Dinghy Decisions

We put sailing dinghies to the test to determine who's got the fun factor.

Working from the assumption that the best way to unwind after a day out sailing is to launch the skiff and, well, go sailing, the team at Cruising World escaped the office one fine summer day to try out a diverse range of small sailboats that could easily do double duty as a rowingtender or motorboat.

Once fairly common, hard-bottom tenders today are a rarity. Too bad. Turning the kids loose for an afternoon buys peace and quiet on the mothership. And sundowners always taste just a little bit better while ghosting through an anchorage on the last hint of the afternoon’s sea breeze. The boats we sampled are all still manufactured, and most models are readily available on the used market. Our only criteria were that the dinghies we tried out could be hoisted aboard or safely towed when coastal cruising. Here’s what we found.