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Old 08-06-2018, 06:31 PM   #1
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Small Dinghy Models?

As you all know I just sold my Chris Craft 31'.

A friend of ours has been trying to sell her Mainship 37, a 1996 grand salon model, and has been unsuccessful. So she is allowing us to rent it from her for a year so that we can decide if we really like living aboard, before jumping into a major debt commitment.

Since it will be a little harder to take this one out on a regular basis, I'm wanting to get a small dinghy to get around the lake, and visit all our live aboard friends.

I have never shopped for a dinghy, and never researched them because I've never had the need. I'm looking for something small, just for two people and our dog, that we can take the engine on and off, and wont break the bank.

Any suggestions on brand or models?
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Old 08-07-2018, 07:52 AM   #2
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Consider features:
- inflatables are usually more stable, hard dinghies not as (so) much
- hard dinghies usually row better, inflatables not so much
- RIBs can usually plane (with enough HP) whereas inflatable floors, maybe/maybe not
- faster boats can cover longer distances quickly
- planing often requires more HP; more HP often means a bigger HEAVIER outboard
- lightweight outboards lend themselves to mounting/dismounting as required
- heavier outboards work better with lifting tackle or when permanently mounted
- longer dinghies usually carry more... and become harder to carry on the mothership
- heavier dinghies often call out for lifting tackle

And so forth. No "one size fits all"...

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Old 08-07-2018, 07:59 AM   #3
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If you are going to take the motor off and on regularly stay small 4 hp or less and forget about planing. Your back will thank you.
Craigslist for a used dinghy.
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Old 08-07-2018, 08:49 AM   #4
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Another consideration is Hypalon vs, PVC.
If you will be further south you should consider Hypalon. Northern areas PVC is fine. For example, here in SW Florida a PVC will have a life of 5 years. Hypalon is necessary.

Achilles has a "roll up" Hypalon model. Sizes from 8.5 thru 12.0. Prices aren't bad.
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Old 08-07-2018, 09:41 AM   #5
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9.4 watertender(around $500 @ west marine) and a 3.5hp Tohatsu work well for me.

The Tohatsu will "plane" the tender around 10mph, you wont be winning any races but the engine weighs around 25lbs.

I also have a 4hp Yamaha 4 stroke that weighs 62lbs. Other than the twist throttle I see no advantage and its more than twice the weight.
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Old 08-07-2018, 10:05 AM   #6
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I just purchased an Achilles LS4U (Hypalon). As Molly suggests, I'd rather not have to replace my dinghy in five years because of the Florida sun--so I opted for Hypalon construction. My current outboard is a tried and true British Seagull, which pushes it just fine. We plan to purchase a 6HP Suzuki later this year.
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Old 08-07-2018, 06:47 PM   #7
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I have no idea what hypalon is. Why is it better than PVC?
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Old 08-07-2018, 06:52 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the input, that's good stuff that I would have never thought about.

Because we are still young, and have to work full time, we'll pretty much be stationary 98% of the time. So the dinghy is just to be able to get around from marina to marina, or to go short distances to meet up with friends when we dont feel like taking the house out.

For instance, next weekend there is a raft up at the north end of our lake. This would be better as a dinghy trip for us since it gets rather shallow back there. It's also only about a mile so getting the big boat out of the marina would be a lot of work for such a small distance.
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Old 08-07-2018, 07:13 PM   #9
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oooohhhhh... I just thought of something. My dad has this old Lone Star aluminum boat out at the farm. It's currently upside down covering a pile of wood. I bet I could polish it up and paint it!

This is a photo I took of it a few years ago.
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Old 08-07-2018, 08:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
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I have no idea what hypalon is. Why is it better than PVC?
Hypalon is much more UV resistant than PVC.

I love the Aluminum boat for running around the lake but it will be hard to take with you when you go out in the big boat.

Five hp engines (4 cycle) run 50 to 60 pounds. That’s about as much as I want to lift on and off every time I use it. Five hp probably won’t plane the aluminum boat but it would move it right along.
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Old 08-07-2018, 08:20 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by toocoys View Post
For instance, next weekend there is a raft up at the north end of our lake. This would be better as a dinghy trip for us since it gets rather shallow back there. It's also only about a mile so getting the big boat out of the marina would be a lot of work for such a small distance.

Just a thought...

This is the second time I’ve thought of it based on your post but i didn’t mention it the first time...

One of the pitfalls of living aboard is the tendency to not take the boat out because it can become a hassle to get your “home” ready to leave the dock. Full time cruisers don’t do this because their boat tends to be always on the move, or at anchor. However, a live aboard at a marina can quickly become nothing more than a dock condo.

As you explore the idea this year, I’d encourage you to take the boat out as much as you can. A mile away for a raft up? Go for it! The more you use the boat as a boat, the better your experience will be as you look ahead to the future.

Not meaning this to sound judgmental, just something to consider...
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Old 08-07-2018, 08:28 PM   #12
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Not meaning this to sound judgmental, just something to consider...

Oh no, I understand completely. That was one of our biggest complaints when we met all our friends in the water community. We always had the weekend boat and everyone was always on ours, because they never wanted to take theirs out.

We definitely DONT want to stay at the dock during the boating season, and we'll take it out as much as we can.
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Old 08-07-2018, 08:42 PM   #13
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I recently bought a 4 year old, high quality Walker Bay Genesis 8’10” rigid bottom inflatable (RIB) with hypalon tubes. It was advertised for $1000 on craigslist but was missing a keel protector and had a small hole, easily repaired. It came with navigation lights, two patch kits, a removable floor, oars, seat with storage, and except for the small hole, in very good condition. The owner noted the damage and missing keel protector, and offered it to me for $500. I did the repair ($7), bought the keel protector (readily available from Walker Bay for $59), and equipped it with a new 2.3 HP, air cooled Honda outboard for $889. Basically a $1500 investment for a small dinghy that should last for a decade. I should add, however, that I spent a month looking for the right deal.

Good luck.
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Old 08-07-2018, 08:44 PM   #14
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I've been eyeing this Walker Bay on my local Craigslist page, not sure if its a good deal, or overkill though with the 9hp engine.

https://houston.craigslist.org/boa/d...627755542.html
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Old 08-07-2018, 09:42 PM   #15
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The Walker Bay dinghy in the CL ad is really one of their plastic dinghies with an inflatable collar. You can get the dinghy part by itself. It is not an inflatable boat in the usual sense.

Hypalon is more UV resistant than PVC. However, it is glued together. PVC can be glued or thermowelded (heat fused). Hypalon boats usually fail when the glue gives out. PVC boats fail due to UV damage. You can mitigate the UV damage by covering the boat and using UV protectants.

Hypalon will cost a lot more than PVC, but it will last longer. Overall the cost to life ratio works out to be about the same IME. Some inflatable RIBs are designed so that the tubes can be replaced easily. On my PVC rib you could change the tubes in less than an hour (slide on/slide off).

FWIW, I had much better luck with a reputable PVC RIB than with a Walker Bay hypalon one.
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Old 08-07-2018, 09:49 PM   #16
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I've been eyeing this Walker Bay on my local Craigslist page, not sure if its a good deal, or overkill though with the 9hp engine.

https://houston.craigslist.org/boa/d...627755542.html


Interesting boat. It looks like a rigid dinghy with an inflatable collar. I didn’t know WB made a collar for their hard shell dinghies. It will be more stable than a standard hard shell dinghy but not as stable as a typical RIB.
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Old 08-20-2018, 01:18 PM   #17
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Hard Dinghy

Personally I enjoy rowing and sailing. I also like wooden boats so I have a Catspaw Dinghy that row well, sails OK, and takes a small outboard. Downside, they are heavy and if you are going to try to haul it aboard, will be a bit of a strain. My experience with inflatables is that they row with difficulty and tend to get blown around. I would consider what you want/need in a dinghy then make a choice.
BTW, I concur with the comments on Hypalon, a much sturdier material than PVC.
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Old 08-20-2018, 01:48 PM   #18
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Dinghy

Quote:
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Another consideration is Hypalon vs, PVC.
If you will be further south you should consider Hypalon. Northern areas PVC is fine. For example, here in SW Florida a PVC will have a life of 5 years. Hypalon is necessary.

Achilles has a "roll up" Hypalon model. Sizes from 8.5 thru 12.0. Prices aren't bad.
I second the above. I have had an Achilles 10' roll up with an inflatable floor for about 15 years. I love it. I use it for a tender, fishing, taking my dogs to the beach. I have had a 9hp 2-stroke on it but now just use a 4hp 4 stroke. It also rows well. Rolled up it weighs about 70lbs. I'm 68 and still handle it well in and out of the car.
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Old 08-20-2018, 01:53 PM   #19
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We didn't have a lot of room, and wanted lighter weight on the transom. Purchased a 8.6' Inmar alum hulled RIB. Beam is only 5', and weighs 72 lbs. Have a 6hp Suzuki that gets us around nicely.
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Old 08-20-2018, 03:52 PM   #20
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Having similar requirements, we bought a Portland Pudgy. She can be a life raft, she sails, rows well and can handle a small motor. We mounted an ePropulsion Spirit electric motor which works great.
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