Love me tender
The tender or dinghy is our link to shore. In a way it's our "car", and needs to carry to 3 of us, with groceries back and forth. We use the tender at least 4 times a day to go ashore when possible at anchorage to go walk Princess.
Considering its importance we weren't too disappointed that Enfin did not come with a tender of its own when we purchased her.
That left us to decide what we wanted, and after looking around at various options we decided for a brand new Bullfrog 10 feet tender with a 15 HP Tohatsu engine.
Bullfrog boats are built Bellingham, WA, so that made ordering and taking delivery easy whilst we were in Blaine, next door. They are made of high impact material that should resist the years and abuse tenders normally take. RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boats) with their inflatable sides are at risk when close to rocks, rusty docks and other common dangers. Further, inflatable materials tend to do poorly in prolonged exposure to the sun. Some do better than others, but nevertheless all tend to suffer from UV exposure.
We're hoping the Bullfrog's sturdy construction will last us a long time, and will prove cheaper in the long run than having multiple RIBs. Time will tell.
As for the engine, I was adamant I wanted a Tohatsu. I am a big fan of the brand, which is often found around the world on commercial boats. Our last Tohatsu was just a marvel of ticking along. It always started, never complained, and just worked. I find nothing more infuriating than an outboard that doesn't work. And it's about my least favorite thing to work on on a boat. Things are packed so tight in there, and your'e often working in weird places, in weird positions, and over water.
So, with normal regular maintenance, we're hoping our new Tohatsu will prove as good as our old one. I also liked the dual starting system, electric with a manual backup.
Last, weight was an issue since we raise the tender up to the cabin deck using our mast and boom arrangement. Both from the safety of hoisting such a large object and the stability impact a tender up high has on Enfin, weight had to be kept as light as possible.
The small Bullfrog (without center console) combined with the Tohatsu (the lightest engine in its category) weighs in at just under 300 pounds. Not exactly lightweight, but very close overall to many small center console RIBs with Honda engines.
It rides very well, gets on a plane easily and has a fair amount of room inside to accommodate the 3 of us with groceries. Or get us to a secluded beach for a picnic.