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Inflatable dinghy anarchy

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We are weekend cruising our Ranger 29, two adults and a 50 lb dog. At some point this year we are hoping to take a few weeks and head up to Desolation. We have had the use of a plywood dinghy, but that's too unstable to onload and offload the dog. So we are looking to get an inflatable.

PNW, so rocky and pebble beaches. This means we probably don't want a soft hull. 

One big considerations so far is where to store it:

  • on the foredeck, with an easy lift-on/lift-off block and tackle solution - max size appears to be 9 feet - with motor storage on the sailboat transom
  • not-on-the-boat storage option - pay for a water-level dinghy spot at our yacht club, which would only consume about 1/3 of a boat-buck annually but allow for a bigger dinghy and a heavier motor, with bonus of not having to lift it on-off the foredeck on a regular basis, and make day-sailing more convenient

Open to either used or new. How big a size do we need for 2 adults and dog? What's the pros/cons of aluminum hull and fiberglass? What brands should we look for? Do we need to mitigate UV degradation over time?

Anything else I should know?

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We made the decision to go with a Highfield Classic 340 w/ a 15 HP Tohatsu EFI 4 stroke as it best fit our intended use.  We've had it since June 2018 and use it almost everyday as we are liveaboards.  Here are some thoughts and feedback on our experience:

  • We've been pleased with the quality and value of Highfield.  We're glad we bought it.  It's an aluminum powder coated hull with a flat deck interior which is nice.  The hull is listed as 156 pounds.  If weight is a concern for you their UltraLite product range might better suit your application as its weight comes in at 117 pounds.  The UltraLite does not have the flat deck interior.  You'll find out the fiberglass hulls tend to be heavier.
  • The forward locker is nice for storage or fuel tank.  It's also a nice step that my wife likes in order to get off on a dinghy dock.  Your dog might like this feature also.
  • We have the Hypalon tubes for UV protection (we're in the tropics).  This might not be a big deal in the PNW.  Maybe with the dog the PVC tubes and chaps might be a better solution for you.
  • We like the welded aluminum gussets on the transom as it makes the RIB quite rigid with the outboard.
  • As far as the size, the 340 is the smallest we would want for our purposes as even with only my wife and I when we provision everything fits well in the RIB.  It also gives us enough room for two additional guests.

Hope this helps with your search.

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I understand the storage options but if you go larger will you end up towing full time? Rigids are not truly deflatable with regular use and towing a big dink behind your small boat will not work so well. Once you head north and start to cross larger bodies of water and deal with rips wind and currents towing may not be an option at all.

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I have a an Avon 340 RIB with a 15 HP engine. It looks like this:

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It is a fantastic dinghy. It can hold kids, it can hold dogs, it goes about 18 knots with a 15 HP Evinrude 2-stroke, and the bow compartment is a nice step up.  I have taken it as far as 40 miles round trip to get some part from a distant town quickly. It tows well and I have never had an issue in any Chesapeake Bay weather with it.

Why you might not want to go this way:

Tows well means doesn't capsize, not low drag. It is significant drag, probably knocks 1/2-3/4s of a knot off our speed. It goes in the water in March and comes out in December on a trailer. It isn't something you hoist in and out on whim unless you have a crane. It is not suitable for offshore passages, there is no way to bring it aboard. It is an actual boat with its own maintenance, it needs bottom paint every year, engine work, etc. etc ;) Dragging it up on gravel beaches slowly ate through the hull about a foot aft of the bow, now it has a couple extra layers of glass epoxied on. Not a big deal, but it is not rock-proof.

I once had a small inflatable with a little engine I could remove from the boat and take aboard. It wasn't a good dinghy, but it sure was less drag and I could roll it up if I didn't want to tow it.

* WARNING - A RIB will tow well engine on. Do NOT tow a flat bottom inflatable engine on and do not flat-tow it either. I always pulled the bow up.

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Re: Rocky beaches.  The only big problem I've run into was with a club-owned Avon Hypalon deflatable.  Two insufficiently-clued members checked it out one weekend and deflated it to come home by laying it out on the cobbles and stomping around on it. :huh:  

Thereafter, it had dozens of tiny patches on the bottom, where they stomped it against the rocks.  But I've never worn a hole from carrying one over the rocks, despite a few bumps and scrapes.  Maybe the moral of the story is don't get one bigger than you can carry?  

The only feasible way to carry the current Zodiac 340 on my 29er is to deflate it and lash it down.  Then find someplace to stash the motor and accessories. I used to have a Walker Bay 8 that could sorta fit on the bow, but you couldn't sail with it that way.   The only really feasible "daily carry" auxiliary craft I've come up with are a kayak or a SUP racked outside the lifelines.

But yeah... a Very Large Puppy has recently entered my life and I am at a loss as to how to boat him, if it becomes permanent.

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In regards lightweight RIB, have a look at the Walker Bay 270 superlight. Foam core fibreglass, weight 70lb. Carries weight well.
 

I had a Taka Lite that I liked very well but the PVC meant it lasted three years and some. 

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I know the title is inflatable but I prefer my folding portabote mainly because it is so durable for those sharp rocky or barnacled beach landings.  It also planes better and rides a bit smoother in choppy weather, (I've had a 8' inflatable Achilles).  It also folds neatly against my cabin top and out of the way which many monohullers appreciate also.  Because you have a 29 footer the 8' bote likely is the best fit if you can lash it to the cabin sides and still walk by it .  If a 10 footer fits ok I'd definitely would get that.   There are things l like less about it, mainly seaworthyness, but around our parts this is rarely a concern.  Here is a link to my long take on the porta bote and a long thread about them.  Have fun dingy shopping.

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For years we got around with an Avon Redcrest, soft bottom, with a 2.5 hp motor. Not fast, but super light. Rocky shore? Pick it up and carry it. Loved it.

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You can get an inflatable collar for a Walker Bay that makes it much more stable and it's still light enough to hoist to the foredeck pretty easily. I have a Walker Bay 8' that I was very happy with until stability became an issue (friends didn't feel comfortable with it), now I have a Walker Bay Genesis 310 with an outboard - and while it's a great boat to zip around in, and can carry five people safely, it's a pain in the rump to go any distance with, since it's a sea anchor to tow (relative to a hard dinghy, at any rate) and it's a lot of work to put on the foredeck (hoist heavy 4 stroke dinghy onto the stern rail, hoist heavy RIB onto the foredeck, lose the use of the foredeck in the process).

I've concluded that there is no perfect solution, but if you're considering RIB and will be hoisting it, a light motor and a light boat will likely make you happy. A couple and a dog will fit in a pretty small boat, especially one that is surrounded by a floating tube!

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5 hours ago, Nice! said:

 How big a size do we need for 2 adults and dog?

Since you ask about fiberglass and aluminum hulls, I'm assuming you're asking about a RIB.  Any RIB on the market will have enough room and enough weight carrying capacity to work.

The trick is figuring out which configurations will plane.  I have been keeping notes from conversations on the internet and elsewhere.  There are some isolated reports of people being successful getting inflatables to plane with 6 HP outboards with two adults aboard, but mainly it's with HP floors which are lighter and easier to get up on the step.  Most people find that they need a 9.9 HP outboard.  Most RIB manufacturers don't officially recommend putting 9.9 HP on anything less than a 3.1 meter RIB.

Some people use outboards larger than manufacturers recommend.  I don't have a RIB so I am not tempted.

If you don't care about planing and are content to putt along at 4 knots then you can use a little 2-3 hp outboard and get any size RIB you want.

Finally, there are a handful of jurisdictions (I'm in one of them) that do not allow anyone to ride on a boat's gunwales and that interpret the law to disallow riding on the sponsons (tubes, pontoons, whatever) of an inflatable.  If you're in one of those places and don't want a ticket, you will need a RIB large enough to have two seats in order to carry two people with proper weight distribution.  A second seat can be added to most 2.7 meter and larger RIBs.

Quote

What's the pros/cons of aluminum hull and fiberglass?

The aluminum hulls are more durable in environments with sharp rocks and are somewhat lighter.  The fiberglass hulls are easier to repair (unless you're a past master with a TIG welder and carry one with you wherever you go), and are cheaper.

Quote

What brands should we look for?

There is widespread variation in quality apparently due to the fact that the major brands switch suppliers frequently.  I have encountered reports of poor warranty service across all brands.

Highfield, Achilles, and AB have been variously held out to me as being high quality boats or cheap junk, depending on the individual experience.

Quote

Do we need to mitigate UV degradation over time?

Anything else I should know?

Dinghy chaps will extend the life of dinghies kept in the sun but add to the overall expense and total weight, and are one more thing to maintain and keep clean.

Inflatable boats are consumable, depreciating items that fail with time and use and that are prone to theft.  There are differences of opinion regarding the best way to lower the overall life cycle cost.  Hypalon will last longer than PVC especially in hot, sunny environments but it costs more upfront and is more porous and will therefore require more frequent top-ups with the air pump.  It is also more difficult to patch.

On a 29' mother ship you may be better off with something besides a RIB.  50# dog may pose problems with the dog's toenails puncturing a high-pressure floor, reports vary.  You could try an old-school donut dinghy like the LT-2 or LT-4.  They will not plane but they are easier to deflate and store than a RIB, and are lighter.

I am planning to build a wood dinghy next winter after considering all the choices.

I recognize that this won't work for situations that involve frequent long dinghy rides, as would be the case with a larger, deep-draft mother ship in some place like the Bahamas or the South Pacific.  If I'm in that situation at some point I'll get a RIB and keep it until the situation changes.

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5 hours ago, steele said:

I understand the storage options but if you go larger will you end up towing full time? Rigids are not truly deflatable with regular use and towing a big dink behind your small boat will not work so well. Once you head north and start to cross larger bodies of water and deal with rips wind and currents towing may not be an option at all.

We always tow our inflatable dinghy, never with the motor on. Went around Vancouver Island like that. Never had a problem except for one williwaw that hit while we were going through Hole in the Wall, resulting in the dinghy spinning in midair behind us. That tought us to snug it up to the transom when the breeze is up. Currently on a Zodiac airdeck and happy with it.

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6 hours ago, Nice! said:

How big a size do we need for 2 adults and dog? What's the pros/cons of aluminum hull and fiberglass? What brands should we look for? Do we need to mitigate UV degradation over time

For an inflatable about 2.8m. UV is always there. PVC dinghies suck if left outside all the time, even in the PNW. So cover them.

 

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With that small of a boat I would look at an inflatable that could be rowed like a Kaboat or a Catamaran. At ~70lbs these can be carried so you wont need to drag them up sharp rocks. Most of us can use the exercize. I have a small one for my F-27 that can carry two adults and to 50lb kids. We typically inflate and deflate it every weekend.

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We have had all sorts of dinghies ... hard rowing dinghy, boston whaler, RIB and currently have a soft bottom inflatable.  Maybe the simplest dinghy yet and we are on the biggest boat we have had.  There is some logic to this, so let me explain.

We have a big enough foredeck to allow a Zodiac 310 to be carried on the deck without deflating it.  We use a spinnaker halyard to raise it - I can toss it over the side when we drop anchor by hand.

We have two outboards onboard - both can be stored in lockers.  A 2.5 hp with internal fuel tank we use to putt around or take the dog to shore.  My wife can carry it with one hand, so getting it on and off the boat is easy.  We also have a Yamaha 15 HP 2 stroke when we need to get somewhere.  It swings out on the boom and lowered on to the dinghy.  Both work great with this tender.

We are in a northern area with lots of rock/boulder/sand beachings.  If you lift the boat, not drag it, there is little wear on the keel.  

I hate towing a dinghy.  Slows you down.  Complex in tight situations.  I have had davits before, and they are ok.  Limit access to the swim platform in an emergency.  We love it on deck.  Takes us less than 5 minutes to raise it.  A minute to toss it over when we arrive somewhere.

Every dinghy is a compromise.  So far, this one is working out best for us.

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Around ten years ago I lucked on a used Tinker folding RIB,  a light three piece folding glass bottom, with hypalon tubes and a storage bag.

They are not in business any more, but someone is making a sort of copy as “Folding RIB”.

only rated for a small outboard, but we use either a 2.3 Honda or a 2.5 Tohatsu, suits us.

it even rows reasonable with real oars.

store on foredeck, launch with spinnaker halyard, attach light outboard, voila...

the ability to fold easily and store in a bag is gold for the tropics, there is no UV damage at all.

its in the blue bag on the cabin top in the pic

5A8B3738-3D73-4B68-949B-638B8A960117.jpeg

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4 hours ago, 2airishuman said:

If you don't care about planing and are content to putt along at 4 knots then you can use a little 2-3 hp outboard and get any size RIB you want.

And there is the decision you need to make from which all else follows;

Do you want to plane or putt?

If you want to plane, get a 3m plus hard bottom Rib and a 10+ hp outboard and tow it.

If you are happy to putt along then a 3hp motor and a ~2.8m inflateable floor is light - easy for 2 to carry up the shore, easy to pack away onboard.

We tried the compromise with a 3m HP inflateable floor and a 9.8 hp 2 stroke. Could plane easily with 1 adult 2 kids, struggled with 2 adults 2 kids plus gear. But was too heavy for me and the 11 YO to carry any distance, and getting the outboard onboard the big boat needed a halyard and 2 people. For ~80% of what we did, a 3hp would have been fine. But, longer trips were only practical because we could plane at 15 knots rather that putt at 4. Inflateable hulls are tougher than you'd think - we scraped over coral and rocks without more than cosmetic damage a few times.

None of them row that well - anything more than about 1 Nm is very slow and tiring, but doable.

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What about the Takacat type inflatables? Those seem to be able to take some HP and roll up into a small package. 

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1 minute ago, Elegua said:

What about the Takacat type inflatables? Those seem to be able to take some HP and roll up into a small package. 

We have one now. Lots of fun, but the achilles of the same length was a smaller package.

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9 hours ago, Se7en said:

And there is the decision you need to make from which all else follows;

Do you want to plane or putt?

If you want to plane, get a 3m plus hard bottom Rib and a 10+ hp outboard and tow it.

If you are happy to putt along then a 3hp motor and a ~2.8m inflateable floor is light - easy for 2 to carry up the shore, easy to pack away onboard.

We tried the compromise with a 3m HP inflateable floor and a 9.8 hp 2 stroke. Could plane easily with 1 adult 2 kids, struggled with 2 adults 2 kids plus gear. But was too heavy for me and the 11 YO to carry any distance, and getting the outboard onboard the big boat needed a halyard and 2 people. For ~80% of what we did, a 3hp would have been fine. But, longer trips were only practical because we could plane at 15 knots rather that putt at 4. Inflateable hulls are tougher than you'd think - we scraped over coral and rocks without more than cosmetic damage a few times.

None of them row that well - anything more than about 1 Nm is very slow and tiring, but doable.

IMHO go big or go slow. 2-3 HP will push a dinghy to hull speed and you can carry the engine with two fingers. 15 HP gets you 15-20 knots with a full load. 9-10 HP gets you planing speeds SOMETIMES, which is really frustrating. I can go to town in 10 minutes alone or 30 minutes if you all get in. Also note that there are only so many engine blocks, frequently a 15 is the same size and weight as a 10 with a different carb.

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9 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

IMHO go big or go slow. 2-3 HP will push a dinghy to hull speed and you can carry the engine with two fingers. 15 HP gets you 15-20 knots with a full load. 9-10 HP gets you planing speeds SOMETIMES, which is really frustrating. I can go to town in 10 minutes alone or 30 minutes if you all get in. Also note that there are only so many engine blocks, frequently a 15 is the same size and weight as a 10 with a different carb.

Agree completely - except both the achillies and the trukit cat will plane all day with me and 2 kids onboard with the 9.8 2 stroke. Add my wife, and it's very iffy, and she's not that big.

The tohatsu 2 stroke range uses the same block for the 6, 8 and 9.8 hp. Hence it is a light 9.8 horses which I can lift one handed still.

So we got away with the 9.8, but I agree that either smaller OR bigger would have been better in many ways. For most cruisers on ~35 ft boats, I'd suggest going slow.

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22 minutes ago, Se7en said:

Agree completely - except both the achillies and the trukit cat will plane all day with me and 2 kids onboard with the 9.8 2 stroke. Add my wife, and it's very iffy, and she's not that big.

The tohatsu 2 stroke range uses the same block for the 6, 8 and 9.8 hp. Hence it is a light 9.8 horses which I can lift one handed still.

So we got away with the 9.8, but I agree that either smaller OR bigger would have been better in many ways. For most cruisers on ~35 ft boats, I'd suggest going slow.

My 15 HP weighs about 78 pounds. No way I would use that engine if I had to take it on and off the dinghy more than once a year. For a boat that gets deflated, I would go light and small.

edit - this boat looks like it might actually be rowable and is pretty cheap:

kaboat-SK396-gray.jpg

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I have a petition for the group as well. 

We currently own a 2009 8'10" West Marine (I believe it is really a Zodiac 275 Aero Wave) air floor dinghy for our cruising boat.  It stows just about perfectly on the foredeck of our Lancer 36, and it is relatively easy for me to life over the lifelines unassisted.  The air floor keeps it light but also maneuverable.  As a bonus, it nestles around the forward hatch comfortably, allowing us to keep that hatch open or cracked in most any weather when not underway.  We stow her upside-down and covered during the summer. 

Last summer long-term wear and tear meant that one of her tanks finally started to give.  We did the soap search to little avail, and frankly - it's an 11yo PVC dinghy.  It's probably time for a replacement.

The engine is a simple Yamaha 2.5hp 4-stroke.  Nothing fancy.

Going online, I see that Zodiac offers the Wave 275 Aero, but they also offer a "Cadet" model that weighs a little more, costs a little more, and has slightly more carrying capacity (926lbs vs 683).  Defender also offers a Mercury and Achilles in the same range.  And North Atlantic Inflatables has both an 8'2" model (70lbs, 992lbs capacity) and an 8'8" model (85lbs, also 992lbs capacity). 

Does anyone own any of these models?  Any thoughts?  Again, my criteria, roughly in order, are: 1) fit on the foredeck (so 8-9'), 2) light enough to be lifted by one person, 3) easily inflated,  4) easily deflated and stowed in the winter or for storms, and 5) durable.  Easy access and decent rowing (yes, I know) are pluses as well.

Many thanks!

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This is our first year cruising with a dinghy, but we have done lots of charters with full aluminum floor RIBs. We went the other way and went for something light and easy to handle. we got a 9ft Zodiac slat floor and use a 2.5 hp Suzuki. Something like this, but a couple years older in model:

Zodiac Rollup Floor 8' 10" White/Gray PVC, 2020

We are super happy we went this route. The dinghy seems much more durable than I would have guessed, and the slat floor adds a lot of stability over the air floor our friends got. We can easily get around with 3 adults, and I think we could add a fourth and/or dog no problem. The small zuk pushes us surprisingly well, and starts on the first pull every time. Most importantly the motor is light enough that pulling it off and onto a block is not a chore. And the dinghy is light and small enough that two of us can lift it easily up onto the bow of our 30fter so we can sail. 

Compared to the big dinghies we used on charters, this is the right choice for us and our area, where there isn't always a dinghy dock ready and available. The size and weight make it helpful and fun to use instead of its own chore. when we come up to a rocky shoreline, we simply hop out and lift it onto the shore. Our ankles get wet, but no bashing onto rocks.

I am not sure if this option would work for you, but would be easy to store on the deck. no block and tackle system needed. Plus, it is much cheaper than the bigger dinghies.

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I would absolutely stay away from Zodiac/West Marine crap. I was gifted one and it is absolute trash. I think it was left out in the sun and the bottom fell off the tubes. I fixed it, but in fixing I realized how poorly this whole thing is constructed. I'm going to change to a hard dinghy, but if I would go for an inflatable, I would go for hypalon.

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2 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

My 15 HP weighs about 78 pounds. No way I would use that engine if I had to take it on and off the dinghy more than once a year. For a boat that gets deflated, I would go light and small.

 

One of the Facts to Consider in this discussion is that 2-stroke outboards are no longer sold new in the USA or Canada because they do not comply with emissions laws.  Good used lightweight 2-strokes have become hard to find.  I believe Australia has also recently adopted similar laws.  4-stroke outboards are great to have in many ways and do have much lower emissions, but they are heavier in the 9.9, 15, and 20 HP sizes than their 2-stroke counterparts.  The HP breakpoints at which manufacturers change blocks are also different.

I believe the lightest 15 HP for sale in the USA is now the Tohatsu MFS15, which weighs 94.7 pounds per the manufacturer.  Same block as the 20 HP.

Yamaha Enduro two-strokes, sold outside the USA only, are 83 pounds in the 15 HP version.

Two-stroke 15 HP motors, when still available here, were as light as 65 pounds at one point.

The difference is enough to affect dinghy choices, at least for some people.

It has become common for people who cruise outside the USA/Canada to purchase an outboard for the dinghy in Mexico or the Caribbean.

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You do have to look for them on the used market. You also have to watch total engine weight AND power. My dinghy is rated for 25 HP, but no 4 stroke 25 will meet the max engine weight limit.

I have a Yamaha 15 2-stroke for my Whaler and it is a really nice engine. I am sure it will sell fast if I ever upgrade.

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To wrap this tread up, we pulled the trigger on a used 9' AquaPro with a 4hp 4 stroke Yamaha. This met all our criteria and the price was right, so we jumped.

Thanks for all the input - it was super helpful.

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22 hours ago, jewingiv said:

I have a petition for the group as well. 

We currently own a 2009 8'10" West Marine (I believe it is really a Zodiac 275 Aero Wave) air floor dinghy for our cruising boat.  It stows just about perfectly on the foredeck of our Lancer 36, and it is relatively easy for me to life over the lifelines unassisted.  The air floor keeps it light but also maneuverable.  As a bonus, it nestles around the forward hatch comfortably, allowing us to keep that hatch open or cracked in most any weather when not underway.  We stow her upside-down and covered during the summer. 

Last summer long-term wear and tear meant that one of her tanks finally started to give.  We did the soap search to little avail, and frankly - it's an 11yo PVC dinghy.  It's probably time for a replacement.

The engine is a simple Yamaha 2.5hp 4-stroke.  Nothing fancy.

Going online, I see that Zodiac offers the Wave 275 Aero, but they also offer a "Cadet" model that weighs a little more, costs a little more, and has slightly more carrying capacity (926lbs vs 683).  Defender also offers a Mercury and Achilles in the same range.  And North Atlantic Inflatables has both an 8'2" model (70lbs, 992lbs capacity) and an 8'8" model (85lbs, also 992lbs capacity). 

Does anyone own any of these models?  Any thoughts?  Again, my criteria, roughly in order, are: 1) fit on the foredeck (so 8-9'), 2) light enough to be lifted by one person, 3) easily inflated,  4) easily deflated and stowed in the winter or for storms, and 5) durable.  Easy access and decent rowing (yes, I know) are pluses as well.

Many thanks!

I have 3 comments.  An  aluminum RIB will be a lot lighter then the same in fiberglass.  Yes you can repair fiberglass but you don't ever have to with the aluminum.  I have had good luck repairing small leaks by injecting glue into the spot where it is leaking with a hypodermic needle.  Then put the boat with that spot down and a light pressure to let it dry.  Farm supply stores sell the needles in big sizes.   If you have a leak that you can't find with soap you should have good luck with sealant you put in through the valve.  I have used it on a few boats.  https://inlandmarine.us/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIn_jpiuDl6QIVl4rICh3MEgNmEAAYASAAEgKtofD_BwE#prettyPhoto[seal_gal]/0/

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1 hour ago, seaker said:

I have 3 comments.  An  aluminum RIB will be a lot lighter then the same in fiberglass.  Yes you can repair fiberglass but you don't ever have to with the aluminum.  I have had good luck repairing small leaks by injecting glue into the spot where it is leaking with a hypodermic needle.  Then put the boat with that spot down and a light pressure to let it dry.  Farm supply stores sell the needles in big sizes.   If you have a leak that you can't find with soap you should have good luck with sealant you put in through the valve.  I have used it on a few boats.  https://inlandmarine.us/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIn_jpiuDl6QIVl4rICh3MEgNmEAAYASAAEgKtofD_BwE#prettyPhoto[seal_gal]/0/

My 2001 Avon needed air every day. I put that stuff in and now no leaks :D

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On 6/2/2020 at 6:40 AM, kent_island_sailor said:

My 15 HP weighs about 78 pounds. No way I would use that engine if I had to take it on and off the dinghy more than once a year. For a boat that gets deflated, I would go light and small.

edit - this boat looks like it might actually be rowable and is pretty cheap:

kaboat-SK396-gray.jpg

I just bought one of these - its a Kaboat (I think that is for kayak / boat ?)

It's pretty funny. Long and narrow, more phallic than it looks in the pictures - I'm expecting a lot of jokes. I'm planning to use a torqueedo, so hoping that it will be more efficient than a typical inflatable. 

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I was told super glue works well for pin holes in inflatables.  I've tried it in a few other applications like that (inflatable SUP) and it seems to hold.  

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On 6/2/2020 at 10:33 AM, Nice! said:

To wrap this tread up, we pulled the trigger on a used 9' AquaPro with a 4hp 4 stroke Yamaha. This met all our criteria and the price was right, so we jumped.

Thanks for all the input - it was super helpful.

Great choice. I had one with a 5hp merc. Used it for full time liveaboard cruising. 
good work horse. 

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16 hours ago, Future MOB said:

I just bought one of these - its a Kaboat (I think that is for kayak / boat ?)

It's pretty funny. Long and narrow, more phallic than it looks in the pictures - I'm expecting a lot of jokes. I'm planning to use a torqueedo, so hoping that it will be more efficient than a typical inflatable. 

Please report back when you get it. The ad copy makes it sound like those are quite fast on low HP. I am not sure I would go big $$$ dinghy again when the same cash would put THREE of those in your locker. You would have room for attrition and the reviews of unknown provenance sure make it sound like you can beat on them a fair amount.

Also report back about rowing it. Oars on my Avon RIB are an emergency backup only, you would never want to row the boat more than maybe 100 yards. Thread creep - I once tried using my wooden Penguin as a dinghy. It obviously sailed way faster than a sailing dinghy and also rowed really well and pretty fast :D it was in the end a failed experiment though, it was evident towing in any kind of weather was really too hard on an ancient wood boat to be sustainable.

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On 6/3/2020 at 9:35 AM, seaker said:

I have 3 comments.  An  aluminum RIB will be a lot lighter then the same in fiberglass.  Yes you can repair fiberglass but you don't ever have to with the aluminum.  I have had good luck repairing small leaks by injecting glue into the spot where it is leaking with a hypodermic needle.  Then put the boat with that spot down and a light pressure to let it dry.  Farm supply stores sell the needles in big sizes.   If you have a leak that you can't find with soap you should have good luck with sealant you put in through the valve.  I have used it on a few boats.  https://inlandmarine.us/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIn_jpiuDl6QIVl4rICh3MEgNmEAAYASAAEgKtofD_BwE#prettyPhoto[seal_gal]/0/

Ordered the sealant.  Worth a shot.  Will report back.

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26 minutes ago, jewingiv said:

Ordered the sealant.  Worth a shot.  Will report back.

It works, but I ended up sealing one of my valves too. Try not to do that. It is probably worth buying a valve wrench and doing it the right way.

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Max, I just dab a bit of super glue on the pin hole and wait a day and it seems to work indefinitely.  YRMV.  I'd probably use a proper patch kit if I had it.   I've never patched anything big with super glue, just pinholes that are hard to see but bubble a bit when submerged.  The modern super glues with some viscosity may work better.

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Mostly deflated, just so there's no pressure acting on the area.  I probably cleaned & rinsed the repair area real well and let it dry in the sun for most of the day or more.  Maybe tried to work the glue into the hole with a toothpick or something.  I've heard denatured alcohol is good to prep/clean the area but I don't recall using it myself and am certainly not a pro nor have much experience, so again, your results may vary.  I've only done this for a couple for pin pricks but I heard the superglue idea from an inflatable manufacturers rep so I go with it.  So far so good.

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9 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

It works, but I ended up sealing one of my valves too. Try not to do that. It is probably worth buying a valve wrench and doing it the right way.

I couldn't take my valves out so I stuck a tube past the valve and attached the bottle to it.  Then for final measure I put a little bit of water in the valve and pumped it into the boat.  That washed it off.  Haven't had one stuck so far. 

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1 hour ago, seaker said:

I couldn't take my valves out so I stuck a tube past the valve and attached the bottle to it.  Then for final measure I put a little bit of water in the valve and pumped it into the boat.  That washed it off.  Haven't had one stuck so far. 

The stuck one is stuck open, the check valve hangs. You can still use it, you just have to be quick putting the cap back on.

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On 6/1/2020 at 6:35 PM, Cruisin Loser said:

For years we got around with an Avon Redcrest, soft bottom, with a 2.5 hp motor. Not fast, but super light. Rocky shore? Pick it up and carry it. Loved it.

Still have a fully functional 1987 model. Two patches, both from my own stupidity. It used to live outside year round. It now lives in the lazarette as my 'cruising tender' while my shit PVC dinghy is for buzzing out to the mooring. A good, light, Hypalon inflatable is the real deal for a cruising sailboat. Big yachts need RIBs (to be launched and stowed by the crew).

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3 hours ago, Jim in Halifax said:

Still have a fully functional 1987 model. Two patches, both from my own stupidity. It used to live outside year round. It now lives in the lazarette as my 'cruising tender' while my shit PVC dinghy is for buzzing out to the mooring. A good, light, Hypalon inflatable is the real deal for a cruising sailboat. Big yachts need RIBs (to be launched and stowed by the crew).

Judging by the dinghy docks everywhere I go, NOT having a RIB makes you very much in the minority.  We managed with a Dyer for decades somehow back in the day. When my wife managed to launch herself into the water from our Dyer on a cold November day I was ordered by SWMBO to replace it!

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Another vote for the redcrest especially if your goal is short distance use rather than exploring. It pumps up in minutes, can be carried by one prerson, and is very durable. We recently traded out our 40 year old 2HP gas motor for an electric and are happy so far. We tow it short distances, but it it has a lot of drag since the soft floor sticks to the water like a lamprey. One trick is to delfate half of it and fold it over on itself, it then fits over the forward coach roof but takes up little space. At times I do envy the go fast RIBs, but we have big tidal swings here and dragging a heavy boat and motor above up and down the beach, usually over rocks, muscles and barnacles, is not appealing. I have seen people use big wheels, anchors combined with shore ties or just ask for help which I guess is ok if you want a dink to go long distances, crabbing etc.

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I use a stern anchor with a long shock cord - say 40-50 feet of it. I drop that well off the beach an let it stretch while I run the boat up on the sand and then use a long bow line to tie to something. Onlookers are always amazed when the boat magically moves back on its own :lol:

It is fun to come back to the beach at low tide and pull the boat back in while everyone else is dragging their boat to the water. Of course this might not work in Maine where high to low tide might be a 1/4 mile, not 30 feet.

Re towing a flat-bottom inflatable, I didn't even know it could be done on a long line. Ours would suction itself down and fill up with water. We always towed it on such a short line the bow was held up out of the water.

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11 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

I use a stern anchor with a long shock cord - say 40-50 feet of it. I drop that well off the beach an let it stretch while I run the boat up on the sand and then use a long bow line to tie to something. Onlookers are always amazed when the boat magically moves back on its own :lol:

It is fun to come back to the beach at low tide and pull the boat back in while everyone else is dragging their boat to the water. Of course this might not work in Maine where high to low tide might be a 1/4 mile, not 30 feet.

Re towing a flat-bottom inflatable, I didn't even know it could be done on a long line. Ours would suction itself down and fill up with water. We always towed it on such a short line the bow was held up out of the water.

Our old Zodiac slat floor just bounced over the waves, towed like a dream except for a lot of yawing. We learned early to tow it with the drain plug out...

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22 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

I use a stern anchor with a long shock cord - say 40-50 feet of it. I drop that well off the beach an let it stretch while I run the boat up on the sand and then use a long bow line to tie to something. Onlookers are always amazed when the boat magically moves back on its own :lol:

It is fun to come back to the beach at low tide and pull the boat back in while everyone else is dragging their boat to the water. Of course this might not work in Maine where high to low tide might be a 1/4 mile, not 30 feet.

Re towing a flat-bottom inflatable, I didn't even know it could be done on a long line. Ours would suction itself down and fill up with water. We always towed it on such a short line the bow was held up out of the water.

That works in Maine as long as you pick a spot that is steep enough.  Yes some places are difficult.  But they are often mud flats and you don't want to go across them  in mud up to your knees in any way. 

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