Our dinghy was the first I and my husband had, or if nothing else we had every one of the parts of the dinghy as our first best deep cycle marine battery.
We’d heard that Trinidad had incredible costs on engines and that the perfect place to purchase a dinghy was Venezuela. Since we were freely intending to go there on vacation sometime, operation purchase-a-boat was kicked off.
You’d think, with a 28′ boat, that we’d prefer getting a smaller, lighter, and stowable for our inflatable. A little Zodiac, perhaps, or an Avon move up.
No. We picked the biggest dinghy, with the biggest motor we could find. I don’t know whether in those days there were dinghies with consoles but this felt crazy even to us. We settled on a RIB, around 10 feet long, that we’d purchase in Venezuela, where Caribe and AB both had merchants or producers – the subtle elements are somewhat fluffy. What’s more, for both of those dinks, a 15 horse motor is the appropriate size.
Why a RIB? Jeremy had scary stories about Avons that didn’t sum up, and a Zodiac that was a bad dream to pump up each time they had the need to use it. We needed a dinghy that was prepared to go right away, no pumping needed. Also, the best trolling motor battery, the wet rides in Soca, made us want a planning hull. We settled for the RIB.
We purchased the engine in Trinidad a few weeks before we visited Venezuela, constructing a custom section for it to sit when we were on passage.
A 10 horse, single-barrel, hand-wrench Sabb motor powered the engine. The dinghy, weighing pretty much 100 pounds, would have more power than our 14,000 pound boat. Nice!
There were issues. Stowing the huge dinghy, which we call Chutney, is not an easy task. It barely fits on the foredeck, rendering the staysail and the windlass unusable, so the last minute lashing occurs after the anchor is up, and coming into a harbor implies managing the dink until the point that we can complete everything. Also, not having the staysail, best marine battery for a boat intended to cruise her best with the use of one, is simply not manageable.
Here’s the thing with dinghies, and it is almost like other boat discussions. There’s not one ideal response for anybody. We started looking out for a wooden one, to flaunt abilities and have it fit with the look of the boat. We moved to wanting a vast a dink, with a large engine, as we could make sense of how to use it. And now we’re onto the idea that the dinghy needs to stow well in a specific zone (under the boom), be sufficiently light to manage effectively, and doesn’t need to be gigantic.
As our lives have changed, so have our necessities for a dinghy. Try not to believe you’re stuck always with whatever you choose to get now. Adaptability is vital for such a large number of things in this great sculling universe of our own.