We review 10 inflatable dinghies on the market to see which one would make the ultimate tender
Avon has been the leading name in the inflatable business for over 50 years now, and its products are respected for their longevity and toughness.
Avon hulls are made from hypalon for ultimate durability but this comes at a price, which is why this is the most expensive model in our test by some distance.
The 260 Air Deck has an inflatable floor and keel but only two hull compartments. The oars are traditional wood, unlike the aluminium and plastic oars of all its competitors, and they sit in conventional open-top row locks.
On the plus side they are easy to fit, ship and adjust. The downside is they can jump out when you are rowing, or drift away if you let go of them.
To stow they slide through the aft canvas carrying straps, although this means you cannot use the strap for lifting.
The boat rowed well, with the keel giving good directional stability. Under power the Avon produced our top speed of 17mph with one aboard with the 5hp engine but it was porpoising at this speed, which we couldn’t avoid even by moving the motor’s tilt-pin in and out. For safety you would want to back off the throttle.
At 35kg the weight is mid-range, while the packed dimensions are good.
At £1,357 it would only appeal to someone who values the 10-year guarantee that accompanies the hypalon tubes.