Wednesday, July 31, 2013
My lovely wife and I have been sailing around for three years without a dinghy for our sailboat. There's a few good reasons for that.
First of all, our sailboat is only 19 feet long. Where does one put a dinghy?
We really haven't needed one until now. With the swing keel raised, our sailboat only draws a foot. In non-tidal waters it can be beached. Sometimes I'll drop an anchor off on the way in. That way I'll have something to pull on if it gets a bit stuck. No problems so far.
A lot of our cruising has been in Florida waters. The tides are small. It's easy to anchor close to shore and wade in. The water's warm. Again, not a big problem.
Sometimes we stay at marinas. No need for a tender when at the docks.
However, we plan on sailing in waters with higher tides, colder waters, and sometimes dirtier waters. Wading is not a good choice. Some places don't allow boats anchored so close to shore.
Anchoring or using a mooring is cheaper than staying at a marina. Our funds are limited, after all.
One solution to not having room on-board for a dinghy is to tow one. Plenty of sailboats do that. I might be willing to try it but my lovely wife is firmly against it. We are partners in this so I'm respecting her wishes.
What we have compromised on is an inflatable. However, both of us are not keen on having another motor to feed and maintain. That pretty much leaves rowing or paddling. Most inflatable dingies row badly. That's why people go with motors. In the end, we are decided on a large, heavy duty, inflatable kayak.
I grew up paddling canoes and kayaks, so I'm comfortable and good at it. Being able to see where you are going is a big plus. We spent some time with a couple who successfully used an inflatable tandem kayak on a 20 foot Flicka. They were very happy with theirs.
Once the boat comes in we are going to put it to the test. The company I picked has a generous return policy, so it doesn't work for us, back it goes.
Expect follow up photos.