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Old 03-01-2014, 06:20 AM   #1
Ben
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Dinghy Options in the Sub-$1500 range

Hello all.

Looking for a dinghy. Trying to get the best for sub-$1500 if I can. Could spend more, don't want to. Looking in the Defender catalog and on Craigslist. Looking 8-11 feet. Favor the higher side of that.

No objection to a clean used dinghy.

Please give me your advice on my options:
  1. All PVC boat glued seams. had before, glued wore out - in my early boating days, I was not as vigilant on maintenance of the dinghy anyway - don't want.
  2. PVC - welded seams. Seems easy to get at my price point.
  3. Fiberglass bottom/PVC RIB, glued seams. Seen on my local Craigslist. New boat. I am skittish about the glued seams.
  4. Hypalon. More expensive, but if worth it, I'll spend - anyone with hypalon? Can you advise me?
  5. Hard shell like a Livingston or 11' Boston whaler. Very attractive to me. Probably exceeds my price, and heavier than desired, but for the right boat...
I kind of want light, which swings me back to an inflatable/RIB. But I like hard shell if the boat is stable. I've had and sold one of those West Marine plastic shells. Absolutely undesirable boat. Unstable.



Any experiences you can share are appreciated.
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Old 03-01-2014, 07:05 AM   #2
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If you are mostly a M&M (marina to marina ) cruiser , what ever will sit stored and not block vision , and is reasonable to set up and launch is fine.

If you are an adventurer that will anchor out , go ashore in isolated areas , or cruise down island ,an aluminum John boat style might be best.

With OARS most can be rowed with no effort and with out the usual clutter of Required USCG stuff, so the boat will be used far more often.

Dragging it up on a rough beach is no danger.

With 4-6 hp most will run fast enough for river cruising , or a run to shore.

The biggest secondary investment would be a good canvas rub rail , $5.00 a foot for 3/4 round.

Many aluminum boats are light enough to simply pull out of the water , no davits, no electric or hyd hoist or crane required .

Aluminum is not good if you wish to tow water skiers , or climb aboard after a SCUBA session .

Our choice is an antique Grumman 9 ft sailing dink.In a heavy breeze 2 persons can row , so distances up to a mile are as fast as with a 4hp.

At about 75 lbs it recovers easily , and will carry 5 to shore in modest chop.

They sail very well, but are hard to locate.
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Old 03-01-2014, 10:25 AM   #3
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Craigslist all the way!!!

I bought a used Bombard Typhoon inflatable with 3-piece wood floor. $200bucks. I have had it now for 6yr and treated it like crap and it still holds air. Same type construction as the ones sold by West Marine.

I first used a 4hp evinrude- it would plane it out with just me (175lb) but a cooler or some bilge water would make it too heavy to plane. That motor died (it was 20yr old) but I did get 6yrs out of it.

Next I bought a 1970's evinrude 2hp. Figured I either needed 2hp or 6hp if I wanted to plane. Decided to go 2hp as the motor is "tote with one hand" light. Craigslist $250. Love the little motor. Even with the 4hp, I rarely tried to plane out, so the 2hp does the job.

I tow the dink most anywhere I go. For long fast runs I flip it up on the turtleback. I can tow at 18kts, but the poor thing sure gets a rough ride back there. Lost it once in a storm, but back tracked and found it.

Folks buy these things for cruising, then for whatever reason lose the love and then put them on CL. Shop around, especially port towns.
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Old 03-01-2014, 10:48 AM   #4
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If you want really light, and are OK with only 3+ knots, no planing, here's what we use:

A 1998 Avon Redcrest (larger tubes than the earlier model), all tough hypalon, no rigid transom, weighs less than 40 lb. Some Redcrests have a floor slat kit that makes it easier to stand up and walk around - this adds some weight.

Ours is 16 years old now and still in fine shape. A small fiberglass motor mount attaches very simply to buttons on the stern tube. A Yamaha 2-stroke 2hp weighs only 22 lb, and pushes the Redcrest 3-4 miles on one quart of pre-mix in its built-in tank.

We also have a good pair of oars, 6.5-foot Sawyers. They make it so much easier and more fun to row than the little Avon take-down oars.
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Old 03-01-2014, 11:09 AM   #5
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If you do a lot of dinghy exploring, "grocery getting", and joyriding, I recommend a RIB. I have a 10-4 Achilles in Hypalon, and love it. With a 15 hp 2 cycle it easily planes at half throttle with 4 when necessary. Scary fast with one but it's heavy enough to ride well.
No issue on a rocky beach, or wherever.
Downside is weight, boat alone is 160#.
Had a lightweight RIB in pvc prior, very lightweight, did the job.
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Old 03-01-2014, 11:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben View Post
Hello all.

Looking for a dinghy. Trying to get the best for sub-$1500 if I can. Could spend more, don't want to. Looking in the Defender catalog and on Craigslist. Looking 8-11 feet. Favor the higher side of that.

No objection to a clean used dinghy.

Please give me your advice on my options:
  1. All PVC boat glued seams. had before, glued wore out - in my early boating days, I was not as vigilant on maintenance of the dinghy anyway - don't want.
  2. PVC - welded seams. Seems easy to get at my price point.
  3. Fiberglass bottom/PVC RIB, glued seams. Seen on my local Craigslist. New boat. I am skittish about the glued seams.
  4. Hypalon. More expensive, but if worth it, I'll spend - anyone with hypalon? Can you advise me?
  5. Hard shell like a Livingston or 11' Boston whaler. Very attractive to me. Probably exceeds my price, and heavier than desired, but for the right boat...
I kind of want light, which swings me back to an inflatable/RIB. But I like hard shell if the boat is stable. I've had and sold one of those West Marine plastic shells. Absolutely undesirable boat. Unstable.



Any experiences you can share are appreciated.
First, you have to determine how big and what construction your boat can accomodate. There's no point in consideing a rigid boat if you can't lift and carry it and don't want to tow it.

Next, you have to consider payload. One person and a small dog or four people and two large dogs? A boat that doen't meet your needs isn't much of a bargain.

As for buying on Craigslist, you might get a bargain, but you might get a POS or a stolen boat. I would be wary of Craigslist.

Remember that while a fiberglass boat may last forever, an inflatable may have a life as short as a few years if left in the southern sun. Buying used, you may be buying a boat with only a couple years left before it fails.

Think about these things, then post again to get better advice.
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Old 03-01-2014, 11:34 AM   #7
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from what I have seen...how easy will it be for you to store/launch?

the people who have great dinks but they are stored uninflated or partially, or on the roof or anything that takes more than 10 minutes...generally underutilize them or wind up towing them a lot or suffer through the agony of launch/recovery because they are dead set on anchoring out.

normal davits are great but are costly...so if you don't have them, factor them in if you see that's how you will use the dink.
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Old 03-01-2014, 02:52 PM   #8
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As for buying on Craigslist, you might get a bargain, but you might get a POS or a stolen boat. I would be wary of Craigslist.

Think about these things, then post again to get better advice.
Oh I don't know, I have gotten some great deals on Craigs list.
For example, I bought my 2 stroke 15 Yamaha for just about half the new price, it was less than 1 year old with 5 hours on it.
And I sold my old lightweight RIB and motor on Craigslist for cheap...the buyer got an excellent bargain.
Shop Craigslist locally so you can inspect before you pay. Make sure the documetation is there. NOT like ebay. Not all that risky.
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Old 03-03-2014, 06:39 PM   #9
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All - thanks for this great info. I am standing pat until I sell my old house. I never know when my realtor is going to add some new task I'll have to pay for. I talked to a guy about a rib and still could buy it, but I really want to sell this house and feel good about buying the next thing.

I will probably end up with a rib in the 10-11 size bracket.
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