Rigid or inflatable?
If your boat is mooring all year, you may as well opt for a rigid dinghy. This will be more efficient on the water (it glides better) and stronger when it is necessary to remove from the water. Some even have wheels designed for this purpose. Obviously it is not possible though, to fit them in an onboard chest, or a car.
For how many people?
Choose your dinghy in accordance with the number of people you may wish in it. The smalle st models only take two crew the largest more than six.
Shape and volume of the floats
On a dinghy, larger floats offer better protection against waves. Do not think that you wil not be wet when the sea becomes choppy, but larger floats may make this later rather than sooner. Check the diameter in the tables.
What bottom for my dinghy?
The rigid bottom offers better control on the water. The semi rigid with a hull in polyester will be the most efficient. But they do not fold. One finds models with foldable sides, wooden bottom and inflatable keel. These bottoms come apart at the moment of folding but finding space for large planks is not always easy. Slatted bottoms which fold with the dinghy are practical but they are not very efficient when sailing and don’t offer great stability. Lastly, there are high pressure inflatable bottoms. It ensures good rigidity, is easy to fold and light weight; a good compromise.
The larger the dinghy, the more comfortable and safe at sea. We must remember though, we must fit it on board. Note the size and weight in order to find it a location. If you can not store it in a chest think of davits, a solution that interferes little with sailing.
The makers propose always, a suitable motor. Never exceed the maximum engine size recommended, you will not go faster and risk seriously damaging the dinghy. Take account of the current in your choice of engine. A good power can get you out of a bad situation. The latest developments in electric motors make them competitive with internal combustion engines. They also provide the ability for silent, early embarkations..
L'annexe gonflable est la plus courante
The pressure in the dinghy floats is fairly low (around 200g.) Do not over inflate, as when exposed to sun they may explode, due to heat expansion. The floats are made up of several compartments that must be inflated gradually. Never put acompartment at maximum pressure if the others are deflated. When sailing always attach a cut off to your wrist if the engine is so fitted and think to take at least a minimum of safety equipment with you: a grappling with a mooring line, a signal lamp or even better a waterproof portable VHF.
Clean your pneumatic before wintering. Use non-aggressive products, not hard detergents, acids, acetone, gasoline and trichloroethylene. Do not use a high pressure cleaner. Avoid storing it folded in a wet hold! Ideally, store inflated (just enough to avoid creases in the floats but without subjecting it to strong pressure,) in a dry location. During these months it will more or less deflate, this is normal.
A dinghy must have the name of the boat to which it belongs inscribed on its panels. It can sail at a distance not exceeding 300metres from the coast, considered as shelter. Further than 300 metres and less than 2 miles occupants must wear individual flotation equipment and carry a method of luminous tracking (article 240-314.) Registered dinghies must carry the minimum mandatory materials corresponding to the zone in which they are sailing.
“A dinghy remains a compromise. We want the largest size possible on the water, the smallest possible to store on the boat. The inflatable bottom models present a good compromise for these criteria.”