Westsail Owners Alliance - Post: "Dinghies"
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Post: "Dinghies"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012

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- Archived Message from Inactive Forum -

Mike McCoy

I have to agree a fatty knees is certainly 'shippy' looking.

In my travels around the W Caribbean I've seen VERY few hard dinghys in actual use. Not sure why, but mainly those I do see are used by those I feel are (how do I say this diplomatically) pretty much 'down & out', living on a shoestring. Not sure why that would be but there it is.

The first real lesson I learned cruising is that your dinghy is at least as, or even almost more important that your big sailboat. It's like your car at home. It really truly is your MAIN day to day transportation. Purchase accordingly.

I started out with a 9' (PVC, HP floor) Zodiac & 2 hp 4 stroke Honda. It was great for calm weather, weekending, stowed nicely and was reliable and economical. But I was literally beating it to death putting it to use in a 'real' cruising environment.

I took a look around and adopted what I saw experienced cruisers using: an inflatable Hypalon RIB with a big outboard.

The most common dinghy rig I see down here is a 10-12 ft Caribe RIB with a 15 HP Yamaha. Not having davits I opted for the smallest/lightest rig I could handle singlehanded and stow on the foredeck : a 10' Hypalon APEX light RIB with an 8 hp Yamaha 'Enduro'. The Enduro is a simpler Central American model outboard. Maybe it's due to environmental laws but U.S. made outboards are different, more complex and correct parts are harder to find and are thus harder to service here.

Bottom line is, if you really are CRUISING, practicality & functionality is much more important than asthetics.

Also, if you plan to cruise below,say 30 deg long, have a cover made for your inflatable. One that covers the tops of the tubes with a fabric like sunbrella but also with a thick, abrasive resistant vinyl 'trim' over the bow and along the sides of the tubes. The biggest source of damage/punctures/tears/etc. is due to the dinghy banging up against the dinghy dock and a good cover will protect the dinghy fabric from the sun as well.

Finally, something to consider is where you gonna stow the mast/boom/sails/centerboard etc. of that sailing rig? I've seen only two boats with a sailing dinghy. One, the guy really does sail it everywhere he needs to go. Truly 'hardcore'. I'm sure he plans his visits to the town/store carefully though. The only time I saw the other one in use was when the grandkids visited

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