I think Charlie Doane and I must be on the same wavelength or something. Just as I sat down to write about dinghies I heard a ping and into my inbox popped a notification that on Wavetrain, Charlie’s blog, he had written about the veritable dinghy.
Like Charlie I favor the roll up type of dinghy. Seaglass has an ample lazarette in the cockpit sole, which swallows all sorts of stuff; fenders, spare parts, hoses, cleaning supplies, and yes, the dinghy as I dislike hanging the dinghy off the back on davits.
I’ve had and used a bunch of dinghies over the years, from small Avon’s with soft floors that always left you with wet feet, to high tech center console RIB’s that have served as tenders to large expensive yachts. I like a hard dinghy if possible, because if well designed they are a delight to row, thus providing good exercise and at the same time eschewing the need for an outboard. Some years ago I built an Eastport pram kit from Chesapeake Light Craft, which I still have. It’s a handsome craft to be sure and always seems to stand out above the run of the mill inflatable cousins when tied to the dock outside some waterside restaurant. The down side is that I don’t have space to stow the pram aboard Seaglass so it’s rarely used these days.
A dinghy is necessity for me as I spend a lot of time at anchor, so getting ashore at regular intervals to walk the dogs is but one of the duties that the dinghy is called upon to perform. The new 10-foot Zodiac that I now have is an inflatable RIB, in that it has a rigid double blow-up floor. This floor keeps feet out of any bilge water and thus shoes, if worn, remain dry and the rigid bottom allows the boat to plane easily when anything larger than a 9-hp motor is strapped to the plywood transom. It’s a great boat, which blows up easily with either a manual or an electric pump. Deflating it is easy to but it is somewhat awkward and unwieldy to handle when in its limp state. Thankfully the large, opening, lazarette on the Grand Banks swallows it whole with ease, even if I’ve never actually managed to get the boat back into the bag that it came in.
Charlie also made mention of a folding rib in his post and I do in fact have one of these early folding RIBs. The bottom section is in three sections made from glass fiber, with Hypalon tubes glued to the outside edge in the same way as a solid RIB is constructed. The boat is pretty nifty and can be rowed, used with an outboard, or sailed. In fact I still have the brand new unused rig that came with the boat. I’ve not tried it but it should be fun as instead of leeboard there is a proper dagger board and trunk. In fact I have it up for sale at $600 if anyone’s interested. It’s in Virginia stored indoors. Email or call me with any questions.