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General Activities => Main Message Board => Topic started by: Doug on February 18, 2006, 08:14:28 PM

Title: Dinghy Purchase
Post by: Doug on February 18, 2006, 08:14:28 PM
Been thinking about replacing our hard 8ft dinghy with an inflatable with a motor.
We were looking at a 10 ft West Marine with a hard bottom and about a 4-5 hp motor.

Today I stumbled across an 8ft Zodiac with a 3 hp merc for $1,500. both were bought last year and used once.

I'd like to hear some experiences and recommendations from people that own inflateables.

Is 8 ft too small for a family of 4? Is a hard bottom worth the extra weight and price?
Title: Re: Dingy Purchase
Post by: Ron Hill on February 19, 2006, 02:34:35 PM
Doug : It depends how big the 4 people are as to whether an 8' inflatable is the correct size?   I'll guess that if there are 2 normal size adults and 2 children under 10yrs. and you don't carry too much stuff that an 8'6" dink is large enough. 
Just remember you're going to have to store this dink or carry it on deck or put it in davits or tow it behind.  So you need to factor all of that in your decision.   
The 3.3 Merc is a nice engine plus a relatively new Zodiac for that price sounds like a good deal.   You need to try it out and see how you like the inflatable floor or the roll up. Doubt that it's a RIB for that price.   :!: 
Title: Re: Dingy Purchase
Post by: Craig Illman on February 19, 2006, 03:18:16 PM
Doug - I have an C260 Zodiac with a roll-up slatted floor and a 2HP Honda. It fits great in the trunk of my 98 Accord. It tows with little drag behind Espresso. My spouse has balance issues related to neck surgery ten-odd years ago. I wish I had a solid floor or high-pressure floor, but I bought the inflatable before the sailboat. So, it's a trade-off between storage and performance. For four adults, you need something bigger. An 8'6" is a 2-3 person dinghy.

Call me at home if you want to discuss a little more.  206-523-7557

- Craig
Title: Re: Dingy Purchase
Post by: Rick McCall on February 19, 2006, 05:00:39 PM
We have had a similar experience. We are 2  adults with 2 small children and originally had an 8 foot inflatable with a pressure floor. It was too small. Couldn't take any additional people or much gear. We upgraded last year to a 10' 6" Titan inflatable with a pressure floor. We run a 3.3 merc on it and it is great. Room for the kids when I want to row which was almost impossible on the 8 footer when all four of us were in it. So my $.02 is that you if you buy the 8 footer you will wish you had a bigger one laster.
Title: Re: Dingy Purchase
Post by: Jim Price on February 19, 2006, 05:39:35 PM
We recently acquired a West Marine / Zodiac HP-310 that is 10'2' with high pressure floor and with only the two of us (and one small Jack Russel terrier) it seems small.  We have used with 4 adults and I go along with the others, there seems to be a big difference in 2 feet.  Also the HP-310 has a capacity of 881 pounds.  Sounds like a lot but with people, gas tank, engine, coolers, folding chairs, junk; it fills up fast.  I have a 6 hp Tahatsu 4-cycle (55 pounds) to push everything around.  Big motor but I got a 2006 engine direct ship at a price I could not ignore and the weight was no greater than a lot of smaller hp 4-cycle engines.

And the Admiral is much more securer and comfortable in the larger dingy.   :D
Title: Re: Dingy Purchase
Post by: Footloose on February 20, 2006, 05:34:12 AM
We took the opposite approach of most.  We bought the smallest dink on the market and find it quite addequate for our family of four.  It has a roll up floor and it is easy to store.  It means multiple trips but I can't get everyone ready to go at the same time anyway.  It blows up in about 5 minutes.  It is also noteworthy that I have tender service to and from my boat and that the dinghy is only used to get to shore from anchor.  I don't use it to move alot of stuff.  Another family we know used a Sevylor with a 2 hp for several years.  Neither of us likes to tow a dinghy.  When we are done I haul it up on the fore deck and deflate it.  If we are cruising I tie it to a stachion otherwise it gets put below.


As has been said before, it all depend on how you use your boat.

Dave G
Title: Re: Dingy Purchase
Post by: Joe Kern on February 20, 2006, 08:03:15 AM
Jim - I also just bought a 310 with the HP inflatable floor (from BustersMarine).  I am looking for an engine and was hoping that a 6hp would be as big as I need to go.  Does it get you up on a plane?   Any more info on where you got the good deal on the engine? 
Title: Re: Dingy Purchase
Post by: Jim Price on February 20, 2006, 08:55:27 AM
Cannot answer question about getting up on plane as I only have about 3-4 hours on engine and it is still in break-in period so no heavy throttle.  I would think it would do well depending on total weight and the weight distribution.

Here is link to where I got motor.  You might be able to do better but I thought this was great price for here in the Southeast.

http://www.tohatsu-outboards.com/
Title: Re: Dingy Purchase
Post by: tstrand on February 20, 2006, 09:01:43 AM
We have the Mercury equivalent (10'2" with high-pressure floor). With a 5-hp four-stroke we can plane with one adult aboard but rarely with two. I'd guess you'll get similar results with a 6-hp.

One thing we did to make planing easier was to build a throttle extension, so you can sit forward in the boat and still steer. It's very simple: a length of PVC pipe that slips over the tapered, rubber-gripped throttle handle. No clamping needed.

Tim
Title: Re: Dingy Purchase
Post by: Doug on February 20, 2006, 07:43:53 PM
Thanks for the replies.
Based in part on the input received here we decided to pass  on the 8 foot and get a 10 foot with a rigid bottom. Makes the crew happy.  (The crew includes a 13 and 15 year old girls which still love cruising, but are starting to get a little bored at anchorages)

Still working on the motor. I love the idea of a 40lb or less that I can easily move, but I can also see how much more fun and range a 8 or 9 hp can deliver. Also not sure of the wisdom of delivering a fast dingy to teenagers....

 



Title: Re: Dingy Purchase
Post by: Stu Jackson on February 20, 2006, 09:38:51 PM
The best way to deal with the heavier motor is with the Garhauer dinghy lift.  Best and least expesnive model on the market.  We have 10-2 with a 9.9.  Even though it goes slowly in anchorages, when you want and, and can, go fast, it's much more fun than putt-putting.  And "teach your children well" applies to dinghies, too.   :D
Title: Re: Dingy Purchase
Post by: Randy and Mary Davison on February 28, 2006, 08:50:46 PM
Doug,

After puttering for a few years in an 8 foot with 3 hp, our teens demanded a go-fast.  We have a 10.5 foot Aquapro rib with alumininim floor and 9.8 hp 2 cycle Tohatsu.  It planes with two adults but not with any more big people on board.   I see you're near me - we bought at Ballard Boatworks in Seattle.

The speed is 21 knots with just me on board and 17 knots with two adults.  This goes a long way towards "enlarging" the boat when at anchor.  I don't know if you head north into bigger water, but if you do, it's definitely a plus to have a large tubed inflatable for rough sea conditions.  Murphy ensures that previously calm water before dinner ashore will be rough as a cob for the trip home after sunset!  Also, I like to anchor deep in bays and fish in open waters so it's usually a mile or two each way (always against the wind and current of course). The speed really helps if the weather turns.

We rig the Garhauer lift to put the engine on and then put it away until its time to hoist the engine back up.  Works great.  We store the dinghy on deck for open water passages using the anchor windlass to hoist it up.  It costs us about a half knot on tow but tows great otherwise.

Having a fast dinghy has really enhance our boating experience.  We now think nothing of running 6 or 7 miles to circumnavigate an island, find an empty beach, go to dinner, or explore an inlet.
Title: Re: Dingy Purchase
Post by: Joe Kern on March 01, 2006, 04:08:21 AM
How do you use the anchor windlass to haul the dinghy up?
Title: Re: Dingy Purchase
Post by: Stu Jackson on March 01, 2006, 12:08:49 PM
We use a halyard to pull up the dinghy to the foredeck.  To use the windlass, it appears that it would simply be a matter of running the heaving line through a tackle to get the right approach, maybe even connected to a halyard.  Plenty of ways to do it.  Sometimes we use brute force, but that's only when our son does the grunt work.   :shock:
Title: Re: Dinghy Purchase
Post by: Joe Kern on March 01, 2006, 03:01:31 PM
I had assumed a halyard would be the way to go and just thought I would use a secondary winch to do it which is why I asked about the windlass approach.

 In  thinking about it, with only two people on board trying to get the dinghy on the foredeck would be easier if both were up there and being able to control everything from up there is kind of interesting.  So, how do you do it Randy?
Title: Re: Dinghy Purchase
Post by: Ron Hill on March 01, 2006, 03:29:28 PM
Joe : I use the spinnaker halyard and the small halyard winch.  Haul it out of the water every few days to keep the "nasties" from growing.  We put it on the deck to clean and wax the RIB bottom.  Lift it further and then flip it over on the deck.  I lift it up until it clears the stanchion and I flip it over.  My 8.5 ft hard bottom RIB weighs about 89lbs.
Let me see if I can shrink it enough to put it on this board ( and still have any kind of resolution!!)   :wink:
Title: Re: Dinghy Purchase
Post by: Joe Kern on March 01, 2006, 03:48:48 PM
Thanks Ron.  That was exactly how I was thinking we would do it.  Ours is 10'2" but with the HP floor and weighs about 75lbs so it should be fairly easy to manhandle.
Title: Re: Dinghy Purchase
Post by: Randy and Mary Davison on March 05, 2006, 02:58:28 PM
Joe,

We don't use the spinnaker halyard for a spinnaker so I keep a snatch block tied to the end of it.  We just pass the dinghy line through the snatch block, hoist the block up twenty feet or so and wrap the loose end around the windlass.  Works great.  When the kids used to do it, I also tied a small line to the attach point for the snatch block and let it dangle so I could recover the halyard when they forgot to pull it back down.  Bet you can guess what role experience had in that!

We use about 60 feet of Polypropylene for a dingy painter and I buy half inch to make it easier to grip.  Sometimes we do just haul the dinghy straight out with the halyard.  It depends on how my back feels and how hot it is under the dodger.

Randy
Title: Re: Dinghy Purchase
Post by: Ron Hill on March 05, 2006, 05:35:57 PM
Joe : I failed to mention that I also lift the dink up with a 5HP outboard attached.
With your longer dink I think you'll find the fordeck a bit more crowded.   :wink:
Title: Re: Dinghy Purchase
Post by: Joe Kern on March 06, 2006, 08:58:23 AM
Thanks Ron.  I used the spinnaker halyard this weekend and it was pretty easy (w/o an outboard) to get it up and outside of the stantions.  Just made my own version out of line of the fancy webbing type dinghy lifts they sell for dingys without internal lifting eyes.  After rowing the dogs back and forth from our anchorage for "restroom" facilities I have decided it is now time for the outboard purchase.
Title: Re: Dinghy Purchase
Post by: Mike Denest on March 19, 2006, 11:35:25 PM
We recently acquired a West Marine / Zodiac HP-310 that is 10'2' with high pressure floor and with only the two of us (and one small Jack Russel terrier) it seems small. We have used with 4 adults and I go along with the others, there seems to be a big difference in 2 feet. Also the HP-310 has a capacity of 881 pounds. Sounds like a lot but with people, gas tank, engine, coolers, folding chairs, junk; it fills up fast. I have a 6 hp Tahatsu 4-cycle (55 pounds) to push everything around. Big motor but I got a 2006 engine direct ship at a price I could not ignore and the weight was no greater than a lot of smaller hp 4-cycle engines.

And the Admiral is much more securer and comfortable in the larger dingy. :D

Wow, talk about timing.  Last Saturday we wandered into the local West Marine (New Castle, DE) and found that same dinghy for $1500.  It is a 2003 model that was used at the boat shows so it's never seen water.  Anybody interested in a nice 10' fiberglass dinghy?
Title: Re: Dinghy Purchase
Post by: Terry Forshier on March 21, 2006, 05:03:43 PM
A few years back I purchesed a Zodiak, (not Hypalon) it literally fell apart and came unglued in 2 years in the hot SW Fl, Sun) never again..No warranty Terry
Title: Re: Dinghy Purchase
Post by: Ron Hill on March 21, 2006, 06:24:00 PM
I've had the same luck with Zodiacs as Terry, all glue hits it's expiration date at the same time and they fall apart!!  However, I understand that they now have welded seams. After 2 PVC inflatables I bought a hypalon RIB and love it.  With a 5 hp we get it on plane - but both of us weigh under 300 lbs total. 
I made my lifting bridle out of 3/8" line and put splices on the ends so snap shackles easily attach to the dink.  You have to fiddle around to get the balance just right, but figure 8 knots can be taken in or let out.  That bridle was made in 1990 and has worked on 3 inflatable dinks!!   :thumb: