Choosing a Tender

Photos of the dinghy I built

Photos of the dinghy I built

We needed a tender for our families cruising yacht “Blue Heron”. The inflatable that came with it was on it’s last legs, really struggling to keep enough air inside to keep it afloat for any length of

time.

I didn’t want an inflatable as our main tender. I wanted a boat that would row well, sail well and take a reasonable sized outboard motor.

I new that most tenders were barely big enough, causing more than one trip ashore. With a family of four, we needed a tender big enough to travel reasonably long distances, so we could explore up rivers. In some countries it is quite a distance to go to clear customs, so a dinghy that can get up on theJuly 06 045-20150426 plane and cover that distance in a reasonable time is important.

A cruising yacht tender is also equivalent to the family car, with large shops for supplies being carted from shore back aboard.

It is important to have the biggest tender you can carry when at anchor. it is equally important to have the smallest dinghy practical when at sea, so as not to block the vision from the cockpit.

When I was looking for a dinghy design, it was obvious to me that I needed a nesting dinghy. After trawling the net for some time, I came acrossboat picks 403 a Spindrift 11N, by BandB yacht designs. The design was well  proven with plenty of reviews and examples to convince me.

I spent all my spare time over winter building it, then put the saw through the middle, so the front half fitted neatly into the back half. The end result was an 11 foot dinghy that only took up 6 foot on deck while at sea.

The design has served us well. Our kids learnt to row and sail in it. They became proficient with the engine and were most put out when the laws of  Australia prevented them from using the boat with the 8 horse power engine on it.

We have owned the dinghy for over ten years now and it is getting it’s first major refit.

If you are in the market for a new dinghy, I highly recommend a solid wooden dinghy to do the everyday work required of a cruising yacht at anchor as well being a recreation toy to fill in those balmy days at anchor.boat picks 369-20150426July 06 043-20150426

Auck aniversary weekend 017-20060127

DSC03386-20051024

DSC04633-20070303

DSC04644-20070304