You may recall that when we bought Selkie, she came with a 10’ Avon inflatable with an outboard. Soon after getting the boat on the water, we purchased, for a song, a hard rowing and sailing dinghy. The debate of “what’s the best type of tender” has raged on for decades and will rage on for many decades more; we’re not here to settle it. We’re just here to sing the praises of our particular dinghy for our particular situation.
Ms. Bojangles, as she was dubbed early on when the blocks atop her mast would rattle through the night, is an 8’ long solid fiberglass pram. She has no foam or fiberglass core for stiffness, just a wooden gunwale glassed over. The lack of core makes her a bit noisy, and well, not stiff, in a pounding chop, but it also makes her very light. She weighs about 60 lbs, so we can easily walk her above high tide, and lift her via halyard onto the deck for storage.
She can carry quite a bit of cargo as well: Katie, myself, Wylie, and a dozen bags of groceries and 6 gallons of water. Her waterline drops a bit, but she still moves.
We’ve also put her to the test rowing in and out of chop and stiff winds. We’ve pushed her through a choppy 25 knots, and while by no means spritely, she did get us there. We row everyday, so everyday we get stronger and everyday it gets easier.
The only drawback is that she’s a little long for our foredeck storage, but that’s not a knock on Bojangles, we just have a tiny sailboat. It’s cocked to the side a bit, but we lash her down tight and she hasn’t gone anywhere yet, and we’ve put her through the test a few times.
Well damn, I guess we did settle it after all.