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bikeandboat 06-07-2015 10:34 AM

Traveling without a dinghy
We are close to purchasing a trawler. We sold our previous trawler last year and have been missing having one. A problem we had with the previous boat and it appears to be a problem with the boat we are considering is a good way to carry a dinghy. So, how many travel without a dinghy? Most of our travels will be on rivers and intercoastal, but a gulf crossing is always possible.

Nomad Willy 06-07-2015 10:44 AM

What do you do when your boat sinks?

CPseudonym 06-07-2015 10:51 AM


Originally Posted by manyboats (Post 339099)
What do you do when your boat sinks?

Good grief, let's hope it doesn't come to that.

A dinghy contrary to some opinions is not a PFD. We do not have one and our time afloat is well enjoyed.

Brooksie 06-07-2015 11:11 AM

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Always take my dinghy with me, kids and I like to row and sail it when in harbor so I tow it on my Downeast boat. On my trawler it is on the roof, Since I need it it for excecise and since I am singlehanding mostly it saves a lot of singlehanded docking.

READY2GO 06-07-2015 11:15 AM


Originally Posted by bikeandboat (Post 339094)
We are close to purchasing a trawler. We sold our previous trawler last year and have been missing having one. A problem we had with the previous boat and it appears to be a problem with the boat we are considering is a good way to carry a dinghy. So, how many travel without a dinghy? Most of our travels will be on rivers and intercoastal, but a gulf crossing is always possible.

We always carry a dingy. The one trip I made without one it was sorely missed. Any boat can carry a dingy even it you have to spring a couple of grand for custom davits. Worth every penny in my opinion. I would not want to have to pay for a marina every time I wanted to get off the boat. But everyone is different. If your plans are marina hopping then I guess it could be done, but having a dink opens up a lot more possibilities.

ranger42c 06-07-2015 11:26 AM

We nearly always travel with a dinghy, started back in the days when we had the big dogs aboard, carried over to subsequent dogs, etc. But even without the critters, we find it very useful.

(We even have ours rigged so I can launch it in an emergency with just a couple of line slashes.)

But FWIW, we began working the "how would we carry it" issue during our mothership shopping stages. IOW, we selected a boat that could carry a dinghy, one way or the other.

It's also possible to sort it a bit more by picking a dinghy that speaks to the "how must I carry it" question. More compromises here, but generally solve-able.

"Systems of systems" approach.


HiDHo 06-07-2015 12:04 PM

We always traveled with a hard dingy, Nutshell Pram with sail. which is a nice dinghy to build if you have the skills to do it. I had never built a boat prior to the NP and it was a fun project. Plans are still available if you want to go that route. If your cruising includes the Bahamas you will need a dinghy.
We now use a 8' inflatable which fits into a bag that's about 3' long 2' high and wide it stows nicely out of the sun in the dock box we have on ouir boat deck until we need it. We use a 2HP Yamaha 2 stroke outboard motor for propulsion.

bikeandboat 06-07-2015 12:42 PM

What about towing Vs carrying a dinghy?

FlyWright 06-07-2015 01:19 PM

There's also the option of collapsing the inflatable and storing it in the lazarette until needed. It's a bit more work, but it's an option many live with.

BandB 06-07-2015 01:38 PM

We love our dinghies. Even though we normally stay at marinas we love to just get out and explore in our Rib's. However, we know people who have no use for them. Some who dock at marinas but if they want to explore, prefer to rent. Some who prefer to tow, which we have no interest in doing. It's just a personal use kind of thing.

caltexflanc 06-07-2015 01:53 PM

I consider the big boat to be the delivery vehicle for the dinghy, kind of like the 747 carrying the space shuttle. Since we boat to anchor out and use moorings, I couldn't cruise without one. Even when we dock, the dink is almost always deployed for fun and exploration. And yes, towing is a definite option, takes some practice for close quarters maneuvering, but what doesn't?

I have seen people with pocket trawlers such as C Dorys essentially use their boat the way we use a dinghy, but that kills some of the fun, and a lot of of the places you can get into (such as a dinghy dock!).

Heron 06-07-2015 02:06 PM


Originally Posted by caltexflanc (Post 339135)
I couldn't cruise without one. Even when we dock, the dink is almost always deployed for fun and exploration.

Yup...We've been having some fun since I got ours mounted on the step with snap brackets. Cramming 36' worth of boat stuff into a 28 footer has been a challenge, But I think w got it!,rrrfbqrdr..._135653-vi.jpg

TDunn 06-07-2015 02:09 PM

I tow mine. It is shared between two boats. Neither boat has davits or a place on board for the dinghy.

Northern Spy 06-07-2015 02:16 PM

I carry two 8' kayaks, one 9'6" roll up inflatable, and on occasion, tow a 9' Minto sailing dinghy. A 2hp Honda will go on the inflatable.

All this on a 26' boat, without looking too unwieldy.

Steve 06-07-2015 02:33 PM

A dinghy will come in handy, especially at the beaches along the ICW. There are some really nice ones that you can anchor near and paddle or motor in with a dinghy. It is hard to be sure but it looks on you avatar picture that your boat has a swim platform, maybe one back there on weaver davits? If not maybe an inflatable, carried collapsed on board?
Some folks have good luck towing, I am sure I'd be backing over the tow line one day! Some friends in a 60 footer once got the towing line wrapped around their prop, before they noticed the line pulled the dinghy under and the prop took some big bites out of it.
Good luck either way

GoldenDawn 06-07-2015 02:50 PM

Our dinghy (RHIB) frees us from going dock-to-dock. It is also our exploration vehicle.

And because we are a single screw, it could be our "get-home" in a pinch (have done this once).

DavidM 06-07-2015 02:52 PM

This has been a popular thread. Fourteen responses in 4 hours. Many of the postings didn't address the OP's real question: is it possible to cruise without a dinghy. So I'll give it a shot:

My answer is certainly yes, but there are ways of having your cake and eat it too. I have a good friend who is a full time cruiser. He has a dinghy but because of his bad luck with outboards he has decided to limit its use to a trolling motor and as a result he doesn't use the dinghy much.

But he makes it work. Mostly by seeking out free docks. Active Captain is a great resource for this. In our area of NC there are free docks in; Oriental, Bath, Washington, Edenton, Elizabeth City, Manteo and almost free (with a Golden Age passport) in Ocracoke. I probably missed a few.

So if it were me I would give it try. But I definitely would buy a roll up dinghy and store it in the aft cockpit or a big lazarette. Other solutions include a kayak. Also there is nothing wrong with towing an RIB, just don't go offshore with one under tow. Storms can sink it and you will have no way of emptying it during heavy wind and seas.

And finally a word about dinghies as a safety device. Sure a real life raft is better, but if my boat starts taking on water and I can't control it, I have the dinghy to save my ass. It won't ride out 20' seas but I don't ever expect to be in them. Wherever I cruise a dinghy will work reasonably well as a life raft. Even a roll up can be inflated with a 12V inflater in 5 minutes. Don't leave home without it.


Codger2 06-07-2015 02:59 PM

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Originally Posted by bikeandboat (Post 339094)
So, how many travel without a dinghy?

We don't use a dinghy as everywhere we go includes a mooring, dock or a slip. (Except for anchoring of course.) The dinghy you see in my avatar will hopefully be gone tomorrow morning to a new home. We will add a life raft, either on the bow with a hydro static release or in a valise, stowed??????

Revere Coastal Elite Life Raft

Having been a Rescue Swimmer when I was in the Navy, I formed some pretty hard & fast opinions on what was needed when the ship sank. A well stocked abandon ship bag, an EPIRB, shelter from the elements & an easily deployed life raft were my minimum requirements. Although a hand held VHF was not available to us back then, today it is almost mandatory. (Short answer to the OP's question? We don't carry one as we don't consider it to be a very good life boat. The Reveres (life rafts) are half the price of a Switlik.)

High Wire 06-07-2015 03:25 PM

My vote is to aways take a dinghy. Last year bringing my trawler around from the storage yard, I thought it would be easier to bring the new-to-us dinghy to the boat after delivery. wrong. Not 100 yards from our new dock, we bumped bottom and wound up aground on the lee side of the narrow channel. So we had to call Sea Tow instead of using our dinghy to place the anchor to kedge off the bar.

bikeandboat 06-07-2015 03:26 PM

A couple notes: The avatar is the boat I sold. We have not made a purchase of a new (used) boat, but have one in strong consideration.

We have a Lehr 2 1/2 HP outboard that runs on propane. Neat little outboard.

We do enjoy anchoring and will seek out free docks. There are some really good ones, surprisingly.

We have towed in the past, which is OK on rivers and small bays. Not OK in big stuff, but I have been told that an experienced boater can tow a dinghy in big rough stuff if you do certain things. Not sure what those are.

The Weaver snap davits would not be just what I want on the boat we are considering, but may be the better choice if we do not tow, if we take a dinghy.

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