After a trip to Seattle on Saturday to take a look at some dinghy options, we settled on one built by Mercury, the same company that makes outboard motors.
We picked out a brand new 9 foot 2 inch, 2008 Mercury 285 Airdeck sold by Maritime's Marine Center. After driving down we found out they also have a store in Anacortes which would have saved us a lot of travel and trouble, but it was worth the trip since we were able to stop at Paseo in the Fremont district and have one of their fabulous Cuban Sandwiches.
The new inflatable has an inflatable floor which is nearly as hard and stable as a solid floor would be. It has a seating capacity of 4 people and or holds up to a 1,000 pounds load. So it should carry all four of the current family on shore excursions to the San Juan Islands from our moored boat.
Maritime's Marine will ship the dinghy to the Anacortes store and, for a bit more (Another $100), retrofit our existing Weaver davit system to accomodate the new dinghy.
Our old dinghy, a very nice 8 foot fiberglass dinghy will be sold off to help pay for the new one. We are still not sure about the condition of the 4 hp Mariner engine now sitting in our garage. I did have it running once in the water but it died and wouldn't restart. Don't know if this is as a result of neglect, age, needed repairs or all of the above. I do wonder how the cooling system was ever cleaned as it seems to have been kept pretty much on its side mounted to the transom of the dinghy. Was the cooling system ever flushed with fresh water? I am hoping a buddy of mine will take a look at it with me one of these weekends and perhaps give me a verdict. A new one will cost about $1,200 so we aren't in any hurry to replace it.