Editor-in-Chief (and die-hard Francophile) Jonathan Cooper unearths a cool new inflatable sailing dinghy from across the pond. Introducing the TIWAL—the definition of Fun, with a mast.
Despite its peculiar name, the TIWAL sailing dinghy could be just the thing for you to re-enact your winning childhood sailing regattas. Let’s face it: Sailing dinghies—the El Toros, Lasers, and Sunfishes of our past—all played a major role in our instant enchantment with water sports. There is nothing quite like the thrill of sitting mere inches from the water, with nothing but the breeze propelling you around buoys while you scream for starboard tack right-of-way. But sailing dinghies are far from practical on cruising boats.
The French designed-and-built TIWAL 3.2 inflatable sailing craft (we’re refusing to call this a dinghy) is for those among you who are unwilling to let go of that thrill, and for those with a little extra space in the lazarette. The inflatable’s ease-of-setup, relative light weight, and quasi-portability should make it a must for any power cruiser who, once anchored, desires above all else to step the mast and set sail. At a smidge over 10 feet long and 111 total pounds, the TIWAL comes in two not exactly pint-size carry bags—the bag with the hull weighs 57 pounds and the bag carrying the rigging and sail weighs 61. With practice, you can assemble her from start to finish in 20 minutes (there is even video supporting the claim). The hull itself is made from similar PVC materials to her inflatable powerboat cousins, and according to the manufacturer, the V-shaped hull bottom will get up on plane in 10-16 knot breezes, depending on how much weight you have on deck. Total load is 418 pounds, so choose your crew wisely.
$5,200 www.tiwal.com (888) 683-5880