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Old 26 March 2011, 23:20   #1
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Lake and Inflatable

OK. So I know this is a RIB forum. But I am curious for some honest opinions. I want to get an inflatable for our lake in CT. It's 680 acres. I don't think it's very choppy. Looking at a 15.5 foot boat. Is the RIB really that much better than aluminum inflatable? We have 2 small kids that would go on it. Outboard engine only.
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Old 27 March 2011, 09:10   #2
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re inflatable

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Originally Posted by mouchacs View Post
OK. So I know this is a RIB forum. But I am curious for some honest opinions. I want to get an inflatable for our lake in CT. It's 680 acres. I don't think it's very choppy. Looking at a 15.5 foot boat. Is the RIB really that much better than aluminum inflatable? We have 2 small kids that would go on it. Outboard engine only.
A rib in the fifteen foot range should be more than enough for that size lake, if you are going to be into water sports (skiing, tubing, swimming) look to power it with about a 60 or 70 hp. motor. Will deliver lots of fun. You'll find the overall stability and handling tremendous and the soft tubes to be gentle to the kids jumping around in the boat. Ribs are very forgiving boats. The kids also enjoy springing off the tubes in the water, at the beach I usually have a few doing this off my boat when the weather is great for swimming.
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Old 27 March 2011, 10:26   #3
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RIB vs Aluminum Bottom

THanks for response! Do you think that I would notice a huge difference between a RIB and an aluminum bottom if the lake isn't very choppy? RIB I would need trailer, etc...more $...so if aluminum bottom ok then probably go with that...advice?
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Old 27 March 2011, 21:28   #4
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Rib vs aluminium bottom

Just want to be sure I understand, when you say aluminium bottom, are you talking about an inflatable boat with an aluminium floor? If this is the case, I was very happy with my 5m Sillinger for the past 15 years. With a 40 hp (tiller) it was possible to do water skiing, even if my kids prefer the ride in an inflatable toy. Choose a model with a wood kell (Bombard or Sillinger) or a model with speed tube (a lot of model have them now) the boat will be less prone to flex when you accelerate. A lot of fun for a fraction of the price of my actual RIB. An yes, the RIB is that much better when the sea condition get bad...
But if we are talking about having fun on a lake with the kids, a 15.5 feet inflatable will be just perfect.
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Old 27 March 2011, 22:17   #5
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A RIB will corner better than an inflatable when towing. SIB's are reasonably flat bottomed, and tend to slide across the water rather than cutting a turn as a deeper V hull does.

Not saying you can't tow with a SIB, though.


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Old 27 March 2011, 22:20   #6
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I'd say the inflatable is a good choice. Much lighter, easier to store and handle. Although, a rib will be much beefier and able to handle more thrown at it. I wouldnt worry about that though, I've had a 14ft inflatable w/ small outboard tiller in 7ft seas, it was still fine. A 14ft sib with 25-40hp tiller is a very fun combo. If you want a console, etc then a rib would probably fit the bill better.

In my opinion, the inflatable will be more fun at the lake and family oriented, whereas a rib will definitely "get the job done" so to speak. A rib might be overkill if youre on the fence.
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Old 27 March 2011, 22:26   #7
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choices to be made

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Originally Posted by mouchacs View Post
THanks for response! Do you think that I would notice a huge difference between a RIB and an aluminum bottom if the lake isn't very choppy? RIB I would need trailer, etc...more $...so if aluminum bottom ok then probably go with that...advice?
If you want to go with soft boat (s.i.b.) that should be doable as well though you won't have anywhere near the same power as the weight, length and hull design will not tolerate or necessitate it. I had a 14 ft zodiac with a inflatable keel and aluminum floor, that boat ran real good with a 35 hp Evinrude on it. You'll need to look at manufacturers recommendation for the boat of course when powering it. Also had a 12 ft Metzeler with a 20 hp Merc on it, that boat ran well too. I don't think you'll want to be challenging waves bigger than a foot with kids on board a sib boat. The Prime difference between the S.I.B (soft boat) and the rib (rigid hull) will be the re-entry in waves as I see it, The sib will bounce more due to lighter weight, the rib will cut the water better. On a sib you'll be using the tiller handle, in a rib, seating and remote steering, that sort of thing. All goes down to what you want. The rib will of course give you much greater comfort and safety (kids staying inside) so it all comes down to how long, how much and how far you are going to be out... Good Luck!
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Old 27 March 2011, 23:20   #8
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For a 15-16 foot fully inflatable (SIB), I'd recommend a trailer. The set up & take down time for an inflatable of that size (as well as it's weight) is substantial enough that you would likely forgo afternoon outings that you might otherwise take if you had it on a trailer. On the other hand if you are keeping it in the water at a lake where you have a cottage, then a boat trailer would not be necessary, but a utility trailer or a pick up truck probably would still be needed for the seasonal transportation.

A SIB with speed tubes or better still, hijackers provides a tremendous improvement in peformance and comfort over a conventional SIB with the inflatable vee keel in choppy conditions. Even a smaller 10-12' SIB will still be much more seaworthy than a conventional 16-18 aluminum fishing boat (but obviously not nearly as comfortable). I regularly use my SIB on Lake Winnipeg, which is a little bigger than Lake Ontario and smaller than Lake Erie, and it has been very capable in some pretty rough conditions. If I needed a boat that was to be used exclusive on great lake sized lakes or on coastal waters I would go with a RIB. On lakes smaller than that and on rivers, a 15-16' SIB can offer several advantages over a RIB of similar length. This would include; more launching & beaching locations, access to shallow areas, the ability to run rapids without damaging the hull, and better economy.
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Old 28 March 2011, 21:45   #9
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... Lake Winnipeg, which is a little bigger than Lake Ontario and smaller than Lake Erie...
Ya, but it's frozen for 10 months of the year isn't it?

My second boat was a 14' Zodiac Futura. I ran a 40 HP on the back of it and dollar for dollar, it was hard to find anything more fun. It had lots of room in it (far more than my 20' RIB) and took off like a missile... Literally stood up on it's hind bits, and when it came back down, you were already doing 40 mph. I could run around all day on 5 gallons of fuel, land anywhere, and it pulled kids in tubes without a hitch. In the winter, I rolled it up and stuck it in my basement.

I did put it on a light duty trailer because hefting a 40 around isn't easy. The boats are very light though, so almost anything will do. I see a lot of people just using little flatbed trailers that you buy as a kit at Home Depot... You don't really need to put the trailer into the water, so galvanizing isn't an issue.

On occasion, I miss this little boat... mostly at the gas pump, but when the weather blows up a bit, the RIB is incomparable...
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