How-to Make Dinghy Chaps

We just left the world of inflatable dinghies after a very frustrating and costly few years dealing with our problematic Takacat.


The Takacat and the ongoing problems of the seams coming unglued.

There will be more info about our experience and disappointments coming up, as well as our reflections on our new hard dinghy from Porta-bote. 


The New Dinghy!

But if you’re still in the blow up boat camp and are looking for a good start of the season project check out my how-to article about making a pair of stylish and practical dinghy chaps for your inflatable, as appeared in Cruising World Magazine in March 2017.

CW Dinghy Chaps






7 thoughts on “How-to Make Dinghy Chaps

    • Hey Lauralee,

      The Takacat is pretty easy to work with, just a lot of fiddly cut outs and the oversized tubes make for a little more fabric. The nose is fairly square so you it isn’t diffiuclt to get looking smooth. I make the tubes and the nose piece separate then you can really pull them together to get a smooth fit. I used a piece of elastic around the end of the pontoons to keep it all snug, and the paddle loops inside to keep it in place. If you can sew straight lines you can handle this project. The double sided tape is a must for this, will make everything go SO much smoother. I also made a cover for the floor as we had a model without the non-skid floor and it was VERY slippery when wet.

      I hope you have better luck than we did with our Takacat, the seams just came un-glued on us…several times, and we were lucky not to loss our brand new OB. A shame because we really liked it. Any other questions please let me know! H


  1. We have heard a couple of stories about the seams coming undone but a lot of folks have good things to say as well. It just fit the bill on weight, size, and portability. Thank you for your feedback. I think we will try to create the chaps, most of my stitching is straight lines most of the time anyway…. It sounds like you didn’t use the sailrite adhesive d-rings to attach it on the inside?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear ya, our Takacat was a dream boat for a couple years. With many manufactures moving production to China the quality of a lot of brands has gone down. We gave up on blow up toys and bought a Port-a-bote. Blog post coming soon about the whole dinghy adventure, so stay tuned.

      No on the d-rings, there are enough things to keep it tethered with all the hand lines, paddle loops etc. Patterning and fitting it much easier on land, make sure your plastic sheeting is weighty enough to drape nicely and you should be fine. Oh, don’t assume the two sides are exactly the same!


  2. This is a really beautiful dinghy chaps project. I just made chaps for my Walker Bay 310 dinghy. I also used a clear plastic template. Instead of Sunbrella patches, I used Shelter-Rite gray 18 oz vinyl, it’s tough fabric, but easy stuff to work with and it doesn’t unravel. Pacific blue Sunbrella with gray vinyl trim looks great. I also made a “rub rail” with the vinyl fabric that has a draw string in a fold of vinyl fabric glued with vinyl cement (really strong stuff). I sewed velcro to help hold the edges of the cover to the hypalon tubes on the inside, but it’s probably not necessary. Since my dinghy was taking a beating against the dock, I extended the vinyl fabric high on the bow to protect it. The vinyl fabric patch idea came from Sailrite website. My cost was about $250 and at least 30 hours work. It was gratifying work, but a lot of work.


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