Inflatables Tenders

Rigid Inflatable Dinghies with Folding Transoms

In a follow-up to last months review of fixed-transom rigid inflatable boats, Practical Sailor looked at three 10-foot, folding-transom dinghies: the Walker Bay Genesis 310 FTD, Avon Rover 310 Lite, and the Zodiac Zoom 310SR. These three have the advantage of being easily stowed on deck, without taking up as much space as their fixed-transom counterparts. We tested each RIB dinghy for top speed, planing speed, overall performance at high and low speeds, spray deflection, and rowing. We looked at design, quality of construction, details, extras, price, and warranty-with an emphasis on price and warranty versus construction materials. PVC inflatable dinghies are not as durable as those made of Hypalon and generally carry a shorter warranty, but they are less expensive and can meet the needs of those in more temperate climates.

Dinghy Accessories: Practical Sailors Gonna Pump You Up

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.

Practical Sailor Names 13 Products Best Gear of the Year

Practical Sailor’s annual wrap-up of the year’s best sailing equipment looks at our favorite top-rated products from November 2007 to November 2008, including the Facnor furler for light-air sails, Scad Solo external holding-tank sensor, Pelican Recoil LED flashlight, and Adventure Medical’s first-aid kit for coastal cruisers. In the boat maintenance category, Interlux’s Micron 66 bottom paint and Spray Nine’s waterline stain remover garnered Editors’ Choice picks. Foulie sets (jacket and bibs) by Gill and Helly Hansen were tapped as Practical Sailor Editor’s Choice in apparel, and a host of marine electronics made the list, including the Icom CommandMic III remote mic and Garmin GPSMap 545s 5-inch chartplotter sounder. Jeppesen was recognized for its top-notch electronic chart updating services. Other top gear picks were the Acco proof coil mooring chain and the Achilles HB315-LX fixed-transom inflatable dinghy.

Mailport: August 2010

Letters from the August 2010 issue of Practical Sailor. Subjects include: Shore anchoring, feathering props, earth-friendly cleaning products, staying hydrated and dink repairs.

Mid-size Inflatables: Mercury Wins

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.

Avon Introduces New 10-Year Warranty

Avon is offering a new 10-year warranty on their line of inflatable boats. “We’ve had less than 1% return on our former warranty for defects and deterioration of material” states Avon West’s General Manager, Dave Geoffrey, “that’s why we feel confident in extending the warranty to 10 years.”

Inflatable Kayak Cum Tender?

About a year ago, Stearns Inc., best known as a maker of life jackets, introduced an inflatable kayak, offered in one- and two-person models....

West Marine and Zodiac V-bottom Inflatable Dinghies Put to the Test

Practical Sailors on-the-water and bench tests pitted West Marines HP-V 350 with a high-pressure V-shaped bottom against Zodiacs FR340 Fastroller with Acti-V bottom, which has a high-pressure floor and an inflatable V-shaped keel. Testers looked closely at design and construction, and rated the boats for on-water performance, including how quickly the dinghies got a plane, how dry and comfortable the ride was, and how the inflatable boats handled at varying speeds.

Inflatable Boats Under $1,000

Mercury's 200RU, with its stable, dry ride and standard seat, takes top honors, followed by the lighter, albeit wetter, Bombard AX-1.

Airdeck Rollup Boats

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.

The Pros and Cons of Leaving Your Mast Up for Winter

If you are like us, you may feel strangely guilty about leaving a mast up during winter storage. In our case, it is probably those old wooden spar days calling. Ideally, wooden spars need to come down and be sheltered and coddled at regular intervals. Aluminum masts really don't, and the sky is actually a decent place to store them.