Boat Test: 2006 Walker Bay Walker Bay 275R

Boat Tested2006 Walker Bay Walker Bay 275R
Price As TestedNot Available
Category Inflatable
Manufacturer Walker Bay
Length9ft / 2.74 m
Last year, I was in the market for a tender for our cruiser and came across the Walker Bay boat at one of the numerous boat shows I attend. I fell in love with the salty look of the boat with its lapstrake design. I have seen a number of tenders that have added inflatable tubes to the boat to increase carrying capacity as well as stability, but I do not recall one that looked as nice as the Walker Bay 275R.

I was anxious to try the boat and was especially looking forward to the reaction of my two young nieces as they where experiencing boating for the first time. If we are going to increase participation in boating, it is important that first time boaters have a positive experience. They say you only have one chance to make a good first impression.

I decided to put a motor on the back of the tender and went with the 6hp Suzuki 4 stroke which was light and easy to manoeuvre on and off the boat. One of the interesting comments from the 12 year old was how quiet the motor was when she was running it in the harbour along with some of the other tenders. We received the boat in a kit form but we found it was easy to put together and move to the water since there are four moulded handles on the inflated tubes for carrying the boat. I thought this was a neat idea; like a well designed suitcase. Then, the addition of a small wheel built into the keel, allowed you to pull the boat along the ground if you where moving it by yourself.

Out on the water, the boat performed well with me and two children on board. We comfortably motored along at 6 to 7mph. Like any small tender, the boat is difficult to bring onto a plane with one occupant and rides better if you have some kind of ballast in the front; people or a cargo of some kind. For that reason alone, the larger model would have been nice but it did not suit our cruiser since we have less than a 12 foot beam and if we were to mount the boat onto the transom, I would still want access to the cockpit through the rear transom door. Hence the need for the shorter tender.

Asking the smaller children for their comments as to what they liked most about the boat, the older one said she liked the stability of the Walker Bay while under way with the motor and the feeling that the boat would not tip because of the tubes. The younger child followed along the same line of thought and said that she really liked how stable the boat was when getting on and off it, especially from the high dock at the marina. We opted to get the recreation sail kit with the boat as I felt it would be an easy way of experiencing sailing for the children. Putting together the sail part of the kit and installing it on the boat was quick and easy. The biggest problem I have with the sail option is storage of the mast since I keep my cruiser at a marina so, this can be a bit of a challenge.

The kids enjoyed the sailing but found it a bit more difficult than they expected as first time boaters but sailing was an activity they both said they would like to do more often, as they became more comfortable with the boat. Overall I was quite impressed with the Walker Bay 275R and decided that we would buy it. As the summer draws to an end I am looking forward to many more days on the water with the family enjoying the new Walker Bay RID 275R.
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