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Old 01-16-2012, 10:27 PM   #1
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Small Whaler, Small inflatable, or RIB? Thoughts?

Your thoughts...

I plan to cruise from Boston south tihs summer, along east coast, down the Intracoastal.

What would be the best style of dinghy to take along? It would be and my GF, small dog, and perhaps another friend or two joining us for short periods.

I'd most likely tow the boat (or use the swing up davits to put the dinghy vertical on my swim platform, if it is light enough).

Maybe a small 11' whaler?

Or an inflatable with wood, aluminium, or air floor?

Or a RIB (open style, or with console / seats)?

*
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Old 01-17-2012, 01:34 AM   #2
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RE: Small Whaler, Small inflatable, or RIB? Thoughts?

7tiger7
I'm going through exactly this exercise currently. I think I have decided on a 3.3m hypalon RIB with aluminium hull and console with a 15 HP o/board. I will likely be ordering on the net from China for round USD$2K without outboard. I know Marin loves the Bullfrog and others Livingsone fibreglass tenders but I cant get those in Australia. I've also looked at the "plastic" injectoin moulded tenders as I do like their characteristics of stability and durability as well as resilience so they dont damage the mothership when they bump together. Unfortunately not available in the size I want and on a previous thread someone said get a tender as big as you possibly can or you will live to regret it. I have looked at aluminium hulls but theyre not as stable and have lesser stability and load characteristics.

Since the aft beam on Gemma is 3.4m I dont want to get something much less than that.
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Old 01-17-2012, 03:51 AM   #3
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RE: Small Whaler, Small inflatable, or RIB? Thoughts?

Maybe a small 11' whaler?

Good boats inshore , can go on beaches that would shred a condom boat BUT the short length makes it difficult to get on the plane in some steep wave situations.

The 13 is a far better sea boat.
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Old 01-17-2012, 07:20 AM   #4
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RE: Small Whaler, Small inflatable, or RIB? Thoughts?

Can't go wrong with a 13' whaler! Only concern I would have is towing it 100% of the time- you may enter a harbor or have weather conditions making you wish you were not towing another boat? We towed a jetski behind our 38 sedan a couple of boats ago- fine on a good day but would not want to enter a crowded harbor or narrow dock fairway with it. But- when docking, if your gf is able to hop aboard the whaler and unhitch it from the mothership while you dock that could work but no fun doing that in the cold or rain.
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Old 01-17-2012, 07:22 AM   #5
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RE: Small Whaler, Small inflatable, or RIB? Thoughts?

If you plan on towing my vote would be an open (with no console) 11 ft Whaler. I have a boating friend who towed one for 20 years. They are durable and take anything they come up against and ask for more.

However towing has it's own issues and I for one don't care to tow. They also don't behave well at anchor unless you*tie them along side...then they have to be fendered well.

If you get a hard bottom inflatable, consider adding a protective strip to the* hull (keel guard). With a dog you'll be beaching often and many are rocky in my neck of the water. No sense tearing up the hull.

*

*
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Old 01-17-2012, 07:29 AM   #6
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RE: Small Whaler, Small inflatable, or RIB? Thoughts?

When you mean whaler or similar type...do you mean hard dingy of any design?*

A lot of serious cruisers prefer rugged light weight dinks like an aluminum skiff with a decent soft rubrail.* hard to beat for weight, beachability, low maint., etc...etc

I have an old MFG trihull that I'm taking the seats out of and redecking so it's full of foam and self draining so it will be like a lifefloat in case of emergency. Much more durable than a whaler.* I might go carolina skiff over a small whaler.

Inflatables and RIBs are hard to beat but are costly for what you really get.* (unbeatable for stability for their size if stability becomes your first preference)

I'll vote when I know there's other possibilities for hard dinks.
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Old 01-17-2012, 07:50 AM   #7
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RE: Small Whaler, Small inflatable, or RIB? Thoughts?

We have a 11' Zodiac with center console and a 30 hp honda.

The center consoles are a world of difference from our old tender which was a 8' inflatable with a 2 hp Yamaha.

That said the Whalers are really hard to beat.

*
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:37 AM   #8
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RE: Small Whaler, Small inflatable, or RIB? Thoughts?

If I could carry a small whaler that would be my choice, I can't so have a 9' Livingston, I carry it on my davits off the stern.

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Old 01-17-2012, 08:54 AM   #9
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RE: Small Whaler, Small inflatable, or RIB? Thoughts?

Thanks for all the replies.
I actually currently have a 9' air floor inflatable (which is only 3 years old, but looks like crap, in 1 summer of sitting in the sun it discolored), and I also have a 11' Whaler Sport (which originally had the wood console, steering, etc) but previous owner stripped out the wood, so now it is an open deck.

I had been thinking of getting rid of both, and getting a console RIB of about 13'... but after your replies, maybe I will keep the Whaler as my primary tender (and keep the inflatable as a backup).

My concern with the Whaler is having it bump against my boat in close quarters. Maybe I'll install a new rubrail on it
Oh and the GF is not likely to know how to jump aboard the dinghy and drive it... she is good at many things, but boating is not one of them (although she did attend a Maritime college... go figure!)
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:14 AM   #10
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Small Whaler, Small inflatable, or RIB? Thoughts?

Quote:
7tiger7 wrote:
maybe I will keep the Whaler as my primary tender (and keep the inflatable as a backup).

My concern with the Whaler is having it bump against my boat in close quarters. Maybe I'll install a new rubrail on it
Oh and the GF is not likely to know how to jump aboard the dinghy and drive it... she is good at many things, but boating is not one of them (although she did attend a Maritime college... go figure!)
*My friend mounted 4 fenders tied horizontally along the gunnel on the starboard side of his Whaler. During anchoring and at night it was tied on his port side so he could step off the swim platform into the Whaler. When he backed into his slip or a transiet slip they would tie the Whaler up tight against the port bow. It never put a mark on his boat.

The downside is that the fenders would splash at times in rough water when on plane. I guess that added to the thrill. LOL

Personally I am not a big fan of center consoles in small inflatables, only because they take away valuable room. Since I use the dink as a pickup truck and ferry boat in addition to exploring and joy riding *acreage is important to me.


-- Edited by jleonard on Tuesday 17th of January 2012 10:17:49 AM
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:47 AM   #11
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RE: Small Whaler, Small inflatable, or RIB? Thoughts?

I presume this is for your 43' Marine Trader. Your beam is sufficient to carry up to a 12' tender, so go for something close to that size. I prefer horizontal storage, but some stow a RIB that size on SeaWise (on its side). My own Caribe 12 with a 40 Honda 4 stroke was stowed on SeaWise before I bought it, but considerable damage was done to the attachment points at the stern of the dinghy, due to excessive weight. I stow horizontally and am very happy with the arrangement.
I once had a small Boston Whaler. I found it too heavy for its size and got rid of it, in favor of a soft bottom inflatable, bigger payload, lighter weight, dryer. Not saying that transfers up into bigger Whalers, just a factor to watch for.
RIB is far better than soft inflatable, as the soft floor allows too much flex, wet ride, less payload. OTOH, the soft is easier to get away from barnacle and oyster biting beach landings than the RIB. I had to develop new techniques to get anchored in water shallow enough to wade ashore, but still able to get to the RIB when the tide changed. With the soft, just carried it above tide line.
Too many factors to cover them all here.
You have to make the choice that works best for you.
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Old 01-17-2012, 02:00 PM   #12
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Small Whaler, Small inflatable, or RIB? Thoughts?

Quote:
7tiger7 wrote:

What would be the best style of dinghy to take along?

*
We don't believe in spending good money on boats with finite (and relatively short) lives, so we don't even consider any dinghy made out of fabric worth the money, and would never buy one.* So of your short list, I would pick the Whaler hands down over an inflatable or RIB.* the Whaler will last--- and be trouble free--- as long as your boat does.* No deflating, no sagging, no patching, no tearing open on rocks or barnacles.* Nothing.* And should the day come when you have to sell your boat, the Whaler will be an asset, not something the new owner will have to replace right away.

Trouble-free does not include the motor. :-)

I should add that there are hardshell dingies we personally prefer to the Whaler but since that's the hardshell choice you listed, that is definitely the one we would go with.


-- Edited by Marin on Tuesday 17th of January 2012 03:02:53 PM
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Old 01-17-2012, 02:59 PM   #13
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RE: Small Whaler, Small inflatable, or RIB? Thoughts?

We have a 11' Whaler with a 35hp Johnson 2-stroke in a custom aluminum cradle on the Flybridge. We lift her with a non-telescoping crane. If I'm not far between anchorages I'll tow her, otherwise it only takes a few minutes to secure her on top. The 35hp is overpowered but that's what was on her when we bought her. She will swallow our crew of five and groceries and still get on plane in a heart beat. A dingy like her is really like having a car with you. You can go a long ways safely and fast with a lot of people when you want to. A dingy with a large engine really adds a lot to the things you can do and places you can go.
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Old 01-17-2012, 03:02 PM   #14
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RE: Small Whaler, Small inflatable, or RIB? Thoughts?

My experience with fabric (inflatables) is good. I have changed dinghies for several different reasons, none of which involve aging of the fabric. Before I sold each of my old inflatables, at 16 yrs and at 5yrs, I cleaned them up (not for the very first time) to bright, new condition, by removing the oxidation that accumulates on the surface. I have only had Hypalon fabric, so I have no recommendation for Polyester. (in fact I have friends who have put their polyester inflatables in the dumpster after less than 10 yrs). It was considerably less trouble to make a hypalon inflatable look like new than a hard dinghy. When I bought my 7 yr old RIB, I cleaned it up so the fabric part now looks new and the fibreglass part looks 7 yrs old.
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Old 01-17-2012, 03:27 PM   #15
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RE: Small Whaler, Small inflatable, or RIB? Thoughts?

Daddyo -
I'd love to see a picture of the 11' Whaler you have.
Also, when you do tow her, do you notice a reduction in fuel economy?
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Old 01-17-2012, 07:12 PM   #16
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RE: Small Whaler, Small inflatable, or RIB? Thoughts?

i gotta say first of all Marin is spot on as far as the sensible thing to do. hands down, you cant go wrong with his recommendation here.

now, we have a RIB with a console and I think a 40 HP o/b, and i gotta say it is a joy to ride.
easy to drive, has a nice deep V hull so plows well through a little sea.
the pontoons are high, in my opinion adds to security, the whalers are very low riding.

we have towed our rib with no problem, though i highly recommend to raise the o/b to lower the drag.
once on hook we tie her up alongside aft on SB which is also an easy in/out no need to climb down the swimstep to enter.

hope that helps..
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:09 PM   #17
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RE: Small Whaler, Small inflatable, or RIB? Thoughts?

I've had my experience with deflatables.. The only good thing I can say about them is they don't bang against your hull the way a hard dinghy can. Deflatables get damaged rubbing against barnacle encrusted pilings not to mention the beating they take at the dinghy dock when inconsiderate A-holes leave there outboards in the up position. The sun degrades the fabric in a hurry in the tropics, I could go on and on... My current dinghy and the one I've been using for over 10 years is a 12 foot carolina skiff with an 18hp Tohatsu 2 stroke. I put a heavy duty bumper strip around the rail (Westmarine dock padding) The dinghy tows great, even with the motor on it. When I go offshore I remove the motor and tow the boat behind. I've towed it to the Bahamas, across the Gulstream many times, and usually in less than ideal conditions. When it's rough I'll tie it up close to the stern. In a big following sea I've sent it out a good way behind me. Carolina Skiffs, like Whalers are unsinkable. They have a double floor that is foam filled. They ride high when empty and without the outboard they cause very little drag while towing. I do a lot of diving and the Carolina Skiff is an excellent platform and very stable. The only drawback is that the Skiff will tend to pound in a chop. If your cruising ground is one in which extended dinghy rides in choppy water frequently occurs I would go with a v-hull of some kind, but not a deflatable.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:27 PM   #18
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RE: Small Whaler, Small inflatable, or RIB? Thoughts?

Given the options, I have to say that if you plan to beach your dinghy on anything but pristine sandy beaches, I would lean toward a hard shelled boat. Honestly, if you are using it in a rocky, barnacle clad world, I would have to deviate from the selection given, and go to aluminum hull.*

Left with the original choices, I would again have to deviate, but this time I would choose a 13' Whaler over the 11' version just for the extra freeboard. Especially given the uncertaintly as to the number of people on board.

And finally, if you are going to be in a pretty barnacle free world, I must say I really like the Rendova RIBS in either 12' or 14' with a forty to fifty horse. The deep vee hull on these things give an almost flat ride in two foot seas.*
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Old 01-18-2012, 05:11 AM   #19
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RE: Small Whaler, Small inflatable, or RIB? Thoughts?

"A lot of serious cruisers prefer rugged light weight dinks like an aluminum skiff with a decent soft rubrail. hard to beat for weight, beachability, low maint., etc...etc

In many areas aluminum dinks are far less likely to be stolen."

Sure is hard to swim to the boat with groceries.
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Old 01-18-2012, 06:10 AM   #20
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RE: Small Whaler, Small inflatable, or RIB? Thoughts?

Quote:
7tiger7 wrote:
Daddyo -
I'd love to see a picture of the 11' Whaler you have.
Also, when you do tow her, do you notice a reduction in fuel economy?
*I'll take some pics next time I'm at the boat. We have a canvas tented cover to keep her dry when not in use. I replaced the steering cables with new Teleflex cables. She has a starboard offset helm. The PO had a bimini for her which we tossed due to condition but we'll replace it. Boat has a fishfinder and a small GPS wouldn't be a bad idea. As to towing, with the mother ship weighing in at 60,000lbs we don't feel the dingy at all when towing. If you set your towing bridle up at just the right length the dink will surf in your stern wake with minimal drag.
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