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Old 11-23-2012, 04:35 PM   #1
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Inflatable Boat or Hard Dinghy

My boat has davits on the stern which I am told are good for up to 300 # each. I had pretty much made up my mind that the only option for a dingy would be a hard bottom inflatable until I spoke with a buddy that had an Egg Harbor and he tried a soft bottom inflatable, then a hard bottom RIB inflatable then finally towed a 12 ft. aluminum boat behind him. The reasons why are, because the Canadian waters are cold in the spring and fall he feels that inflatables are a really wet ride and if used for fishing or even going to shore where there is any chop or boat traffic you end up with a wet a$$. I will be using it to do some fishing for sure and certainly times in cold conditions when fully dressed but I do not want to tow a boat when I have a lovely set of davits to get it up out of water. My boat has an 11 1/2 ft beam so don't want to be any wider than that and likely a bit shorter. Thoughts, suggestions, other alternatives I may not have explored??

Allan
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Old 11-23-2012, 04:47 PM   #2
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Allan, I don't find our 340 RIB to be wet at all, but sure think there are advantages to solid hull dink. As far as fishing goes, I often TRY to catch fish and find that our RIB tends to get blown around quite a bit if there is any wind.
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:35 PM   #3
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We have a Portland Pudgy, which is relatively short (7'8") but very stable and laughs at rocks & barnacles. It is realistically a three person dinghy and accepts a max 2 HP outboard, but rows well and has an optional sailkit, which is a real hoot.

Portland Pudgy safety dinghy, inflatable boat, or fiberglass dinghy?
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:48 PM   #4
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Looks like a great boat Conrad. NOT cheap but made put of cheap materials or have I got that wrong?
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:21 PM   #5
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Looks like a great boat Conrad. NOT cheap but made put of cheap materials or have I got that wrong?
Hi there Eric,

It is made of rotomoulded polyethylene, which I couldn't comment on as to whether it is cheap or not. I do know that in the three summers we've used it, other than the odd scratches from the rocks and barnacles it looks almost brand new.

For us it is ideal for cruising the BC coast where the beaches are tough on inflatables, and it is very stable.

But it is pricey, no question.
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Old 11-23-2012, 07:25 PM   #6
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Allan,
Having spent 5 seasons doing the Great Circle Cruise, with a top of the line RIB, I definately suggest a HARD DINGHY, period.
It should be carried up right with the motor on it. It is your transportation so it should be easy to launch and retreive.
The tubes on an inflatable require constant attention and there is the problem of punctures no matter how careful one is.
My experience only.
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Old 11-23-2012, 07:46 PM   #7
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Tin boats are what many hard core cruisers suggest...inexpensive (used market), tough, light, easily driven....great utility...just not pretty and they aren't the most comfortable unless you add a few items. They are usually one of the last stolen too...

Oooops...just reread...I don't recommend to many hard dinks less than 12 feet...a RHIB may be the next best unless you go with something like a Livingston but I have no experience with them.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:18 PM   #8
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Hardshell dinghies are our preference. We have two on our boat, a Montgomery sailing dinghy and a Livingston. As I've stated before my only complaint about the Livingston is its lack of freeboard when carrying a full load. Our intention is to replace the Livingston with a 10' Bullfrog in the not-too-distant future. They combine the best of both worlds-- the floatation and freeboard of an RIB with the toughness and longevity of a hardshell. Photo is Carey's 10' Bullfrog and our 9' Livingston.



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Old 11-23-2012, 08:28 PM   #9
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We have two fibreglass Livingstons, a 7.5-ft and a 9-ft. They are well made and very stable being beamy and catamaran hulls. No problem for one or two people standing up (to cast or retrieve your catch) and carry lots of cargo relative to prettier hard dinks. Not the lightest or fastest rowing or motoring but great for rocky west coast beaches. We have hung them of traditional stern overhang davits and on the swim platform with Weaver snap davits.
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:01 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone, I did look at the Pudgy and it certainly looks stable and unsinkable but the 2 HP limitation was an issue to get anywhere in relatively good time. I also hear some things that support the arguments against inflatables. Think I will have a look at hard dinks at the Toronto boat show in January. Like the look of both the Livingston and the bullfrog, I'll check them out.

Thanks
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:13 PM   #11
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We have an AB RIB and love it. Our old Avon had a pointed bow and we constantly had wet butts. The AB has a square bow which makes for a much drier ride. We do a lot of cruising in the Bahamas and Florida so a hard bottom is a must. We have a crane and carry the dink on top.
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:10 PM   #12
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On our new boat, we had to choose between keeping the old RIB sink and getting something larger. We ended up with a 13' Boston Whaler, which is carried on top. It planes well and is a stable fishing platform.
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:39 AM   #13
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Ours came with a 9' Livingston and a set of oars. Yawn.

When we financially recover from buying the boat (please don't say anything to disturb our post-purchase 'glow') we plan to get something with a bit more surf frolicking, river exploring, rock garden rebound wave sizzle...something like a Dux PD-400 HammerHead;

HammerHead PD-400

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Old 11-24-2012, 05:59 AM   #14
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Condom boats stink when rowed.

A good hard dink not only rows (or sails)well ,it is not burden ed by the clutter demanded to be aboard a powered dink.

No registration , no fees , and oars always work.

Teach your bride to row , and she wont need a dock (at $5.00 a foot O'nite) just to go for a walk.)
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:52 AM   #15
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Quote:
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Ours came with a 9' Livingston and a set of oars. Yawn.

When we financially recover from buying the boat (please don't say anything to disturb our post-purchase 'glow') we plan to get something with a bit more surf frolicking, river exploring, rock garden rebound wave sizzle...something like a Dux PD-400 HammerHead;

HammerHead PD-400

Murray
Are you serious Murray, that outboard would be way too heavy to work as a tender motor..? You'd have to tow it everywhere, and it would be a dog to tow as well, the transom would dig in and drag so much.
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:30 AM   #16
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Are you serious Murray, that outboard would be way too heavy to work as a tender motor..? You'd have to tow it everywhere, and it would be a dog to tow as well, the transom would dig in and drag so much.
You're right about the outboard shown is way too big...its advertised to the white-knuckle, hang on for dear life adrenaline junkie crowd who like to rip around at 70 miles an hour.

I'd put something MUCH smaller on the back.

We'd use it to get close to exposed rocky shores, into little tiny pocket beaches, up creeks, etc, so I can go photographing. The kind of places we used to get to with our sea kayaks.
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:55 AM   #17
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We'd use it to get close to exposed rocky shores, into little tiny pocket beaches, up creeks, etc, so I can go photographing. The kind of places we used to get to with our sea kayaks.
Given the rocky, barnacle and oyster encrusted shores in this part of the world, a fabric boat would be at the very bottom of my list of choices for a dinghy/shore/utility boat. In fact a fabric boat wouldn't even be on the list, particularly if one of my stated objectives was to work around and on our shorelines.

At the top of my list would be the Bullfrog (they are available in sizes larger than 10' although the bigger ones, while popular, are butt-ugly). Below that would be things like a larger Livingston (to get more freeboard), a small Boston Whaler, and so on.

As to speed, a Bullfrog, Whaler, or even a larger Livingston can get up and scoot. While this is not recommended, a friend of Carey's bought a 10' Bullfrog and mounted a 40 or 50 hp outboard on it (maximum motor size for this boat is 15 or 20 hp). He then fabricated a stand-up helm consol for the boat. He used it for awhile to "commute" from Bellingham to Friday Harbor in the San Juans to visit his girlfriend. IIRC the boat would exceed 50 mph on decent water.

But we have known or met a sufficient number of people over the years who have experienced damage to their fabric dinghies on our shorelines to know that we would never even consider one for this area unless we knew that virtually all our dinghy use would be to docks or sandy/gravel beaches. An RIB is a bit better than a straight inflatable in this regard, but where the shores are rocky, and particularly where water motion can shove the boat around against the shoreline, even an RIB can suffer damage to its tubes.

And a note about aluminum dinghies (or boats with aluminum bottoms). If you carry an aluminum dinghy in a position where soot from the diesel exhaust of your boat can collect and build up on the bottom of the dinghy, you may be in for a rude awakening. Diesel soot, in combination with moisture, creates a wonderful acid which will eat into and pinhole aluminum. This happened to Carey and the dinghy he bought to replace their failing inflatable. This dinghy was a Duroboat, and because it did not tow well he designed and had fabricated the davits pictured in my earlier post. Suspended directly over the boats exhaust, it wasn't long before his new Duroboat had a covering of soot on its bottom.

One day a couple of years after buying the Duroboat, Carey was out in it when he noticed water was beginning to puddle in the bottom. He eventually traced it to a few leaks in the aluminum skin. Puzzled as to why the bottom skin was leaking, he and a friend got another dinghy and inspected the bottom of the Duroboat when it was hanging from its davits. What they found was pretty amazing. The whole bottom and keel of the Duroboat in the vicinity of his lobsterboat's centerline exhaust was pitted, eaten away, and starting to pinhole. Further investigation turned up the business about diesel soot, moisture, and acid.

There were other things he didn't like about the Duroboat so he had it repaired and then sold it and replaced it with the Bullfrog. The Bullfrog also has an aluminum bottom but unlike the Duroboat's raw aluminum bottom the Bullfrog's V-bottom panel is powder coated and it's easily replaceable.

So, the moral of the story is if you buy an aluminum dinghy or a dinghy with an aluminum bottom, don't carry it on the boat in such a way that diesel exhaust soot can build up on it. Or if you have no other choice, paint or powder coat the aluminum.
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:15 PM   #18
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I agree with Marin's comments. We had a 7.5 Livingston for years that did quite well for us, but the freeboard was low enough you'd think twice about a 2-mile open-water run, but you could run it up to the beaches in the PNW without too much worry. The Avon RIB that replaced it does much better in any chop, but seems much more fragile. The Livingston could be carried across rocks, but the Avon is too big.
We use a tandem Advanced Elements inflatable kayak more than either of the two dinghies and it has stood up to years of rocks and barnacles very well. On a really rocky landing we get our feet wet and carry the boat out of the water, or find somewhere else to get out.
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:33 PM   #19
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Most of the beaches here are glacially rounded gravels, cobbles, or stones, and the barnacles are kept at bay by the large amounts of fresh water pouring off the mountains and out of the valleys.

They may be tougher on the bottom than you think, as there are "hijackers" that would protect the inflated bits;
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Old 11-24-2012, 02:07 PM   #20
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Ours came with a 9' Livingston and a set of oars. Yawn.

When we financially recover from buying the boat (please don't say anything to disturb our post-purchase 'glow') we plan to get something with a bit more surf frolicking, river exploring, rock garden rebound wave sizzle...something like a Dux PD-400 HammerHead;

HammerHead PD-400

Murray
They dont seem to make a model with center steering? Looks good.
Listening to everyones comments i must say this. I used a cheap west marine inflatable for years with a four horse merc 4strk. This little dinghy would fly over the water with one person and only ever had one leak. I loved to putt around in it laying down relaxing because it being soft except for the hard floor was kinda like the couch<smile> i am so fond of. That said, yes hard is better in areas of sharpe rocks like resovoiurs but inflatables ride on top of the water not in it with less likely hood of sinking. More of the boat is above water when filled with water than with hard dinghies in my experiance. My next boat shall have one of each. A hard sailing dinghy mounted on aft cabin room and an inflatable center console hard floored on transom mount
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