Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
 
Old 10 September 2014, 16:52   #1
Member
 
Country: UK - England
Town: Lincolnshire
Boat name: Mousetrap
Make: Zodiac Cadet 310S
Length: 3m +
Engine: Mariner 4 stroke 9.9
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 221
A few basic questions

Hi folks. New to the forum. I've been lurking for a few days and it seems a friendly place.

I have previously owned 2 SIBS - one ancient and battered no-name, which was followed by a plywood floored Bombard. I used them for diving trips in the sea off the south coast of England and around the sea lochs and inshore around the west of Scotland, as well as occasional days out ont eh Trent, Soar, and the Norfolk Broads.

I used first a 15 hp 2 stroke, then a 9.9 2 stroke, then did a lot of trips with a 3hp 2 stroke, accepting the limitations of power for the lightness and compactness - I was often boating solo.

The last boat got eaten by a mouse one winter and I foolishly sold the engines in a fit of despair.

I now have provisional permission to buy a new one.

Aero floors don't make sense to me - apart from faffing with the pressure, it strikes me that they will never be quite as rigid as a wooden or aluminium floor and also that the boat may ride higher and be more affected by the wind at low speed. Am I right or wrong here?

Plywood floors worry me because there were issues on both of my previous boats with the ply swelling and splitting/delaminating. Also, I remember many unhappy hours struggling to remove the floor panels which seemed too tight and jammed in. Comments?

Aluminium floors sound like a good idea except some people post that they can be slippery. I'm struggling to see from photos how these floors work. Are they big panels similar in size to plywood floor panels or are they narrow slats? How durable are they? What if they get damaged? I can imagine them bending out of shape and not fitting together. Is this an issue?

I have considered the Zodiac Cadet Compact but I get the impression it is a single skin floor and can fill up like a bath tub and doesn't drain easily. Also, it seems to be "neither fish nor fowl" in the way it handles. Any comments?

My previous boats were around 11 feet long. For two of us, or occasionally 4, I'm thinking a 3.0 or 3.1 may be OK. This will be for "trips around the headland" on the sea possibly in waves up to about a metre in height. I've spent time in small boats in bigger seas than this, but not in a boat this small. Of course I'd like a bigger boat on the sea, but I'd prefer a smaller boat for the 51 weeks it's in the garage. Any advice, please?

Remembering the hard graft of carrying a heavy engine across the beach, loading it in and out of the car, etc., and the joy of only having to do this with a 3 hp 2 stroke, I am thinking of compromising with an 8 hp 4 stroke which is about the biggest engine I can comfortably carry solo. I don't envisage racing around and planning much - there's a speed limit on our local rivers, and when the sea is up, I know how wet and uncomfortable it can be trying to plane a small inflatable. However, it would be nice to have the option. Should an 8 hp plane a 3.1 sib with 2 adults? What about a 3.3?

A couple of controversial ones:

Bill Higham - I've read some bad stuff in here, but his website looks convincing. Is there still a problem with this dealership?

Seapro: good or bad? The spec looks good on paper: heavy but durable, but I get mixed messages from this forum. I get the impression there are quality control issues.

Honwave aluminium floor - anyone used one of these boats and got an opinion? They look rather square fronted. How do they handle?

A lot of questions there. Thanks for reading and for any answers.

Mike
__________________

__________________
Mikefule is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10 September 2014, 18:48   #2
Member
 
Country: UK - England
Town: East Anglia
Boat name: Nimrod II
Make: Aerotec 380
Length: 3m +
Engine: Suzuki DF20 EFI
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 3,276
Mike you'll have quite a few opinions I guess but here are mine for what it's worth...

Our use and boat/engine size is somewhat similar to yours but no diving... more varied boatwise in that over the past decade we've owned wood/aluminium/air floors, old trad Hypalon Avon/Zodiac through to brand new Chinese made (Honwave) & new PVC Zodiacs. Engines from Seagull through 3.5hp, 4.0hp, 8hp, 9.8hp, 15hp & 20hp 2-strokes... 6yrs to 20+yrs old.

To your questions in order...

The air floors aren't a faff... far from it they are easier than assembling a wood/alloy floor. Most folks just cough up 125 for a HP bravo pump and it's all impressively quick and hassle free. The air floor may be a miracle in how hard they go but most will allow a degree of "wobble" you don't get with a hard floor. Also I notice there is greater stability with something like a heavy (160lbs compared to a sub 100lb air floor) 3.5m alu floor Honwave. You can step heavily off a pontoon into the Honwave (and similar) right at one side of the floor and it's like dropping into a very stable hard hull boat.

I've had several ply floors and they are not an issue as long as they are varnished every few years... only a board with wear through the varnish and left wet in an assembled boat will expand and go tight.

Do you intend to assemble each time or trailer?

Alloy floors are not that slippery. They are strong and as mentioned give the boat some low down weight (they are mostly far heavier than wood floors). I've never had one bend or split but some folks have. I'd assume this would be on a hard used and perhaps underinflated boat that was flexing excessively. The alloy boards are in large panels as with wood. The alloy floors are often harder to assemble than wood as the alloy tends to "lock up" when tight and trying to get that last bit pushed into place.

Cadet Compact... I may well give one of these small folding transoms ribs a go one day but I have no experience of them. Actually if handling their larger folded size (compared to a SIB) suits your use they are probably better than either hard or air floor sib. I'd put down thick but light perforated matting to lift your feet off the inevitable bit of water on the floor.

Like you we are usually 2 but sometimes plus 2 teens. A 3.0/3.1 seems tight even for 2 and ideally that apparently small extra size of a 3.4 is useful. You mention size in the garage... would you store it inflated?

Yes an 8hp should plane a small SIB with 2 adults but there's not much in hand. However why a 4-stroke? The average 4-stroke 8 weighs at least 10lbs more than a 15hp 2-stroke and that's a bit more than is comfortable on sand or greasey slipways. Why not spend your 4-stroke cash on a mint 15hp 2-stroke at winter prices?

Bill Higham... well there's plenty on here if you search... but for me their location wasn't that handy and outboard prices high compared with a private deal where you often got more history with the engine.

Honwave alloy floor model. We had a brand new 3.5m version. Well built, very stable, roomy and faultless... just a little heavier than I wanted. Handled like most other SIBs... the square front just made it more roomy and didn't affect handling. Only downside was that the weight (63lb above a 97lb air floor new 3.6m Zodiac we owned before) meant an outboard ideally needed to be about 20% more power for the same performance.

There is one inflatable I haven't mentioned and that's the Bombard 3.8m Aerotec... it's an air floor with s sharp V profile that doesn't suit our needs but many swear by them.... and they will be along in a moment to justifiably sing their praises!!

HTH
__________________

__________________
Fenlander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11 September 2014, 01:22   #3
Member
 
Country: UK - England
Town: Lincolnshire
Boat name: Mousetrap
Make: Zodiac Cadet 310S
Length: 3m +
Engine: Mariner 4 stroke 9.9
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 221
Thanks for the very detailed reply. Just the sort of thing I was looking for.

I have seen the Honwave airfloor and the fact that the internal floor is also a V is a problem for me. I'd prefer a flat floor for various reasons.

Whatever I get will be folded up after each outing, not trailered.
__________________
Mikefule is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11 September 2014, 02:42   #4
Member
 
Country: UK - England
Town: Sussex
Boat name: Bombard, Y-162
Make: Aerotec 380, Y-Class
Length: 3m +
Engine: Mercury Mariner 15hp
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 2,692
Hi Mike, I won't post a long reply as these are the same questions asked each week and virtually all I would say in reply to all your questons is in the 'which SIB' sticky above (incl link to Aerotec review) but 1m waves with 4 people in a 10ft rubber boat with a little 8hp on the back isn't going to work very well. A 3.4m with a 9.8 or 15 2 stroke is the way to go but check the sticky. And yes, little beats an Aerotec for all round SIB-greatness!
__________________
Max... is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11 September 2014, 03:32   #5
Administrator
 
John Kennett's Avatar
 
Country: UK - England
Town: Brighton
Length: 3m +
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 6,830
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
Whatever I get will be folded up after each outing, not trailered.
As has been posted many times before, most people in this situation have found that the benefits of the Aerotec (light weight, ease and speed of assembly) easily outweigh any perceived disadvantages.

As for the folding transom RIBs they are a pretty poor compromise unless you have a very specific requirement that they happen to meet. I bought one a few years ago, expecting it to replace my Aerotec, but it was impossibly awkward to handle when deflated and the very shallow V hull wasn't any better than an inflatable.
__________________
John Kennett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11 September 2014, 04:50   #6
Member
 
chriswood's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 94
Hi. Thought I would just quickly give you my experience on the Seapro boats. I bought a new (well ex display) Seapro 380 HD Ali
Floor SIB back in March 2013 from Bill Higham. Boat arrived and although there were some minor issues like wrong seat for seat bag etc these were eventually sorted out. Customer care isnt the best but ok. It's been out since then prob a dozen times on rivers and sea (towing ringo etc) and I have to say it's been superb. First Sib I've owned so difficult to measure against but overall all very positive. Aluminium floor is easy to install, very rigid. Seams are all still good and boat still looks like new. As a HD it is heavy but very sturdy with large tubes and thick material. I keep it on trailer as with 30hp it's just too heavy to cart about, but it doesn't take long to inflate etc even with foot pump supplied. Personal opinion is they are good boats but do perhaps suffer from the usual QC issues. From other threads I think the problems have been more around the Seapro Ribs rather than the Sibs. For the money I would buy another one. Attachment 98718
__________________
chriswood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11 September 2014, 05:10   #7
Member
 
Country: UK - England
Town: East Anglia
Boat name: Nimrod II
Make: Aerotec 380
Length: 3m +
Engine: Suzuki DF20 EFI
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 3,276
Mike so if you will pack away each trip/holiday the difference in garage stored size between 3.0/3.1m and 3.4/3.5m is of no consideration. What may just be important is the packed dimension as to how it fits in your car. For us the most efficient way to carry is if the inflatable packs to a width that fits within the width of the loadspace. It's possible to find the packed dimensions for most SIBs and I never have trouble repacking to these dimensions.

Is carrying diving stuff important to the use of this SIB? Do you need to attach loads of things to the floor?

If considering hard vs air floor and hard floor is chosen I'd personally go for wood every time however alloy is the norm now so that choice may not be available. Wood is the easiest to attach to, easiest to assemble, weighs less and if a panel repair or replacement is needed any boatyard will be able to supply a sheet of suitable marine ply that can be easily cut to size, edges sanded, couple of coats of varnish and you're sorted. Trying to track down a spare alloy floor section is no easy task.

You mention Bill Higham and Seapro... are you thinking of a brand new boat and outboard? Is cost/value a significant issue or does the provisional permission allow unlimited funds?

John mentions the "perceived" disadvantages of a V-floor Aerotec. Well they are real for our use as confirmed when we had a 20min try out recently. The Mrs is my main boating partner and sadly she has early onset mobility issues and can only just manage to step into an inflatable immediately inside the tube. This needs to be onto a dead flat floor or she is inclined to feel unbalanced or even slip over. Also they way we carry gear (and the dog) we like the floor to be level for the full width.

If the sea state increases the Mrs isn't comfortable being blasted through it so we are happy to revert to displacement speed where the ride aspect of the Aerotec has less advantage.

The final issue is cost... an Aerotec from brand new through to used often costs twice that of a comparable air floor SIB... that saving in not buying an Aerotec will often fund a large percentage of the outboard cost.

If our use was different though where the ride/handling aspect of performance was at the top of the requirements and cost wasn't an issue the Aerotec would be on a short shortlist.
__________________
Fenlander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11 September 2014, 07:19   #8
Administrator
 
John Kennett's Avatar
 
Country: UK - England
Town: Brighton
Length: 3m +
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 6,830
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fenlander View Post
John mentions the "perceived" disadvantages of a V-floor Aerotec. Well they are real for our use as confirmed when we had a 20min try out recently. The Mrs is my main boating partner and sadly she has early onset mobility issues and can only just manage to step into an inflatable immediately inside the tube. This needs to be onto a dead flat floor or she is inclined to feel unbalanced or even slip over. Also they way we carry gear (and the dog) we like the floor to be level for the full width.
Fair enough, but you do have specific niche requirements though. I was thinking more of people who discount the Aerotec because they believe it will be floppy, or just don't like the idea of the sloping floor without having tried it.

You're right about the price though, they are definitely a premium product. A decent second hand one will cost you the same as a brand new cheaper SIB, but will hold its value better.
__________________
John Kennett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11 September 2014, 08:36   #9
Member
 
Country: UK - England
Town: Sussex
Boat name: Bombard, Y-162
Make: Aerotec 380, Y-Class
Length: 3m +
Engine: Mercury Mariner 15hp
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 2,692
I was one of those who almost discounted it for the floor shape....but...once you try it then you might be converted, much more comfortable and supportive to brace against and deeper, safer feeling to boot. Just needs a rubber mat as per the review I posted.
__________________
Max... is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11 September 2014, 11:05   #10
Member
 
Country: UK - England
Town: Lincolnshire
Boat name: Mousetrap
Make: Zodiac Cadet 310S
Length: 3m +
Engine: Mariner 4 stroke 9.9
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 221
Thanks to all for your replies. Just to clarify, as someone asked, no, I won't be carrying diving gear now - I only mentioned it to indicate I have some experience of using a SIB for real. It's a few years ago now but regularly we had three of us with 3 sets of dive gear diving around parts of Dorset and Devon from my old SIBs. I also did a number of solo dives in the Scottish sea lochs and did some coast hopping. I never measured those boats but they were around about 11 feet long. With a 3 hp they did a brisk displacement speed which was less fun but more comfortable than slamming about at planning speeds. When I had the 15 hp, I seldom planed for long on a choppy sea.

The next SIB will be for short trips around the coast, a bit of river and lake work, the Broads, and that kind of thing. Snorkelling and swimming, picnicking, landing on deserted beaches and generally messing about.

I am sceptical of the compact RIBs. I have bad memories of wooden floors. I like the point about it being easier to brace yourself against the V floor of some aero floored boats.

Engine - I have an opportunity for a nice 8 hp Mercury second hand from a trusted source. As a biker, I have some fondness for the smell of two stroke, but my memory of 2 stroke boating is the hassle of getting rid of surplus premixed fuel. At least any surplus fuel from the 4 stroke tank can go in the lawn mower. My experience in life generally (outboards or motorbikes) is that you can have a great deal of fun with a lot less power and speed than the marketing boys would have you believe.
__________________

__________________
Mikefule is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 20:58.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.