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Dinghy and Outboard

  • Lightweight hard bottom with good wheels. APEX 10í lite or Force 4 have both been Billabong tested. Both are under 80 lbs. The tube size and shape of the APEX kept us much drier than the Force 4 (which has a flatter profile that allows the tubes to be removed for storage or replacement).

  • 2 Stroke vs 4 Stroke - yikes thatís a tough one. When we left, the weight of a four stoke made a larger (15 HP) engine prohibitively heavy, however fuel economy and environmental impact is much better than a two stroke. Island Sonata has an eight horse Honda 4 Stroke which burns at least 1/8 of the fuel that our 2 stroke 15 horse does. They can still plane with two people although extra gear usually kills any hope. We bought a secondhand 2hp Yamaha that we use for the times that a 15HP is overkill (and a fuel hog).

  • Dinghy Wheels - Danard makes some great wheels which donít require inserting a pin underwater to hold the wheels in place. Just flip them down and the air pressure lifts the tire into the slot. Then drive the dinghy until the wheels touch. They work well in both mud and sand and on coral, although sometimes they pop out of the track if it gets really bumpy and you go too fast.
  • In Darwin (25 foot tides) most of the dinghies with other wheels dug grooves in the soft sand or sunk too deep to be effective. We brought ours back and forth to the high water mark while others looked on with envy.

  • Chaps - the Force 4 is PVC so we needed to cover it ASAP. We used the same shade fabric as the boat awning, the only downside is it lets dirt under the cover.

  • Find a good way to easily hang the dingy at night in order to keep growth off and discourage theft.  We use our davits and about 70% of the boats hang their dinghies off a halyard to the side of the yacht with fore and aft lines.

  • A good hand pump (Thirsty Mate) for pumping out water that is bound to get in the dinghy.

  • SS ratchet tie down straps if you are planning on keeping the dinghy on the foredeck. Make sure you don't skimp on the webbing, we broke the forward one when taking green water over the bow (Bosuns Supplies).

  • Spare life preserver bag with spare flares, etc clipped underneath as secondary life raft when stored on deck.

  • Dingy Emergency Bag - Handheld GPS, Flares, Whistle, tools, and even a hand held VHF, etc for out of the lagoon dinghy tours/fishing - especially important if it's too far or windy to row.

  • A cheap cover for the dinghy fuel tank is a t-shirt.  We originally put an old t-shirt over the fuel tank temporarily, planning to make one later ... the t-shirt is still on!

  • Add an external inline fuel filter if your engine is larger than 5 horsepower.

  • I use an old diesel fuel conditioner bottle to keep my outboard oil in. It has a second area for pouring out small measured doses of liquid and I keep it in the dinghy jammed into the handle of the 6 gallon fuel tank.

  • Purchase an assortment of small water proof pouches (wallet etc) for the wet ride back and forth. When you don't have one it is almost guaranteed to be wet. Light weight, but still waterproof, bags are great for the Camera bag and don't take up much room so you can take them with you. Use bigger waterproof bags for the really rough trips (or the abandon ship bag), and leave them in the dinghy (under the seat or fuel tank). I also have a waterproof bum bag which works great for the wallet, small camera etc. Use a document dry bag for important ship papers, passports, etc.


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