You are sold on the advantages of a catamaran design as a cruising platform, but have you considered the benefits of a catamaran dinghy? I have been using an AMI Advanced Cat dinghy as my tender for the past 4 years and I love it. AMI puts out a great range of dinghies with characteristics that just can't be found in an average rib inflatable.
AMI Advanced Cats are based on sport and surf rescue boat designs from South Africa. They have oversized main tubes and increased beam that allow for great load handling and stability. Beneath the main tubes are a pair of high-pressure foil tubes covered in thick PVC fabric and molded high-density rubber creating two wedge-shaped sponsons. In addition to providing additional sealed flotation chambers, the sponsons provide a good 'bite' on the inside of a sharp turn while the outer sponson slides over the water preventing overturning. The center aluminum deck of AMI dinghies rides clear of the water creating a tunnel-hull effect. This catamaran/tunnel-hull design results in a dinghy that can perform extremely tight turns, even at high speed, while enjoying an air cushioned smooth ride. All while using smaller engines and less fuel because of their easily driven catamaran design. This means you've got less weight on your davits, can fit the dinghy with a lighter less expensive outboard, and can carry less volatile gasoline when cruising.
But performance, economy, and speed are far from the main benefit of the design. Dinghies should be easy to get in and out of. How often have you stepped from a dock or from your stern steps into a rib only to have it skitter sideways and nearly leave you with a pulled groin or send you for an unexpected swim? These Advanced Cats are easy to step into and out of. The sponsons provide lateral resistance that prevents the dinghy from skittering away. The main tubes are large and durable and can easily be used as a step when boarding. The stability is incredible. Several people can stand on one main tube without overturning the dinghy.
And have you tried to row a rib into the wind or a stiff chop? It is nearly impossible and physically taxing. Not so with the AMI Advanced Cat. It rows like a dream. The catamaran hulls are easily driven even under human power and the sponsons allow the dinghy to track like it is on rails. Rowing isn't the only benefit here. The dinghy also tracks magnificently when towed and has much less drag than a standard rib. The tracking ability also comes into play when motoring in reverse. With a standard rib in reverse you have little directional control. You might as well be piloting a leaf on the water. The AMI Advanced Cat backs straight and true. Turn the helm over hard and it will spin in place. The maneuverability is excellent.
The performance, efficiency, stability, and maneuverability really add up to one smart dinghy. AMI Advanced Cats are available in lengths of 9'10”, 10'10” (with beams of 5'9”) or 12'10”, and 15' (with beams of 6'5”). Payloads range from 1200 lbs for the 9'10” version to 2295 lbs for the 15' version. The standard Advanced Cats are constructed from very durable PVC which can be outfitted with chaps for tropical environments or they can be ordered with main tubes constructed of Hypalon at an additional cost. Standard colors are light grey and navy blue. Optional colors are red, yellow, dark grey, or black. AMI Advanced cats can also be fitted with remote steering consoles upon request.
Advanced Marine Inflatables is offering special discounts on Advanced Cats to clients of The Multihull Company. If it is time to replace your old rib or if you've purchased a new catamaran and would like the benefits of catamaran design to extend to your dinghy, give Matthew Dunning a call at 206-297-1151 or email Matthew@multihullcompany.com for details and discounts on your Advanced Cat.
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