Dinghy on Sundancer 280

Discussion in 'Dinghies' started by Sea STAT, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. Sea STAT

    Sea STAT New Member

    5
    Mar 29, 2010
    Boston MA
    280 Sundancer
    Raymarine E80
    Twin Bravo III 5.0's
    Fresh water cooled
    hey all,

    I have read just about every dinghy thread on sea ray club i can find.. and still wanted some opinions..
    I have a few questions..

    we have a 2007 Sundancer 280. We just bought a 8'8" Air Deck Dinghy for the boat.. we have two questions.. one about engine size, the other about storage... as you will see, they are intertwined

    Here is my ultimate goal.. I would love to be able to use the dinghy as not just a boat to get back and forth from places, but also as a little water craft that can plane with 2-3 light adults on board, and be able to use it to have some fun with.. The dinghy i bought is actually rated for up to a 10HP engine, so comparatively, thats a pretty good sized engine compared to most 8'8" inflatables.. the boat is 90lbs total..

    The second goal would be to keep the Dinghy stored on the swim platform in the horizontal position.. This would allow me to easily launch and recover the dinghy, and if it is stored in the horizontal position, we would be able to keep the engine on it all the time.. Therefor, that could impact our decision of engine size.. if we can keep it on the swim platform horizontally all the time, i am not worried about going with a heavier larger 8-10hp (88lbs).. if we need to remove it to swing the dinghy up each time (vertically like with the weaver davits) we will prob go with a smaller 6hp (55lbs) engine which is lighter and easier to store somewhere on our boat..

    so you can see my question is twofold.. what do you think the best engine size would be to get it up on plane and use it to have fun.. and two, do you think we could secure the dinghy safely on the swim platform in the horizontal position? I think the swim platform on the 280 is a little over 3ft wide.. the beam on the dinghy is about 5ft wide.. so it would hang over by about 2ft..

    any advice would be greatly appreciated..

    thanks

    safe boating all..
    j
     
  2. mawyatt

    mawyatt New Member

    Dec 13, 2007
    Clearwater, Fl
    2008 Sundancer 38DA
    8.1L Mercruisers
    We went through the same though process and realized that when the dinghy is on the swim platform you lose access to the transom door, ours open out and centered on the transom. After much thought and some experimentation we decided to pull the dinghy bow first up on the swim platform with the stern in the water with engine tilted up. I put 2 SS "U" bolts on the transom as hooks for lines to the bow 2 rings on the dinghy. The lines are set with the proper length and have clips to attach to the "U" bolts. Our dinghy is an 8.5' air bottom and the engine is a Suzuki 2.5hp 4S that weights 30#. This combo works but won't allow planning with 2 people.
     
  3. CAMELLA

    CAMELLA Active Member

    Dec 14, 2008
    Annapolis, Maryland
    2016 510 Fly
    Cummins QSM-11
    I recommend the Tohatsu 9.8 HP motor with either the Nautley DinghyRamp or the Hurley. This will take up roughly 26 inches of your swim platform giving you 10 inches to get around. Having two people to retrieve the dinghy is ideal, otherwise you will need to come up with a system to retrieve yourself.
     
  4. Ididntdoit

    Ididntdoit Well-Known Member

    Dec 5, 2007
    New England & South Florida
    1976 17 Sport
    90hp Etec
    +1 on this - many have made their own "Dom's dinghy davits" - also - that is a short boat to plane - more so with 5-600lbs of people and gear - get the 10hp - most new ones weigh about the same as an 8 anyway - If you can find a used 2-stroke and dont mind mixing the gas/oil you will save weight
     
  5. ChiefScientist

    ChiefScientist Member

    77
    Jan 28, 2009
    Cincinnati, OH
    280 Sundancer 2008,
    496 Mercruiser w/Bravo III
    I think you and I have similar setups. I just got my dinghy and am excited so this is very new. I used to use a sevylor fishhunter inflatable, but my wife would not get in it. I only used it for dog runs. So I upgraded to this new setup. I think she will use this now.

    So I just bought a Saturn dinghy Model SD290. I am very impressed with the quality. It has great attachments and I really like the inflation valves. I also bought a rechargeable battery powered inflater by IslandInflatables with digital pressure sets. It uses a turbine for rapid low pressure inflation and then automatically switches to piston for high pressure inflation. I used the inflation adapter from the supplied manual pump and modified to fit the inflator. It inflates quickly and it not a huge hassle because you can easily move the pump without worrying about connection to a battery. You need to drill out the check valve in the adapter.

    For your first question . . .

    For keeping the dinghy inflated, there are several options I experimented with. Now my dinghy is only slightly larger than yours. So everything I tried should work for you. I do caution you that my wife was out of town when I did all this and she hasn't seen any of it yet. So my plans might be vetoed. We will see.

    The first thing I did was try the swim platform. I stored it horizontally on the platform and tied it up. It was miserable. No airflow and it destroyed the view. It might be OK for storage in the harbor when you leave for the weekend to keep it clean, but I have a covered slip and made some alternate storage plans

    If you pull it up as you are trying with the davits (I don't have the davits), I imagine the davits and dinghy will impede movement on and off the boat. In some conditions, it can be a trip hazard. I bet you will end up dumping the dinghy into the water to board or unboard.

    Another interesting option for your size dinghy is that it fits on the foredeck fully inflated. It is not too hard to pull it up over the bow rails (make sure it has no water in it). It rides better upside down and doesn't impede vision too badly. However, I don't think my wife will let it ride there.

    You might as well tow it. It tows really well with a tube rope about 75 feet back. I can't tell it is there. It's easy to pull it up tight when you are in the harbor and docking. When in harbor or towing, it bounces around back there and doesn't cause any problems. A cover would keep an errant wave out of the boat. I would bet yours (like mine) is self draining as well.

    Finally, there is the option of the inflator. It takes about 15 minutes to haul it out of the bag and inflate it now that I put the supplied adaptor on the fancy inflator. I think I can inflate it while floating, but I'm not sure. I did inflate it on the foredeck as a test with no problems.

    As far as storage while deflated, there are several options. You can carry in the cockpit. You can could carry it deflated strapped on the swim platform. Since I have a single engine, it does fit beside my engine (I have plastic panel between my engine and the rest of the bildge). But it is very heavy and awardward to pull in and out of the engine compartment. The outboard (more later) can fit in the engine compartment as well. I am not recommending this however.

    So, basically, I believe I will be back to towing the dinghy for the majority of the uses and using the inflator when we need to. At present, I would inflate on the foredeck.

    For your second question . . .

    As far as the outboard, I'm using a Sears gamefisher 3hp that weights 28 pounds by Tanaka. It is aircooled and noisy, but it is light. I have only tested it with a load around 380 pounds. It will almost plane and it may plane with just me on board. People are reporting great success with dinghy tabs. I might try some dinghy tabs and I will report on this later.

    On this outboard, you can close the tank air vent and it has a fuel cutoff. You can use the fuel out of the bowl and/or drain it (don't pollute!)! It stows in the rear compartment. As that only vents to the outside, it should be safe there.

    As far as power and fun, go for the 10HP. Even if the smaller engines will plane with 2 to 3 light adults, it will always be a pain. With the 10HP, it will me a much more fun boat. And if you have 2 to 3 light adults around, it makes handling the 10HP much better.

    Good luck and let me know how it works out.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
  6. ChiefScientist

    ChiefScientist Member

    77
    Jan 28, 2009
    Cincinnati, OH
    280 Sundancer 2008,
    496 Mercruiser w/Bravo III
    I hit send too soon. But to answer your questions - I think you will need 10hp to plane and have fun. I believe you can plane with less HP, but it will always be a chore.

    I am giving up storing on the swim platform except maybe in my covered slip. Its just too difficult to maneuver around. The size and weight is similar to your dinghy. Yes, it's a pain to unstop, inflate, deflate, dry, and stow. But it keeps the dinghy nice and clean. It also minimizes UV damage. when I have to go somewhere, I can take it deflated, on the foredeck, or tow it.

    Just my thoughts.
     
  7. Sadler

    Sadler Member

    907
    Nov 29, 2006
    Live in Western NC, boat in Charleston, SC
    2005 Nordic Tugs 37 FB
    Mercury RIB dinghy with Honda 2 hp 4 stroke,
    sold: 1997 290DA,
    Cummins QSB 380
    I've had a dinghy for a few years and have had good luck just pulling it on the swim platform then hauling it up on the bow before putting the boat back in dry stack. I keep the engine on an outboard mount--easy and out of the way. I opted for the lightest smallest motor--a 2hp Honda--to keep it simple.
     
  8. drock1892

    drock1892 New Member

    39
    Aug 14, 2010
    Big Lake - Holland, MI
    '97 330DA
    Raymarine C80
    Zodiac 310 - 15hp Mercury
    7.4L Mercruiser V-Drives
    We purchased and installed the Nautley HD+ system at the beginning of the season and have been extremely happy with the ease of launching/recovery, as well as space to still walk around on our swim platform.
     
  9. ChiefScientist

    ChiefScientist Member

    77
    Jan 28, 2009
    Cincinnati, OH
    280 Sundancer 2008,
    496 Mercruiser w/Bravo III
    Well, after a few minutes towing the dinghy, the wife made my pull it up flat on the swim platform like Sadler's advise above. And while the inflator is great, it still takes at least 20 minutes setup. Add at least 20 minutes storage - without cleaning - and you have one giant problem. So the new plan it is stays inflated. It is towed only when we need it on the swim platform (per the wife). The lightweight outboard is mounted when needed. And at the covered slip, it is hauled up with some lightweight block and tackle for storage. This works OK. If I were dry stacking, I would store on the fore deck like Sadler.

    In regards to this cruiser, my best plans seldom survive veto or modification by the wife.
     
  10. Bucit

    Bucit New Member

    Mar 12, 2010
    St. Petersburg Florida
    2005 280 Sundancer
    2004 SPD-104 Achilles w/ 8hp Yamaha
    Twin 4.3 MPI's with Alpha drives.
    Are you saying it didn't tow very well or your wife just didn't like the idea of your new dinghy/motor bouncing around back there?
     
  11. floriduramax1

    floriduramax1 Active Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Florida
    280DA, Magic Tilt triple axle, 2006 GMC 2500 D/A
    T4.3/ Alpha
    I was curious about this also. I have an Achilles 6'6" and merc 3.3 and was thinking about seeing how it tows this weekend. How much rope should you use and how do they do when up on plane at about 25mph?
     
  12. Bucit

    Bucit New Member

    Mar 12, 2010
    St. Petersburg Florida
    2005 280 Sundancer
    2004 SPD-104 Achilles w/ 8hp Yamaha
    Twin 4.3 MPI's with Alpha drives.
    I'm curious too. My Achilles is 10'-4" and has an 8HP Yamaha. I think it would be big to put on the swim platform but may work. I really didn't think about towing it, especially on plane until now. My Achilles will fly and I would love to bring it out to some islands to putz around with. Let me know how it works!
     
  13. ChiefScientist

    ChiefScientist Member

    77
    Jan 28, 2009
    Cincinnati, OH
    280 Sundancer 2008,
    496 Mercruiser w/Bravo III
    It tows fine even in the large wakes of the ohio river on a typical weekend around Cincinnati. I towed it about 15 miles total on and off plane with the 280. The dinghy seems to plane off about 10 mph and is well on plane before the Sundancer is up. I never felt the dinghy back there.

    The directions say not to tow it unless empty and I would advise that. Not because of the additional drag or stress, but because my outboard doesn't lock down and it bounces around pretty good. I used a 60 foot tube rope (it really doesn't need a rope that strong) and about a 15 smaller rope through the tow eyes (not the bow eye). It rides nicely in the wake about 5 feet in back of the "V." Gradual turns and it will stay right in the wake.

    I really didn't think the dinghy bounced much, but if it did, it would not hurt as long as it didn't take on water. I saw no indication that it would take water on either with the outboard on or without the outboard on, or even with the outboard bouncing around. If you put a cover over the dinghy to keep rain and spray from the wake out, I wouldn't worry about it back there.
     
  14. Sadler

    Sadler Member

    907
    Nov 29, 2006
    Live in Western NC, boat in Charleston, SC
    2005 Nordic Tugs 37 FB
    Mercury RIB dinghy with Honda 2 hp 4 stroke,
    sold: 1997 290DA,
    Cummins QSB 380
    Picture of towing the dinghy at 25 mph with it pulled up on the swim platform. It's secured in three places--the port and starboard dinghy rings are attached to the boat's stern cleats and the center dinghy ring is attached to the transom rail as a back up. Never had a problem, but you don't want to forget it's back there when it's time to dock. :grin:

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Bucit

    Bucit New Member

    Mar 12, 2010
    St. Petersburg Florida
    2005 280 Sundancer
    2004 SPD-104 Achilles w/ 8hp Yamaha
    Twin 4.3 MPI's with Alpha drives.
    Sadler, thanks for the reply and picture. That's really what I wanted to do but wasn't sure if or how it would work. I bet Floriduramax was thinking the same thing.
     
  16. Woody

    Woody Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Nov 20, 2007
    N. Wisconsin/Lk Superior
    2005 420DA
    Cummins 6CTA8.3
    I keep thinking about a dinghy on the 280DA too. Every time, I end up wishing I had a bigger swim platform and you know what that means.:wow: I think trying this would be cheaper.
     
  17. melida

    melida Member

    872
    Apr 1, 2009
    Istanbul-TURKEY
    Sea Ray 2007 375 DA
    Sea Ray 2005 315 DA Sold
    2xYANMAR 6LPA-STP 315 HP V-drives, 4kw Onan gen, radar, gps, autopilot, bow&stern thrusters, sat tv
  18. Bucit

    Bucit New Member

    Mar 12, 2010
    St. Petersburg Florida
    2005 280 Sundancer
    2004 SPD-104 Achilles w/ 8hp Yamaha
    Twin 4.3 MPI's with Alpha drives.
    That's alittle smaller than mine but this was my original idea until I swa the other picture. It would be easier to pull the bow up and tie her down than it would be to pull it up onto the swim platform. I'll have to try it both ways.
     
  19. melida

    melida Member

    872
    Apr 1, 2009
    Istanbul-TURKEY
    Sea Ray 2007 375 DA
    Sea Ray 2005 315 DA Sold
    2xYANMAR 6LPA-STP 315 HP V-drives, 4kw Onan gen, radar, gps, autopilot, bow&stern thrusters, sat tv
    The dinghy and outboard was bounty from the PO.
    Also if he didn't leave it I'd buy a similar setup.
    The inflatable bottom is light wieght but sometimes difficult and dangerous to get-on from platform in rough sea especialy for elderly people.
    I'm happy with it. I put the motor into the transom locker and deflate the dinghy, roll it and put it in its bag then store at midcabin in extended cruises.
    Don't like the idea of carrying it on the bow, the hatch would broke even if you tie it strongly.
     
  20. Tom MK

    Tom MK New Member

    8
    May 28, 2020
    Rio Vista, CA
    2005 280 DA
    Twin Merc 4.3L MPI w/ Alpha One G2
    Curious for updates on this old thread. I just bought a 2005 280 DA and have been trying various dinghy combos and am curious for a followup on what people's current experiences are. Has anyone mounted a pull-up davit system like the H20 on their swim platform? Did they have it extended out pased the end of the platform?


    My current experiences are below (in case they are useful)

    What I have worked with (experience follow):
    + 2005 280 DA with 30" wide swim platform that is 9" above the water. twin 4.3s
    + Achilles HB-300fx - 9'10" with fiberglass bottom
    -- just got a HB-270AL but haven't had a chance to use it
    + 6 & 8 HP motors yamaha & 6 hp merc
    + Harbor men cargo net to secure dinghy to swim platform
    + floating tow rope and 3 point tow harness

    I normally boat in the American river delta (between San Francisco and Sacramento) and have been using the dinghy to help teach my nephew kite surfing. We will also be taking the boat down the Pacific Coast to Santa Cruz so I'm curious about handling in rivers/delta, San Francisco Bay and open Pacific Ocean (with nice conditions).

    Pulled up on swim platform with Harbormen net:
    On several occasions we have hauled the HB-300FX pulled up on the swim platform with the 6hp attached. This took some effort to setup smoothly but once in place worked OK. We used a pool noodle underneath it as a cushion. This setup pulled the dinghy tight up against the transom which made connecting shore power a little harder and entry/exit needed to step on the footing above the platform.

    On one occasion the back of the dinghy would get hit by water as we got up on a plane. It would push it a bit and could knock a bunch of water into the dinghy. I should have pulled the drain plug, but I didn't like the idea of stepping into the dinghy once it was up there and it wasn't easy to reach otherwise. Another time we shifted the dinghy to avoid water hitting it's back and that caused the bow to hang over the other side by a good bit. This worked OK but a larger wave hit the bow and pushed things around a bit. In the future I will leave a tow harness connected so I can disconnect the net and let the dinghy fall back to being towed.

    I recently got a 270 and will try with that and am hopeful it will be a better option.

    Towing:
    In towing I found that having a 3 point tow harness will keep the dinghy nicely pointed in the right direction, if you tie it with a larger bowline, it was easy to use that loop to cleat the dinghy off at the short stay while idling in the harbor. On a plane having some weight in the dinghy is helpful but ideally on both the front and back. With a 8hp on the back we found the bow would point up quit a bit. The best balance we saw was with a fuel tank strapped down in the front and a 6ph on the tail. Having a floating dinghy line was also quite helpful and about 50-70' worked well in choppy conditions.

    Dinghy motors & power:
    For dinghy motors the 8hp on the HB300 got 3 people and surf gear up on a plane even in choppy conditions. But the 6hp was much easier to take on and off the dinghy. The 6hp would get the boat planing with two people in flat conditions and had enough power to move 3 people and surf gear around in rougher conditions.

    Next steps:
    I'm now looking at an H2O pull up davit system that might put the keel of my dinghy about 6" past the end of the swim platform. I'd be curious if anyone has done something similar on a 280. How did it handle in rough conditions? Anyone taken such a setup out in the ocean?

    If you've read this far I hope the data was useful. I'd be curious for what others experiences people have had with carrying a dinghy on a 280 or similar sized cruiser.
     

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