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Old 14 September 2015, 16:57   #1
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Country: UK - England
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A tale of two Aerotecs - with a twist.

Edit: Until posted I didn't realise how long this would be... like one of Gurnard's... but less interesting!


A warranty issue that I'd wanted to resolve before commenting on has prevented me from posting my full Aerotec "journey" until now. In the past week or so there's been a bit of light Aerotec friction but this post is offered as an interesting bit of chat and some stuff that might be a useful resource... not a hint of "you have to have the same SIB as me" intended.

So it started back in 2011 when we had a bit of spare savings and decided to "invest" in a brand new Zodiac Fastroller 360 to last us the next 5-10yrs. Sadly we had two faulty boats in a row... one replaced and the second one refunded when it was even worse than the first... so we bounced over to Honwave (faultless quality) for a bit.

The Aerotec had always been of interest but never a real possibility because of some mobility issues Mrs Fenlander suffered making a wet V floor difficult to step into. Roll onto this year... a few SIBs and an operation later... we found an Aerotec may well suit the two of us (teen girls now losing interest an added factor) so we bought an old one to trial during two week's summer holiday in Scotland.

The first impressions of that old Aerotec 380 are here...

Old used Aerotec impressions.

What I didn't say was that it was always the plan if it suited us to buy a new one. After very few trips it was obvious it did totally suit our circumstances and the way we wanted to use a SIB so with the funds still available from the ill fated Fastroller 360 we ordered a new one to be delivered to our holiday cottage on the Friday of week one.

One reason for the urgency was we really wanted a new one and a grey one in particular... as far as we could find out after Zodiac having money troubles there'd been no Aerotecs built in 2015 and this opportunity we had to buy was the last one left in the UK at the time.

So a very helpful Chas Newens in London sent this one to Scotland and it was with great anticipation we unpacked the box that Friday. On inflating it was immediately obvious the air floor was incorrectly dimensioned at it didn't nestle into the base of the tubes to give support for stretching the outer floor to a tight V.... effectively it had been made in a too acute V shape.

Thankfully we were able to use the older boat's air floor for the remainder of the holiday to get at least some pleasure of having the new boat as this fitted perfectly. During this time I chatted to some other Aerotec owners via PMs (thanks guys) then I fired off measurements and photos to Zodiac via a very supportive Chas Newens. Zodiac agreed a new floor was needed but we had to wait until the new owner started production again after their financial woes. We wanted to keep to the Aerotec enough to put up with this delay in getting it resolved and true to their word as soon as they got going in Sept they made our floor one of their first jobs... it arrived here today.

Thankfully it's a proper fit having been made to the dimensions I supplied (of the boat and of the old air floor) so after some 9wks we finally have the new boat fully usable... hopefully out this Friday as long as the winds stay moderate.

Not saying anything is better or worse as such but there are some interesting small changes in the 2014 model compared with the 1998 one.

Probably the first thing to mention is the new one has shorter cones... so it's not actually a 380... more a 365!

Several parts are now welded that were glued on the old boat including... the rubbing strake, the bow bag loop patches and the seat support tabs.

The seat is now cut to a slight wedge shape to better fit the tube spacing at that point.

The bump strip has a doubled up lip profile.

There are reinforcing patches on the end of the grab rails.

Valves have changed to the push and click to hold open rather than push and turn.

Paddles are now the telescopic type and there are no stowage loops on the tubes for them... a retrograde step.

The HP floor is now wipe clean... thank goodness.

The tabs are no longer there that used to be by the tube valves giving their inflation pressure.... daft omission.

Performance and handling of both old and new was identical as you might expect.


So hopefully we are now settled with no SIB swapping for a while... remind me of this if I'm trumpeting the next swap summer 2016... don't think it will happen though.


It was my intention... had I not been borrowing its HP floor for the new boat... to sell the old Aerotec in late July very cheaply for someone to have an experience of one without breaking the bank. It's a bit late in the season but I'll give it a whiz in the classifieds later tonight anyway.

Some old vs new images....
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Old 14 September 2015, 16:59   #2
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More pics...
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Old 14 September 2015, 17:00   #3
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Final pics...
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Old 14 September 2015, 17:45   #4
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I hope they continue to manufacture the aerotec! I hadn't realised zodiac were in trouble... Interesting to see the two side by side, to be honest I prefer the look of the older, longer cones, but I guess the new one folds a little smaller.

I can't believe they managed to manufacture a floor that didn't fit! Very odd.
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Old 14 September 2015, 18:00   #5
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>>>I hadn't realised zodiac were in trouble

As I understand it they've been in trouble for some time and went into liquidation a while back. They didn't make many/any boats in 2015. They were owned by an investment type company who weren't really bothered about their reputation... just the bottom line. They have just been bought by a guy who wants to build the name up again and pull the quality back up.

Range unchanged for now but some realignment of models in 2016.

I was worried they might drop the Aerotec hence the decisions I made this year.


BTW agree re cones. Short/stubby cones have a good modern look on many SIBs but the slim Aerotec suits the older long cones.
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Old 15 September 2015, 07:38   #6
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+1 on the cones, it makes the Aerotec look slightly portly, or is that just be the camera angle.
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Old 15 September 2015, 07:45   #7
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Probably the camera angle and the visible comparison with the old one catching them at their worse... on the water they're behind so you don't really notice.

Interested to see if they still make them in 2016 if the model designation changes to a 365!
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Old 15 September 2015, 09:53   #8
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I'm guessing there is a good reason, I'm wondering what you acheived by purchasing the new one over the old?!

Is it a Man Maths equation - I love a good Man Maths plan!!
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Old 15 September 2015, 09:58   #9
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Originally Posted by Black View Post
I'm guessing there is a good reason, I'm wondering what you acheived by purchasing the new one over the old?!
Don't ask him that (I dared to once)! Fenlander will baffle you with his man maths indeed and waffle on about 'glue life' etc...

And why s-l-o-w grey and not racing red? Must be an age thing...

Sorry David. Just jesting, glad you got sorted from Zodiac.

Have to agree on the cones - not sure why the trend in SIBs has been to go to shorter cones over the last 10 years? I think the longer pointy ones are far more asthetically pleasing and would have thought they help with stability etc.
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Old 15 September 2015, 10:03   #10
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And why s-l-o-w grey and not racing red? Must be an age thing...
It's so he stands out from the rest of us red Areotec owners.
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