Crewsaver has launched a new inflatable dinghy range. Theo Stocker tests the Crewsaver Air Deck 230 and looks at how it compares with other inflatable dinghies on the market
The Crewsaver Air Deck 230 is the first boat in Crewsaver’s new inflatable dinghy range.
With slatted floor and air-deck options, sizes range from 2.0m to 2.6m, and from 17-32kg.
We tested the Air Deck 230, (17kg boat only, 23kg with accessories). Almost 10kg lighter than my last dinghy, I could move it around on deck singlehanded.
The design is fairly standard. Sponson tubes are 36cm in diameter and have two chambers with solid end caps for standing the dinghy end on, while the flat inflatable floor is made of a drop-stitch panel.
A moulded GRP seat slides onto beads with a range of adjustment.
Lifelines with solid fixing points double as lifting handles, with davit and towing beckets (including a lifting handle) on the bow.
A rubber rubbing strake includes a lipped spray rail.
The oars are mounted with thole pins and screw caps; usefully, the rowlock mounts include horns to cleat a line around– useful for holding a boat alongside.
Verdict on the Crewsaver Air Deck 230
The boat isn’t the lightest of the lightweight tenders available, but it is far from the heaviest and feels a good deal more robust thanks to some of the solid fittings and tough PVC fabric.
Its packing size is fairly small, but careful folding helps.
We liked the bag with a top rather than side opening, and back straps made carrying it much easier, though it lacked compression straps.
The high volume foot pump worked well, but a modern SUP pump would be more efficient and achieve higher pressures more easily.
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On the water, the 36cm sponsons gave reasonable freeboard, and she was easy to row and handle. The transom will take outboards up to 4hp.
Our 2.3hp didn’t quite get her up on the plane.
The Crewsaver Air Deck 230 is an impressive debut for the company’s first inflatable dinghy.
It does everything you would want it to in a neat, small package, and at a reasonable price (£470).
Specifications of the Crewsaver Air Deck 230
External: 230cm x 130cm
Packed: 95cm x 55cm x 35cm
Weight: (inc accessories) 23kg
Weight: (boat only) 17kg
Also on the market
Seago Go Lite 230
This air-deck dinghy is about the lightest around, saving weight with fabric rubbing strake and soft attachments for the lifelines.
Packs down to 90cm x 50cm x 24cm and is 18kg all up.
3D Tender 230 Air Deck
A high-quality dinghy with a V-shaped hull.
A solid rubber rubbing strake and reinforced keel band make it tough and durable.
Reduces to 90cm x 45cm x 40cm and weighs 23kg.
Quicksilver Tendy Air-Floor 240
A heavier, pricier boat, it has a floor slat and inflatable V-keel under the air floor, plus a fuel tank and the seat slides almost the full length.
Packs to 110cm x 50cm x 31cm, and weighs 28.5kg total.
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