The other day I had the opportunity to take out the family for a sail in our inflatable sailboat. It is a boat based on the Intex Mariner 3, paired with a sail kit purchased from Sailboatstogo.com
We drove to our local beach, only 10 minutes away, and found a nice spot to unpack and pump up the boat and assemble the sail set-up. Normally the whole setup takes about 20 minutes with two people. Today we took a little longer because we choose to recorded everything for my Youtube Channel.
Pumping up the boat is always a little tiresome, it is a decent sized boat after all that can take 3 passengers easily. Once that was done we unpacked the sail kit, which was still a little salty from the last use some time ago. But I was pleasantly surprised to see that the salt water had not affected any of the parts, nothing was rusted at all. The first part to place is the mast foot, followed by the side bars. These are mounted together with simple bolts, and then attached to the boat using nylon straps. When these are done, the rear bar can be mounted, which will get the rudder positioned on top. This bar mounts easily to the motor mounts that are built into the Intex Mariner 3 boat. Again this is fastened in addition by a nylon strap as well.
It is then time to mount the side daggerboards onto the side bars, keeping them slightly loose so they easily rotate backwards in shallow water. It is then time to assemble the sail!
The sail is stored folded up twice, so it fits easily in an approx 3 foot long bag. When assembling this means you lay out the sail and then unfold the mast and beam. The metal bars slide into each other, and the ends of the sail are set using a short cord. The sail can then be raised by looping the halyard through an eye at the top of the mast, pulling tight, and tying at the bottom of the mast. The boat is then ready for action!
Even with some luggage (ie snacks) loaded in the boat, it can quite easily be lifted to be carried onto the water. It only needs a couple inches depth to float away, and a couple more to actually start sailing free.
The winds on this particular day were very light, perhaps about 3 or 4 knots. We still managed to gain meaningful forward speed, and we snuck out of the bay going considerably upwind as well!
All in all I love what this setup can do, here are a few points to highlight both positive and negative:
- folds away and can be transported by car or as checkin on a plane
- resists the effects of salt water very well
- no maintenance cost
- no storage cost
- fun factor of 10
- not a performance boat
- limited space on board
- inflatable so at the same time deflatable….
To recap all of this I created a nice video of our experience and loaded it up on Youtube, check it out here and remember I really appreciate a comment, like or subscribe!!