When you’re cruising full time on a sailboat and mostly anchoring out rather than nosing into a slip, your dinghy is the equivalent of your car.
Planning for that stage, we wanted something that could haul groceries and jerry cans of fuel and keep us relatively dry.
We narrowed our search to a hard bottomed inflatable dinghy about 10 feet long. We almost bought an AB… and have had moments where we wished we had. Hindsight, right?
Vinyasa’s foredeck space is tight, so we decided to buy a foldable dinghy, a FRIB 360, that can be stowed below while doing offshore passages. The model was praised by several owners in the Women Who Sail FaceBook group, a trove of useful insights.
Unfortunately, delivery took more than twice as long as expected after we wired our money to the boat builder in England. Emails went unanswered, pricey international phone calls helped (!) but when we finally received our dinghy, it had black marks from a shipping mishap, a water leak around the thru hull for the drain plug, and a piece of the protective rubber strip on the keel came loose after our first few rides. In addition, after a few short weeks of use, some of the hardware for the lifting points to hoist the dinghy on the davits has begun to rust. Really?
Our emailed photos of the black marks elicited no response, nor did our request for help remedying the water leak. We didn’t bother to report the issue with the rubber, we just fixed it. We will also fix the thru hull and replace the rusty hardware ourselves.
We really like the concept and design of our FRIB 360. The company’s customer service, however, rates among the worse we’ve experienced, making it impossible to recommend FRIB to others.