Re: Dinghy choices?


Hi Steve,

A dinghy is a REALLY personal choice, even though the actual differences between them are pretty minor.

When I went shopping for a new dinghy, I had a few requirements:  It had to work well with the two of us on board, be driven on plane with our 8HP 2-cycle engine, have reasonable performance, be rugged enough to run up on a beach without worry about the bottom, and (this was the tough one!) fit in the stern locker of our SM.  I wasn't going to have davits, and I really did not want to store my dinghy on deck--and I wanted a hard bottom.  Seemed an impossible set of criteria... I asked here on the forum and got the suggestion to look at folding RIBs.

We are delighted with our 10.5 foot folding rib.  We have had it for about a year, and it has served us well--so far. I am not usually a fan of West Marine branded products, but this one has met all of my requirements.  I know there are a few other manufacturers making similar designs, but they weren't available in the USA--where we were when we needed a dinghy.

Some minor downsides: we had to do some sewing work on the storage bag, some of the material used rotted very quickly in sunlight.  I added a kevlar scuff-plate to the fiberglass hull to toughen it for landings. It takes a bit of practice to get it unfolded correctly before inflating, but after doing it a few times it goes together licky-split.  And of course, we pay for the slick storage by needing to inflate the boat at each anchorage.  

It weighs about 120 lbs, pretty typical for a RIB of its size. With just me aboard, it does 15 knots, with the two of us it planes easily at 11 knots.  If we add a boat full of provisions, planing gets a bit difficult with 8HP. 

When folded, the dinghy fits in a bag that slides down into the stern locker, even with our engine in there. That is our preferred storage for offshore passages.  Neat and clean, just like Captain Amel would like!  For short coastal trips, we fold the dinghy and store it in its bag tied down on the aft cabintop.  

At anchor, if we have any concerns about security, we use a three point harness to hoist it to the gunwale with either the ballooner halyard, or the mizzen staysail halyard.  This is as easy a storage solution as davits--maybe even easier using the electric mainsheet winch and the mizzen staysail halyard.  When we added our arch, I didn't even consider adding davits.  I would never use them while sailing, and the cost/benefit for storage at anchor just did not compute compared to the simplicity of hoisting "on the hip."

Bill Kinney
SM160,  Harmonie
Culebra, P.R.

---In amelyachtowners@..., <steve_morrison@...> wrote :

When we bought SM380 this fall, it was in need of a new dinghy, and as we prepare to move aboard in mid June, the time has come to make some decisions.  We are a family of four (girls 8&10) and plan to spend at least the next season in the Caribbean if not two seasons there before pushing through into the Pacific.  Riza promises that our aft arch will ship soon and so we will have aft davits onto which to pull up in the evenings at anchor.  I am looking at the AB Lamina series 10AL or 10UL.  

My question is this - what are some of you using?  How big, how small, and how heavy.  Also, where do you stow it underway, and how - in a cradle, upside down, deflated...?  What are some of your experiences and what do you think are the most important considerations.  

Thanks for your time,

Steve Morrison

SM 380 TouRai

Brunswick, Georgia


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