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Old 07 August 2011, 09:31   #1
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Achilles vs Zodiac vs? help choose

I'm new on this forum and it has been a great source of info.
I'm about to purchase a new boat and hoped for input-

I am deciding between the Achilles LSI 365 vs the Zodiac Futura FR Mk2 C (air floor) or FR 360 ACTI-V.
I have wonderful memories of my 97 Cadet Fastroller 340 that I used between 1997 and 2000 (then put into storage after we had kids)- weighed only 79 lbs and I had transom wheels and could take it anywhere. It would plane up to 4 smallish adults with a 15hp 2 stroke and the fabric still looks like new. Unfortunately the floor separated from the tubes when I blew it up after taking out of 11yr storage a few weeks ago. Given its age, I'd rather just buy a new boat though I might try and repair it as a side project. The motor came out of storage functioning well after a service.

For a new boat I want 3.4m or slightly longer but still want a boat that won't need a trailer and that is light enough to be inflated and deflated regularly. My neighborhood doesn't allow trailers. Also, I want to be able to plane with 4 adults (realize that the 15hp might need an upgrade)- I want a boat that is well-made and trustworthy. Cost is not a major concern, expect I could get a boat for <$4000.
The Achilles seems a safe choice since it is hypalon and I now live in Florida. Plus, the LSI-365 can take up to 25hp if I feel the need for more speed (now that the family weight is higher) though it is heavy at 115 lbs without accessories. I understand the boats are assembled in China since 2010.
The Futura FR has a hull design that I really find interesting, seems it might perform more efficiently than a conventional sib floor. Since I'd be packing the boat away after use, not sure that the hypalon vs. PVC issue is as important though I wish the boat were hypalon.
I've also considered the FR360 Acti-V- a slightly larger version of my old boat (though substantially heavier at 99 lbs). I understand they now thermoweld the floors to the tubes so that problem is largely solved, though the transom floor is still glued. Too bad the hypalon versions are not for sale in the US market.
I've considered other boats including the tunnel hull models from Dux and AMI, but these are not really portable in the way I need-
Sorry for the long post- Would appreciate any suggestion:
cheers,
A2011
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Old 07 August 2011, 12:45   #2
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Country: UK - England
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bombard 380 aerotec , all folds up into a bag no floor to carry and assemble weighs under 50kg
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Old 07 August 2011, 13:22   #3
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re Bombard Aerotec

Thanks Dino, unfortunately, that is not available as far as I can tell in the US. Defender and others that sell the Bombard line have some of the smaller boats (less than 9') but not the 380. It does seem like a wonderful choice-
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Old 07 August 2011, 17:20   #4
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Country: UK - England
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Boat name: Nimrod II
Make: Aerotec 380
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Have you seen this review of my new Zodiac 360 Acti-V Fastroller?

Zodiac Fastroller 360 Acti-V mini-review

I think this model is a very close comparison to the LSI 365 Achilles.

The Achilles is 4" longer but with 3" less beam, and it weighs 18lbs more. Internally the Achilles is 1" longer but 2" narrower.

Both are PVC boats with quality material (both 5yr warranty) but Achilles has some sort of extra Hypalon layer on the air floor for durability (I always use a fitted mat on my air floors anyway).

I like the Achilles red stripe on grey material better than my white/grey Zodiac.

I also like the Achilles having two lift handles near the bow, the Zodiac only has them at the stern and it's a nuisance. Does the Achillies have the dual seat posn of the Zodiac, that's useful.

The Zodiac has its "bow locker", bit of a gimic but it does safely store my basic tools etc.

The Achilles has a 1700lbs load capacity, just 47lbs over the Zodiac. The Achilles is advised at a 15hp motor like the Zodiac but unlike the Zodiac will take a 25hp if you must.

I prefer the fuel tank pad/restraint posn on the Achilles being near the stern compared with the Zodiac centrally towards the bow. Achilles carry their grab rope/strap further forward as well, the Zodiac one stops a bit short for those in the bow.

So it seems if the Achilles was available here I'd probably have given them serious consideration if the price was comparable to or cheaper than the Zodiac.

Edit: I've just looked up a USA dealer to see the Achilles LSI 365 is $1380 more than the Zodiac 360 Acti-V... that's a pretty big difference and I couldn't justify it even for the small advantages I've noticed when it's basically the same size/performance boat.

Hope that helps??
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Old 07 August 2011, 20:39   #5
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re FR360 vs Achilles

Hi Fenlander-
thanks for your reply - I enjoyed your review- Have you tried getting 4 adults on plane with your boat? That would be very helpful to know since I could keep my old engine and the problem would be solved. The Achilles is more expensive I believe since it is all hypalon so should be more durable- I like the idea it can handle a 25hp, but would dread lifting one.

Far more inflatables seem to be used as sport boats in Europe than in the US, where, it seems more are used as tenders and people tend to get hard boats with trailers for boats larger than 110-11ft. I love that an inflatable uses less gas and is at least as much fun.

Have you been in a Zodiac Futura? is the ride etc much different? Were you tempted (the price is almost double the FR360)?
thanks!
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Old 08 August 2011, 04:37   #6
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No I haven't had the chance to test the planing with a load at all yet. As we live inland our local use is on a speed restricted river where only a quick burst on a quiet section is possible.

What I do know is our previous 3.2m boat with a 10hp wouldn't quite plane with two adults and two teenagers. I'm expecting this boat with a 15hp will take us over the hump... but it's not going to have a huge margin in hand... guess a 20hp would sort that. However drop down to two people and I expect it to be lively enough.

But it's going to be fine for us I'm sure. Problem in the UK is the weather so often produces a chop that makes it too uncomfortable to make any great speed with a SIB so often excess power is wasted because you can't keep the speed up anyway.

You're right they are "Hypalon" type. I'd been confused by the fact they never mention Hypalon anywhere but refer to CSM. Found out this is probably the same type of material but Hypalon is a registered brand and they're not using the branded material so can't use the name I guess.

Explained here... Achilles Inflatable Crafts

Does explain the premium cost over a standard Zodiac.

No never been in a Futura but a used one was on my shortlist... but never found the exceptionally clean one I would have wanted.
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Old 08 August 2011, 16:46   #7
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Are Futura speed tubes worth extra weight/price?

Thanks Fenlander,
the dealers here in Florida really aren't that keen on the PVC zodiacs - I wouldn't leave my boat outside s probably not an issue.

The Futura FR Mk2C is in my opinion the sharpest looking SIB in the 12' and under category and the idea of 'riding on rails' with the speed tubes is appealing. This would be the most expensive of the boats I am considering-

Has anyone compared the ride/performance of the futura with the conventional zodiacs such as the FR360- is it worth the weight (>60lbs heavier) and price (almost twice) penalty vs the FR360? If the difference in performance/riding pleasure of the speed tubes is small, I think I'll cross that off the list, if for nothing else the weight penalty which will surely be felt each time I boat (notwithstanding the great looks of the boat).

Anyone else out there compared the Futura boats with the conventional hulls?
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Old 08 August 2011, 18:24   #8
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Country: USA
Town: west palm beach
Boat name: Red Baron
Make: Saturn
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Engine: 15 hp outboard
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Have you consider Saturn boats from boatstogo.com

Before I start I'm not affiliated with this company. I am in south Florida also and I have a 12' inflatable with a 15 hp 1980 Evinrude that still runs strong .The boat is a Saturn SD365 PVC made in south Korea and was and still is $1025 . It is very well built and can take up to 30 hp . The seller is located in North Miami. You might consider this boat not just for the price but from other forums looks like Zodiac is not what use to be .
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Old 09 August 2011, 22:05   #9
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re Saturn

Thanks for the info on Saturn. Part of me is very attracted to spending a lot less and getting what looks to be a very good boat. One could even rationalize that at 1/3rd the cost, you could have a new Saturn boat every few years. I'm actually considering getting one of their inflatable kayaks, so that should give me a sense of their quality. HOpe to pick up on my next trip down to Miami.

I've been waiting a long time for this boat though and don't want cost to be an issue. I agree Zodiac has some durability issues in its recreational boats, but there are many other positives in their design and performance. I remain intrigued by the speed tubes on the Futura though I am concerned it is too heavy a boat to be feasible for a one person unpack-setup.
The Achilles is a safe choice- and one review in iboats reported that with 25hp it could reach 28mph with 2 on board- pretty much on par with the reported Zodiac Futura performance for Mk2c.

Live dangerously with the Zodiac Futura? or the safe choice- the achiles?
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Old 10 August 2011, 05:26   #10
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show room

You don't have go to Miami they have a showroom in Ft. Lauderdale this is the link Saturn Inflatable Boats - Products and a 25 hp outboard to handle by yourself you have to be very fit a 2 stroke goes from 110 to 140 lb a 4 stroke is out of the question, my 15 hp is 74lb and still is hard to handle.
Good luck.
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