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Tiwal 3: The Airline-Checkable Sailboat in a Suitcase

By David K. Gibson

Mar 21, 2018

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Courtesy of Tiwal

Ready for travel, this tough inflatable sailing dinghy stows in two tidy duffel bags. Popeye sailor’s cap not included.

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The world is full of places that are perfect for sailing but far from a yacht marina. Consider the thousands of perfect mountain lakes, desert islands, and outsized hotel swimming pools. If you can get a kayak on your Outback, you might enjoy a respectable float, but you won’t be sailing. For that, you need your own personal Pequod, a pocket-yacht . . . a Tiwal.

The Tiwal 3 is an inflatable and fully functional sailboat, able to carry two adults for open-water adventures. More impressively, two adults are able to carry the Tiwal 3, since it breaks down into two bags of just under five feet long and 16 by 14 inches square. They won’t fit into the overhead bin on your next flight to Palau, and they weigh 62 pounds apiece, so checking them as luggage will be a fairly spendy proposition, but it beats trailering a Hobie Cat.

They’re hardly carry-ons, but the Tiwal 3’s two 62-pound duffels are surprisingly manageable.
Setting up is (befittingly) a breeze. From bag to bay is a 20-minute process: Just unroll, partially inflate with an electric pump (if there’s power nearby, otherwise with a hand pump), assemble the frame and Velcro it on, and attach the mast. To make everything shipshape (a wide, high-performance V-shape, more particularly), simply give it a bit more pressure with a hand pump. Once afloat, it handles as well as any 11-footer. There are slightly more than 800 Tiwal inflatables plying the world’s waters at the moment, and they’ve become a favorite of weekend adventurers, families (it’s a safe and easy learning setup), and people who live on big boats and think they need additional smaller boats.

For sailors dedicated to testing new waters, it’s become indispensable, and it’s relatively affordable, with prices starting at $5,200. A Popeye sailor’s cap, because you’re going to need one, will add about 17 bucks. 
>>Next: 7 Islands That Will Make You Want to Buy a Sailboat

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