a couple of dinghy designs…

So, it’s time to build a new dinghy for some serious cruising and, over the last few days, I’ve been looking for a design that makes sense. Lately, I’ve been using a six-foot dinghy but being over built is way too heavy to be used for serious cruising. Hence the need to build something new.

One of the dinghy designs that I’ve admired for ages is the Joe Dobler Pepita design which always comes up on the short list when it’s time to build a new dinghy but I never quite get around to it.

Duckworks currently has the plans for $20 which, any way you look at it, is a bargain. It’s small enough to fit on deck the Islander as well as having lifeboat potential (more about that in a coming post). If I were building it I’d change the sailing rig to a more simplistic rig but, otherwise, I’d leave it just as it is.

The other dinghy on the shortlist is Phil Bolger’s Tortoise. I expect most readers of this will be aware of my long association with the Tortoise and that I think it’s the best cruising dinghy I’ve yet to come across.

Then again, my needs and wants, apparently, differ greatly from the RIB and 15HP crowd who need to get everywhere in a New York minute. That being the case, not a lot of people are going to understand why a simple row boat makes all kinds of sense.

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7 thoughts on “a couple of dinghy designs…”

  1. When I bought my boat, it came with a very pretty nesting stitch and glue dingy. I took it out and rowed it around enjoying how well it rowed. I then went to shore and went to pick it up and carry it up the bank and it completely fell apart. It sort of destroyed my confidence in stitch and glue construction because it had looked great. Anyway, I then purchased a lightly used Portland Puggy for much less than the new price but still pretty spendy but at least I don’t think I have to worry about it coming apart or sinking. It is heavy though.

    1. One of the best features of stitch and glue dinghy building is it’s almost tyro-proof. That said, some idiots will just fuck things up.I alway suggest new builders read Dynamite Payson’s “Build the New Instant Boats” and follow his method for a bombproof easy to build boat that will last.

      I like the Portland Pudgy but it is heavier than I think a dinghy + lifeboat should be. Launching a dinghy should be easily done by a single person. The fact that it does not fit in the allotted deck space as well as costing more than I’m willing to pay keeps me from getting one.

      I’d love to see a home builders reasonable facsimile plan on the market though.

      1. I’ve built stich and glue and conventional, with wooden chines. I prefer conventional, because i don’t enjoy messing with a goo that much. And all that peanut pasta shaping, cleaning, taping is not fast. With a square boats, there is no beveling of the chine stringer. I have a feeling that I’m a little bit faster installing stringer then filleting and taping. With small boats, I’m usually able to source free or very cheap wood. For epoxy, I pay full price..

  2. I had a Jack Holt “Jack Sprat”, plywood flat bottom pram on my last cruiser, and that was a good load carrier and was set up as a survival boat. Keeping the weight down, while trying to keep them unsinkable while also having room for “stuff” is always a challenge. I like the Bolger Nymph and beamier Rubins Nymph, but an Elegant Punt would suffice. I survived with Avon dinghies, which were the only real alternative on sub 25ft cruisers.

    1. I’ve built/used a bunch of Bolger Nymphs and they are the prettiest boat that can be done with two sheets of ply. The ugly sister, the Tortoise, however is so much more stable, can be boarded by a swimmer in the water without shipping water, and no one anywhere is going to steal it.

      If I were to build another Nymph I’d add another six inches to the beam as opposed to the Ruben’s Nymph’s extra foot.

      1. Built an East Port Nesting Pram (CLC) over the pandemic. Fabulous little boat. Light, easy to put together, unsinkable, and only takes a 4 x 4 spot on the deck. Holds way more than specs claim (3 adults and groceries) The stich and glue has held up well through the seasons. Oy mistake was varnishing the inside – I would just paint it next time.

  3. Putting the pie crust bottom of 1/4″ on my “longer” tortoise tomorrow. Stretched it to 9′ LOA and 42″ wide and 18″ deep. Kinda sorta between Brick and Tortoise. Fits my 6-3 frame. 7′ oars. Not real deck friendly but built to go on my vans roof rack. Built a tortoise in 2006. Now a steroidal version. Bolger RIP!!!!!

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