You may feel like you need to have the best dinghy in production on your boat when you go cruising, because this dinghy will be your dinghy from now until the end of time!
The truth is, your dinghy now may not be your dinghy in a short amount of time. We set out cruising with a 13 foot wooden dinghy named "Tooth" in tow and a partially constructed wooden dinghy named "Tooth II" on the deck. Once Tooth II was completed, we were going to retire Tooth because towing a dinghy is awful on a long passage! The sea trial of Tooth II was comical! I had built Tooth II to fit in the space available and hold our life jackets in a locked box integral to the hull. I forgot to account for the fact that we needed to fit in this boat with all of our bikes and groceries! Tooth II was very tipsy and didn't make the cut to be our next cruising dinghy.
We then searched Craigslist and stumbled upon our next dinghy, Tooth III. This was a 7 foot fiberglass catamaran dinghy and it was for sale at a price that was within our budget. A few months later, my dad decided he didn't want his inflatable dinghy anymore so he sold it to me since it was still new and it its original package. We carried the inflatable because it would serve as a crude anti theft device.
A boat that is anchored has a huge giveaway to potential thieves that tell them if anyone is home or not, the dinghy! If the yacht has a dinghy tied up behind it, then someone is home and they should go visit another boat in the anchorage. If the yacht has no dinghy, then the people must be on shore and the boat is alone and vulnerable! Our plan is to leave the inflatable locked to the boat while we go to shore on the rigid dinghy.
In the ICW though, we quickly learned how easy it is to launch an inflatable and paddle the short distance to shore, so we have begun using both.
My point is, we set out with a dinghy under construction that was going to take us to shore everywhere we went and ended up switching to two dinghies that we didn't even know existed in a few months of cruising. Rather than contemplating what dinghy you should get before you set out cruising, why not get anything that will get you to shore and go cruising!