Friday, October 23, 2015

Tender To

When you live on a sailboat, your dinghy is your automobile. 

Have you ever seen the guy in the RV towing a nice Jeep Cherokee?  He's got the right idea. 

When your tender is your primary source of transportation in destinations you have worked hard to visit, then why mess around?  Of course, this is my personal opinion. The wife tends to agree. But when we pull up to a secluded island, we want the option of traveling far and fast. After all, exploration is the goal in our minds. 

We've had a number of dinks over the years. Sailing dinghies, putters, eco models, you've seen them all. But with a growing brood we needed (wanted) more. 

Our current dink is a Caribe 13DX with a Nissan 40 two stroke. I'm not sure what the DX means but I think it has something to do with the forward storage locker. It's a heavy rigid inflatable. Probably too much to hang on our davits, but we don't care. This boat will cruise at 25 knots with 5 adults and 3 kids (plus gear) at half throttle. With just me I can top 42 MPH and that's with a dog-eared, under-pitched aluminum wheel. Once I get around to putting something else on the hub I anticipate speeds of 48+ mph. Is that necessary?  Who knows. Is it fun?  Hells yes. Especially if you intend to pull a couple wake borders or zip back from Bimini on a calm day. 

Normally a rig like this can run you upwards of $20 grand. We picked ours up for around $3k. It had a Honda 20 four stroke that barely planed the boat out. We sold the engine for almost the same price we paid for all of it ( who says dudes can't shop) and bought a Nissan (Tohatsu) 2-stroke for like $2500. We did a full service and it's been running like a top ever since. Total out of pocket, around 3 grand. 

Some people like four stroke motors but I simply won't own one, not on a boat anyway. Four strokes are almost there, but manufacturers have a ways to go before they can match the abilities of a two. Yes four strokes are smooth and quiet. That's nice. But two strokes are nearly half the weight and have a power band that trumps the four out of the hole and on plane every time. A 40 two stroke will destroy a 60 four stroke in a race. And to me, that's all that matters. 

We don't hesitate to run down to Jupiter for lunch in this thing. Last time we went offshore. Always loads of fun. For us, the moral of the story is get the fastest dink you can find. It adds a whole new dimension to your cruising lifestyle. 

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