Would you like an 8′ (2.4 m) long dinghy to use as your tender? How about one that folds to just 4″ (10 cm) wide?! You can stow it along your lifelines, it is ready to row in less than 60 seconds, can plane with an outboard and can even sail to expore the shallow areas your boat can’t get to!
You can buy the plans here and build your own: randomchris.com/boatplans
We love our folding tender. I built it in our small garage and we took it to the boat by transporting it inside our small car (We tilted the passenger seat back and the bow of the tender sat in the footwell). It can also be transported on a roof rack and, once you get to your boat, it is really easy to stow – even on a small boat.
I launch and recover it on my own using a halyard to take the weight (The tender isn’t heavy and I can carry it under my arm on my own without any problems but the halyard makes things really easy and controllable).
During our honeymoon we didn’t have an outboard engine and rowed everywhere. We spent 23 consecutive nights at anchor and this little boat was our only means of getting ashore and transferring our stores.
I even went fishing in it – using a small umbrella anchor to hold me in position in the shallow rocky area of an anchorage where there were lots of fish.
This summer we used this boat to sail around anchorages and tied her up in Portofino, next to all the megayachts while we went ashore. Honestly, there were more people taking pictures of our little folding tender, than there were taking photo’s of the multi million dollar yachts right next to us!
These boats are very spacious internally (we have gone ashore with me, Rossella and both Rossella’s parents on board) and the raised floor means that even if the bilge gets wet you won’t get a wet bottom.
The plans are really easy to follow and a complete novice will have no trouble building one of these. The plans teach you how to do everything necessary, from cutting and laminating wood to even teaching you how to varnish properly to get a mirror-like finish, if that’s what you want.
The plans are really good value. You get a PDF document of over 100 pages and as an added bonus for each set of plans sold, 5 trees will be planted, so you have no need to worry about depleting the planet of the small amount of wood you will need for the build.
I can honestly say that building this boat was one of the most satisfying things I have ever done in my life and I highly recommend building one of these boats to anyone!