We review 10 inflatable dinghies on the market to see which one would make the ultimate tender

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Lodestar NSA260 | The ultimate tender test | Motor Boats Monthly |Lodestar NSA260

Design

Many of the boats in our test obviously come out of the same factories, but Lodestar seems to have ticked all the boxes on the options list.

These include three tube compartments, inflatable floor and keel, over-pressure relief valves, extra wide rubbing bands round the gunwale and under the tubes and keel, a full-length adjustable strap in the floor to allow you to alter the position of the fuel tank, and a two-position seat.

Details include a spray deflector in the rubbing strip, anti-flooding transom quarter panels, and even red and green reflective strips on the tubes to tell people if you are coming or going at night.

A generous-sized grab rope runs right round the boat, and there are two D-rings forward and two large holes in the transom for davit lifting points.

The double-action hand pump was the best in the test, giving fast inflation and a second position for high pressure.

Even the valves are numbered, to ensure you inflate them in the correct sequence and the pressure gauge is fitted in-line to show you the pressure as you pump.

Ride

Rowing was excellent with the aid of two seat positions and easy-to-feather oars. The dinghy was able to track a straight course thanks a pair of plastic skegs under the tubes.

Under power the 2.5hp gave 6mph with one person aboard and 5mph with two, and 14mph and 7mph with the 5hp.

Vital stats

At 37kg it is fairly heavy but the packed size was good.

Price

At £749 with a five-year warranty it is a good price for its class.

Contact www.lodestardirect.co.uk 01562 777200

Rating 5/5 – Best buy

  1. 1. Sunsport AIB265
  2. 2. Honwave T27
  3. 3. Bombard AX3
  4. 4. Excel SD260
  5. 5. Zodiac 260AD
  6. 6. Avon 260AD
  7. 7. Zodiac 260RU
  8. 8. Lodestar NSA260
  9. 9. Zodiac Zoom 260
  10. 10. Wetline 260AD
  11. 11. Conclusion
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