Are you looking for an affordable boat for your fishing trips or watersports? The dinghy offers you the best options for a low-cost, versatile watercraft. There are several dinghy designs to suit any watersports activity.
Typically, dinghies are the best choice for watersports like skiing and diving. However, some models are good for cruising or light sailing, with options for motors or sails. A dinghy can range in size, but most of them are suitable for carrying two to six people.
Dinghies are available in models suiting use in freshwater or saltwater, with inflatables, solid boats, and more options. Is a dinghy the right choice for your boat? Let’s unpack everything you need to know about these watercraft.
- What Is a Dinghy Boat?
- What are the best beginner sailing dinghies?
- Different Types of Dinghy Models
- Features and Benefits of Dinghy Boat
- Disadvantages of Dinghy Boat
- Top Dinghy Boat Brands and Models
- Wrapping Up
What Is a Dinghy Boat?
A dinghy is a small boat, usually and inflatable, and most models are around five to ten feet long. A dinghy is easy to transport, and it offers versatile utility for fishing and watersports. You also have options for motors, sales, or you can use oars to propel the boat.
Dinghies can feature fiberglass construction, or they may use inflatable pontoons, similar to a pontoon boat. The inflatable models typically feature design and construction with Hypalon or PVC. These polymers provide UV resistance, tough resistance against punctures, and easy repairs.
The sides on inflatables also act as seats, allowing fishing directly from all sides of the boat. Dinghies are not really built for speed; they usually come with low-powered trolling motors with a 3-hp to 5-hp output. However, they are ideal for moving through estuaries and lakes, allowing for silent movement so you don’t disturb the fish.
What are the best beginner sailing dinghies?
If you’re just getting into sailing, there are several dinghy options for enjoying your time out on the water. Whether you want to sail solo or with a friend, there is a boat for you.
Training Sailing Dinghies
These models are easy to master, giving beginners the chance to master the complexities of sailboats. They are simple to operate, safe, and offer you the best option for learning to master sailing techniques.
Doublehanded Sailing Dinghies
These models cater to two passengers for handling the sail and rigging. They are great for learners, allowing them to take an experienced sailor out on the water to learn the ropes.
Singlehanded Sailing Dinghies
These models have a design for one person. Typically, they are smaller boats, and you’ll already have to know how to sail. However, they are easy to master, and spending time out on the water will familiarize you with the aspects of sailboats.
These dinghies feature double or triple hulls. They are typically the best choice for racing, and they offer excellent stability in all water conditions.
Different Types of Dinghy Models
As mentioned, there are several models of dinghies for different watersports activities. Here are the most common options; we categorized them into sailing dinghies and inflatable dinghies.
A sailing dinghy is a small sailboat with no fixed keel and a shallow draft. These models are ideal for sailing in lagoons, estuaries, and lakes, navigating shallow waters. The sailing dinghy typically features a fiberglass design, with an open-plan seating area and a mast. These boats usually accommodate anywhere from one to five passengers.
High-performance sailing dinghies are another sail-based model that’s ideal for racing. They are fast and cut through the water with ease. You get excellent maneuverability on the water with a low-profile design and an open-plan deck with a mast. The Fireball, International 505, and Thistle are a few examples of leading racing and high-performance dinghies.
A cruising dinghy is another sail-based model that’s a great choice for cruising out in calm ocean conditions or inland water bodies. They are a recreational vessel equipped with sails and rudders, and you have more passenger capacity than the other sailing models. As a result, they are the ideal choice for family’s that enjoy the sailing lifestyle.
These models are hybrids that come with a focus on performance and stability. They have the ability to race or to cruise, providing excellent stability in the water. They are a great choice for someone that wants to start sailing competitively, and they also work for fun recreational sailing days on the lake with the family. The GP14 is an example of a cruiser-racer offering high-performance standards and stable cruising.
These boats had an original design featuring wood finishes using materials like plywood and cedar. However, modern dinghies feature fiberglass construction. The classic dinghy sailboat focuses on versatility over sailing performance. The Minto is a great example of a classic dinghy.
Inflatables are gaining in popularity thanks to the affordable price tag and versatility offered by the boat. Inflatables are easy to carry, and some might even fit on the back of a truck. Inflatables have side pontoons, and many of them are suitable for diving activities or spearfishing. These dinghies usually feature low-powered trolling motors; they don’t have a design for speed.
Features and Benefits of Dinghy Boat
Dinghies are versatile and affordable. There are plenty of benefits for choosing this boat beyond just the savings you make over other models.
The dinghy is one of the few boats left that offer a sailing configuration. If you’re into boating on lakes or thinking about sailing competitively, the dinghy is the best choice. Any of the sailing models listed above are a great choice. Pick the boat that offers you the best utility for your sailing needs.
Most dinghies are sailing options, so you don’t have to worry about gas fumes from the motor or noise. They offer a serene sailing experience on inland waters. Inflatable models may use a trolling engine for moving through calm, shallow waters when fishing. The low noise and churn produced by the motors won’t scare off the fish. You also have options for poling and oars for moving around without engines.
Dinghies are compact boats with sailing and inflatable models offering you easy trailering. Some of the smaller inflatables can fit in the back of a panel van or on the load bed of your single-cab truck. They offer you easy transport between lakes and estuaries, with a lightweight design that’s easy to launch and trailer.
Options for Inflatables or Fiberglass
As mentioned, the dinghy comes in sailing and inflatable options. Some fiberglass models also feature a wood finish on the deck for an added aesthetic that looks like a classic dinghy.
Ideal as an Excursion Boat for Yachts
Many superyachts use inflatable dinghies allowing the passengers to reach the shore. Yachts can’t enter shallow water, and the dinghy makes the ideal transfer boat for reaching the coast from open water. Most of these models feature low-powered motors.
No Need for Registration
Larger vessels require registration before you can take them out on the water. However, dinghies are small, and they don’t need any registration or licensing before you can take them out on the water. As long as the boat doesn’t have a fixed motor and is less than eight feet in length, you don’t have to worry about doing the paperwork. Regulations differ between California and Florida, so check with your local authorities before taking your boat to the lake or slip.
The dinghy is a lightweight boat. The fiberglass and inflatable models offer you a lightweight watercraft that’s easy to launch and pull from the water. They are also easy to repair, with basic fiberglass or polymer patching.
Easy to Maneuver
The dinghy is a super-maneuverable boat. The sailing models are easy to tack in the wind, allowing for sharp turning radiuses and easy maneuverability on the water.
Complete sailing systems
Most sailing dinghies come with options for sail systems. If you want to learn the art of sailing or teach your kids about sailboats, the dinghy is the ideal starter vessel.
Suitable for use in Shallow Waters
The dinghy usually has a high draft and a shallow keel, allowing for sailing in shallow water, such as lakes. These boats won’t run aground, and the low hull design allows for less friction on the water, increasing speed and performance.
Save on Fuel
Sailing dinghies don’t have motors, so you save on fuel costs for your boating trips. Those inflatable models with trolling motors have low-capacity engines, and they are economical with fuel consumption.
Disadvantages of Dinghy Boat
The dinghy is a great choice for your first boat, especially if you want to tackle the art of sailing. However, they do come with some drawbacks.
Minimal Power and Small Motors
Since most models are sailboats, they rely on the wind for performance. Sure, some models can reach high speeds when the winds are right, but they lack a speed boat’s torque and on-demand power. Even those dinghy models relying on trolling motors don’t move very fast.
Limited Standing Room
The sailing dinghy doesn’t offer you any standing room. Sure, you can stand on the deck, but you’ll have to duck and manage the sail, and that could mean the boat tosses you overboard. The small size of the dinghy also means that you’ll unbalance the vessel if you stand on the deck.
Dinghies are small boats designed for one to five passengers. Sure, you get bigger models, but these dinghies are more like proper sailboats. The seating may also be somewhat uncomfortable, as most models rely on a cast fiberglass deck with molded seats and no cushions.
No Crossover Function
Most dinghies are for sailing, and they don’t offer you crossover functions for fishing and watersports. It’s impossible to tow a skier, and the sail gets in the way of angling. The inflatable models are okay for fishing in shallow waters or inland water bodies, but the seating setup isn’t comfortable. The low-power trolling motors available for inflatable models don’t reach high speeds, making them unsuitable for watersports.
Limited Storage Space
Most dinghy models, especially sailing types, don’t come with consoles or storage systems. Some inflatables might have storage bins in the bow of the dinghy, but they typically don’t offer much storage space.
Top Dinghy Boat Brands and Models
Intex Excursion 5
The Intex Excursion 5 is a great example of an inflatable dinghy. You can seat up to five people in this model, and it has a rubber design with all the fishing accessories you need to get out on the water and enjoy a few hour’s angling in the lake.
You get four rod-holders, a bench-style seat in the boat’s center, and two inflatable seats.
This model comes with an affordable price tag and oars included with your purchase. There’s also the option of attaching a trolling motor for effortless navigation.
However, the boat is not suitable for standing, so don’t expect to cast far with this model. The boat comes with a three-chambered design and a 1,300-lbs capacity.
The Laser is the best choice for a single-hander sailboat dinghy. This boat is ideal for cruising or competitive racing, and they hold their resale value.
You get options for three rig sizes, the 4.7, Standard, and the Radial model. These boats feature fiberglass design and low hulls for easy navigation through shallow waters.
The RS Vision
This family sailboat makes a fantastic trainer, club racer, or cruising model. This boat can accommodate up to eight sailors, and the new RS Quest model features both trapeze and spinnaker options.
Dinghies are the ideal boat for learning how to sail, and they also make inexpensive boats for recreational fishing in inland water or calm ocean conditions.
They are not the most durable boats, and they don’t accommodate many people. However, there are plenty of models to suit your sailing experience or watercraft needs. However, they offer lightweight design, user-friendly operation, and choices for inflatable or fiberglass models.
If you’re looking to learn how to sail, you won’t find a better boat available.