Today was a major milestone in preparing for the trip. Tahina will serve as our house, and our primary means of transportation between locations. However, we will also need a means from getting from our house on the water, to other destinations nearby on land. Our “car” is a small boat (or “tender” is the term used for bigger boats like ours ), which is commonly referred to as a dinghy. In our case, we have chosen a boat which is part inflatable, and part fiberglass (these kind of boats are called “Rigid Inflatable Boats” or “RIB” for short). Today, we ordered a dinghy for Tahina.
We had a 12 foot RIB designed by Apex Inflatables on our previous boat PatiCat (pictured above). We debated buying something a foot or two longer, and even one with a “center console” with a driving wheel and a seat. The advantages for the console is that you can sit forward and a bit dryer. Without the seat, you have to sit on the side of the boat on the inflatable tube while holding the tiller of the motor to drive. Sometimes you get splashed by water in this position. Reportedly you stay dryer with the seat and console. However, there are some disadvantages to the bigger set up: 1) the weight of the boat increases by a couple hundred pounds (making it heavier to lift, and harder to pull up the beach). ; 2) you have less room on the boat for people and payload because the console and seat take up room; and 3) the boat price more than doubles for the larger boat with the console. Part of the increased cost is the necessity for a larger motor as well (which also weighs more), larger fuel tank, battery start-up required, etc.
So, we decided to go with the same 12-foot RIB from Apex as last time, but with a slightly larger 25 hp motor. The nice thing is that the manufacturer happens to have one on hand and is making a delivery right past the marina we’re moving to this weekend. They are also able to supply us with a motor and ready-to-go assembly. So, next week we’ll have our new “car”. We haven’t picked a name yet for her, but I’ll let you know here when we do.