When youre away from shorepower, a 12-volt dinghy pump can be very useful. During our recent evaluation of marine tenders and dinghies, we used four different 12-volt inflators to pump up the rigid inflatables being tested. Practical Sailor looked at the pumps speed, efficiency, noise, and volume of pumps while running, along with each pumps nozzles and adaptors, warranty, and price. The four pumps tested were the Metro Magic Air, Rule ID20, Scoprega Bravo 12, and West Marines 12-volt inflator/deflator.
The shelves these days are packed with an endless array of boat cleaners. A mild soap and elbow grease is often all that is needed. But when you are dealing with extensive coats of mold, mildew and dirt, deep cleaners are the ticket. Practical Sailor divided a neglected, filthy Avon Rover R250 into even sections and tested 11 inflatable boat cleaners. Three products scored an excellent rating. Products tested include the best products from Star Brite, MaryKate, Nautical Ease, Marine Development and Research Corp, Amazons, Seapower, Pennel & Flipo, Revival Ecological Paste, and Spray Nine.
One mans dream to improve stability on his familys old Dyer knock-off becomes a quest to see if it is possible, and cost effective, to turn the old dink into a rigid inflatable using a inflatable tube kit from Walker Bay. As it turns out, it wasnt such a crazy idea after all. The family dinghy, an 8-foot Dyer knock-off acquired in the late 1980s, was the perfect tender. But two kids and a dog later, and the family dink no longer fit the family-particularly with the added weight of a four-stroke, 3.5-horsepower outboard clamped on the stern. Our tester was accustomed to the benefits of a hard dinghy-durability, the ability to sail it, superior rowing-but lusted after the increased stability and carrying capacity of an inflatable. A rigid-hull inflatable seemed to offer the best of both worlds, but the prices were out of this world. Besides, the old dinghy was still in great shape, so dropping the cash for an expensive new dinghy was unjustified. (Whats a tightwad sailor to do?) And thats how the idea for a DIY hybrid dinghy was born: We would make the old dink new with the addition of the inflatable tube from a Walker Bay RID (Ridged Inflatable Dinghy).
This Walker Bay RIB is a well-executed, but heavy, plastic inflatable dinghy. Its thermo-molded hull resists impact, won't chip like gelcoat, and is easy to clean, but it is not as simple to paint or modifiy as a laminated hull. Although the hull material itself is not particularly rigid, the design is surprisingly resistant to flex. The features in the deluxe boat are nice for a shore-based utility boat, but the lighter version, which we plan to include in our future test, may be better suited for a deck- or davit-stowed tender.
MARINE INSURANCE REDUXI have been reading with much interest your articles about marine insurance this year (April and May 2006).
It was mid-July 1990 on the Caicos Banks, a stretch of shallow, gin-clear water extending for about 70 miles east to west in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Along with a dozen other cruisers whod chosen to thumb our noses at hurricane season (ah, those were simpler times), we were pausing in Providenciales before heading south. …
Mercury's 240 outperformed six other roll-up inflatables with a dry ride, excellent control, and the lowest price. Bombard's AX2 is good, but short on space. And West Marine's RU-260 is big, but expensive.
Mercury's 200RU, with its stable, dry ride and standard seat, takes top honors, followed by the lighter, albeit wetter, Bombard AX-1.
In a test of seven roll-up boats with inflatable decks and keels, the Zodiac Cadet 310FR ACTI-V was the top choice. Best Buy honors go to the Mercury 310 Airdeck Hypalon.
There will be added drag in some conditions, and the nine-footer is tough for one person to carry. Minor gripes aside, though, Walker Bay's addition of an inflatable tube was a great move.