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Old 06-07-2015, 03:52 PM   #17
djmarchand's Avatar
City: Litchfield, Ct/Punta Gorda, Fl
Country: USA
Vessel Model: Atlas Pompano 23
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 4,885
This has been a popular thread. Fourteen responses in 4 hours. Many of the postings didn't address the OP's real question: is it possible to cruise without a dinghy. So I'll give it a shot:

My answer is certainly yes, but there are ways of having your cake and eat it too. I have a good friend who is a full time cruiser. He has a dinghy but because of his bad luck with outboards he has decided to limit its use to a trolling motor and as a result he doesn't use the dinghy much.

But he makes it work. Mostly by seeking out free docks. Active Captain is a great resource for this. In our area of NC there are free docks in; Oriental, Bath, Washington, Edenton, Elizabeth City, Manteo and almost free (with a Golden Age passport) in Ocracoke. I probably missed a few.

So if it were me I would give it try. But I definitely would buy a roll up dinghy and store it in the aft cockpit or a big lazarette. Other solutions include a kayak. Also there is nothing wrong with towing an RIB, just don't go offshore with one under tow. Storms can sink it and you will have no way of emptying it during heavy wind and seas.

And finally a word about dinghies as a safety device. Sure a real life raft is better, but if my boat starts taking on water and I can't control it, I have the dinghy to save my ass. It won't ride out 20' seas but I don't ever expect to be in them. Wherever I cruise a dinghy will work reasonably well as a life raft. Even a roll up can be inflated with a 12V inflater in 5 minutes. Don't leave home without it.

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