Topic: how much room on deck for a hard dinghy ?

Hello, I am in the process of buying a 1966 Contessa. I am wondering what size of hard dinghy the CO26 can take, because with this boat I would like to use a hard dinghy rather than an inflatable.

Would anybody be able to give me the dimensions of the coachroof, where I would like to keep a small dinghy?

Does anybody have experience cruising with a hard dingy on a CO26? What size and model are you using?

Many thanks in advance for your help.

Re: how much room on deck for a hard dinghy ?

There is virtually no available space on the coach roof.  You have about a metre between the companionway hump and the boom vang and I don't see how any boat big enough to take one adult could fit there without overhanging the side decks and blocking visibility forward enough to be a real safety hazard.   There isn't even really space there for a rolled up inflatable that can safely take the whole crew.

Tow the ****ing thing! or get a folding boat.

And yes, I have towed a dinghy for thousands of nautical miles, and still have the same dinghy.

Re: how much room on deck for a hard dinghy ?

Thank you for replying

However, there was no need to swear:                 " Tow the ****ing thing! or get a folding boat. "

I was merely asking a question about coachroof dimensions as I am very far from the nearest Contessa.
If you didn't like the question, you didn't have to answer.
I thought the Contessa corner would have been more welcoming to new members.

Re: how much room on deck for a hard dinghy ?

If I offended you I'm sorry, but the ****ing thing was with reference to the misbehaviours a towed dinghy is capable of.

There is NO good solution as stowage for a reasonably capable tender s difficult on any 26' boat, let alone more traditional designs like ours, Inflatables are really awkward to rig and stow when working  aboard a Contessa 26 in often less than ideal conditions and a towed dinghy overtaking you in rough weather may seriously hazard any crew in the cockpit at the time.

Expect to have to cut a towed dinghy loose at some time in your sailing career to protect the mother vessel.  If you aren't very good *and* very lucky, expect to loose more than one!

Re: how much room on deck for a hard dinghy ?

I remember seeing a fold-a-dinghy on a Contessa 26 (#248?) when I was in Mobile, Alabama. The owner had it up against the side the railing and below he carried a small outboard for the dinghy. I did not see it unfolded. That is the best I can remember. I will say towing a dinghy is just a noise maker. I believe Tania Aebi has her rubbert dinghy rapped around the base of the mast (check up cover of her hardbound book). jklee

Re: how much room on deck for a hard dinghy ?

I suspect most of us have at some time or another lashed down a stowed inflatable just in front of the mast.  Preventing the jib sheets from snagging on it is not so easy however.  For passages up to 12 hours or so duration, I now usually choose to tow the inflatable dinghy.  If the forecast is poor however I *may* choose to stow it.   It really depends on a lot of factors, including my estimate of whether I can afford the loss of speed towing will cause.  For a longer passage stowing it is the only way to go, but if possible I try to stow it below decks.  This isn't really an option if we have extra crew.  Over here, a fair number of boats usually tow their tenders and as I said, I have been towing a tender regularly and for more than local trips.  Most of the time its not that much trouble, less so than stowing it and rigging it again and we loose less time through being slowed by it than we need to stow and re-rig it.  Occasionally however a towed tender will make you question whether sailing is any fun at all!

Re: how much room on deck for a hard dinghy ?

I have pictures of a tiny nesting dinghy mounted on the coachroof but I believe that it would not only be in the way of the vang but would also be difficult to see around.  However, on a trans-Atlantic passage, how much time is one spending at the helm anyway?

My preference is a folding dinghy hung from the lifelines aft so that the appearance is not unlike a cockpit windskirt.  Porta-boat ( makes the best in my opinion, but also the ugliest.  Lately I have been admiring the Flapdoodle ( … ghy_design) but I am not sold on the plywood and hinges that are used in its construction.

For hanging a boat from the lifelines, I saw a nice solution in stainless -- basically L-shaped stanchions which attach to the existing lifeline stanchions.

Good luck finding a tender!

Re: how much room on deck for a hard dinghy ?

I tow our 9.5 inflatable.  If you happened to have read my post about running aground what I didn't say was that what caused us to get off course in the first place was the dinghy coming loose.  Once we were stranded, having an already inflated lifeboat ready to go could have been a life saver.  It would have been very hard to inflate the dinghy once we were in trouble. 

I usually sail with my young son.  When we get to an island, the last thing he'd want to do is wait while I inflate the dinghy (although he might be amused by the acrobatics required to inflate three chambers, a keel, and a floor while on the Contessa's deck!).

Towing is a bit of a pain but because of my experience I look at it as an insurance and a way to maximize the enjoyment of all my crew.

In terms of what to tow I'm sure there are lots of opinions.  I like inflatables because they float and don't bash hard into your Contessa's hull.  I think a keel (either solid or air-filled) is important.  Figuring out the sweet spot behind the Contessa is very helpful too as it can affect the sailing characteristics.

Re: how much room on deck for a hard dinghy ?

I am using a six foot glass dinghy stowed on the foredeck with a strap running fore and aft to hang on to.The dinghy weighs about thirty pounds,Bosun brand,made in Victoria B.C.Works well but in very heavy weather there is a small chance it could get smoked.So far,no trouble in high winds and seas,it just stays put.


Re: how much room on deck for a hard dinghy ?

Hello John Lee and everyone,
Yes John, hull #248 is correct. It was a pleasure to sail Mobile Bay with you on that blustery day.
I bought a used 10' 6" Portabote for my Contessa several years ago. Open it has a four foot plus beam. It folds up the size of a surf board and fits between the shrouds and the cabin house. The cabin has a bit of curve forward and the Portabote bends enough to settle right down on the deck starting a foot aft of the bow pulpit. I made a canvass bag for the dinghy but it was a booger to pull on and off. I now tie it along the starboard side of the cabin house-folded keel down (my fresh water tank is to port), upright with both seats and two wooden, eight foot oars tied inside and water from rain and waves runs completely out.
I can usually assemble the Portabote crossways on the foredeck within twelve minutes (ten minutes is my best record time) and slide it off into the water. Then I can hand it or paddle it back to the stern pulpit to get the 3 1/2 Nissan outboard.
The Portabote is the biggest dinghy I could ever hope to have on my little Contessa.
It has enough "V" in the bottom to row well but it is a dog under power. Four knots is all it will do with a 3 1/2 HP outboard.
The Portabote only has two holes in the bow to accomodate a 1/2 inch line for a painter so I only tow it slow in flat water. At my age 67, I can still jerk it across my foredeck and disassemble it alone. I prefer my dinghy to be aboard when we are underway.
I am very pleased with it,
Dennis Gray

The cutworms are in the hollyhocks, again!

Re: how much room on deck for a hard dinghy ?

Many thanks for all your very helpful replies; they give me a good idea of what works and what doesn't
Happy sailing to you all

Re: how much room on deck for a hard dinghy ?

Picking up on old thread here...My fun project for this winter has been building a tiny folding dinghy.  Still at it, but getting close to a maiden voyage!  It's been easy to build and it looks like it's going to be stable and quite functional.  If you're curious go to and look up the Origami - I'm building the 6 ft. version so that I can stuff it in the vee berth.  I'll submit a report when it's launched.  The Origami is rated for a small motor, and it can be set up to sail, but I'm sticking with oars.   Wooden Widget has several cool designs for tiny boats - dinghies for, as they say, the "spacially challenged".

Re: how much room on deck for a hard dinghy ?

Looking forward to seeing the results.  As I noted elsewhere, I bought the plans for the Fliptail and am looking forward to building it one of these days...


Re: how much room on deck for a hard dinghy ?

I am fascinated to see and hear about the results of these experiments. They look really amazing. I am curious to know how they perform in real-life situations.

The fliptail looks really cool!

15 (edited by Virago Deb 2013-01-08 05:35:09)

Re: how much room on deck for a hard dinghy ?

I just spent some time composing a message about the creation and launch of my Origami 6 folding dinghy, but the wretched website booted me off and wouldn't let me submit it - I guess I took too long.  Well, nuts to doing that again.  In short, it is a workable boat.  It rows cleanly and easily, is manoeverable and felt secure in a bit of chop - better than expected.  It is actually fun to play in.  It will carry two people competently, though you have to be flexible enough to scrunch up a bit.  It is easy for one person to carry, set up and knock down.  Haven't tried to stow it on Virago yet - plan is to put it in the v-berth area, but may end up on deck or on the stern pulpit.  I have some notes to pass along about chicago screws, fabric, and oar lock alternatives to anywone looking to build, but maybe I'll save that for a seperate message, or an off-site e-mail for anyone interested.  It was a fun project for my first home-built boat and let me learn some new skills and gain confidence.  I have plans on hand for a 16' dory....

Don't have my camera with me so no pics to pass along today.  Just thought I'd pass on that she's been launched.  As I was adamant that I would build her without help until they day I fitted the fabric (the instructions say that you'll need help for that, and you will), friends attending the launch christened her "Miss. Independence Pants".

Re: how much room on deck for a hard dinghy ?

Bravo bravo!  Even a fun name!

Re: how much room on deck for a hard dinghy ?

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