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The TIWAL inflatable dinghy is ready to sail in under 20 minutes


January 14, 2014

A family tries out the TIWAL 3.2 (Photo: Tiwal)

A family tries out the TIWAL 3.2 (Photo: Tiwal)

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The TIWAL 3.2 is an inflatable sailing dinghy that can be assembled or packed down into two bags in a little under 20 minutes. According to its creators the dinghy is a "high performance" sailing vessel with a multi-purpose design that not only allows families and first time sailors to experience the joys of sailing in calm weather, but also lets expert sailors test their limits.

Weighing around 50 kg (111 lb), the TIWAL 3.2 features a patented V-shaped under body that makes the dinghy both rigid and stable when inflated. Reinforced with a tubular aluminum frame that allows it to handle strong wind speeds, the boat is light enough to be carried by two adults, once it's assembled. At 3.2 m (10.5 ft) in length, the dinghy comes equipped with a 5.2 sq m (56 sq ft) sail ,which performance junkies can upgrade to a larger 7 sq m (75 sq ft) version if desired. The sailing experience, the company says, is quite different from sailing a regular dinghy.

"You've had sailing dinghies on the market for decades," Tiwal's co-founder Emmanuel Bertrand tells Gizmag. "But most of them are regular ribs with a sail. They can't reach the planing speed, and their sailing performance is very limited."

The long saber-shaped daggerboard of the TIWAL 3.2 not only makes it behave like a traditional dinghy, but also gives it excellent upwind and downwind sailing abilities, claims Bertrand. Sailors can expect to reach planning speeds of up to 12 knots (13 mph/22 km/h). "No other inflatable sailing dinghy comes close to half that speed," he says.

Co-founder and designer Marion Excoffon, along with the Tiwal team, set out to create a family boat for leisure sailing, which was simple to navigate, light enough to carry around, stable on water and fun to sail for the whole family. Once they strengthened the structure to enable the boat to endure strong winds, they were pleasantly surprised to discover that it turned out to be a good sailing boat for experienced sailors, too, enabling high performance solo use.

Currently, the boat can fit either two adults or one adult with two kids. "This is a great advantage over other sailing boats," Bertrand explains. "Usually you have boats for one adult or boats for two adults or boats for kids. With our two different sail sizes you can use the boat in various passenger configurations. To have a sailing dinghy that can both fit in two bags and offer high performance was a real breakthrough."

According to the company, first time sailors can learn to sail in about 3 hours, at low wind speeds. Sailors will only need to handle the main sheet and tiller extension to steer. The boomless sail and high clearance is said to make it safer and permits a lot of mobility on deck. It's also claimed easier to right than a regular sailing dinghy; sailors will only need to push the underwater wing down with their feet while pulling on the daggerboard, if the dinghy happens to capsize.

The TIWAL 3.2, which recently won the Best Innovation award at the 2014 Boat of The Year contest by US magazine Sailing World, along with the 58 sq ft sail is priced at US$5,950; the 75 sq ft sail can be purchased for an additional $1,200.

The two videos below show how it performs as both a family sailing boat and a competitive water sports boat.

Source: Tiwal

About the Author
Lakshmi Sandhana When Lakshmi first encountered pig's wings in a petri dish, she realized that writing about scientists and imagineers was the perfect way to live in an expanding mind bubble. Articles for Wired, BBC Online, New Scientist, The Economist and Fast Company soon followed. She's currently pursuing her dream of traveling from country to country to not only ferret out cool stories but also indulge outrageously in local street foods. When not working, you'll find her either buried nose deep in a fantasy novel or trying her hand at improvisational comedy. All articles by Lakshmi Sandhana

Very cool. I really hope this takes off. Back in 2007 I saw that article below "Collapsible catamaran fits in a sports bag" and started a business to sell them. I even traveled to the Czech Republic to meet the manufacturer and check out their setup. I figured these would be very popular on both coasts and even here in the Midwest because it's expensive to keep a boat birthed or store it dry. 7 years later I've sold 3 boats, all to people living on large sailboats. The manufacturer tells me that these boats are popular in most of the rest of the world. I'm not sure why they don't appeal to people here. Live and learn.

Michael Jarcho

I hope the makers supply a few "Supersopper" towels to dry off the hull etc before it is packed away in the bags. It might look ugly the next time a person goes to inflate and use it! Mould and mildew weakens and stains damp things packed in bags, many people give up camping after a couple of uses for just this reason. As Michael says - some markets never seem to "get it".

The Skud

If it really does all fit in those two bags (or, "fit back into those two bags after you have unpacked it the first time), sails, mast and all, then this is really pretty special. At 50kg, it would be a little bit expensive to put on an aeroplane but I could envisage hauling that weight for shortish distances in a trailer behind my bike. Quite expensive but possibly good value, given the use you might get out of it.

Richard Guy

looks good, takes a wetsuitaround here tho..

Joop Dresscher

It's pricey, but it looks interesting.

The real win for me is that it would be easy to store in the off-season, and would not take up a car-sized space.

Jon A.

Aluminum means you don't want to use it in salt water.


I've been wanting a "trunk sailboat" for a while, but this is pretty expensive...with that kind of money you could buy, new, probably two dinghies and two trailers.

Mihai Pruna

With the South African exchange rate of 11 ZAR to 1 U$, consider to establish a factory in South Africa. I guarantee, you will find all the raw materials locally (high tech plastics as by-products from the Sasol giant). That way, this boat may become affordable for us. At least we have the weather the citizens of other counties dream about.

Nols Smit

Smit Nols
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