Yachts come in all sorts of classes and sizes and they do not have to be big to be beautiful.
Yachting should never be thought of as an elitist pastime and is much more than just a day of fun on the water. Yachting should be exciting and while it can be sporty to go sailing; it also offers the opportunity to share with family or friends.
So, when the French industrial designer Marion Excoffon asked her father to lend her his own sailboat, only to hear him saying no, she decided to design and build her own!
Her sheer determination and strong desire to make the pleasure of sailing yachts accessible to everyone has given birth to a range of inflatable sailing dinghies that can be assembled in 10 to 20 minutes, can be transported in small cars or carried on board cruising boats. They are stowed in 2 bags and can be enjoyed by kids as well as grown-ups.
The first boat Marion designed was called a Tiwal 3 and it received several awards, winning Boat of the Year in the USA and the Best Design Award for Best of the Red Dot Awards in Germany.
In Japan it won the Good Design Award and in France, the country of its inception and construction it won the Business creator award from the BFM Academy. Bear Grylls the former SAS serviceman, survival instructor turned adventurer, writer and television presenter has given the boat a thumbs up and his seal of approval.
Still a family-run business, Tiwal continues to design and manufacture inflatable boats that can sail either at sea and or on a mountain lake.
The latest design to emerge from the company is the Tiwal 2, an inflatable sailing dinghy which is even lighter and more compact than its older sister. What is more, it is faster to assemble making it ready to sail in just 15 minutes.
Their latest inflatable sailing boat has again been designed and developed by Marion Excoffon. This small, inflatable, single-handed 2.8 metre dinghy is equipped with a loose-footed sail of 5.6 m2. It can carry up to one adult and one child (or two children).
Weighing just 40kg and packed away in just two bags, the Plug and Play dinghy is assembled in around 15 minutes and does so in 5 stages. It starts with hull inflation. Follow this by inserting the dagger board well, then the rig. Add the appendages and finish off with a few final strokes of the air pump. And, as they say in France; voila!
The compact bags in which it is packed are easily stowed in a locker, and its design facilitates easy assembly and launching from the beach. The sail furls around the mast, allowing for very quick deployment or stowage.
Very stable, sailing the Tiwal 2 is easily mastered by adult beginners and is a great teaching tool for children keen to learn how to sail.
The drop-stitch hull is very hard when fully inflated. Its innovative inflatable wings offer maximum comfort and reassurance in established wind conditions.
The more experienced sailors will appreciate the boat’s responsiveness and its
playful side in winds up to 15-20 knots. With her scow like bow and V-shaped hull, making headway upwind is easy with the daggerboard down. You can even get her to plane when going down wind.
She is clearly great fun either sailed single-handedly or with a child on board.
Sail Material: Dacron
Sail Size: 5,6m²
Sailmaker: North Sails
Mast: 5-part Carbon mast C50
Weight: 40kg / Max load: 150kg
Packed in 2 bags: 145x40x35cm (25kg) and 110x40x25cm (20kg)
For use by: 1 adult or 1 adult and 1 child
CE Norm: Category D
Price: 4,790 EUR
For more information please visit https://tiwal.com
Frances and Michael Howorth are an award-winning team of travel writers specialising in coverage of luxury yachts both large and small and are our yachting correspondents.
Photographs courtesy of Tiwal