sshow bob

Help us choose an inflatable

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I know - there are already a lot of threads on this and I'm picking through them, but would appreciate input. We are pretty disappointed with our current (three year old) inflatable and shopping for a replacement.  Use will be almost exclusively Maine, so rocky beaches for the most part, rather than sand.   Typical load is two adults and a 60 pound dog, and some gear.  We have a 10' aluminum deck air keel boat now, and its the right size.  We skipped the RIB in favor of the air keel boat last time, thinking that we'd stow the boat aboard from time to time, but never have. I think we want a RIB this time. If so, we probably want a locker to keep things tidy. We push the current boat with a 4hp Tohatsu.  It planes the current boat with one, and is fast enough for our needs with two and the dog.  

Selma says to find and buy the dinghy we'll have for a while.  Help me do it right!

 

Questions - 

Do I care about tube material in Maine? Short seasons, etc.  Aluminum or glass?  It strikes me that for landing on rocky islands etc. aluminum might be the right call.  I land the dog on rocks several times a day, most weekends during the summer.  Does anyone offer chaps?   Brand?

SSB

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, sshow bob said:

Selma says

and you want us to get involved ............................

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Given your description of use, I'd go for aluminium, no question.

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11 minutes ago, Mid said:

and you want us to get involved ............................

Hell yes - I want you to save me!

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30 minutes ago, sshow bob said:

rocky beaches

 

23 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

aluminium

sorted

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26 minutes ago, Elegua said:

Hard dinghy. You’re in Maine. 

I can't disagree with that - would love to build a PT11.  The issue is the dog jumping from the dinghy to the boat and back.  Calls for the buoyancy of an inflatable at the rail. 

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1 hour ago, sshow bob said:

I know - there are already a lot of threads on this and I'm picking through them, but would appreciate input. We are pretty disappointed with our current (three year old) inflatable and shopping for a replacement.  Use will be almost exclusively Maine, so rocky beaches for the most part, rather than sand.   Typical load is two adults and a 60 pound dog, and some gear.  We have a 10' aluminum deck air keel boat now, and its the right size.  We skipped the RIB in favor of the air keel boat last time, thinking that we'd stow the boat aboard from time to time, but never have. I think we want a RIB this time. If so, we probably want a locker to keep things tidy. We push the current boat with a 4hp Tohatsu.  It planes the current boat with one, and is fast enough for our needs with two and the dog.  

Selma says to find and buy the dinghy we'll have for a while.  Help me do it right!

 

Questions - 

Do I care about tube material in Maine? Short seasons, etc.  Aluminum or glass?  It strikes me that for landing on rocky islands etc. aluminum might be the right call.  I land the dog on rocks several times a day, most weekends during the summer.  Does anyone offer chaps?   Brand?

SSB

 

 

 

We've had an AB Lammina 310 and now have a new Highfield Classic 3.10. Both Aluminum.

The Highfield seems to be better built. The transom construction is much more stout, the bow locker is less stupid. There are some well thought out features. With a 15HP and my tubby ass on board it can plane easily with two other people, of course either one could. Weight is about the same.

Both have a flat floor, and the space between the floor and the hull is NOT sealed, which you want. Our old "West Marine by Avon" FRP RIB had a space there with a drain plug. That developed a leak and we couldn't keep it empty or clean.

Whether or not you can get by with PVC is up to you. You probably can, with your short cruising season and relatively muted sunlight.

If you put some chaps on it, so much the better. But buying chaps for it are like trying to find a virgin during Spring Break in Cancun...it would probably be quicker to make them yourself. Or have them custom made, if no one in your family unit is skilled sewing Sunbrella.

But if you get chaps for them, not only will it look nicer, but it will be better protected and you will definitely be able to use PVC. The cost savings between PVC and Hypalon will defray but probably not cover the cost of chaps.

We do not have chaps on our new Highfield, much to our dismay. We haven't got the skills to make it ourselves (though we have a Sailrite...), and we could not get a good referral from the Highfield dealer in Oz. She said all they ones she knew were expensive and did a crappy job with them.

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Thanks, B.J.  No question in your mind that the double floor is worth the weight penalty? 

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7 minutes ago, sshow bob said:

Thanks, B.J.  No question in your mind that the double floor is worth the weight penalty? 

Unless you get a tinier dinghy I think it's almost unavoidable. But it is nice to have a flat surface for things, dog included.The HF 310 is something like 132 pounds with the floor.

We put the tank in the bow of the Highfield. Smaller tank than the 6 Gallons we used to have, but it really frees up space.

http://www.highfieldboats.com/classic-310/

Having owned the AB Lammina and then the Highfield, I'd buy the Highfield if I could. But the AB wasn't bad, though the bow locker design is flimsy.

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2 minutes ago, B.J. Porter said:

Unless you get a tinier dinghy I think it's almost unavoidable. But it is nice to have a flat surface for things, dog included.The HF 310 is something like 132 pounds with the floor.

We put the tank in the bow of the Highfield. Smaller tank than the 6 Gallons we used to have, but it really frees up space.

http://www.highfieldboats.com/classic-310/

Having owned the AB Lammina and then the Highfield, I'd buy the Highfield if I could. But the AB wasn't bad, though the bow locker design is flimsy.

You also have to remember though when listening to me about dinghies, this is the family car for me. We use it every day, for everything from grocery shopping to laundry, etc. So I'm going to put a bit more into it than you might want to. Things like having a lot of clear, flat space to put groceries and boxes and bags on make a big difference to me that may not affect you the same way. Having a raised deck so the small residual water that always seems to be in the boat doesn't soak your feet and bags is HUGE. Even hanging in the davits at an slope with the pug open there is always a little water.

We don't have a dog, but I'd think the flat deck would be easier for him.

This boat is 24 pounds lighter, but it doesn't have the deck or a bow locker.

http://www.highfieldboats.com/ultralite-310/

One thing I like about the HF boats is the finish. They do some environmentally horrid powder coating process that seems more rugged than the AB. They rep told be flat out, "yep, our finishing process is a horror, but we do it because it's better."

We had dings and chips in the AB paint almost from the get go, and the HF seems a lot more resistant to that sort of casual damage.

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BJ, You have the sewing machine.  Why not have a go at the covers?  Seems to me a perfect job for the sewing challenged.

I have the same machine, and while some of my efforts would get laughed at in a kindergarten crafting class, some have been quite passable.

 

And you can do this on the boat!  No sail loft required.

 

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1 hour ago, Windward said:

BJ, You have the sewing machine.  Why not have a go at the covers?  Seems to me a perfect job for the sewing challenged.

I have the same machine, and while some of my efforts would get laughed at in a kindergarten crafting class, some have been quite passable.

 

And you can do this on the boat!  No sail loft required.

 

It's not the stitching, it's the patterning and fitting. We have ZERO experience with that sort of thing, and this is a daunting project to start with.

We're still mastering simpler stuff, like covers for the jerry cans and hatches, stuff that's fairly small and square.

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10 minutes ago, Mid said:

We don't have the skills to make a pattern for the dinghy yet. We don't have the mechanical skills to execute it, the knowledge of making things from cloth to design such a thing. We have never in our lives made anything from scratch without a pattern, except for some simple curtains for the boat and one jerry can cover that doesn't fit right.

We just aren't ready.

It's a WAY complex project, and easy way to piss away $500+ worth of materials and many hours on a crap project, when we're still working out how to make a rectangular cover for a jerry can work out.

Trust me, we have discussed this at length with each other, with other cruisers that have done this, with sewing on boat groups, etc.

Our skill level now is "small, squarish things that don't move."

 

If we could buy a pattern for our dinghy we'd be much more likely give it a go. Then it's mostly measuring, cutting and stitching.

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4 minutes ago, B.J. Porter said:

Our skill level now is "small, squarish things that don't move."

fair 'nough , baby steps .

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BJ - Yeah, building cahaps is one of those "I hate you" relationship killers. Even if you have good sewing skills. If you'll be in Thailand soon there's this guy who is legendary. His fit and finish is 100% better than anybody out there. Here's a good description of why/why not: http://hotspur41.blogspot.com/2013/12/monster-project-making-dinghy-chaps.html

For SSBob's application an alternative still might be an air floor. Light dinghy + motor so you can just lift it up with 2 people and carry it above the tide line.

But I don't know how air floors and doggy claws get along? Or if you and your wife are into lifting things! It was better in the old days when a 3.5 HP 2 stroke was 28 lbs. Now a 4 stroke 2.5 HP is about 42 lbs. 

A RIB is heavier and won't plane with a 4 HP + 1 adult usually by the way. The only advantage I see for you is the hard bottom able to take abuse.

If you always tow it, a beamy hard dinghy will be plenty stable. Our stitch and glue 10'  GV10 (I design these as a sideline) could have a 220 lb person standing right against the side and no drama. It was a shallow 10 deg bottom. Here's me with about 6 Fijian kids coming aboard for a visit. (The kids were remarkably boat-savvy and moved about the dinghy very nicely). Total payload in picture is about 1000 lbs if you include the outboard.

A stitch and glue plywood dinghy is very abuse resistant and can be dragged up a beach with nothing more than scraping the bottom glass layers that eventually need a new layer of fiberglass tape on the centerline. They are also very cheap compared to a multi thousand $ RIB. I'd say about 80% as stable feeling as a big inflatable of the same length but of course lots more interior room 'cause no tubes.

IMG_5150.jpg

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5 hours ago, sshow bob said:

I can't disagree with that - would love to build a PT11.  The issue is the dog jumping from the dinghy to the boat and back.  Calls for the buoyancy of an inflatable at the rail. 

Well.... I have a hard dinghy and a 50 lb dog and we live on the boat so that involves a lot of trips to and fro with said dog. Getting in, she jumps from the side decks straight down some 3’-4’ into the dinghy where I am standing holding onto the gunwhale of the mothership. Getting out, she does a small jump from the dinghy to the swim platform and then onto the transom top all in one motion. This is on a 9’ dinghy and there are zero stability issues. The key is a flat bottom dinghy, not multi-chine style bottom of craft like the PT-11. We use our dinghy like a pickup truck and beaching wheels make hauling it up any shore (including stones up to about 6” diameter) a breeze. Sails well too.

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3 hours ago, Zonker said:

We hung out with the Hotspurs a lot when we were in Savusavu. They have a daughter Danielle's age - a rare find out there cruising with teens!

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A couple of things 

1 There have been a number of reports of serious corrosion of ali ribs. One that I have seen was condemned at 18 months. There seems to be an issue with the glued seam between the tube and the floor. Both Highfields and ABs have had problems.

2 You get unlucky and somehow you have a hole in your rib. If it is a glass rib get it on the foredeck invert it and an hours work with glass cloth and epoxy will see you back in business. Finding a welder my be tougher. I suppose you could always bog it as a temp repair.

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14 hours ago, sshow bob said:

I can't disagree with that - would love to build a PT11.  The issue is the dog jumping from the dinghy to the boat and back.  Calls for the buoyancy of an inflatable at the rail. 

Yeah, no way a 60lb dog would work in a PT11. When we needed extra capacity we dragged around a semi-disposable dinghy. There are a surprising number of dink’s on Maine Craigslist - a non of the inflatables have leaks - imagine that!

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I would purchase a 9 or 10 foot aluminum bottom AB, Highfield or Tug RIB.  The Tug is a new manufacturer whose owner worked for AB and Caribe. She knows what she is talking about and the RIB may be a littler less expensive.  For an outboard I would place a 15 or 20 HP Mercury or Tahatsu (?) motor.

 

TF

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1 hour ago, Alcatraz5768 said:

https://octenders.co.nz/

 

expeeeeeeensive but pretty cool. 

We gave long and hard consideration to one of those. Very nice boats, we met the guy that designed and builds them in Opua a few years ago.

We decided to take the path of least resistance when in Oz to get a Highfield. Much about the OC appealed, but without getting a chance to ride around in one I didn't want to take a chance that I wouldn't like the way they feel and operate. A RIB is a...safe...option for a cruiser.

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Those look pretty cool - but are pretty expensive plus expensive delivery here. 

seaker - current boat is North Atlantic Inflatables.  I will withhold judgment until the current issues are addressed, but we are making a different choice this time.

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Have you thought about a 2nd hand portabote? As rugged as a hard dinghy but stows away a bit easier

Give one a try before buying though as they are a bit weird to handle but I love my 8' one

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Yeah I hate the feel riding in Portabotes, but for "light and hard to damage when dragging up a rocky beach", they are a good candidate.

Don't know how stable they are for doggy jumping in. 

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My friend bought one of these last year. He has been quite happy with it:

Rigid Boats

It has the stability of an inflatable, but as durable as a Fiberglass boat.

Sounds like it might tick a lot of your boxes.

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1 minute ago, CyberBOB said:

My friend bought one of these last year. He has been quite happy with it:

Rigid Boats

It has the stability of an inflatable, but as durable as a Fiberglass boat.

Sounds like it might tick a lot of your boxes.

Holy hell those are expensive. $14k for an 8.5"er. Includes engine, but wow 

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1 hour ago, CyberBOB said:

My friend bought one of these last year. He has been quite happy with it:

Rigid Boats

It has the stability of an inflatable, but as durable as a Fiberglass boat.

Sounds like it might tick a lot of your boxes.

Too heavy  You never want to buy anything that you are not able to haul up a beach  A 10ft version would be around 450 lbs with motor

my 10 ft dinghy weighs 190 lbs with motor

 

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6 hours ago, CyberBOB said:

My friend bought one of these last year. He has been quite happy with it:

Rigid Boats

It has the stability of an inflatable, but as durable as a Fiberglass boat.

Sounds like it might tick a lot of your boxes.

We've always thought a hard dignhy with an inflatable hull form has all the disadvantages of a draggy, crappy RIB hull shape without the advantages of a RIB, like light weight and bouncing off the mothership when you come in too hot.

If you want to get the yacht designer in the family worked up, show him one of those...

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It's usually motor boat people who buy that type of thing because they gotta have that big vroom vroom   Having a hydraulic platforon the transoalso helps

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I don't have the attention span to read all the post's so probably already covered...  In your op you didn't go into what you are going to use it for.  The 15-20 rib tow behind Jeep for your RV is nessessary if you have a big fam diving all the time doing long transits on plane.  Ply do it yourself like Zonker is great if you are rowing in 90% and don't want the pia of a outboard.  I would get a walker bay with the sail kit just to piss off the mainers.  Seriously for a couple and or dog who row in and like to sail a WB without the silly floaties is a pretty indestructible choice that most people confuse for a trad dingy from afar.

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1 hour ago, SASSAFRASS said:

I don't have the attention span to read all the post's so probably already covered...  In your op you didn't go into what you are going to use it for.  The 15-20 rib tow behind Jeep for your RV is nessessary if you have a big fam diving all the time doing long transits on plane.  Ply do it yourself like Zonker is great if you are rowing in 90% and don't want the pia of a outboard.  I would get a walker bay with the sail kit just to piss off the mainers.  Seriously for a couple and or dog who row in and like to sail a WB without the silly floaties is a pretty indestructible choice that most people confuse for a trad dingy from afar.

If sshow_bob were a little smaller, you could stick them in a Pudgy and make a Maine statement.

It's actually a great little boat for the area, but they could use a version about two feet longer.

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My Avon RIB 310 is 28 years old, fiberglass bottom off rocks, oyster encrusted rocks, years of 12 months a year service in the PNW.  Sorry they aren't available anymore, rep'd them for 10 years and it was my parting gift.  Still using it.  Roger on the epoxy and glass for simple repairs and reinforcements.  Hypalon is worth the money!

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5 hours ago, B.J. Porter said:

If you want to get the yacht designer in the family worked up, show him one of those...

And me too. Stupid, stupid idea. There are big commercial aluminum boats that they take a ton of effort to make aluminum "tubes" that are so hard to build.

The real reason RIB's ride so well in a seaway is that the tubes deform upward as they hit the waves. Like a pneumatic tire on a car - and car tires are around 35 psi while RIBs are maybe what 2-3 psi?

2 hours ago, B.J. Porter said:

Ply do it yourself like Zonker is great if you are rowing in 90% and don't want the pia of a outboard

Well the dinghy in my photo was powered by a 15 HP :).  It's a pure planing hull with an immersed transom, though rowing it is easier than a RIB.

On our first boat we had an 11' stitch and glue nesting rowboat (like the PT11 but only single chine because I am lazier than Russell about building stuff). It was a pure rowboat and so effortless to row. But anything bigger than a 3.5 was overpowering it.

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@sshow bob, what is it about your current inflatable that disappoints you? Is it mainly the quality issues, or are there particular performance aspects you'd want to get out of the RIB? Are you attached to reusing the 4hp, or open to upping hp?

Edited by j 4

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Nice to realize you designed those GVs, @Zonker . I spent a lot of time, years ago, thinking about building a 10 or 11. 

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On 6/2/2019 at 11:43 PM, Alcatraz5768 said:

https://octenders.co.nz/

 

expeeeeeeensive but pretty cool. 

Wow, those are neat.

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33 minutes ago, Ajax said:
On 6/3/2019 at 3:43 PM, Alcatraz5768 said:

https://octenders.co.nz/

 

expeeeeeeensive but pretty cool. 

Wow, those are neat.

They really are. I still kind of wish we hadn't gotten cold feet and stuck with with a RIB. We were quite close to pulling the trigger on one.

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FYI - the double bottom issue.

My Avon RIB has a flat floor and enclosed space. It is nice to keep the water off your feet, it runs aft to the sump back in the stern. It was also a huge PITA because water would slowly get in there and add a lot weight to the boat and there was no way to get it out except haul the boat out of the water and pull the plug :angry:

I added an inspection port so I can pump out the space with a bilge pump :)

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5 hours ago, j 4 said:


@sshow bob, what is it about your current inflatable that disappoints you? Is it mainly the quality issues, or are there particular performance aspects you'd want to get out of the RIB? Are you attached to reusing the 4hp, or open to upping hp?

The current boat burst. Its navy blue, and was a good looking dinghy, but it appears that it soaks up too much heat, even in Maine. It did not have any over-pressure relief valves. From a utility perspective, it worked perfectly well.  Its 10' with an air keel and aluminum deck to protect against the dog's claws. It planed with I human, 4hp, and a clean bottom. I am working with the vendor to see it repaired, and will assess what to do with it then.  The vendor is providing us with a loaner so we are not out of commission while we shop. 

We are not wedded to using only the 4hp.  (As a starting point, I will turn it into a 6hp the next time the carb needs servicing, since that's known science.)  I would probably buy the dinghy today and a bigger engine in a little while, to spread out the purchases. 

 

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Just now, sshow bob said:

The current boat burst. Its navy blue, and was a good looking dinghy, but it appears that it soaks up too much heat, even in Maine. It did not have any over-pressure relief valves. From a utility perspective, it worked perfectly well.  Its 10' with an air keel and aluminum deck to protect against the dog's claws. It planed with I human, 4hp, and a clean bottom. I am working with the vendor to see it repaired, and will assess what to do with it then.  The vendor is providing us with a loaner so we are not out of commission while we shop. 

We are not wedded to using only the 4hp.  (As a starting point, I will turn it into a 6hp the next time the carb needs servicing, since that's known science.)  I would probably buy the dinghy today and a bigger engine in a little while, to spread out the purchases. 

 

If you want a cheap boat, go here:

https://www.boatstogo.com/

Considering the price point, if the things self destruct after 5-6 years you probably still did OK. As far as engines go, here is my advice:

1. Get a used 2 stroke. Light = good.

2. Go small or go big. You can get a 2-3 hp range old 2-stroke you can pick up with one finger and go 4 or 5 knots. You can go 15-20 hp and go fast. If you get into the 6-9 hp range, you gain weight and can plane *some of the time*. This can be frustrating, I can go 15 knots and be in town in 20 minutes to buy ice or I can take an hour to get to town as soon as someone else comes with me. I did the 15 HP deal. I actually have two, a 15 HP Evinrude for the RIB and a 15 HP Yamaha for the Whaler.

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11 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

FYI - the double bottom issue.

My Avon RIB has a flat floor and enclosed space. It is nice to keep the water off your feet, it runs aft to the sump back in the stern. It was also a huge PITA because water would slowly get in there and add a lot weight to the boat and there was no way to get it out except haul the boat out of the water and pull the plug :angry:

I added an inspection port so I can pump out the space with a bilge pump :)

That's ultimately what did our "West Marine by Avon" RIB, a leak in the double bottom. It drove us nuts.

The aluminum boats have a double floor, but it's open.

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We have a aqua pro that's got a fair bit of milage, starting to see some fatigue cracks but it has served us very well. Lots of PNW hard beach landings and one or two rock piles down south. If I had it to do over I would get a unpainted aluminum RIB. Once oxidation gets a bite you are fighting a uphill battle.  Probably the biggest distinction is wether you can comfortably tow the dingy most of the time or not.  If towing is a easy option then you are not locked into anything.  Pulling a outboard 10hp and up sucks in a hernia giving way. Just pulling the dingy up on davits or a halyard is not a big deal but the full break down for transits can get pretty old.  Most dog people we know IE walk and poop every morning people have a pretty simple set up.  It can really limit your scope of cruising by the hassle factor, IE going to a dock more than you would otherwise.  I don't think any of the design factors etc make a whole lot of difference outside of how easy it is for you to do your daily routine with out a ton of effort.

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7 hours ago, SASSAFRASS said:

We have a aqua pro that's got a fair bit of milage, starting to see some fatigue cracks but it has served us very well. Lots of PNW hard beach landings and one or two rock piles down south. If I had it to do over I would get a unpainted aluminum RIB. Once oxidation gets a bite you are fighting a uphill battle.  Probably the biggest distinction is wether you can comfortably tow the dingy most of the time or not.  If towing is a easy option then you are not locked into anything.  Pulling a outboard 10hp and up sucks in a hernia giving way. Just pulling the dingy up on davits or a halyard is not a big deal but the full break down for transits can get pretty old.  Most dog people we know IE walk and poop every morning people have a pretty simple set up.  It can really limit your scope of cruising by the hassle factor, IE going to a dock more than you would otherwise.  I don't think any of the design factors etc make a whole lot of difference outside of how easy it is for you to do your daily routine with out a ton of effort.

My RIB tows fine with the engine on. When I had a soft inflatable that would not safely tow with an engine on I had a Honda 2 (2.5?) little engine I could easily pick up with one hand.

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12 hours ago, B.J. Porter said:

That's ultimately what did our "West Marine by Avon" RIB, a leak in the double bottom. It drove us nuts.

The aluminum boats have a double floor, but it's open.

They leak from a few places. If you don't put Teflon thread tape on the plug water gets in there and any fittings drilled into the floor can leak water. If you drag the boat over rough sand and/or rocks enough times you can wear a hole in the bottom too. I have mine down to only needing a pump every couple of weeks and it only gets about a gallon in that time. I epoxied an extra layer of fiberglass onto the wear point up near the bow. If that gets sanded through I'll do it again or maybe buy this:

https://www.amazon.com/KeelShield-KS-5ROY-Protector-5-Feet-Royal/dp/B004C0HBCE/ref=asc_df_B004C0HBCE/?tag=bingshoppinga-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid={creative}&hvpos={adposition}&hvnetw=o&hvrand={random}&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl={devicemodel}&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=&hvtargid=pla-4583932699608187&psc=1

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6 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

They leak from a few places. If you don't put Teflon thread tape on the plug water gets in there and any fittings drilled into the floor can leak water. If you drag the boat over rough sand and/or rocks enough times you can wear a hole in the bottom too. I have mine down to only needing a pump every couple of weeks and it only gets about a gallon in that time. I epoxied an extra layer of fiberglass onto the wear point up near the bow. If that gets sanded through I'll do it again or maybe buy this:

https://www.amazon.com/KeelShield-KS-5ROY-Protector-5-Feet-Royal/dp/B004C0HBCE/ref=asc_df_B004C0HBCE/?tag=bingshoppinga-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid={creative}&hvpos={adposition}&hvnetw=o&hvrand={random}&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl={devicemodel}&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=&hvtargid=pla-4583932699608187&psc=1

Ours was filling up overnight...

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Sorry about falling off my own thread there - its been a busy few days. I appreciate all the input.

First and foremost, North Atlantic is engaged and working with me to solve the issue with our existing dinghy.  As part of that they've lent us a 10' aluminum floor RIB (with a deck but no locker). Maybe more about all that when its done, but for the moment I have a boat to use and to experience what I'd be getting even if from a different brand.  4hp will plane it with just me on it, but getting on the plane takes a little while and maybe a scootch.   The boat behaves substantially less well at displacement speeds than the air keel did.  I presume this is because there's a lot more boat in the water.  We will want more engine, as you've all said. 

Portland Pudgy is cool but not what I am looking for. My very own Portland Pudgy business card is attached from my trip with the to the Miami Boatshow to help sell them their first winter. 

Pudgy Card.jpg

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If you are by yourself in a 10ft dinghy then the weight will be too far aft.  Put a 3ft extension on the tiller and you will notice a huge difference.

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The towing comment above was more about the seastate in your given cruising area being condusive to towing a dingy vs having to stow in davits or on deck for transits.

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On 6/2/2019 at 3:01 PM, B.J. Porter said:

We don't have the skills to make a pattern for the dinghy yet. We don't have the mechanical skills to execute it, the knowledge of making things from cloth to design such a thing. We have never in our lives made anything from scratch without a pattern, except for some simple curtains for the boat and one jerry can cover that doesn't fit right.

We just aren't ready.

It's a WAY complex project, and easy way to piss away $500+ worth of materials and many hours on a crap project, when we're still working out how to make a rectangular cover for a jerry can work out.

Trust me, we have discussed this at length with each other, with other cruisers that have done this, with sewing on boat groups, etc.

Our skill level now is "small, squarish things that don't move."

 

If we could buy a pattern for our dinghy we'd be much more likely give it a go. Then it's mostly measuring, cutting and stitching.

My first unassisted sewing project was to make all the cushion covers for my boat. *SOME* of them are rectangular.

They look OK and when I get tired of them or they're trashed I know I can do it myself and do it better next time round.

Have a go. You never learn if you don't fail a few times on the way. It can't be hard to make patterns for something as simply shaped as buoyancy chambers. Glue the paper together, see how it fits, draw some new lines, try again before you go near material. Masking tape is your friend here.

On dinghies I have a 8' aluminium hard dinghy and a Chameleon hard nesting dinghy. We trashed too many inflatables and RIBs in my old work job for me to want one of my own.

FKT

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That's great that North Atlantic is both working with you, and loaning you a RIB you can learn from in the meantime. 

Not sure where in Maine you spend most of your time, but I've found a fiberglass bottom to be perfectly adequate in Casco Bay. At some point I expect I'll get a KeelShield like Kent_Island posted, but wear so far hasn't been bad enough to warrant it. (If I'm bringing it fully ashore I usually throw the wheels down instead of just dragging it on its bottom, which has surely helped.) If I were dropping a dog on rocks a few times a day, I'd probably throw one on right off the bat.

Unless you decide you REALLY want a bow locker, I'd take a look at light weight/single skin RIBs if/when you decide to replace yours. They tend to have a shallower v than double skins, which would both help you get a bit more out of your 4hp on plane, and should perform less like a barge in displacement mode, than the one you're borrowing. If you eventually did decide you needed/wanted more power, it could handle it fine. For a couple years, the tender for a yacht I ran was an AB 9VL. I regretted picking the 9' instead of a 10' almost immediately, but it performed and held up well enough that I'd consider the 10' version if I were RIB shopping again (and had the money in the budget).

For whatever it's worth, my own RIB (the one that mostly gets used in Casco Bay) is a PVC West Marine RIB-310 Compact. If money hadn't been so tight when I bought it, I can think of a few alternatives I surely would've bought instead, two of them Hypalon. But it's served well enough over 15 years of varied use that I'm quite satisfied with the boat for what it is, and the PVC, and would consider both again. (This one gets seasonal doses of 303 UV spray, and had a diy set of chaps on it for a year in the tropics; it would never get confused for new, but still looks relatively presentable.) Considering you're happy with the way your boat performs, this one might be worthy of note to you for one main reason- it's bottom is basically a fiberglass version of the air keel you have, and it actually weighs less, so planing, displacement, and towing performance might be pretty close to what you're used to, and it might let you stick with your outboard. (I run mine with a 15hp, so can't guarantee, but if you're near by this summer, you'd be welcome to throw your 4 on it and give it a try.)

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10' porta-bote. plenty of capacity, faster than an inflatable, easier to store, won't care about rocky shores.

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59 minutes ago, jfdubu said:

10' porta-bote. plenty of capacity, faster than an inflatable, easier to store, won't care about rocky shores.

And when you need to step on the gunwale to board, what happens?

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You swim. Don't step on the gunwhale of a hard dinghy. You can step on a seat if you're holding the rail of the big boat. Or have one of those little hanging steps to make boarding easier.

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On 6/6/2019 at 11:13 AM, Fah Kiew Tu said:

My first unassisted sewing project was to make all the cushion covers for my boat. *SOME* of them are rectangular.

They look OK and when I get tired of them or they're trashed I know I can do it myself and do it better next time round.

Have a go. You never learn if you don't fail a few times on the way. It can't be hard to make patterns for something as simply shaped as buoyancy chambers. Glue the paper together, see how it fits, draw some new lines, try again before you go near material. Masking tape is your friend here.

On dinghies I have a 8' aluminium hard dinghy and a Chameleon hard nesting dinghy. We trashed too many inflatables and RIBs in my old work job for me to want one of my own.

FKT

We're learning by failing at smaller projects with cheaper materials.

If I owned a nailgun and some power tools, I wouldn't go buy $50K worth of lumber and start trying to build a house. I'd start with something like a storage bin or workbench, maybe a doghouse or something first.

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9 hours ago, Zonker said:

You swim. Don't step on the gunwhale of a hard dinghy. You can step on a seat if you're holding the rail of the big boat. Or have one of those little hanging steps to make boarding easier.

It was a rhetorical question.

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Boarding and standing in a porta bote takes some getting use to but I can go from the water to strapped on the deck in 10-15 minutes and back in the water in less than 10. I throw mine on my shoulder and walk down the dock and most importantly the admiral's butt doesn't get wet when we go from the anchorage to dinner in Newport. I've had three inflatables, all were wet. Funny looking yes, but very functional. Ohh and don't stand on the gunwhale.

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The 10' and up PBs are reasonably stable, my friends have two Austrian Shepard's they load into one with no probs all the time

I have the 8' which is a noticeably less stable but fine for just me.

Planes with a 3.5 hp

Edit: the really old double enders are super wobbly however

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Thank you all for your input on this thread. I wanted to follow up, in particular because North Atlantic Inflatables stepped up and treated us well, and I would like this thread to reflect that.  I have no connection to them, other than as customer.

NAI took our old inflatable back from us for repair, and instead proposed crediting me in full toward the purchase price toward a new dinghy.  They loaned us an aluminum RIB with deck to try out, and we are going to take them up on their offer of credit, and buy an upgraded boat from them.  We are still considering size and options, but expect to consummate the deal this week.  For what its worth, we've learned that when the current owners of the company purchased NAI, there were two factories with contracts. One made the RIBs and the other the air keel boats.  The factory making the air keel boats at that time did not include over-pressure valves.  The current owners terminated that contract and now all boats come from the preferable factory, and all include pressure relief valves.  Since many NAI boats are navy blue, this is essential. My boat was made under that old contract.  NAI decided that the error lay with them, and is making us whole.  This offer came unsolicited, and we appreciate it. 

We are currently running their 9 foot aluminum rib with deck.  For what its worth, our 4hp Tohatsu will plane it with one adult, and is adequate with four adults (three more fit than I am) and a 60 pound dog.  I will want a much more powerful engine at some point, but for the moment I'm going to carb swap the engine and turn it into a 6hp, and wait for the right deal.

The questions remaining at 9' or 10'; and, bow locker or not.

Thank you again for your help!

SSB

 

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We did the carb swap, 4-6 on our Merc (same engine as the tohatsu) - easy diy - took about 30 mins, cost ~$150cdn iirc, so well worth it.

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Resuscitating this thread and hoping to piggyback off of Bob's experience as we're looking at air floor dinghies ourselves.  We don't have davits or a trailer and don't plan on getting either, so light weight and portability are important.  We're choosing between three options (and hoping to order this weekend to have on hand before labor day):

  • North Atlantic Inflatables 8'8": We like that they're local(-ish) and stand behind their product, based on Bob's experience.  5-year warranty is a plus.  Also, I am shallow, and a navy dink would look great next to our boat.
  • Saturn Azzurro Mare 9'6": The motorbotors over on THT have said good things about Saturn generally.  I don't put much stock in the "heat-welded seams, top-of-the-line German Mehler PVC, and upgraded inflation valves" (should I? It sounds like marketing puffery), but it also comes with a 5-year warranty and chaps, which strikes me a huge bonus.
  • Newport Inflatables Seascape: People have had good experiences dealing with these guys out of California, and I like the sound of larger tubes to ride higher in a light chop.

As I mentioned elsewhere, this will mostly be used as a taxi to get us to and from the dock for a couple weeks a year when we're on vacation away from our home harbor, and spend the rest of the year packed away in a duffel bag in our basement, though we might beach it once or twice a year in the Elizabeth Islands or Penobscot.  I'm assuming we'll get five years' use out of it, give or take, and upgrade to a hypalon model once we have a better sense of how we used our first dinghy and likes and dislikes.

Any recommendations among the above?

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