So our dinghy is a Highfield Classic 290, an aluminium (for long life, light weight and fully recyclable) hull with Hypalon Tubes (much longer lasting than PVC, especially in the tropics). Jane has already made a fantastic all over cover for it (when it is stored right way up) and it sits at home on a little cradle I made.
We chose our dinghy as the largest that we could fit inside our van, that happens to also be the largest we can fit on our foredeck. We chose that size as we expect to have four summers of using it in the Menai Strait (where due to the tide speed and the funnelling of the wind you get quite big waves), including transporting everything we will own onto the boat when we become retired live aboard cruisers. It also has a false floor which means that even if some spray or rain comes in your feet and bags do not rest in a puddle.
However, the key disadvantage is that it weighs more, just under 60kg. So we don’t want to carry it up a beach or slipway and despite it being Aluminium we don’t want to drag it much either (especially on stones or concrete).
So we have bought some launching wheels that can fold and that can also be removed. These were at the budget end of the market so we will see how well they last. They did need some “adjusting” with a Dremel for them to latch properly in the down position. I also had to add some pads to space them from the transom so that they don’t touch the lip of the hull. Unfortunately the lifting points on the transom stop them fully folding but we can hold them up out of the water with an elastic bungy which should be perfectly satisfactory.
It is easy, on my own, to attach them and get them into the down position as well as to remove them. The dinghy is easy to move by myself when it is on the wheels (although I don’t think we will be loading it up with much stuff at that point).
Altogether pretty happy 🙂 We will be taking it to test during our summer holiday.