We read the chapter on dinghies and tenders from The Capable Cruiser tonight.  Takeaways:

  • In Baja, South Pacific, and the Indian Ocean, cruisers spend ~85% of their time at anchor.
  • Inflatables 
    • are more stable which is nice for climbing aboard from the water (after snorkeling, say) and for loading heavy supplies like water.
    • Sitting on the side makes for a wet butt.
    • Get punctured by rocks, coral, dogs.
    • Take a long time to inflate costing precious minutes if you go aground and need to kedge your boat off before the ebb tide.  (What's kedging?)
    • Can get blown out to sea if the motor fails (very difficult to row to into the wind)
  • Hard boats
    • Are more easily rowed, even to into the wind.
    • Can be rigged with sails.
    • Are much sturdier.
    • Are much bulkier.
    • Are heavier.
    • Are quickly deployed.
    • Can be made more stable with the addition of a flotation collar
  • Also look at porta-botes.
Question:  Do davits rule out windvanes?  What's the difference between a windvane and an autopilot?