If you’re looking for a relatively affordable but rugged tender that you can row, sail and motor, Walker Bay offers 8- and 10-foot models that can be customized to fit your needs.
The basic boats are three-seat, roto-molded rowboats. To these you can then add inflatable tubes ($700) that essentially turn the craft into RIBs with greater buoyancy and the ability to use a larger engine. You can also add sailing kits that will then turn your tender into a full-on sailing dinghy.
The sailing kit that came with our 8-foot trial model includes a two-piece mast and boom, a daggerboard and a rudder with a tiller extension, all of which are aluminum. Setup was straightforward once we got the pieces sorted.
CW’s executive editor, Herb McCormick, is 6 feet tall and weighs a couple hundred pounds. Alone, he found the boat comfortable enough and guessed he could have easily had a similar-size guest aboard and the boat would have handled just fine.
One touch I appreciated when I climbed aboard to give the Walker Bay 8 a try was the ratcheting block for the mainsheet that was affixed to the middle seat. Some of the other boats we sailed lacked one, and even in light breeze, keeping a firm grip on a mainsheet can get tiring.
At just 71 pounds, the boat could easily be lifted on deck. It can carry two people, or up to 425 pounds.