BOAT TEST: WALKER BAY 8 TENDER

By: KEVIN SMITH

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

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Row, sail, motor — all modes of transport are covered by the three-in-one Walker Bay 8 rigid dinghy tender. KEVIN SMITH reports

BOAT TEST: WALKER BAY 8 TENDER
Walker Bay 8 tender

So what do you reckon is a typical tender? Usually, it's some small and simple monohull that transfers crews to and from larger vessels. It's generally fitted with oars or a small outboard for propulsion, which means there just isn't anything fancy about it. Or is there?

That belief was blown right out of the park after I tested the new Walker Bay 8. These little dinghies have taken the standard tender to the next level and I can tell you they're one of the most versatile little boats I've ever come across.

 

 

DIMINUITIVE DINGHY


The Walker Bay 8 has an injection-moulded polypropylene hull - the construction process makes it as tough as anything - yet it hits the scales at only 40kg. Also, at 2.75m in length, it is easily hoisted aboard. The hull has an inbuilt aft-keel roller to help drag it onto a beach and up a ramp, too.

As mentioned, the Walker Bay 8's various functions make it a versatile little craft. In basic guise, it's a rowboat with oars and rowlocks, ideal for manoeuvring around the mother ship or getting off a beach. Being a displacement hull helps it glide effortlessly through the water under oar, while the optional inflatable tubes definitely stabilise the hull and improve overall safety, as well as acting like fenders and protecting the big boat rubbing alongside.

If you have a distance to travel, and want to get there quickly, simply power-up the Walker Bay 8 with a small outboard. Our test tender was fitted with a 2.5hp Suzuki four-stroke that had ample power to get from A to B. The hull is rated up to 4hp, but being a displacement hull means you can't get it to plane anyway, so I'd be quite happy with the little donk. The Suzuki weighs just 13kg so anyone in the family should be able to plonk it onto the transom without blowing a seal.

 

 

SAIL - PLAN C


The sailing part of the Walker Bay 8 was definitely the highlight for me, even though I do prefer engine power. This option, apart from being fun, is great if for some reason the outboard is out of action.

I know squat about sailing, but I reckon I could get the setup right on this one. Basically, it's just a matter of securing the telescopic tiller and rudder onto the transom (obviously the outboard has to come off first), placing the centreboard into the middle bench seat, fitting the mast into the dedicated tube up front, and then connecting the necessary lines to the boom and sail. Setting-up takes no more than five minutes and that's if you're really taking your time.

It's not hard to imagine the Walker Bay 8 'sailboat' also being a great little water toy, perfect for teaching the kids which strings to pull. Again, my knowledge of sailing is limited, but the first thing I realised was that you definitely need a bit of wind. Before long, I feel like I'm on the road to sailing superyachts across the ocean.

Unfortunately, it was calm on test day, which was a bit of problem. Without a breath anywhere it was going to be a towing exercise to get the boat out into open water for a few pics. Luckily, though, a tiny breeze appeared from nowhere - probably about 1kt in total. That gentle breath was enough to get the Walker Bay 8 going and tracking quite easily against the incoming tide, something that shows just how little wind is needed to get these things mobile.

The Walker Bay 8 is simple to control and probably heaps of fun… if you know what you're doing. Deep down inside I was quite grateful that there wasn't a substantial wind blowing. I'm probably one of those that would be a professional downwind sailor, the kind that has to be collected or towed back home. But with the Walker Bay 8 you do feel like you don't want to part company. It's just so much fun rolled into one.

 

 

 

(Quick Specs)
WALKER BAY 8

 

 

PRICE AS TESTED 


$5080

 

 

OPTIONS FITTED 


Pontoons, Performance Sail Kit, 2.5hp Suzuki four-stroke outboard

 

 

PRICED FROM 


$1255

 

 

GENERAL


MATERIAL: Polypropylene injection-moulded hull
TYPE: Displacement monohull 
LENGTH:  2.75m
BEAM: 1.72m
WEIGHT: 40kg 

 

 

CAPACITIES


PEOPLE: 3
REC. MAX HP: 4

 

 

ENGINE


MAKE/MODEL: Suzuki DF 2.5
TYPE: Four-stroke petrol outboard
RATED HP: 2.5 
WEIGHT: 13kg
DISPLACEMENT: 68cm³
GEAR RATIO: 2.15:1 
PROP: Aluminium 

 

 

MANUFACTURED BY


Walker BayBoats USA
Website: www.walkerbay.com

 

 

BOAT SUPPLIED BY


Walker Bay Australia,
Unit 6/698 Ashmore Road,
Ashmore, Qld, 4214
Phone: (07) 5564 7560
Website: www.walkerbay.com.au

 

 

OUTBOARD SUPPLIED BY


Whitewater Marine,
10 Hinde Street,
Ashmore, Qld, 4214
Phone: (07) 5532 4402
Website: www.whitewatermarine.com.au

 

 

TRADEABOAT SAYS…


As a full package with the sail kit and outboard the Walker Bay 8 might not the cheapest tender out there but what you have to consider is its versatility, durable construction and added safety features. One bonus here is that you can buy the standard hull and add to it when the budget allows. It's also user-friendly and besides being a super tender it's also a great little boat that the whole family can enjoy.

 

Find Walker Bay boats for sale.

 


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