The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Avon Dinghy, Take Two

We loved our old Avon dinghy, so much so that we kept it in active service for 20 years, even though it sprang a slow air leak about year 17. (Unless you’ve ever tried jumping 4 feet into the air—it’s about that distance from the dinghy tube to Morgan’s Cloud’s side-deck—off a squishy inner tube, you won’t understand the depth of our loyalty to this dinghy!)

Why were we so loyal to our old Avon?

  • The two of us could, quite easily, lift it out of the water and onto the foredeck without using a halyard.
  • The two of us could, very easily, carry it up a rocky shore with the outboard off and, with difficulty, carry it up a rocky shore with the outboard on (why we now have a 4hp outboard, as our old 8hp was too heavy).
  • It rolled up and stored nicely in our forward bunk for offshore passages (why we didn’t go for a rigid bottom).
  • It had a wooden rather than air floor, much more stable to stand on and we didn’t worry about puncturing it.

But finally the leaking got too bad and we grudgingly accepted that the pitiful piebald old thing (the bottom was a mess of patches) needed to be replaced. Avon claimed that we could get the exact same 4-person dinghy—even the wooden floor boards, though they had to be shipped from France at vast expense. However, when it arrived we realized that Avon #2 is not the same as Avon #1—it’s been supersized!

Supersizing drawbacks:

  • Hauling it up on the foredeck now takes the two of us, counts to 3 followed by loud grunting (reminiscent of a gym), and, on days we are feeling weak, a halyard.
  • Carrying it up a rocky shore with the outboard on is definitely out and carrying it up a rocky shore with the outboard off requires numerous cussing breaks (John) and panting breaks (me). (John insists that it’s me that does the cussing but he’s obviously mistaken.)
  • Rolling it up and storing it in the forward cabin is now a tussle.
  • Harder to see over when stored on the foredeck.

Supersizing benefits:

  • The bigger tubes mean we don’t get a salt water shower every time we go to windward.
  • The new dinghy holds a ton more stuff when doing moving van imitations. In fact, we figure it probably halves the number of trips we have to make for a given amount of stuff.

But Avon really blew it on the small stuff: They went so cheap on the pump hose that it splits if you look at it sideways. After a few such accidents, resulting in an ever shorter pump to nozzle span, we replaced it with plastic reinforced sanitary hose (using a heat gun on the ends to attach it securely); prompting the following curmudgeonly rant, which is often uttered by John when faced with this sort of thing:

Why do companies so often “spoil the ship for a ha’penny worth of tar”? When will they learn that going cheap on the small stuff enrages their customers, who have given them large sums of hard-earned money?

Bottom line on Avon #2? We can put up with the supersizing drawbacks, we appreciate the supersizing benefits, and the new dinghy looks like it will be as robust as the old one, though only time will tell. Now if only John would quit cussing every time we have to pick the thing up!

What is your tender of choice, and what are its advantages and disadvantages? Please leave a comment.

Update, July 24, 2016: Unfortunately, Avon dinghies are no longer available—another good company bites the dust after being bought out by a conglomerate whose strategy seems to have been to save money, rather than to build a great product.

More Articles From Tender:

  1. Mooring Your Dinghy While Ashore, Made Easy
  2. Avon Dinghy, Take Two
  3. Avon Dinghy
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Paul Mills


We used to have an Avon, and loved it. However, for our new boat, after much deliberation we chose an aluminium RIB from Ribeye, which we stow upside down on the coachroof. Two strongish men can lift it onboard unaided, or my eight year old can winch it with a halliard. It takes five at a pinch and is proving robust. With the addition of wheels on the transom it is easily moved up the shore. It comes with lots of handles and davit points and very meaty towing point. The only thing we needed to change was to replace the short plasticy oars with longer plastimo wooden ones that make rowing a pleasure.

If you are happy with a dinghy on deck or in davits I would strongly recommend that you give these strong, low maintenance dinghies a look. The dealer tells me that demand is outstripping supply – so be prepared for a few months wait. Which in this day and age says a lot…

Tom Hildebrandt

I had an Avon Redcrest (wood floors) that came with Juno 8 years ago. The dinghy gave great service and had all the plusses that you mentioned!

But for the same reasons, too many patches and too much pumping, I bought the Portland Pudgy. I love rowing the new Juno Jr, she carries a great deal of cargo, is very stable and can take a licking! The sailing rig is fun for one or two persons if they are good friends, and when rigged with the exposure canopy, it would make for an acceptable life boat in anything but heavy winds and seas (but what liferaft would truly be better in such conditions?). The down side is the weight, there is no way I can haul Juno Jr up the modest sand beach alone, much easier to anchor off and swim ashore (an acceptable practice here in the tropics but may not be appropriate for Morgan’s Cloud’s cruising grounds!).

I am still trying to find an acceptable long shaft engine for Juno Jr, but it will be small, a 2.5 or 3.5, I will not need any additional weight hanging on the stern of Juno!

David Nutt

We use an 11′ Aquapro with an aluminum bottom that we purchased 11 years ago in NZ on the first leg of our circumnavigation. Even with a 15hp 4 stroke Yamaha we were able to get it on the beaches. That is a bit harder on the rocks of Maine and Greenland and the shores in between. We also carry a 13′ fiberglass whitehall dinghy which is easy to drag ashore. I tell it that this is its lot in life for being a fiberglass dinghy. We carry both of these on deck which is always a bit of a concern but we try our best to avoid the kind of weather that will wash them away. The dinghies are so important as much of cruising life is spent at anchor with passages consuming a minimal amount of time. The pleasure of rowing the whitehall or going 3 miles down the coast in the Aquapro are well worth the space taken on deck on passage. This works for Danza.

Colin Speedie

We have an Avon 3.10 and it’s a great dinghy – ours did seven years hard work as the workhorse of our research yacht before we took it over for our new journey. It has been bashed on rocks, dragged up beaches and generally maltreated all of its life, but although covered in patches it has never let us down – hypalon is a magic fabric in my view, and the best there is for a dinghy.
But – it’s very heavy, doesn’t row well, and with such an inadequate pump it’s hard to get the floor hard enough for the dinghy to plane well. We’re now actively considering a replacement, but haven’t seen the perfect answer yet. The alloy RIBs like Paul’s look great, but we don’t want anything that has to stow on deck, which is a pity. And with our windvane davits are out.
There has to be a solution, but we haven’t found it yet – and the old Avon is a hard act to follow……

Nick Kats

Have you tried dinghy wheels?
I haven’t, but seems to be a good solution. Large diameter, wide, easily removed for foldup & storage?

Nick Kats

Last year I researched into dinghy wheels but did not get a pair.

What I found on the Internet were 12″ diameter wheels, 4 or 6″ wide, soft tires for sand, supposed to be easily raised & lowered & removed.

Has anyone used these sort of wheels? How did that go?


John Harries

Hi Nick,

I will be interested to hear how they work out, if you install these wheels. I think we will continue to lift in that the bulk of the wheels is going to make it difficult to stow our dinghy on deck or below, at least the way we are set up.

Nick Kats

Hi John
The wheels come off easily, should not interfere with dinghy stowage.
I researched this & found about 3 companies offering this product. Wheels easily removed or put back on, 12″ dia wheels, thick tires.
The 12″ dia should make handling over rough terrain a lot easier. Can lift the dinghy over the roughest parts.
So, has anyone here used this product?

Victor Raymond

I have struggled with this problem also. I think the solution is to have several inflatables that can take you ashore. I have a 3.4 RIB that is very heavy and cumbersome until it hits the water. Then it planes nicely and is extremely stable. This works well when we plan to spend more than one night at an anchorage or mooring. For the short stays we have a two person inflatable kayak that is very light weight, easily inflated and stored. We are considering adding an extremely light inflatable (under 10 lbs) for times when neither of the above solutions is ideal.

pete & sally
Have a look at these we have a load star and its’ the best very strong very light and the inflatable floor is as ridged as any wooden one. I can carry it on my own up a beach and have even carried it up 60 steps (knackered at the top) goes like hell with the oars or our 2.3 Honda. Not the cheapest but all the bits are strong and work. Regards Pete
PS: sorry forgot the address on the first


Hi Pete and Sally,

Looks very interesting.

I guess we still like a wood floor, even if the inflatable floor is rigid. I just think of all the sharp and rough items I have dropped and dragged over the floor over the years, particularly when putting in shore-fasts. But then that light weight is very appealing…


Aluminum dinghy floors/panels and battens a giant leap from wood in stowables.
As for HP air floors, one floor leak in a far off port and your dink is a pool toy.

pete & sally

Ok Ok Ok I kept the secret for you to beg for. Just joking. Get a piece of 4mm polyprop and lay it on the floor to protect the blow up. cost about $50

Vera Quinlan

Hi Phyllis and John,
I read with interest your comments on inflatables. We have just bought our first cruising yacht (steel, Bruce Roberts Mauritius ketch) and plan to visit northern latitudes. We will have two small children onboard. Not keen on current ply dinghy, would like inflatable. We have davits in place. I am thinking to modify davits and get a hard bottom Avon (or similar) and keep it on davits upside down. Am I mad crossing oceans / going north with this in situ?
Look forward to your comments.


Well with the limited info given….I wouldn’t want to go in the high latitudes in a new to me boat unless i was at the level where i did not need to ask the question about the sort of dinghy and attachment method. and then i probably still wouldn’t want to go until i knew the boat. and then i still would be nervous

John Harries

Hi Fuss,
Even though Vera feels you misunderstood her, I think you make a good point that it is important to work up slowly to high latitude sailing. We say this a lot and it is nice to have it confirmed by another person.

And I’m always nervous when sailing in the high latitudes! But then I’m a legendary wimp.

Vera Quinlan

A most unhelpful answer. I mentioned ‘northern’ latitutes, ‘high’ latitudes will come later! 🙂
Does anyone else have experience of lashing a rigid bottom inflatable upside down on davits and passage in this fashion?

John Harries

Hi Vera,
We really don’t like to see dinghies on davits at sea. In fact we go a step further and don’t like to have a dinghy on deck at all while at sea, particularly in the high latitudes. The ability of repeated boarding waves to loosen even the strongest lashings must be seen to be believed. And trying to secure a dinghy, or anything else for that matter, that has come loose on deck in heavy weather can be a truly dangerous activity.

This is the primary reason we don’t have a RIB.

Nick Kats

Agree with John totally. Anything on davits astern will twist or tear out the davits, leaving you with the problem of cutting and sawing away the wreckage at great risk. If the davits, ropes & RIB hold, waves slamming into the inverted RIB way back there will exert enormous forces on your yacht, throwing her off course & greatly increasing the risk of broaching.


Davits are wonderful when on the hook or on short hops.
Stowed below on passages.

John Harries

Hi Ed,

Davits do add clutter to the deck and we try to avoid that as much as possible. Also our Avon is very quick and easy to stow on the foredeck for short hops.

That said, I can certainly see the utility of davits.


Davits stern mounted so zero clutter. 3.3 inflatable 15hp Merc up clean and secure in minutes.
We’ve tried the deck route: Remove the outboard, empty the dinghy
of oars, line , anchors etc. Hold on to topsides while attaching haylard in 20kt breeze with accompanying fetch. Hoist dinghy or should I say “sail” dinghy to deck level while the sand, weeds and other assorted dinghy bildge debris drain over your topsides/deck. Rinse and repeat.
No comparison.

John Harries

Hi Ed,

No question that a davit is easier. But easier is often not seamanlike. For example, going offshore with a large dinghy in davits with an outboard on can be a very dangerous situation. More here:

Vera Quinlan

Thanks John, makes sense. Trying to make correct purchase options at this stage is not an easy task, with experience i am sure this will get easier, I don’t expect we will get it all right from the start… but doing our best to minimise ‘cost’ damage!

John Harries

After 30 years of doing this, I’m still trying to “minimize cost damage” too!

Victor Raymond

I have found a RIB to be a most stable platform and well worth the effort to ship on board and flip upside down. Having said that I would also suggest one or two light weight inflatable kayaks when you are just anchored for a short time and don’t want or need the RIB and outboard motor. Kids (depending on age) love contributing to movement of the kayak and can quickly learn to maneuver by themselves. They make very sturdy two person kayaks that are light enough for one to lift and launch. Especially handy if you have a swim step.

My two cents


John Harries

Hi Victor,
I think the inflatable kayaks are a great idea, one we are looking at on MC.

Colin Speedie

Hi Victor

We carry a Stearns back country inflatable 2 man canoe as a back up for our Avon dinghy. It’s robust and reasonably light weight, but really only suitable for use in sheltered waters – it’s inclined to blow around rather alarmingly if the wind is above F4, although we’re more confident with it since we bought some better paddles. We met some fellow Ovni owners this summer who were carrying two of the Stearns inflatable kayaks, which looked (in some ways) to be a better bet if you possess the necessary skills to use them.
Our canoe hasn’t had as much use as we expected (it’s too easy to simply reach for the Avon and outboard), but we plan to use it more for river exploration and the like, when the silent propulsion around wildlife should prove worthwhile.
Best wishes

Victor Raymond

Hello Colin,

We have been using the West Marine (Advanced Elements) “AdvancedFrame Double Touring Kayak” for about two years now. We have been on the ocean as well as white water rivers and are impressed with its capabilities. They certainly bend but don’t double over although in the right conditions (read: sinkhole) they could.

The first time I saw one of these boats a rather large man got in a half inflated kayak and paddled out to his boat. I thought to myself that if it could hold him without sinking perhaps this was a decent model to own.

If we were to buy again I would look seriously at the NRS inflatable line as well as the SeaEagle line of inflatables as they may be more durable and carry heavier loads.

Wind does affect these kayaks but I think less than a canoe which we have owned for almost 20 years. The weight of the canoe finally convinced us to move to a kayak.

Also we find sitting in the kayak for long periods more comfortable since you can sorta snuggle up to and into a kayak but the canoe is pretty hard and requires a strong straight back.

Best wishes to you and Louise too.



The inflatable kayaks from Innova look as though they could well and truly fit the bill as a backup up for an Avon.
As an aside, and I am not suggesting a Klepper folding kayak as a tender, but I have used my Aerius I on occasion. I have been pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get into and out of from my yacht (but then I do have low topsides) and how it sat astern totally untroubled when a 20 + knot front passed over us at anchor.

Richard Elder

Hi other Richard!
I have a Innova Helios II that has given good service. I throw a 30# rock in the bow to settle it down when paddling alone in wind. Understand one was used to circumnavigate Vancouver Island. ps mine was 1/2 price because it is green and purple. At least no one will steal it!

Steven Schapera

Check out
I dont have one, but am seriously considering investing in the 9ft. They are beautifully made, and row and sail VERY well! The nesting design makes a lot of sense.

John Harries

Hi Steven,

The boats do indeed look very cool. Thanks for the link. I just spent a happy 15 minutes looking at them online.


Hi Steven, old post I realize, but did you ever get one? I vouch for the Nesting Pram, used mine both in the tropics and as a tougher test, in Patagonia every day for months…without using the engine, despite having one, because it rows well…not nearly as stable or capable of carrying a heavy load as an inflatable, but I felt much safer using it to go ashore knowing I could make my way back to a distant Obelix manually even with 30ish knots on the nose. Sailed it in the Beagle Channel too, which was a lot of fun. ‘Idefix’ was eventually stolen in Thailand, and I miss it! The wooden version I had needed a bit of TLC and reinforcing now and then (seat and oar attachments), but that was easy to do…if I buy another one someday, it’ll be the fiberglass model, not as pretty but more practical. The photo at the bottom of this Nestaway page is mine, towed it (slowly) through bits of ice often too and it was fine.


PS: one major drawback though: can’t beach it in decent surf without an unpleasantly high chance of going for an involuntary swim, so if the water is very cold…no go.


Tenders are such a good subject that I had to put in my two bits. We swear by porta boats. They stow flat like a surfboard, durable resin bottom that you can drag across the sharpest rocks, light enough to lift easily, and shaped to both row and motor well. However I echo John’s comment about not liking even their low profile lashed to the deck. Our beloved “Jandal”, tender to Gumboot washed off the deck crossing the Cook Strait between islands in New Zealand. I remember the lesson each time I put books on the shelves we made from the teak seats that were stored below!

John Harries

Hi Jennie,

Thanks for the great link and endorsement. I really like the idea of folding boats, although I have no first hand experience.

Have you ever tried to sail it using the new rig option? I have always thought it would be great fun to have a tender we could sail, but have never found one that we could stow properly that would do that.

Good point about stowage issues. Although Cook Strait might be one of the ultimate deck stowage tests: only place I know of where the local racing fleet regularly set storm trysails!

Rob Goh

Hi Jennie and all, I am seriously looking at a make over of my tender/outboard combi. My boat came with a 4.2m RIB (hypalon) and a 18hp Tohatsu outboard. The previous owner said that he need them because he had to transport diesel in jugs. However, i find it a real bear to work with the weight even with a davits. The 40kg outboard is almost impossible to be dropped onto the dinghy in choppy sea without risk of getting hurt even with a outboard lift! So, I am now looking at alternatives and the pota-bote seems to be a very good option. Jennie, would you know if it is possible to sail with the porta-bote/outboard on the davits for short weekends coastal sails? Any experience/discussion by other most welcome… Thanks,

John Harries

Hi Rob,

Just so you are aware, the comments here at AAC don’t work like a forum and so it’s unlikely that the author of a comment from back in 2013 will know that you asked a question and therefore respond. May happen, but not often with a comment that old, and so I did not want you to feel that you were being ignored.

That said, several of our members monitor all comments, as do I, so you may get answers from them.

Marc Dacey

As I own a Portabote, I’ll field this, if I may. The answer is “it depends”. The point of a Portabote is to fold it up when not in use, so the possibility of it shipping water on davits could represent a danger in any kind of a wind. Also, it is light: the 10-foot model I own is about 22 kilos, and would be subject to more movement on davits. That said, because of said weight, it’s easy to bring aboard assembled and (again in the fair weather scenario) to invert it and tie it down on deck. I would suggest against carrying any motor on any davit-hung boat as I’ve had a davit fail on a previous tender (a Zodiac RIB) and it was not a happy situation getting a Honda 9.9 safely aboard.

The Portabote can take up to an approximately 20 kilo motor, meaning about 4 HP maximum. I use a Honda 2 HP, because it’s air-cooled and a four-stroke and has an integral tank of just one litre. It weighs about 12 kilos. My compact wife can one-arm it in and out of the Portabote. The Portabote itself can be made more stable than it already is with the use of a flotation collar you could make yourself. I’ve carried four 25 litre jerrycans on it at one time and got 4 knots of SOG with that tiny Honda. The tank lasts for about 45 minutes of WOT. I once used gas from a cleaned-out Grolsch bottle to refuel mid-trip.

So, to sum up, yes, you can use davits, but I wouldn’t recommend it as Portabotes don’t self-drain and catch the wind easily; they tow on a bridle, however, reasonably well. Set up takes as little as 10 minutes, and you can literally chuck it over the rail on a painter and then lower or get passed a sufficiently small motor (plenty of outboard companies make 3.5 HP, if you feel the need). But you’ll never go fast: they are strictly utilitarian transport. On the other hand, if you spill fuel in it, add dishwashing soap and rinse out. It’s hard to wreck a Portabote. Our other tender is a nesting fibreglass dinghy that can be rowed or sailed. We find two tenders that break down is more convenient than one inflatable of any type.


Thank you Marc for the very informative info. For some reason, I did not get to the notified email of your reply to my post. Your comments are very helpful especially about the dangers of getting filled with water as I have 2 young children 7 and 5 yrs old. Bailers in the tender! The weight is really a plus point. Yes, I think i will go ahead and order one and try it out.

Marc Dacey

My pleasure. I’ve considered the sort of inflatable collar Walker Bay has for increased stability in the PortaBote, or even foam “pool noodles” (thieves are too appalled to steal it!) around the gunwales, but that could get fiddly if you desire to break it down to surfboard size again with every use. The number of people who use PortaBotes on cruisers is fairly high and you’ll find Google will help you search all kind of retrofits if you wish to pursue this.


My Avon, Rover celebrated her 20th birthday twirling in air astern offshore in an unexpected storm/gale. Still looking great after 20 years. She’s missing a few parts now after that, but…… I’d for sure get another Avon. She’s been towed basically to Venezuela and back and Bahamas numerous times. Great boat


More about dingy storage than the dingy itself: I agree a dingy shouldn’t be on deck or on davits during ocean passages. I also agree it is nice to have a large comfortable fwd cabin for use in anchorages, and sea berths for passage making. If I’ve understood correctly your idea is to store the dingy in the fwd cabin for passage making, and on deck in anchorages and short hops. Apart from dealing with the dingy dripping on the berth this is a very cunning plan, which I like. Nonetheless, did you consider a dingy garage aft under the cockpit? I’m thinking of situations where one has to get out of a suddenly unsafe anchorage rapidly. How quickly can the dingy be hauled on deck, deflated, and stored fwd; compared to hauling it into a garage?

John Harries

Hi Paul,

There is no room on a boat the size of the Adventure 40 for a dinghy garage, not even close. At sea the dingy will stow deflated in a cockpit locker, with room to spare.

On short hops, you are right, the dinghy will stow on the foredeck.

We have been handling the dinghy this way on MC and our previous boat for 35 years, without problems. Like most things on boats, you do need to plan a bit and be aware of changing weather. But then again, I can’t see any scenario that would be as bad as getting caught with a big RIB on deck or in davits in really heavy weather.

Greg Beron

I realize this thread has been dormant for a while, but I just bought a (lightly) used 15 year old Avon 310 with the slatted floor. It appears to be the same model as your old one.

It’s in great shape, just needing cleaning, but now I have to find an outboard. For tender use is a 2.5hp unit enough? Should I go for something bigger, even though weight increases along with the hp? How big? Are there manufacturers to avoid?

John Harries

Hi Greg,

We have found a 4hp motor a good choice, although 2.5 would probably work fine since we rarely run the 4 over half throttle. That said, with 4 HP, the boat will plane with one person in it. If you want to plane with two people you will need 8hp.

Andrew Craig-Bennett

I seem to have a flotilla of dinghies!

We have two Avons. A ‘’ classic’’ Redstart with wooden floor boards and a 3.15 air floor RIB. Both roll up and stow below. The big one is only used if at anchor for a while. Both are Hypalon and the pumps and valves are common. The 3.15 has fold up wheels on the transom. The little Redstart doesn’t need them.

We also have a 9ft glued clinker ply stem dinghy, an English Nutshell (not the same as the US Nutshell) upside down on the foredeck. It rows, sails and is quite light (90lbs). It has a trolley that stows inside it.

Honda 2.3

John Harries

Hi Andrew,

Wow, you have a fleet!

Matt Molkoski


New member here. We’re new boat owners (Just got a 1986 CS30 on Lake Ontario) and hoping in the future to do some cruising around the lake.

With regards to tenders, on vacation a charter boat we were on had an F-Rib ( It seemed to work very well, although we never inflated or deflated it on that trip. Any thoughts in that product, have you heard or seen of it used before? We don’t currently have a tender, and will need to get one likely next summer… Assuming cruising conditions open up somewhat.


John Harries

Hi Matt,

I have no first hand knowledge on F-Rib, but I do like the concept. my thinking on tenders is that they should always be able to fit below to keep clear decks, or at least be compact enough to be lashed down in a small enough footprint on deck that they don’t interfere with the safe sailing of the boat.

More here:

This thinking meant that I have never been a fan of RIBs—put Avon in the search box for a lot on our dinghy—but this folding rib idea seems like it could be the best of both worlds.

One thing they don’t say anything about if fabric type. I’m a big fan of Hypalon because it is way more robust and lasts way longer than PVC, so it would be good to find out which they are using.

Bill Attwood

Hi John
F-Rib use high density PVC. I read that Hypalon (the Dupont product) was discontinued in 2009. Surprised me to hear this. Apparently the production process uses a lot of highly toxic compounds. Googled around a bit for further info, and the material (CSPE) is still available from other manufacturers, but of course cannot be described as Hypalon. There are other products now available which offer similar properties. For anyone wanting to inform themselves further see –
Yours aye

John Harries

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the fill on that. Pity that F-Rib use PVC. Not a deal breaker but I’m pretty sure not as durable.

Edwin Zerrer

I am curious what size the tubes were on Avon dinghy #1 vs. Avon dinghy #2? What was the weight of Avon dinghy #1 vs. #2? Thank you!

John Harries

Hi Ted,

Sorry, I don’t have that numerical information, and the new one went with the McCurdy and Rhodes, so no way to get it. If I had to guess I would say that the new one is about 50lbs heavier than the old and the tubes about 2″ greater in radius.

Bottom line, both dinghies could be carried by two middle aged (then) people without the outboard on them.

Interestingly, we still have the old one and it will be pressed into service next summer for the J/109 while we figure out what dinghy we want in the long term.

Michael Jack

I only see, what I consider to be the cream of the crop, Zodiac mentioned once in this thread. I am looking at buying one of the Cadets but would like to elicit opinions here before I do. It has been 30 years since I used one and it was brilliant in and out of the reefs of Western Australia. But maybe, like the Avalon (which we also had), time has taken its toll on quality?

John Harries

Hi Michael,

I don’t have any first hand experience with the Zodiac brand, but I’m fairly sure they use PVC and I much prefer Hypalon boats.

Also I can’t say I love the brand because, if memory serves, it was Zodiac that bought Avon and then killed the brand.

Anyone else have any wisdom?

Michael Jack

Thanks, John. I have been looking now for Hypalon boats but as someone mention, Hypalon is not produced under that name any more so not getting many hits. If you or anyone has suggestions on tenders I can find in Europe (France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Nordics) I would love to hear. I am finding it more difficult to find a good tender than I did a yacht.

John Helson

Hey Michael, I am in the market for a 3m dinghy. Highfield 310 is a hypalon. Not cheap, but currently top of my list.

Michael Jack

Brilliant, John. This is very helpful. At first I thought their roll-up version (which I need as I can’t keep a dingy on deck while cruising) was only available in PVC but there is a Hypalon option as well apparently. They are also much more readily available at dealers in Belgium and the Netherlands than the Zodiac. I am on it. Thanks again.

John Harries

Hi John and Michael,

Great information. I took a look at their roll ups too, and they do look good. We will need a new small and light dinghy for our j/109 and the 230 KAM looks like it might work. Please share your experience back here, thanks.

Michael Jack

Hey John (H), you weren’t joking when you said they are expensive. I was told by a dealer in the Netherlands that the Hypalon version is double the price (so about 3K Euro for the 320 model) and I would have to wait 2 years (sic) to get one. It seems that Hypalon is a rare material. Now I know there are benefits to Hypalon, but even if PVC wears out at twice the rate (which I don’t think it does but I am no expert) then I would still be better off buying a PVC version just not to have to wait. I wonder what the wait time is in your locale?

Robert Berlinquette

I have a Achilles (Hypalon) with air floor. Had it for 5 years now. The tubes are larger at the stern then the bow, the reason being the added buoyancy at the back keeps the bow down when you throttle up with the outboard. No need to try and put you weight forward to get the bow down. The dinghy is very stable when standing on it, for loading and unloading. Hoping to have it for 20 years, would purchase Achilles again.

John Harries

Hi Robert,

Thanks, very useful information, particularly since I’m a huge fan of Hypalon. We still have and are using our old Hypalon Avon coming up on 40 years old!

Robert Berlinquette

As for a dinghy pump, I purchased a digital air pump that runs off DC, to inflate the dinghy. Simply put in the kpa and hit the start button. As for getting the DC power to the foredeck, I converted the top of one of my AC plugs to DC. Then plug a regular extension cord into the plug and run it to the foredeck. I changed the end of the cord for the pump to plug into the extension cord.

Mark Wilson

Hi John

I may need to replace my beloved Malta outboard. I am curious about electric outboards and couldn’t find anything specific on AAC. Maybe I haven’t looked hard enough.

I realise they are a luxury, costing far more than the petrol alternative. But I would love to banish petrol from the boat and I struggle, on my own, getting the heavy-ish and awkward Yamaha on and off the boat at anchor. An added bonus would be getting weight and clutter off the pushpit when at sea.

A want rather than a need ?

John Harries

Hi Mark,

Sorry, I don’t have any wisdom on electric outboards except to say that every owner I have talked to with one seems to love it.

To me the big benefits are getting rid of gas and being able to stow it below. So, I guess you are right, more a want than a need, but a good want since I abhor deck clutter.

I’m thinking about getting one next season, if the budget will run to it, and if so will write at length about the experience.

Gino Del Guercio

We have a 10’ Achilles RIB with a fold down transom. When deflated and the transom folded it fits in a bag I estimate is about 6’ x 3’ we find it to be a good solution and has already lasted 7 years of daily use without ant patches.

Michael Jack

Thank you, Gino. In the end, I bought something cheap and cheerful but it does the job for the time being.