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Thread: Dinghy Recommendations

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    Member GolfNut's Avatar
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    Default Dinghy Recommendations

    I am looking for input on dinghys. We bought a 28' aluminum boat, and we need to buy an inflatable. Plenty of room on top so size isn't a concern. I want something light enough that two people can get it off and on without too much trouble. Input? Brands? Everyone tells me Hypalon will hold up better than PVC. Will there be any deals at the Sportsmans Show?

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I'd look at the air floor inflatagles as they are the lightest for their size. When costco used to sell them we picked one up, it's ~9'-8", 85lbs and rated for 4 people, but really a 3 person boat. The next size down would probably be perfect for 2 people. As far as how well it holds up, it depends on how you store it. If it lives on top of your boat in the sun all summer, vs. storing it out of the sun will have a big effect.

    While you may think you'll just row to shore all the time, there are some anchorages where you can't get too close to shore, and with a headwind a raft can be a real PITA to row. So a kicker is occasionally a must have vs. a nice to have.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

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    Error on the small size. You might think a 12 footer will be perfect since it can fit on the roof but you would soon regret it unless you have a davit for getting it off and back on the roof.

    We ended up with an 8.5 footer with the air floor due to the lighter weight. Bought a 2.5 Suzuki to power it. Makes a really good combination.

    But since we bought a Porta Bote we will most likely get rid of the 8.5 footer.

    Just stay with a well known brand such as Zodiac, Achilles, etc and you will be fine.

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    Golfnut, do you have a davit ?
    You might want to get one. I would prefer a dingy with an Alloy bottom for beaching reasons, that water be cold up there.

    Take a look at Spoiled ones dingy and how it is off loaded and loaded on his boat.

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    Sound advice so far. The question I have is what are you planning to do with the dinghy? Watch CL. There are some great deals to be had if you are willing to go the used route. If Snowwolfe is selling his tender, it would be worth a look. He takes meticulous care of his equipment.

    I started with an 8.5 westmarine inflatable with the slats for a floor (50 lbs +/_), then stepped up to a 9'10" inflatable floor maxxon, and now have a 10+ aquapro RIB with an aluminum hull. We spend a lot of time cruising around and exploring with the little boat. Plus the kids wanted something that would go a bit faster.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Thanks for the input so far. I don't have a davit. I will mostly use it for getting to shore when hunting, or taking the kids out. I have a family of 4 so I need an inflatable big enough for all of us but one that isn't too heavy to feasibly take on and off the top. I was thinking 8.5' to 10'. I've been watching CL daily. Snowwolfe, are you thinking about selling?

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    I am considering selling. But to be fair the Zodiac is in the back yard covered with a tarp and then a HUGE mound of snow. Will send you a PM once I can show it.
    Bought the air floor model at the advice of others here and those floors are tough! My son and I used it in PWS last spring when we were chasing black bears. Worked like a charm.

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    I was setting up this evening for the the Mat-Su outdoors show this weekend and there is a vendor there with inflatables, not the Gary King guy i didn't see him there tonight.

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    i went the inflatable route in the start but i have 2 boys and a dog and alot of shore running the wear was an issue. my aluminium tender i use now is less wieght and easier to handle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 27 sportfisher View Post
    i went the inflatable route in the start but i have 2 boys and a dog and alot of shore running the wear was an issue. my aluminium tender i use now is less wieght and easier to handle.
    What are you using as a tender?
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    i built this last summer.i want to add landing wheels and an attachment on bow to connect via a ramp to the stern. its 8'6" an about 80 lbs.skiff 002.jpg

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    Cool little skiff.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    thanks. funny how no matter how dialed in i think i am as soon as i am on the water i come up with a list of things i want to be better and easier.

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    So now you guys have me thinking about the davit idea. We have a used 12' Zodiac we bought last year with aluminum floor. It's very heavy but instead of selling it and buying a smaller dinghy, maybe the davit would be the way to go? Can someone tell me what the cost would be? If it is more cost efficient to install a davit than it would be to buy a new dinghy, then that might be the way to go. I would be interested to see how the davit works.

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    If you go the davit route, just make sure if you are using the tender to run to shore and back the driver and passenger are capable of picking up the boat to either haul it up on the beach or back to the water if the tide goes out.
    12 foot Zodiac and a small motor is a heavy combination to move around for 2 adults.

    My opinion is a davit and bigger boat would be the best of both worlds provided it can be moved around easily on and off the roof and on shore. Since we do not have a davit was the reason we moved to the 12 foot porta bote as it folds to only 4 inches thick and only weighs 77 pounds, plus it has twice the interior space of the same size inflatable.
    http://www.porta-bote.com/dimension.php

    The boat can be strapped down to the fish deck rails on the jet boat for moose hunting.

    Lots of choices! All it takes is money and some brain storming

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    Quote Originally Posted by GolfNut View Post
    So now you guys have me thinking about the davit idea. We have a used 12' Zodiac we bought last year with aluminum floor. It's very heavy but instead of selling it and buying a smaller dinghy, maybe the davit would be the way to go? Can someone tell me what the cost would be? If it is more cost efficient to install a davit than it would be to buy a new dinghy, then that might be the way to go. I would be interested to see how the davit works.
    We went a little over kill on my crane project. I only paid for materials. It pays to know a great welder and fabricator. My tender with F15 and fuel is about 270 pounds. We are using a 3000 pound ATV winch. I think that the weak point of the set up is MONO HULL! It is a one handed operation.







    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Good point Snowwolfe. We used the Zodiac last October on a drop off deer hunt on Montague. Two adults and two kids, and it was a chore a couple days to get the boat back to the water line. I can see where the Porta Bote is a great option. I like the size of the zodiac, so I think I will look into the davit. That is a sweet set up Spoiled One. Can you give me some idea of who I could talk to about a system for my boat?

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    I would recommend the guy that built mine, but he has moved out of state. I bet Gary at Greatland Welding could put something together for you. You might give him a shout.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Thanks, I'll give him a call.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GolfNut View Post
    So now you guys have me thinking about the davit idea. We have a used 12' Zodiac we bought last year with aluminum floor. It's very heavy but instead of selling it and buying a smaller dinghy, maybe the davit would be the way to go? Can someone tell me what the cost would be? If it is more cost efficient to install a davit than it would be to buy a new dinghy, then that might be the way to go. I would be interested to see how the davit works.
    Gulfnut here's a design that works for shrimping and lifting your dingy. The angle of the davit can be adjusted to meet your specific setup. Costing really depends on your setup and how your boat is designed but you can expect to pay around $2K for a setup that goes through the roof like this one.




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