Lightweight Dinghy

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AlanH
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Lightweight Dinghy

Post by AlanH »

Hi all,

I am looking for thoughts on a lightweight RIB. We currently have a 9' 1" Caribe RIB with a Fiberglass hull that weighs in at a hefty 127 lbs. I would like to get a new lightweight dinghy about the same size. There are a number of them with aluminum hulls that are under 100 lbs. and some as low as 82 lbs. 40-50 lbs. lighter is very attractive from a reduced weight hanging off the stern cruising to ease of hoisting after use.

Has anyone made the switch to a lightweight dinghy? If so, any advice, recommendations or thoughts?

Thanks,
Alan
Alan Hendry
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John&Ria
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Re: Lightweight Dinghy

Post by John&Ria »

Three years ago we bought a new tender, a Highfield CL 290 aluminum rib with bow locker. We've been very pleased with the design features, ride, and apparent quality of manufacture. Although our particular model weighs in at over 100lbs, I note that their ultralight UL 290 weighs in at only 86lbs. That looks pretty good for 9'6" length and a rating up to 15hp

duetto
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Re: Lightweight Dinghy

Post by duetto »

we've had good luck with west marine's 10'6" fiberglass, hypalon rib. rib weighs 105 lbs. we power them with 15 hp yamaha 2 strokes. we have 2 of them configured the same way. one is 12 years old and the other is 8.
john & diane cummings
duetto mv34 #23

MikeH
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Re: Lightweight Dinghy

Post by MikeH »

Hi Alan -

I just ordered a Takacat inflatable catamaran dinghy, T260LS, 8'-6", 55 lbs. It's advertised as a 3 person boat, which is probably accurate if the 3rd person is small. I'm using a Torqeedo 1103CS electric outboard, 39 lbs.

My plan is to put it on the davits during trips, and store it otherwise.

I'll post a performance update at the end of the summer.
Mike Hendry
M/V Easy Riders, Gulfport FL
2003 PDQ MV 34
The Legendary Hull #29
75 HP, 3 Blade

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AMCarter3
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Re: Lightweight Dinghy

Post by AMCarter3 »

We just replaced our older and pretty worn out Walker Bay Genesis RIB with a 2021 Highfield UL 290 –- 9'5" length, aluminum hull with Hypalon pontoons; Max capacity: 4 people (882 lbs); Total Weight = 170 lbs. (dinghy 95 lbs+ seat & oars 10 lbs + Honda 5hp motor 60 lbs + extra gas container 5 lbs). See: https://www.highfieldboats.com/ultralite-290/

We looked hard at for options. We also wanted a lighter and bigger dinghy. The three brands that got our attention were: Highfield, Achielles and AB. The biggest issue was availability -- there were VERY FEW options in stock that matched our criteria. We jumped on this Highfield model. it actually fits (just barely) in the space between the two boat hulls.

We also added a 2" stainless spreader bar (same tubing as davit structure) so the davit hoist lines would be vertical as specified by PDQ in the original owners manual. What a difference that makes.
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Mac Carter
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AlanH
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Re: Lightweight Dinghy

Post by AlanH »

Thanks everyone for all the replies. They are helpful.

Mac, I noticed you power with a 5hp motor. Will it get on plane with two people with that motor? We currently have an older 79lb Yamaha 9.9hp with a 15hp carburetor. Runs great with but I am not a fan of of the 2 cycle engines. I have thought about replacing it with an 8hp 4 cycle at about the same weight. My reluctance is the potential loss of enough power to get on and stay on plane.

Mike, we did consider the Takacat but were concerned about loading bikes and groceries. In addition we sometimes have two passengers.

Thanks again to all.

Alan
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Re: Lightweight Dinghy

Post by AMCarter3 »

Alan, We just got the Honda 5hp. Haven’t even broken it in yet, but I doubt it will plane with 2 people… maybe with one. That wasn’t our primary goal. Weight was our biggest concern. So we compromised.

I have a friend who has the heavier version of the Highfield 290 (same size but with a full floor and gas compartment in bow… and considerably heavier).He has a Yamaha 9.9. It’s fairly fast and planes when at full throttle. I think the ridged aluminum V-hull helps. But, he had to beef up his block & tackle to 5:1 because of the weight. Mine is still 4:1.
Mac Carter
2006 34' PDQ PowerCat "All Heart"; MV 98; twin 100 HP Yanmars
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Re: Lightweight Dinghy

Post by AlanH »

Thanks Mac.
Alan Hendry
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Re: Lightweight Dinghy

Post by John&Ria »

Alan, if decent power combined with lighter weight is part of what you're looking for, have a look at the Suzuki line. I believe their four-strokes are the lightest on the market in the 8-20 hp range. We use a DF15A on our 9'6" Highfield and find it performs very well - it's easy to get the two of us (and all our gear) on plane, and also to comfortably plane at speeds as low as 12 and as high as 20+ mph. The weight of our motor is 97 lbs. No changes to our davit system have been necessary.

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Re: Lightweight Dinghy

Post by Don & Robbin »

Alan,
We just bought an AL rib from North Atlantic Inflatables in Maine. It is 8'8", 85lbs,16.5" tubes, and rated for 10hp. Bought a Tohatsu 9.8hp ( 82lbs) which should get us on a plane. We have not used it yet but it should be a very dry boat with the big tubes and deep v in the bow.
Don Sayre
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AlanH
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Re: Lightweight Dinghy

Post by AlanH »

Wow, tough dinghy market these days. I considered a lot of different Aluminum RIB's based on the input from all of you. I want something right around 9 foot. MY first choice was the AB 9 UL Aluminum Hull Inflatable (RIB) 9' 1", Gray Hypalon, 75 pounds. It is not available anywhere. We are planning a 3 month trip, Florida to the Chesapeake and back beginning around May 1 and really want the lighter dinghy for the trip.

I wound up purchasing a Zodiac Aluminum Hull (RIB) 9' 0", PVC. It weighs 82 pounds and has a 16" tube diameter. It was not my first choice but it was available and will meet our needs. I really did want Hypalon but settled for PVC.

We have a 2006 9.9 hp Yamaha 2 cycle outboard the runs perfect and weighs in at 79 pounds. I am going to start with it and consider a lightweight 9.9 hp 4 stroke later in the year.

Our current dinghy is a 9"1' Caribe that weighs 127 pounds so we are losing 45 pounds.

I do like the spreader bar Mac added and will probably do the same to have the hoist lines going strait up.

Thank you all for the input.

Alan
Alan Hendry
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Re: Lightweight Dinghy

Post by Lyons Pride »

you will find that 9.9 to run very well and will run great for years and you can't beat the weight to power issue.....Dont be afraid of 2 strokes as the good ones are very reliable and powerful

MikeH
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Re: Lightweight Dinghy

Post by MikeH »

Here's a review of the open bow Takacat inflatable catamaran dinghy from my earlier post, T260LS, 8'-6", 55 lbs. (I'm using a Torqeedo 1103CS electric outboard, 39 lbs.)

Pros:

The Takacat is well built and highly efficient. Easy to row upwind. Under average conditions, the Torqeedo powers her at 1.8 kts burning only 30 to 35 watts. Very easy to get in and out of the water from the open bow. Good weight carrying capacity - I loaded Dave Nichols off ATKA into the boat, and she did fine in the strong current in the Alloway Creek in NJ. She does great getting off the beach in a heavy surf - the bows just hop over the surf.

She's strong. During a storm in the Block Island mooring field, I had a big sailboat get tangled up in my mooring. Once I got cut loose, I had to do multiple full power reverse/forwards to keep from hitting the adjacent boats. The Takacat was tied up close behind, resulting in being rammed, then snapped forward repeatedly. The Torqeedo was in the UP position, and the force was so strong that it bent the motor shaft. There was no damage to the Takacat - the bow painter strap and strap eyes were in perfect condition, and the bow bumpers did not show even a scratch.

VERY Stable - the floor is similar to an inflatable stand-up paddle board - very rigid. When I exit the Takacat, I stand right at the edge of the bow and then step onto the back steps of the PDQ.

(There's a little bit of a learning curve in handling her to keep her dry - tack slightly into a head sea; don't give her full reverse throttle - the stern is open and will pull in some water and get your paper grocery bags wet.)

Cons:

You will get splashed occasionally, which can be annoying in cold weather.

The floor gets very hot once the sun is up. I'm normally barefoot. I mitigate this my throwing a towel over the floor if I'm planning to use her later in the day.

Takacat has not yet developed a good system for putting her on davits. For the stern lifting eyes, I put shackles in the holes on the stern brackets, and the dinghy has to be angled to keep the lift wires off the upper stern bracket. I mitigate by using vinyl tube covering over the wire. There are no bow lift points - I use a yellow truckers strap under the boat and through the bow side handles, tie them together with rope, and attach the lift hook to the rope... it does not look very good. I'm still working on modifying the dinghy cover to accommodate that davit lift points.

As far as the Torqeedo goes, I have no comments at this time other than Torqeedo has an excellent tech rep in Chicago, that's been able to walk me through the multiple Error Messages, and keep her operational until I get back home and can put my trusty old 5hp Mercury on her.
Mike Hendry
M/V Easy Riders, Gulfport FL
2003 PDQ MV 34
The Legendary Hull #29
75 HP, 3 Blade

duetto
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Re: Lightweight Dinghy

Post by duetto »

hi mike,

one thing i've been doing for quite sometime is bringing the dinghy alongside at night to avoid what you experienced. my main concern was needing to reverse in the middle of the night in an anchorage and getting the dinghy line wrapped on a prop.
john & diane cummings
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