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Dinghy Selection

Ian

New Member
What dinghy does every use on their Morgan? Just purchased a 383, and am shopping around for a dinghy and wanted to store it on the foredeck. What size/brands/types of dinghy works for you?
 

kenk

Ken Kurlychek
Congratulations on the new boat.
We've found that our Walker Bay 270 (8'10") inflatable with a folding transom fits well (deflated) in front of the cowl vents yet leaves the windlass area open. We've gone up and down the East coast several times without a problem. We tie webbing around its midsection to make it narrower so walking around on either side is less difficult. If not using it when at anchor, we hoist it part way up by the bow loop forming a wind scoop.
Inflating it on the for deck is a bit of a challenge taking something like 20 minutes or so.
We're not crazy about the quality of the Walker Bay but the design works for us. I'd suggest looking at similar sizes from other manufacturers that make folding transom inflatables.
 

rolf

Rolf Peterson
I have the plywood floor version of what I think is the 210 model from w marine, inflatable. It fits upside down just forward of the mast pointing forward, leaving just enough room to walk past it on the side decks and room at the mast to work hslyards and winches.
 

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mpearson

Mark Pearson
Staff member
DFE2136B-ED3F-4812-BD52-9F4B3478C94E.jpeg

I did a bunch of research and last year finally bought an Achilles HB-300 FX. We love it.
Key points were:
  • Rigid Bottom (fiberglass)
  • Hypalon material lasts much better than PVC
  • Folding Transom so it fits neatly in a bag on the deck during ocean passages (see photo above)
  • Achilles makes very high quality boats
Like Ken’s, ours fits forward of the dorade box and leaves room to get into the anchor locker/windlasss.

It wasn’t the cheapest (of course!) but we are quite happy with our choice.

I put eye bolts in the transom and rigged a harness up with snap shackles, which can be attached to a halyard. Thus I can easily hoist/winch it onto the deck by myself.

Another trick is I bought a small portable Dewalt (battery powered) shop vacuum. It’s great for cleaning the cabin. You can put the hose on the output so I use it to inflate the dingy in about 2 minutes. I top it off with the foot pump.

Here is White Shark (our Achilles) at the beach with Zia in the background.

C588E2FB-4185-405F-802A-38D8F632EC95.jpeg
 

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moltzvt

David Moulton
Congratulations on the new boat, I am sure you will love her. This site is always good for feedback and information. Best of luck with the new boat.
 

datswite

Ken Ferrari
We have a 10' Porta Bote that we've been cruising full time with for 3 years. While every boat is a collection of compromises, we love it!!

We have a Monitor windvane, so davits aren't an option. The porta bote folds flat and stores in standup paddle board racks on the stanchions while on short protected hops. For longer trips offshore, we lash it down on the coach roof. Our decks are always clear which is a huge safety feature offshore.

The porta bote is also lightweight, and it's fast with a lightweight 6hp outboard. It's also nearly indestructible. We never worry about dragging it over rocks. Or worry about nails on docks. We love it!!
 

Carol Hayes

New Member
Take a look at Highfields. We bought an 8’6” rib. It comes with a tank locker, has 17” tubes and is very well built.
 

terry_thatcher

Terence Thatcher
I have an old avon red crest and a 10 foot nesting dinghy. The nester fits in front of the mast on the coach roof. Length when nested is 5 feet or so. It takes a while to put in the water and put back on the boat. 15 minutes of work. But it rows wonderfully and sails well. The boat is no longer built, but there are some nesters out there, mostly expensive kits. We used the dinghy around the Pacific. Were I to sail long distances again, I might look for a hypalon boat that would roll up and fit in the same place. I dont like to have decks or hatches covered up with gear when sailing. No good dinghy will be cheap. Rubber dinghies dont row well, but most folks have small outboards.
 

stnick

lee nicholas
Im just born different ! I had a inflatable I do admit it was not a quality at the time i was very poor and better was no option. Every morning i would wake at anchor and the air was gone out . So i would blow it back up . To no avail . I even purchased the Boat US sealent soulation and poured a quart inside moved it all around my lawn and seemed to work ! Next cruise it was only Half deflated ! I took a Knife to it and ended both of our misserys .!!!!!!
I purchased a SNUG harbor hard dink 8 ft with a hard chine. Shes work horse. When i got the Morgan I put Gauhauer davits on ! Just makes cruising easy ! And i even have one of two solar panels mounted across the davits ! The davits allow me to lower the engine to the dink when shes lowered in to the water !
So underway i have 2 large fenders between the hull and dink and use a large ratchet strap with SS ratchet from the stern rail around the dink and back to the other sttrn rail , Than i crank it tight ! She does not move but 2 inches and fenders protect the dink and my transome.
 
View attachment 7398

I did a bunch of research and last year finally bought an Achilles HB-300 FX. We love it.
Key points were:
  • Rigid Bottom (fiberglass)
  • Hypalon material lasts much better than PVC
  • Folding Transom so it fits neatly in a bag on the deck during ocean passages (see photo above)
  • Achilles makes very high quality boats
Like Ken’s, ours fits forward of the dorade box and leaves room to get into the anchor locker/windlasss.

It wasn’t the cheapest (of course!) but we are quite happy with our choice.

I put eye bolts in the transom and rigged a harness up with snap shackles, which can be attached to a halyard. Thus I can easily hoist/winch it onto the deck by myself.

Another trick is I bought a small portable Dewalt (battery powered) shop vacuum. It’s great for cleaning the cabin. You can put the hose on the output so I use it to inflate the dingy in about 2 minutes. I top it off with the foot pump.

Here is White Shark (our Achilles) at the beach with Zia in the background.

View attachment 7400
Resurrecting an old thread. I am saving up for an upgrade to my dinghy, and this is very much what I am looking for/at. Was the bag custom, or did it come with it/sold separately? I have been looking at aluminum bottoms hoping to be able to fold everything inside and bag it like that, but haven't seen it done anywhere else. Do you think you give up much in durability with fiberglass instead of aluminum?

Something I learned in my cruising. I gave up on a lot of luxuries so I could afford the cruise; no watermaker, no windless, no refrigeration, and a sub $1000 dinghy. The very best dinghy you can buy and carry is important. Much more so than everything else.
 

mpearson

Mark Pearson
Staff member
Hi there, Warren. We have been happy with the fiberglass and I think we will wear out everything else before the fiberglass has problems. Aluminum does seem appealing, but I don't think we've given up a lot in terms of durability. Achilles does make some models with aluminium bottoms, but as I dimly recall, I don't think the transom folded. And it seems like they were either a lot heavier or more expensive, or both, I don't recall.

Yes, the bag came with our Achilles HB-300 FX. It's funny, ours is getting a little tattered and bleached by the sun, so I was looking for a replacement bag. I couldn't find where they sold the exact same bag, but we decided we like the tattered & bleached appearance - it makes it a lot less of a target for theft.

When we were shopping, I was lucky enough to be able to have some chats with technicians who work on all sorts of dinks and they both spoke very highly of Achilles build quality. That's what sealed it for me.
 
Warren and Mark,
I'm also looking at dinghies. I have never owned an inflatible. I'm pretty much sold on the Achilles line though. The quality and features just seem to be much nicer than most others. Achilles apparently has a hypalon that is proprietary and supperior to others too.

I have heard the same Mark.
"When we were shopping, I was lucky enough to be able to have some chats with technicians who work on all sorts of dinks and they both spoke very highly of Achilles build quality. That's what sealed it for me."

I have not considered the Rigids due to the storage limitations below, or a locker. Your opinions?

I have focused on the Air FLoor LSI-E. Both for price, and storage. Also lightweight.
or perphaps the LSR-E aluminum roll up floor.

I have a Torqeedo which is probably equivelant to a 3 or 4 hp gas engine. This pushes my 2100# Moore 24 at 4-5 knots easily, and no gas or oil onboard. Not planning on getting up on a plane...

Thanks, Mitchell
 

Tim Eichel

Member
I have the 8ft porta-bote, foldable down to the size of a surfboard. I keep it on deck forward lashed to the stanchions. It has never felt like it was in my way. What I don't like about it is once the 2.5hp outboard is attached and me on it (I weigh 160), the water is 4-6 inches from coming over the transom. It is very stable and not tippy but I have seen on Youtube that they will sink if left in the water and enough rain collects.
 

mpearson

Mark Pearson
Staff member
Mitchell - when it's in the bag (per the photo above), it's easy to maneuver around it on the deck. When it's inflated, it's a tighter fit but you can still maneuver around the edges.

We often put it on the deck at night to reduce chances of theft. With the eye bolts and little clip on strap I made, it's super easy for one person to use a halyard to hoist it onto the deck. When we are doing ocean passages we usually have it in the bag, though.

We have an old 8HP Nissan outboard that gets us up on step fairly easily with 2 of us aboard. As long as we shift our weight forward a little. I've gotta say sometimes we need to dinghy a fair distance and getting up on step can be fairly nice.
 

datswite

Ken Ferrari
I have seen on Youtube that they will sink if left in the water and enough rain collects.
Can confirm. It what ended being a funny story (it definitely wasn't funny as it was happening), my ex-girlfriend sent my 10' Porta-Bote to the bottom of the Dinner Key Marina dinghy dock just south of Miami.

We parked the dinghy at the dock early in the day to go on an all-day provisioning run. We were on our last day with a rental car and were loading up for several months of Bahamian cruising, so we were gone ALL DAY and well into the evening. We experienced biblical amounts of rainfall that day, and I was worried about the dinghy all day. We arrived back to the dock around midnight and quickly unloaded the car between raindrops. The agreement was that I would drive the car to a parking space while she carted the provisions to the dock (her choice, by the way, it was dark and she didn't want to walk alone at night). So, that's what we did.

When I made it back to the dock, I noticed from a distance that the dinghy was nearly filled to the gunwales with rainwater. What happened next occurred in slow motion... as I walked down the ramp to the dock, my ex walked over to the dinghy. In her head, she thought she could just lift up on the painter to dump the water out. In my head, I saw the transom loaded with my brand new Tohatsu outboard dipping below the waterline and filling the dinghy the rest of the way up with seawater. Just as I started to yell "NO!", she yanked up on the painter. Guess which one of us was correct about what would happen. I'll give you a hint; the dinghy promptly swamped and sank.

The rest of the story would take too long to type - perhaps I'll finish it over a beer one day. But, I'll give you this: it took at least 1.5 hours to refloat the dinghy and get the engine started. In the process, she sank someone else's rigid dinghy (that we also had to refloat), she fell completely in the water, she dunked a backpack full of cell phones a tablet computer and a handheld VHF, and everything we had just purchased was soaked to the bone with rain.

Thank goodness I got the engine started as the mothership was in the mooring field about a mile offshore. The valves must have just been closed on a compression cycle preventing the engine from filling up with water. I can't imagine how this story would have ended if I had to row her, myself, and all of our soaked provisions back to the boat (which took 3 trips), but it's likely our relationship would have ended a lot sooner than it ultimately did. :D

Anyway, the sun was coming up as I was rinsing and WD-40'ing every square centimeter of my brand new outboard.
 
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My previous dinghy was an air floor. A cheap one. If performed very well when it was new. However, when going over chop, it would bend, and I believe this contributed to its demise, it split a seam between the front tube and one of the side tubes. I was rowing as fast as I could, while my crew member was bailing water as fast as she could, and she wasn't able to catch up. It didn't completely sink because the one tube on the one side was enough to keep the two of us afloat. I can say for sure I got my money out of it, and every bit of use it was capable of.

The air floor had good performance as it formed a deep v like a solid hull would. It planed, was fast, and turned very well. But the air floor had to maintain a very high pressure, and it was the first part to leak. It wasn't long before I was carrying an air pump with me and pumped it up before every trip.

Anyway, so what I have been looking at is a hypalon dinghy with a rigid hull for performance that won't flex while on the plane with chop, that I can deflate and fold everything inside. I wasn't looking at a folding transom, but that seems a smart idea, and it looks like it stores very well on the foredeck. I think I would prefer aluminum though, so I am undecided. The bag I think is mandatory, so that might be a deciding factor. I sometimes sailed with my old dinghy fully inflated on the foredeck, so all folded up would be a step up in space, even with a larger dinghy. I have looked at the hard dinghies, but the carrying capacity doesn't compare, and they are not nearly as stable.

It looks like it will set me back nearly $4k. But If it will last me 15 years, and be comfortable and fast transportation I can justify that.

As an aside "Hypalon" is no longer produced. Hypalon was a Dupont trademark. What is sold as Hypalon by *any* manufacture now, is their proprietary implementation. From a name brand company, probably all of them are better than the original Hypalon.
 

terry_thatcher

Terence Thatcher
Mark, just reviewing this thread. What are the dimensions of the dinghy bag when the dinghy is all packed up inside please? thanks.
 
Good to know there is a bit of hope in planing with an air floor. I could be satisfied, even if only with myself aboard. This for me seems the best and most economical option so far. And I really feel the Achilles will last a long time. Most of its life will probably be spent below, rolled up. It is a pretty reasonable package size anyway.
Thank for the input.
Ken, Great story, and you just reinforced my previous thoughts on these dinghies!
Mitchell
 
Hi Mitchel,
I have a red Hypalon 1991 Achilles LS-5 (10'2") in really nice condition that needs a mission profile. Long story, could be yours
510-719-0227
John
 

mpearson

Mark Pearson
Staff member
Terry - sorry, I missed your question about dimensions.
Here are the dimensions when it’s “in the bag”.

1620763398331.png

And you’re always welcome to come visit Zia for an inspection, and to tip a beer. We are all double vaccinated now and PYC has a great outdoor patio for social distancing.

Cheers,
-Mark
 
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