Dinghy Decisions – Choosing a Tender for A Small Boat
Update: The handheld floating K-100 pump has been good but is a slow job. I discovered what I considered a design flaw in the pump and had to repair it with a piece of milk jug while on expedition to get me through. When I returned to my home port, I called them and explained the situation. They asked me to send it to them for a proper repair, which I did. I paid shipping, but the repair was free. I have since added a foot pump to the inflation arsenal and that is an easier and faster pump.
I had an inflation valve go bad on the kayak, also while on expedition. I was still able to partially inflate the bladder and then quickly return the cap. This kept just enough air in it to be useable, though less dry. With the ten year warranty, upon return, I called Aire and they quickly sent me new valves free of charge. They were easy to self install using the tools in the provided repair kit.
The nickel zippers cars they originally installed have recently corroded to the point of failure. This was not unexpected and I made them last 8+ years with saltwater usage. I rinsed them periodically and before storage, however removing all the salt is very difficult. When stored in an unideal, humid environment, they decayed over time. This was not unexpected. I again called Aire and they sent me all new zipper cars free of charge. We opted for the plastic cars this time. 2/3rds of them were fairly easy to install, the last 1/3rd required a bit of needle work.
As I moved to an anchoring mindset with my 1985 Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20, Sampaguita, I was going to need a dinghy. The main questions? What would it be, and where would I store it? At 20 feet, the storage space above and below is limited. After considering my options and values, I created a list of criteria I would need from a dinghy to suit my situation and narrow the focus.
A dinghy would need:
1) to stow below decks.
2) to carry two people and gear.
3) to double as a life raft.
4) to be durable and reliable.
5) to not detract from my sailing style.
The first criterion determined my dinghy would be an inflatable, and most likely, a kayak. Obstacles and clutter onSampaguita’s deck would not be seamanlike. Therefore, it should be light and compact enough to wrangle down below, which would also…
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