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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tender To - The Second Hole in the Water

Boat Tender
The Intex Seahawk II
Tender To – The Second Hole in the Water

If we trust the axiom that a boat is, by definition, a hole in the water into which one throws endless amounts of money, we must then define a tender as the second hole.  Let’s all be clear on this: I take offense to my beautiful summer getaway being described as a bottomless money pit; however, shopping for a tender this month has admittedly become a disappointingly expensive task! 

I have to give credit where credit is due.  There have been some pretty sweet advancements in tenders over the past few years (this thing is pretty cool looking, and has an opening door in the bow: http://www.hollandyachtdesign.com/XTENDER.html).  And lots of people like to talk about how many options there are (http://www.goodoldboat.com/reader_services/articles/dinghy.php) and which ones are best (http://www.cruisingworld.com/tenders-making-the-hard-choice).

“But,” one avid boater-on-a-budget may ask, “what if I don’t have super-yacht storage or the money to purchase a small boat that costs almost as much as my big one?”  In fact, it turns out that yours truly fits into that category.  With a 26’ Maxum cabin cruiser, I can travel, sleep four, cook, and otherwise have a grand old time; however, I have neither the budget nor the space to entertain any of the serious dinghy options.  Even if I could purchase a modestly-priced (read: $800, or 800 bargain-priced beers) Zodiac or comparable RIB, I can’t fit it anywhere on my boat without it looking like I were pulling off a Mafia-style water disposal of sorts.

Enter three days of research, and the winner of the poor-man’s-tender prize: The Seahawk II by Intex.  Here were my criteria: the boat had to be compact when deflated, easy to inflate/deflate, able to put up with ship-to-shore and exploratory services on relatively calm waters, and CHEAP!  The Seahawk II fit all of these criteria and more: at $107.00 on Amazon (you didn’t read that incorrectly), it’s a perfect fit.  The reassurance of a plethora of positive reviews, accompanied by a smorgasbord of very impressive YouTube videos, sealed the deal for this little beast of a boat. 

What’s more, this little boat can take an outboard for added benefit (notice this wasn’t a criteria, but it’s a huge plus for future expansion).  Most pocket cruisers can fit this little boat, a compact 40lb thrust trolling motor, oars (they come with the boat…what a value) and a spare deep-cycle battery.  And what cruiser wouldn’t want the added security of a set of oars and a spare deep-cycle battery?!

This entire package can be had for under $330.00.  Now that’s what I call boating on a budget!  So when you see me puttering around the Long Island Sound this summer, wallet fat from the savings, ask me for a ride in my new Seahawk II.    


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