Voyage of Egret Forums

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. Thanks.

Jack Meyer

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 seats.

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.

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