Mini inflatable dinghy recommendations

K2MSmith

Sustaining Member
Not specifically Ericson content but can anyone recommend a small 2-person inflatable dingy that can take a motor ? ( I’m thinking of little electric ). I have a 33 and I don’t like to tow a dingy or lash it to the foredeck, so one that takes up minimal space and is easily inflated/stored when not in use .
 

gabriel

Live free or die hard
The achilles LT2 has a roll up floor and no transom, so it folds up very small. They often pop up used on Craigslist.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
The WM Pru-3, or whatever they call it now, is their cheapest ($700 on sale), lightest and smallest to store. MIne has worked fine for almost seven years of light use.

 

Filkee

Member III
I have an LT4 with a torqueedo that does nicely on my 32-3. Sometimes I wish it was a little smaller for storage (which the 2 would be).
 

Bobby Steele

Member II
We have a 2nd hand North Atlantic Inflatable. It’s a smaller, family run, business out of Maine. The owner has always made himself available when we’ve had questions about maintenance and replacement parts. He’s even accommodated us on his day off. Ours is a 9’ that fits the two of us, our small dog, and two backpacks.
 

bgary

Advanced Beginner
Blogs Author
The WM Pru-3, or whatever they call it now
+1 on the PRU-3 from West Marine. Have had mine nearly 5 years, happy with it.


They claim 3-person capacity and up to 1000 lbs... that's probably a reach. but for 2 people and some stuff, I've found it to be perfectly viable.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Bruce, I carry four adults, no problem in flat water. A dog would fit on somebody's lap. (trip ashore at Two Harbors is always less than a mile)
 

Alan Gomes

Contributing Partner
I purchased a well-used Achilles LS-4, which is about 8.5' I think. It lives in my quarterberth "garage," ready to go for my next Catalina excursion. I just roll it up and store it in a spare sailbag.

I should say that I'm a big fan of the older hypalon boats. It's possible to pick these up quite cheaply if you keep an eagle eye on Craig's list. I paid $25 for this one in 2019! (Well, actually I wound up paying the guy $40, because I only had two $20's and he didn't have change! :p But I wasn't going to quibble.) They last and last and last. It's well-used, as I said, but holds air like a boss. It's also just a tad ugly, so there's a built-in theft deterrent. The one problem it has is that the fabric floor has a kind of leprosy that sheds little rubber particles, though the underlying fabric is quite intact and it doesn't leak any water. If I wanted to use floorboards in it the leprosy would be a non-issue, but I don't like messing with floorboards because it's fine without them for just going from the mooring to the dock and back.

I had another cheaply purchased ($50) used hypalon Avon R2-80 back in 2008 that I sold with my previous boat, and I also liked that one a great deal. It did not have any leprosy and also held air perfectly. So being dinghy-less at that point, when I bought my Ericson I thought I'd treat myself to a new PVC boat, and purchased a Baltik. It didn't last all that long and started to have failures at the seams. So I figured I'd go back to my cheap hypalon roots, as it were, and it's worked out well for me so far.

I'm sure a PVC boat can be just fine, by the way, and I'm guessing the WestMarine product is better than what I got.

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paul culver

Member III
+1 on the PRU-3 from West Marine. Have had mine nearly 5 years, happy with it.


They claim 3-person capacity and up to 1000 lbs... that's probably a reach. but for 2 people and some stuff, I've found it to be perfectly viable.
Make that +2 on the WM inflatable. I use a Newport electric with it.
 

markvone

Sustaining Member
Not specifically Ericson content but can anyone recommend a small 2-person inflatable dingy that can take a motor ? ( I’m thinking of little electric ). I have a 33 and I don’t like to tow a dingy or lash it to the foredeck, so one that takes up minimal space and is easily inflated/stored when not in use .

You mentioned little electric motor so I’ll guess you are OK with "slow" speed (vs planning around the anchorage) and which is still faster and easier than rowing. It's hard to beat a used Achilles LT- 2 (7'3" x 4') for quality at minimal space and weight. Hypalon fabric, 40 lbs total weight, 2 HP max motor, max load 690 lbs. The LT-2 is small enough to always have it stowed on board. I found this one on Craigslist - like new for $300.

I also have an Achilles LSI-96 (9'6" x 4'11") which is the air floor model. It's 77 lbs, 8 HP max, max load 1010 lbs. It's the light blue bag and it's twice as big and twice as heavy. It's much harder to move around. That's a yard stick for reference on the LSI-96 bag.

For keeping onboard out of the sun, a PVC model like the WM PRU-3 is a good compromise between the two I have and you can buy it new.

Mark

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paul culver

Member III
Paul - can you say more about your electric setup, and specifically which Newport motor you are using? I’ve been thinking about doing the same thing. Thanks.
I have the Newport 55 and I power it with a type U1 Duracell battery. Its perfect for puttering around harbors and anchorages.
 

Charlie B.

Member II
Very timely question! I have an ancient Hypalon Avon I picked up from Craigslist that is on its last legs and is ready to be replaced. I ran across a new to me inflatable called Takacat that is made in New Zealand. The design uses two catamaran like chambers held together by a frame and a semirigid inflatable floor. From the videos it planes easily and stows into a smallish case.

Anyone seen of these? They have distributors in SoCal.
 

nquigley

Sustaining Member
Very timely question! I have an ancient Hypalon Avon I picked up from Craigslist that is on its last legs and is ready to be replaced. I ran across a new to me inflatable called Takacat that is made in New Zealand. The design uses two catamaran like chambers held together by a frame and a semirigid inflatable floor. From the videos it planes easily and stows into a smallish case.

Anyone seen of these? They have distributors in SoCal.
You can go to the Takacat-NZ site to get US distributors. There are lots of distributors all over the US. They are shipped to the US in batches, so at any time, individual distributors may be waiting for their part of the next shipment or may have some in stock. You may have to custom-order a hypalon version, or one made in one of their less common colors - I think that most of those sold in the US are not hypalon and are the 'normal' gray-ish color.
On a recent episode (in the last 2 months) of the YouTube channel, Emily and Clark's Adventure, they did an informal review of a friend's Takacat - but the review was a bit lacking in some respects, IMO. e.g., they didn't mention some of the boat's main features - high stability, easy access from the water via the unique bow design, ability to replace just one of the side tubes if necessary, and ability to use the floor panel as a stand-up paddle board. They have just started making a version in which the floor panel is rigid - not so easy to stow but gives better planing performance and more efficient as an SUPB. I don't know if those are available in the US yet.
 

Charlie B.

Member II
Thanks for the link to Emily and Clark, it answers a lot of questions. While on YouTube, I discovered a review on the Takacat and the Torqueedo motor that Ryan and Sophie did on their channel. Seems like they are popular in the cruising community.
 

markvone

Sustaining Member
I forgot to recommend that you get a 12vDC electric air pump. I have an old Scoprega Bravo BST-12 pump which I extended the 12vDC leads so they will reach 30 feet. This pump inflates either of my inflatables in no time and with no effort. It goes up to 15 psi for air floors. I don't know what the current best rated pump is but they are also used for kites and inflatable SUPs. It looks like this newer model but without the internal battery:


Mark
 

ChrisG

Member I
We have the smallest West Marine inflatable model, I think the weight limit is 1000lbs and 3 persons. It rolls up small enough to sit in the aft bunk or V berth which was a requirement because I hate to tow or have one on the deck. I put an electric trolling motor on it sometimes. I'm satisfied with it.
 

nquigley

Sustaining Member
Very timely question! I have an ancient Hypalon Avon I picked up from Craigslist that is on its last legs and is ready to be replaced. I ran across a new to me inflatable called Takacat that is made in New Zealand. The design uses two catamaran like chambers held together by a frame and a semirigid inflatable floor. From the videos it planes easily and stows into a smallish case.

Anyone seen of these? They have distributors in SoCal.
Hi Charlie - a quick follow-up to my reply to your 10-Jul post.

I ordered a Takacat 260LX a couple weeks ago when my local distributor emailed saying they had them back in stock - on sale at just under $1800 delivered (plus tax).
I assembled it yesterday and took it for a brief spin with an old 2hp Honda outboard. It tried really hard to plane (it only weighs 55lb - not counting the engine), but I couldn't sit far enough forward to help it out of the 'hole', and my outboard is a long shaft: you're meant to use a short-shaft outboard so I also had too much extra drag. Reviews at the takacat.com website say it'll plane with a Honda 2.3 outboard and one person on board, so a 3-4hp outboard is probably ideal for my needs. Some put bigger engines on them too - 6hp is probably the biggest you'd need on this lightweight 8'6" boat.
It seemed to track well when rowed.

It was easy to assemble, and not too hard to inflate with the manual pump supplied ... but I went home and ordered a 12v inflation pump (iRocker) last night for next time. ;-)

It'll fit between the removable inner forestay I've installed and the mast, which was my main consideration.
Here are a couple pics - the thing in the middle is a removable inflatable cushion you can position anywhere - e.g., for rowing (a little over-inflated in this pic). The beach wheels were an extra $69. They disconnect easily for re-fitting in the up position when you launch the boat (yes, they float!).
260LX_Bow view.jpg260LX_Stern view.jpg
 
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