Jack Meyer, Houston, TX asks:
From looking at pics of Egret, I believe your dinghy to be
a Livingston rigid hull catamran. Is this correct? If so, how would
you compare it to many of the RIB dinks that many cruisers use.
Please let me know of the pros and cons of this type of boat, and any
criteria you used in making the decision to use this type of boat.
Scott Flanders from Egret responds:
Jack, yes we do have a Livingston 12' dink. Friends on Sea Fox had a 14'
Livingston that would be even better if you have the space. We also have
two other inflatables, both with a soft bottom that we use most of the time.
In our Med travels and in the Deep South you don't explore by dink like we
did on the US east coast or Bahamas. Here we used the smaller dink
exclusively except in the ice. Our previous dinghy was a 14' Aqua Pro
(aluminum bottom - hypalon tubes) that was a first class dink with a 40hp
Yamaha 4 stroke. That said, I simply don't like inflatables or small 4
stroke dinghy engines for long distance cruising. Inflatables are wet
riding, even the best. Four stroke engines are a liability in the offbeat
places we seem to end up. If we had sunk a 4 stroke in Italy like we did
our Yamaha 2 stroke it would have been a nightmare. We had the 2 stroke
running in minutes after sinking and we still use it today, even today as a
matter of fact. We also fish a lot making an inflatable a liability with
hooks and gaffs on board. The Livingston is a very good utilitarian dink.
It is great in rough water, easy to repair and cheap to buy. It is also the
poorest quality boat we have ever owned, the ugliest and we love it.
Expendable. If we put a hole in it we can roll it over on the beach and
patch it with West System epoxy. Livingston makes two 12' cats. One is
lighter but the one we have has higher sides, wider and weighs more (220lbs
vs 180). We tried the lighter one in Annapolis. It rode well but was too
active for boarding and deboarding comfortably in choppy water. Ours is
much more stable.
We couldn't buy a 2 stroke engine over 15hp in the States so bought a
commercial 30hp Yahama in Nassau. Single carb, two bolts and the carb is in
your hand if the jets clog. Simple and it works every time. We initially
tried to use tiller steering to keep tings basic but you simply can't steer
our dink with a tiller at low speeds, even with a tiller extension. We
added a small console, cable steering and a couple lightweight swivel bucket
As far as the heavy fiberglass ribs with aft seating and steering I'm afraid
I would stir the pot to much if I give my opinion so won't.