SeaHorse II wrote:... if I were cruising extensively in the PNW, I think I would opt for one of the hard bottoms. BullFrog, Livingston, etc.
*My friend Carey has a Bullfrog and we have a Livingston.* While they are both hardshell dinghies I think the Bullfrog is the much better boat.* The Livingston is (or was, I don't know about now) inexpensive, incredibly stable, and nigh on indestructible.* The downside is that when loaded down, the smaller ones like our 9' model have very little freeboard.* Not a problem in a calm anchorage but not what you want if you have to make a trip in rougher water.* They are also limited in horsepower--- the 9' model, for example, is limited to 9hp IIRC.
The Bullfrog, on the other hand, while much more expensive, is just as long-lived but has much better floatation, like an RIB.* It can take much more power-- Carey has a 15hp Honda on his 10' Bullfrog but I believe that model can take even more.* So in addtiion to handling heavy loads better and more safely than the Livingston, it does world's better in rougher water and its much higher speed makes it a viable craft for going from an anchroage seveal miles to a store or community.
in my opinion the Livingston is a fine little utility shoreboat but its versatility is limited by its low freeboard and relatively low horsepower rating.* The Bullfrog is a much more versatile boat if one is willing to pay for it and has a way to carry it on board.* A Bullfrog is heavy, although there is a fellow on our dock that carries a 10-footer like Carey's vertically on the stock, teak-strip swimstep of his Island Gypsy on Weaver-type snap davits.* His motor, however, is carried on a separate mount on the transom and he uses (I assume) the boat's boom to move the motor between the mount and the deployed dinghy.
We hope to acquire a 10' Bullfrog someday but we'll tow it instead of carrying it on the boat.