deck in an anchorage. 1/2 an hour and two people to get it back in the water. We never towed it when making a crossing, but often towed it on short daysails. Lost it a time or two and had to backtrack to find it and recapture it.

And then we went to the Miami Boat Show one year while visiting the US, and we bought a “Boat Show Special” Achilles with an inflatable floor. Magic. We never, ever, towed our dinghy again. By this time we were in places where there were very few places with dinghy docks and a 3-foot tide range (or a lot higher) just about everywhere. That dinghy could be easily lifted and carried 100 feet up the beach. Some days we carried the dinghy high up on a beach, set the dinghy anchor, and came back hours later to wade out to get the dinghy.

We were never in much of a hurry, the largest outboard we used was a 4 HP, but there were times when that outboard kept us from being swept down fast-flowing rivers where rowiing was not an option.

Fair winds,

Jeanne
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Old 04-25-2011, 12:01 PM   #5
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Thanks to all for great input!

This forum makes my research so much easier.
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Old 05-05-2011, 03:50 AM   #6
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I'm certainly no expert, but...

We carry a 10.5 ft AB rigid indlatable with a 15 hp Yamaha bolted onto the transom AND an 8 ft fiberglass sailing dink w/ oars, sailing rig & 2.5t hp Yamaha... PLUS an inflatable kayak!

This provides a lot of flexibility, capability, exercise, fun & freedom for my family.

We carry the RIB with engine attached on fixed davits which are a part of our stern arch. The entire dinghy weighs around 200 lbs and I lift it with two simple sets of block & tackle w/ cam cleats. I use four stainless steel ratchet straps to keep it from moving while underway and we can have it in the water in less than a minute... or less in an emergency. This is our workhorse and is unmatched for stability, cargo capacity and high speed runs to the beach or up rivers. It will get up on plane with the three of us plus minimum beach toys. A planing dinghy certainly expands our horizons - and expanding one's horizon is what cruising is all about... if you ask me.

Our little fiberglass dink lives inverted on the foredeck, butted-up against the mast. By removing the back seat plank, it covers & protects our life raft nicely... but can also be thrown clear quickly if need be. We launch & recover this one by employing a halyard on a winch and it can certainly be a handfull when the wind pipes up!

Having two dinghies allows both my wife & I to have our own "wheels" and allows us come and go at ease and both of us to have jobs when in port. It also provides a degree of security by making it look as if someone is home when in fact we're all away in the family boat.

AND - little Flipper officially belongs to our seven-year-old son... who takes pride in ownership while learning basic sailing & seamanship skills and gaining a bit of independence one step at a time.

My wife & son often paddle around in the kayak but it'll fold-up like a fortune cookie if I get in it!

As Jeanne just pointed-out and is touched upon throughout this forum - there's no "perfect" boat for every sea & situation and the same certainly applies to tenders. You're likely to get an opposing yet convincing point of view from every sailor you ask on the subject.

When matching the jolly boat to the mother ship, the basic parameters you need to consider include the number of crew, your physical strength, lifting methods available and the size of the intended place you'll carry it and the nature of the shores you intend to land upon. It's impracticle to have a tender that cannot be carried on the boat it serves and it's never a good idea to tow a dinghy for extended periods. And adding an outboard engine adds yet another can of worms to the equation!

Our next door neighbor in Pago Pago always went back & forth to his boat while crouching low on a square block of foam! I kid you not!

I doubt this really answers your original question. In closing, I suggest you visit each of your neighbors with a six pack of cold beer and see if you can go out and test-drive as many different types of popular tenders available in your marina and take it from there. Don't forget your bottle opener and fishing cap.

To Life!

Kirk
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Old 05-06-2011, 01:46 AM   #7
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I believed in the best of both worlds and have found it really handy to have two tenders on the boat.

If you havent checked out a poly boat you will be surprised. Good impact resistance and stable as, planes well with a 10HP honda 4 stroke and 3 people onboard, not too heavy either.

Link ... http://www.boatsplus.com.au/blog/new...rom-polycraft/

I also use an inflatable, specifically a quicksilver dynamic 3.1m with a rigid floor. Have also had very good service from it.

Link ... http://www.inflatablesribsmarine.com/QS_Dynamic.html
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Old 05-06-2011, 02:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lexx View Post

I believed in the best of both worlds and have found it really handy to have two tenders on the boat.

If you havent checked out a poly boat you will be surprised. Good impact resistance and stable as, planes well with a 10HP honda 4 stroke and 3 people onboard, not too heavy either.

Link ... http://www.boatsplus...from-polycraft/

I also use an inflatable, specifically a quicksilver dynamic 3.1m with a rigid floor. Have also had very good service from it.

Link ... http://www.inflatabl...QS_Dynamic.html
Gooday Lexx. I'm just "up the hill" from you, inland from Kuranda, 14 ks, on a small property. It's on the market & then I'm back to sea. Dinghys - 2's good if you've got the room & can afford the weight & if the crew can handle safely in adverse conditions. I thought that 'poly' would have been to heavy but I guess my age is showing. Give us a ring sometime if you wish to. 07 40 93 9900 or e-mail - jamesaviculture@hotmail.com - any time.



I sure agree with your 'pirates' post, as well as Kirk's dinghy comments. Kirk-o - how far up have you got? Do remember the invite is always open. Ciao all, 'jj-geri-hat-trick'
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Old 05-06-2011, 04:14 AM   #9
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@ Silver Raven - A good poly boat like that in the link I posted weighs about 70 kilos and I used to carry it on the foredeck with the inflatable in the davits. My home port and place of choice is Port Douglas thats why I put it as my home port, just love the yacht club there and the Central Hotel is always good for a bargain priced feed at lunch time. I also like Cairns for marine services. My aim is to do a trip to the Cape and Thursday Island next winter, then heading back down south for the following summer or on to Indonesia. I should be all sorted by then.

In the March issue of Cruising Helmsman magazine you will find an article titled The Day My Life Changed Forever - (battler loses everything on a sandbar), I wrote that article, its my story about the loss of my catamaran last August off the mouth of the Burdekin River in North Queensland. I lost my boat just 6 days after rescuing 2 guys whose boat had sunk off Brampton Island in bad weather.

I have had lots of experiences on the water off the Queensland coast, some good, some great and some downright bad and ugly but damn I love the cruising lifestyle and although I am doing it real tough at the moment, it shouldn't be too long before I get back on the water once again. I am stranded in Brisbane for the moment till I can rake together some cash. I have an insurance payout coming from a past workers comp claim that I should be getting in the next month or two and once that comes through I will be back onto another boat living how I love to live.

fair winds and smooth seas,

Lex Adams
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Old 05-06-2011, 10:44 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by CaptDinghy View Post

My wife and I are closing in on the boat portion of our dream/plan. It will be 35-40', not too beamy. In the short term we will be doing short trips in the Northeast (Nova Scotia to Cape Cod) and hopefully the Caribbean sometime next year. On the topic of the best option for a tender, I have the opinions of two salty friends - one says a good hard bottom inflatable with a 10hp (8-10 ft) and the other says a sturdy lightweight row boat is best. They both make compelling arguments - just wondering if any of you kind folks would weigh in on this?

Did not see anything on the topic in the cruiser wiki or earlier topic discussions. Hoping this is not redundant.
Gooday U 2. Nothing in these sites is every very far off topic as we all learn from these forums. Your 'lifes-voyage-vessel' is still a way bit to open-ended. Got the size but not the cost or hull configuration?? I've read ad about a 'Pearson Countess 44' - lying Phuket, Thailand. USD $79,950 asking - AUSD $74,729. Great cruising mono-hull but it's ketch rigged which is all to much difficulty - maybe should be 'cutter-rigged' IMHO. If I wanted to sail a mono-hull I would sure look very seriously in that direction but that not my personally choice. Ciao, fondly, jj
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Old 05-08-2011, 12:54 PM   #11
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JJ- you and my other Catamaran mentor have done well to make a case for cats -and I thank you for that- but for now we are forging ahead with a mono-hull.Getting close to the purchase of a Bristol 40. It has less flat foredeck space than the Mercer but is in better shape and more affordable.
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Old 08-22-2013, 11:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeanneP View Post
This is a bit of a waffle-ey answer with one of my "we weren't too smart" stories, but I hope it helps.

Different places will call for different choices. And what works for Redbopeep is not what would work for us. Different destinations will also call for different dinghies and tactics. In Australia it seemed that most of the tenders there were aluminum boats - tinnies.

For New England, with all the rocks and rocky shores, a hard-bottom dinghy is probably a good idea. The problem will be carrying the dinghy, and unless you have davits, that will be a strong argument against a hard dinghy. You do not want to tow your dinghy any distance at all.

For tropical cruising, where beaches are usually coral sand, an inflatable dinghy is an easier option since you can easily carry that dinghy high up on the beach. Because it's lighter, you can use a smaller outboard to drive it, and again, that makes it easier to carry up (or down) the beach. It will also use less fuel, an important consideration if you will be traveling to the more out-of-the-way places.

Towing the dinghy. When we left to go cruising in 1986 we had a wonderful Boston Whaler Squall, a self-bailing sailing dinghy. Very heavy. Unsinkable. You could sail it, row it, use a reasonably small outboard to drive it. And getting it up on deck was more work than we wanted to consider, so we towed it. Well-secured, with a bridle, etc. And then we sailed south in front of a norther (yes, we weren't paying nearly enough attention to the weather forecasts, and we were in a hurry). I thought we were going to die. The dinghy was on a line 50-feet or more behind the boat, and every huge wave that rose up lifted that towed dinghy over our heads, and as we nearly surfed down that wave, the dinghy surfed just a little faster, and aimed right for my head and the backstay. We got through that night, but it was really, really scary. And since we had had the dinghy since we bought the boat, we didn't realize that towing that dinghy slowed us by about a knot. Not so much, but in bad weather it meant an extra several hours or more out in it before we could get to port. We sold it. Regretfully, but sensibly.

We got an inflatable with a hard floor. Great. Much, much easier to lift and pull up the beach. Pretty easy to deflate and stow, but a bit of work to inflate and install the wood floor on deck in an anchorage. 1/2 an hour and two people to get it back in the water. We never towed it when making a crossing, but often towed it on short daysails. Lost it a time or two and had to backtrack to find it and recapture it.

And then we went to the Miami Boat Show one year while visiting the US, and we bought a “Boat Show Special” Achilles with an inflatable floor. Magic. We never, ever, towed our dinghy again. By this time we were in places where there were very few places with dinghy docks and a 3-foot tide range (or a lot higher) just about everywhere. That dinghy could be easily lifted and carried 100 feet up the beach. Some days we carried the dinghy high up on a beach, set the dinghy anchor, and came back hours later to wade out to get the dinghy.

We were never in much of a hurry, the largest outboard we used was a 4 HP, but there were times when that outboard kept us from being swept down fast-flowing rivers where rowiing was not an option.

Fair winds,

Jeanne

Old thread but was just poking around and found this...

We had the same thing happen with our little "technicolored dream boat" ( a bright blue and purple 8 foot dink with pink fenders) we were towing her offshore and she nearly killed us... then she pitch-poled... we were doing about 8 knots so it snapped the line we were towing her with with a pop that sounded like a gun shot... she wasn't unsinkable so that was the last we saw of her...

glad to know we aren't the only ones that have made this mistake
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Old 08-25-2013, 12:55 AM   #13
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I agree with the statement that what is best in one cruising area may not be good in another.
I prefer an inflatable with a soft bottom, but with wooden or aloy floors (not the inflatable things), mainly because if one should hit extremely bad weather it can be deflated and stowed below. But I am not sure an inflatable would be a good cold water dink for places like the Canadian Maritimes.
In the Caribbean, an inflatable with a decent sized motor is pretty much the standard. Hard dinks especially with oars are not common and pretty impracticable unless you want to anchor pretty close to shore with the noise and bugs that that brings. I doubt that you would enjoy rowing into a 20 to 25 knot wind to get ashore to clear in or out, let alone carrying groceries (which could be put off until the wind eases, if you are willing to wait a week or two around X-Mas),
I have heard nothing but good things about the AB's w/ alloy bottoms, but they haven't been around all that long, and they might not last the 7 plus years our Zodiac Classic Mark II has lasted.
Canoes, kayaks and sailing dinks are toys, not practical dinghies for a serious cruising boat.
And try snorkeling out of a hard dink; it isn't easy. Lastly; no matter how much it rains, an inflatable will not sink, taking the motor with it.
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