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Choosing the perfect dinghy was a subject discussed at length during my recent visit to PDQ. They strongly recommend that total weight on the davits not exceed 200 pounds -- ideally, not over 100 lbs on each davit.  Also, the clearance between the hulls (and davit legs) is just a bit over 9 feet.  These constraints limit the choice of suitable dinghies for the 34 Powercat.

In choppy waters (such as the Bahamas) you want the biggest, driest dinghy possible.  With little reason to fold or stow the dinghy, the RIB style boat with its solid, V-bottom hull makes the most sense -- to me anyway.  An alternative is a completely solid hull which does have merit, but unfortunately most of these are too heavy in the appropriate size.

With this in mind, I've put together a list of some of the prime candidates for the perfect, or at least best possible, dinghy for the PDQ 34 Powercat...
Choosing the Perfect DINGHY for the 34 Powercat
Aquapro SMR 901 with Aluminum hull
A Caribe L9 fiberglass-hull RIB rests comfortably aboard this PDQ 34 with new style (2006) davits
Back to Sno' Dog Log -  Page 1
Henry's List of Possible Dinghies for the PDQ 34 Powercat
       Make &                     Hull            LOA     Beam    Tube    Weight    Max     Max       Int      Price      Comments
         Model                       Type    
     ft-in       ft-in        Dia "      LBS       HP      Load    Area

Apex  A-9 Lite             RIB Fibrgls   8' - 11"    5' - 1"      16.5         89         10       900     15.4   $2795    (Costa Rica)
 
Aquapro SMR 901      RIB Alum      9' - 0"    4' - 11"      15           85          9        990     13.4    $2550    (NZ, China)

AB Lammina 9 AL     RIB Alum      9' - 1"    4' - 11"      16           79        10        890     15.0    $2750    (Venezuela)

West Alum RIB 275    RIB Alum      9' - 4"     4' - 11"     16           91          8        722        ?       $
3599      pricey

AB Ventus 9 VL          RIB Fibrgls    9' - 6"     5' - 5"       17       106        15      1056     18.0    $2485     good choice

Caribe Lite L 9
           RIB Fibrgls    9' - 5"     5' - 5"       17        115        10      1020     17.8    $2385        OK

AB Lammina 9.5 AL   RIB Alum      9' - 6"     5' - 5"       17         95       15     1186     18.7    $3250     bit long, light

Apex A-10 Lite           RIB Fibrgls    10' - 0" 5' - 7"       17          99         15       950     18.8    $2995     long, light

Genesis 310 FTLH    RIB Cmpst   10' - 2"    5' -5"        17         105        15      1364    18 *    $2499    long - new

Boss Yachtsman 8.5 Hard Fibrgls  8' - 6"    4' - 10"     16        
125        10       900     11.8    $3299    small, heavy

Livingston Model 9  Cat Hd Fibrgls  9' - 0"   
4' - 5"         -          110         8        550       28      $1875   low freeboard
I included the Boss Boat and Livingston for comparison, but as solid-hull models, they are heavy for their size.  With weight such an important factor here, there are better choices - IMHO.

Other popular models not included above are the
Zodiak (PVC instead of Hypalon fabric), Walker Bay classic models (heavy, limited capacity), Bullfrog (heavy, expensive) and many of the heavier models from the manufactures listed above.

Sandy Kramer of m/v 34
Mishigas (Hull No 68) uses an AB Ventus 9 VL with a 15-hp, 2-stroke OB says he's very happy with that combo.  Because of the 9' - 6" length, he's learned to lower one end first in order to clear the hulls, but he says it's a minimum inconvenience in exchange for a large, comforable, relatively dry - and fast - dinghy.

More recently (Feb 06) I heard from Jim Stalnaker of m/v 34
Elixer (Hull No 63) who's using an Apex Lite 10 with a 15-hp Honda 4-stroke OB.  He believes strongly in the merits of a larger dinghy and, like Sandy, has found a way to make it work without too much hassle.

Not having had recent experience with any of the above-listed dinghies, my conclusions are based on the data that I've collected. The light-weight winner
was the Aquapro SMR 901. (An even lighter version, the SLR 901, is also available for the serious weight fanatic).  These dinghies fit comfortably within the hulls, are recommended by PDQ, and are conveniently availble at Port Whitby Marine Supplies should you wish to take delivery along with your new boat.

But now (2-28-06) I've just learned that, for 2006,
AB has reduced the weight of its smaller Lammina models, so the new AB Lammina 9 AL which is also an aluminum-hulled RIB - but with larger tubes and a deeper "V" hull than the Aquapro - appears to make an excellent choice.  This is the largest, most robust dinghy that fits cleanly between the hulls.  However, if you still want to move up a bit, I'd suggest the AB Ventus 9 VL, or perhaps the somewhat heavier Caribe L9 (shown in the photo at the top of this page) OR, now that its weight has been reduced, the new AB Lammina 9.5 AL.  This dinghy appears to have a lot going for it with its robust size and light weight
.
Finally, if you really want to push to the max, you could go with
Apex 10 Lite, or perhaps my most recent discovery, the Walker Bay Genesis 310 FTLH.  This boat is unique among the light-weights in that it has a double floor - so your feet don't get wet whenever there's a quart of water in the boat.
 
For
Sno' Dog, I'd pretty much decided on the AB Ventus - that is, until I came across the new Genesis line.  But now that I've just learned that the new AB Lammina weighs only 95 pounds, I may go in that direction.  Martin at Port Whitby Marine Supplies has been patiently following my musings and has assured me that he could have just about any one of the above-mentioned models waiting for Sno' Dog in Whitby in May.  So now, I guess it's up to me to make the heavy (or light) decision....

I'd certainly welcome comments or suggestions on this topic. Perhaps there are other owners out there with other and/or bettter solutions?  If so, please
let me know - so I can share your thoughts.

Carefree Cruising & Pristine Ports...        from a guy who's a bit dinghy himself !!!
                                                  
HMC - 02/28/06
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    AB Lammina 9.5 AL
also with an aluminum hull
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