We have a conundrum. We have two big tenders and only one little sailboat. The tender, or dinghy if you will, is the workhorse on a cruising boat. We’ll fish from her, shuttle provisions in her, and explore the coastlines and shallows in her, so we want her to be the perfect vessel, with all the characteristics to suit all the situations. Unfortunately, that vessel does not exist. Like everything else boat related, any tender will be a compromise, excelling at times, and struggling at others.
When we bought Selkie, we were informed that she came with a tender, a 10′ Avon raft with a 3 hp Mercury outboard. However, the tender’s seen a few years in the Sonoran sun, so she probably has a few seasons left at best, and the outboard “needs a tuneup”. Assuming the rubber’s right and we can get the outboard humming, this could be a great option. Here’s a rundown of the pros and cons of the first option.
|Wide beam makes a stable platform (fishing, handling waves)||Wide beam makes it a mother bear to paddle|
|Lots of room for cargo (groceries, diesel, friends, anchors etc)||It’s huge! Where will we store it on a 28′ boat?|
|In harsh conditions, a motor may be necessary to get on/off shore||Motor runs on gas…gas is explosive, and costs money|
|Could explore a lot further a lot faster||We now have to deal with a gas can|
|Could use motor to kedge off||Outboards are noisy, stinky and prone to failure|
|Difficult to tow (we’d deflate and stow below while sailing)|
|Big tender means lots of windage|
Our other option is an inflatable kayak. We have a line on a Soar Lucky 12, one of the highest quality IK’s around. It weighs 52 lbs and has a 750 lb load capacity. Here’s the breakdown.
|Runs on fish tacos (i.e. muscle power) which are almost free||May be limited in heavy wind and waves|
|Silent, which is more our style for exploration||Less cargo space (means more trips)|
|Can be rolled up and stored in fairly small space (10″x15″x40″)||Takes time to inflate (but so does Avon)|
|Less of a target for thieves|
|You can fit it with a motor mount|
Someday I’ll build a nesting, 2 piece fiberglassed plywood rowing/sailing tender, but unti that day comes, we’ve got a decision to make: 10′ Avon with an outboard or an inflatable kayak. We’re leaning hard toward the kayak, if you couldn’t tell, try to talk us out of it if you can. Cast your vote in the poll below…
You can see more comments on this if you click on the poll. -Steve
Sorry to be vague. I mean the “What Type Of Tender?” poll above. If you vote or just look at the results so far, you’ll see more comments. -Steve
Steve – Yes, we’re looking into trying to get those comments to show up more visibly on the main page. Technology is defeating us at the moment….
Hi Guys,A rigged bottom inflatable is the
ranchers pickup truck of the cruising sailboat. Along with a motor that can get
it up on plain with you in it. Not for the weeeeeee factor of going fast, but
because you will have an occasion that you need to get where your going quickly
and safely. Whether it’s back to the boat or to land in all kinds of weather,
and all kinds of distances. An inflatable with a roll up floor is a good second
choice, especially for a smaller boat such as yours, when you might want to take
the floor out and stow all below when needed. Also the size should be limited by
the space between your mast and the anchor locker. The boat will be light enough
to host up over the life lines and stow on the foredeck up side down for more
efficient sailing and less wear and tear on the dink. Good practices says do not
tow the dink with the motor on the it and safe practices says get a motor host
as soon as you can to pull your motor up on the pushpit. Man handle the motor up
on deck a few times and you will see what I mean. So if the Avon still holds air
and the motor just needs a tune up. Hold on to it until you can afford a better
one. BTW, 3M 5200 is a quick good fix for air leaks in a dink and you can even
mix the black and white to get that perfect inflatable
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