Q: We are in the throes of choosing a dinghy, and I would like to ask if you would recommend buying a RIB with a double-skinned hull rather than a single-skinned hull. Which provides better handling or stays drier? Also, aside from the heavier weight of a double-skin, are there any disadvantages we should be aware of?
— Michelle Bamberger, Ithaca, NY
DON CASEY REPLIES
All else being equal, the only disadvantage of selecting a double-skinned hull over single-skinned is weight. For that extra weight, though, you do get dry feet and generally better choppy-water handling, though you may require more horsepower to realize the latter. As for the rest of your body staying drier, that is more a consequence of tube size. How you plan to handle your dinghy when not in use can also be a factor. If you are going to lift it aboard or carry it on stern davits, you must give careful consideration to the combined weight of the boat and engine. A lighter boat is likely to also mean a smaller outboard.
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