Let's talk about dinghys, tenders, rhibs, kayak, sup etc

Discussion in 'Boats, Motors, Trailers and Towing Rigs Forum' started by 32Knots, May 15, 2020.

  1. 32Knots

    32Knots Active Member

    Let's say you have a under 30ft boat and wanted a tender for accessing shore. Cant always anchor and stern tie or bow in. Most boats that size wont run a davit and most likely roof storage.

    What are the best options and pro and cons. What has everyone done?
  2. ryanb

    ryanb Well-Known Member

    I have an 8.5' air floor inflatable (real inflatable, not Canadian Tire cheapo type) that I keep on my pilothouse roof. It's a bit of a challenge to get back on the roof at times when on the water, weighs around 60 pounds. It's more awkward than heavy. I climb on the roof and pull it up with a rope tied on the bow handle.

    A rib is just too heavy for anything but davits.
    Pineapple Express likes this.
  3. zurk

    zurk Active Member

    ive got an 18 footer. i use a small 2 person inflatable raft with oars. tends to work well. change it annually since they dont last but they cost $40-50 with taxes.
    electric pump cuz i couldnt be bothered to do it manually.

    also look for portable or hiking boats if you want better quality.
    e.g. a trak 2.0 is the best you can get -
    Last edited: May 16, 2020
    Romeo Lauzon likes this.
  4. bMcN

    bMcN Active Member

    Similar to @ryanb. I have a 10' Zodiac aero that I strap x-ways across the pilothouse roof. It weighs 77lbs. Can launch myself. Never tried hoisting it out of the water back onto the roof myself -- always had one of my sons around to help. One of these days I'll have to try the "climb on the roof" thing to see if I can do it.
  5. ericl

    ericl Well-Known Member

    My boat is in a dry storage marina. A small Livingston used to be the standard; just about everybody has switched to a RIB. You need to decide how many people it must carry, where you will put it, and how many people are available to launch/retrieve it.
  6. dmurph

    dmurph Well-Known Member

    @ryanb do you have a photo of your set up, I’m looking to get something for my boat. Don’t have slot of room up there with radar though
  7. ryanb

    ryanb Well-Known Member

    Not the best photo, but the best I could find. The dinghy sits between the radar arch and the rocket launchers. Upside down so it doesn't fill with water and backwards so the bow can hang over the deck a bit between the rocket launchers.

    Attached Files:

  8. Cuba Libre

    Cuba Libre Well-Known Member

    I have 8ft Walker Bay with air floor. For a small tender for a smaller boat , its great
    cletus likes this.
  9. tubber

    tubber Well-Known Member

    search up some of Sharphooks adventures. He has a fleet of inflatables.
  10. Sharphooks

    Sharphooks Well-Known Member

    Uh oh, when I see the word “tender” or “dinghy” or inflatable, I’m Pavlov’s dog and I come a’runnin’....

    Inflatables have been on my mind lately—-I recently peeled one off a beach that was listed on Craigslist “for free, come and get it..” It had been ridden hard and put away wet—- both pontoons had been severely lacerated by oyster shells and rocks. I’m thinking it broke free of the mother ship in a storm and got beaten to death on a beach over a winter.

    I bring this up because only an Avon (made out of hypalon) would have put up with the kind of abuse that Avon did and still held air. I just spent two days placing patches over the lacerations, not because the pontoons leaked, but just to strengthen the material.

    So yes, I’m a serious Avon proselytizer—-I own eight of them and use them all for different applications: Chasing steelhead in the “T” (back when you could do that) , chasing steelhead in the Skeena and Bulkley (back when I had solitude and could do that without having to compete with 50 other guides in 20 foot sleds, which is the way it is today), and as a tender for my salt-chuck boat.

    I couldn’t do my multiple week trips in the summer without inflatables—-I own a dog and have to get her to the beach multiple times a day but I also like getting off the boat and beachcombing and picking up garbage when I’m in-between tides

    What Avons have going for them are two things—-No. 1, they’re made of hypalon which isn’t even in the same universe as decitex/PVC. If a Zodiac had washed up on a beach and suffered the abuse my Avon did, it would have gone off to the dump.

    And No. 2: they are the only inflatable that have functional (and safe) oar locks.

    Although Achilles inflatables are made of hypalon, their oar locks are pinned —it’s not a question of if you’ll break an oar....it’s when

    So, if I was getting a tender for a boat and didn’t want to deal with a crane, I would steer clear of RIB’s. Most people use the term loosely and probably don’t know what an RIB is—-it’s a rigid hulled inflatable, usually with a fiberglass floor, and the pontoons are joined to the rigid hull. That means they don’t fold up and more importantly......they’re HEAVY! If you don’t own a crane andf you want to carry your inflatable on your boat as opposed to towing it, steer clear of RIB’s

    I own two of them—-they stay on my dock and I use them to crab fish —-they are very sea-worthy and will take bigger Hp then a soft bottom but I herniate a disc every time I pull them up on my dock

    So, in my mind, if you want to get a hypalon boat that is light, rows well, and has large pontoons for SAFETY, and would make an excellent tender boat, the R-series Avons will serve you very well. I own the entire series—-R2.8, R3.10, R3.40, and R3.80— the numbers refer to length in meters

    I use the R2.8 on my summer trips when I’m alone with the dog. I use the R3.10 when the GF comes with me—- The R3.4 and R3.8 go with me to the Skeena and Bulkley

    If you want a slick package, get the small spring-loaded launch wheels and bolt them to the wooden transom. A flick of the wrist puts them in down position ——when I BBQ fish on the beach, I load all the crap in the bow, row to shore, then drag the raft up on the beach—-good way to haul a pile of gear in one shot and a great way to get the raft up beyond the tide change so you don’t have to worry about it floating away on a high tide when your tucking in to your BBQ coho

    Yes, I’m all in on hypalon. I don’t want to dis the PVC guys out there but these are the published “cons” of PVC as a material for an inflatable——draw your own conclusions:

    1))When dry, PVC is not resistant to abrasion.
    2)) Compared to Hypalon, it does not respond well to extreme temperatures.
    3)) It is also not resistant to the deteriorating effects of chemicals, ultraviolet light,
    4))Inflatable PVC boats deteriorate over time, so they have shorter life cycle.

    Yes, hypalon inflatables are more expensive, but that’s why God created Craigslist. I see R2.8’s and R3.1’s come up on CL all the time. They’re usually $ 300 - 500, depending on condition. Same with Avon Redstarts or Avon Redcrests—-they also make a good tender but don’t have a wooden transom to attach wheels

    And here’s a hot tip——get an electric pump, cut off the plug, and attach it to a Scotty male plug. I keep my inflatables rolled up on my deck. After I drop the hook, I get out my “screamer” (it’s a very small but efficient electric pump that gets its name by the noise it makes when it powers up). I plug it in to the Scotty receptacle and in 3 minutes I have my tender tied up along side my boat.....the same pump sucks air out of the pontoons—-do your beach business, then suck the air out when you’re back on your boat—-tender’s out of the way

    Here’s a R2.8: If you look at the stern, you’ll see the wheels I refer to—-they’re slick and great for keeping the hypalon off oyster shells—-came in real handy in Desolation Sound when going ashore—-oyster shell hell...



    Here’s a R3.1—perfect size for a tender if there’s more then one person—-big pontoons...Safe! I use it regularly to chase chinook in the rivers. That prop guard on the Yamaha lets me go through 4 inches of water on step. You can see the launch wheels on that one, too. And last but not least—-you don’t need to install the floorboards! I’ve run them with outboards with a soft floor—-if you don’t drive like Mad Max, they handle fine with soft bottom on flat water


    Here’s a R3.4— a good option if you’re hauling several people and gear. It’s got a 15 Hp Yamaha on it. That picture was in front of Hazelton Village on the Skeena back in the good old days. It’s going on Craigslist next week because the good old days are over and gone....more guide sleds on the Skeena then fish these days, and now, the FN’s want it all back....what’s left of it


    This is the pontoon of the Avon I pulled off a beach a few weeks ago——none of those gashes leaked air! I only patched them to strengthen the material.

    Last edited: May 16, 2020
  11. dmurph

    dmurph Well-Known Member

    Wow, your really geared up with dinghies. I like the idea of running a pump off the Scotty outlet to inflate and deflate. I’ve been wanting to get a dinghy but don’t have enough room on the roof for a reasonable sized one without covering the radar dome. I thought about a pump but fiqured it would be to much hassle and I wouldn’t want to ever go through the process. Sounds like it works for you easy enough though.
  12. SpringFever552

    SpringFever552 Well-Known Member

    Hey dmurph
    I have the 2359 and roll it up and put on roof.
    Its a bit of work, I'm 55 and manage ok.. doubtful I'll be doing it in 10yrs from now.
    I think I'll get the electric pump/scotty plug, great idea thanks @Sharphooks

    Attached Files:

  13. Sharphooks

    Sharphooks Well-Known Member

    I have the real estate up on the wheelhouse of my boat to carry an inflatable but two things: I don’t want to have anything near my radar dome but more importantly, getting an inflatable on and off the top of a boat when boat-camping alone seems like a recipe for either a herniated disc or a hypothermic swim...both are low on my list

    So those electric pumps come in handy. I have two of them—one for my truck to inflate for river adventures and one for my boat with the modded Scotty plug adapter:


    Here’s how I keep my inflatable when I’m fishing—-it’s loosely folded up and sits on a cooler along side the gunnel—-


    When I want to go to the beach, I plug in the pump and in 2-3 minutes, boom, I have this:


    That inflatable is an Avon Redcrest. I bought it on Craigslist for $ 50 and fixed it up ——it was eaten alive by barnacles and I’m sure the Seller thought it was way beyond repair.... I take great pride in bringing old Avons back to life. Not to sound like I’m blowing smoke up me arse but I have never yet found a leak I couldn’t fix. I have piles of extra hypalon if any of you guys need hypalon patch material. By the way, rules of engagement when owning an inflatable——ALWAYS carry a pump and a repair kit in the boat. Always!


    That Redcrest does double-duty for me—-works as a tender on the salt-chuck and is light enough so you can throw if over your shoulder and carry it up a beach. It also serves as a packable raft that will hold alot of gear when I do my wilderness fly-in river trips in Alaska for steelhead:


    By the way, that pump is an “LVR”—-not sure if they still make them. They were originally made in the UK and were expensive (over $ 100)....then they started making them in China and of course, quality went off a cliff, but they both blow and suck air—-you can turn an inflatable into a flat sheet of hypalon for easy packing, and they’re strong enough to blow up an inflatable as big as this:

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 17, 2020
  14. ryanb

    ryanb Well-Known Member

    What about sideways (horizontally) on the roof?

    Inflating and deflating in theory is easy enough, but adds to the hassle.
  15. Rain City

    Rain City Crew Member

    Mine has 1" plywood floor boards. I deflate it and keep it on the deck when we head out on trips. It is a bit cumbersome though. A buddy had a couple 8' kayaks from home depot that were cheap and we ended up using those way more to get to and from shore. They sit nicely on the sides of his bayliner 26 Sierra inside the rails. They're way more fun to explore with as well, it actually feels like an activity as apposed to just a way to shore. We even crabbed off them.
    Canso likes this.
  16. barkerfam

    barkerfam Well-Known Member

    @Sharphooks Great write up. I googled avon boats but could only find large ones. Where would i buy one?


  17. Sharphooks

    Sharphooks Well-Known Member

    Hey barkerfarm—-thanks for the comments—-it’s easy for me to talk inflatables so glad if all my yakking helped shed some constructive light...I don’t mean to dis PVC inflatables but I’ve seen too many of them with delam problems....I used to repair inflatables professionally —-I gave up trying to fix Zodiacs that had the transom delaminating from the pontoons. (Really) ...they don’t stand up to prolonged solar oxidation

    Back to Avons—-for some reason, there does not appear to be many available in your neck of the woods. There is a guy down the street from me selling a R2.80 —-he’s offering it paired with a 4 Hp Tohatsu but says he’s willing to separate


    The R2.8 seems to be in “reasonable” shape though I haven’t taken a look....you can see he’s calling it an “RIB”—-it ain’t an RIB— it’s an Avon R2.80 with a segmented wooden floor. I’ve been using mine for ever with no wooden floor, so as mentioned, soft bottom is fine if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of putting in the floor boards. His price for just the R2.80 is “OK”, not wonderful....but even the older Avons hold their value

    The deal of the century is a guy on eBay selling a very rare R3.10. (Color red). It looks like it’s in excellent condition


    Not sure what it would cost to ship , but even at $ 400 - $ 500 to your door that would still be a good deal—-
    People tend to hug their Avons—-there are several in New England on Craigslist but owners are very proud of them. That eBay Avon R3.10 is a rare find—- If I didn’t already have a R3.10 I’d be calling him and seeing what it would cost to get it shipped

    And here’s another hot tip: Launch wheels! These are hard to find——they are an excellent addition to ANY inflatable to can buy that has a wooden transom:

    Last edited: May 18, 2020
    barkerfam likes this.
  18. MadJigga

    MadJigga Crew Member

    Hey. I see lots of options for different launch wheels. Why do you prefer this style?
    I placed a bid on the Avon on eBay. We will see what happens.
  19. Sharphooks

    Sharphooks Well-Known Member

    I have this style launch wheel on my R3.40 that I use on the Skeena.


    They are big, hold lots of air, and I can get the inflatable to the river with the outboard attached to the transom but once you get it launched, they are a HUGE PITA to deal with because they are so buoyant and hard to remove to get out of the way.. They are also big and heavy and you have to deal with them once the boat is launched

    The launch wheels on eBay I have found to be the most efficient—-they’re light, easy to fold up or down, and when they’re folded up, you can roll up the inflatable like they’re not even there

    In my mind, they are the best for pulling up on a beach and for folding up to keep out of the way when you’re rowing or under power.

    Here they are attached to a R3.10


    You can see how low-profile they are when folded up—-not the case with any other launch wheel on the market.

    the only downside—-they are low profile so if you drag the inflatable at too steep an angle, the rear pontoons will sometimes hit the beach. My work-around—- I glued strips of hypalon on the bottom of the pontoons to guard against abrasion
    Last edited: May 18, 2020
    heavytacklecrackle likes this.
  20. MadJigga

    MadJigga Crew Member

    Are you selling any Avon’s at the moment? I think I see the same photos you just shared on Craigslist...

Share This Page