We spent a while deciding on what tender to take. Read lots (probably too much) about different options.
We wanted something that would last well and take the abuse that we would throw at it. Its not that l’m not careful (mel will disagree) its just that I have a habit of using things quite hard.
Inflatable: Most common choice. Easy to stow if you have enough locker space. (not already filled with sails, ropes, jerry cans and a folding bicycle. fabric will degrade in the sun and it will get a hole it at some point.
Hard dinghy: Cheap, bombproof, rows well, but where do you put it? We don’t want davits on the back. Our friend Chris had a Portland Pudgy. Great tender and doubled as a life raft so you don’t have to carry and pay for both. Unfortunately we we don’t have anywhere it would fit. (He used davits but said he would rather not have them again for ocean crossings).
Folding/stacking: Seem to offer the advantages of the hard dinghy (except price) but fold up so that they can be stored. We measured up and couldn’t fit a stacking one in a sensible way on the foredeck in front on the baby stay. We have a solid vang so it couldn’t go behind the mast.
We liked the idea of the hard dinghy but couldn’t make it fit. So decided to try and find a folding one. We bought a 2nd hand 10ft Portabote on ebay. Picked it up took it down to the boat and decided that it was going to be just too big to assemble on the foredeck. Fortunately we managed to sell it for what we paid for it.
What we finally ended up with was:
A Seahopper Scamp.
It is a folding pram type dinghy. 8ft long and folds to about 12cm thick.
We have tried it round the harbour. It rows really well (I didn’t think i could row and have had lots of friends laugh at me trying to) and puts along with our 2.5hp outboard. We could get a sailing kit for it if we wanted to but not going to think about that yet.
It fits down the side of the boat along the guard rails and we can put it together on the foredeck.
2.5hp honda out board from our old shared boat. On the back of the boat with the cover made by my mum. Testing in a wheely bin after we serviced it.