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Old 07 August 2013, 14:44   #1
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Advice Please - What size ?

Hello All

This is our first post and we after some advice and hopefully words of encouragement !

Having had boats of various sizes all my life, currently I'm in the process of selling my share in a Ribcraft 545 fitted with a Mariner 120 OB. It's time to down size but I still want a boat !

So I'm looking at inflatable's in the 3.5 to 4 mtr bracket, what I want from it is that it should take me (12 stone) and my partner Rose (10 stone) as well as a little lunch and some fishing gear, AND PLANE. Top speed is not important so long as she planes.

I'd prefer a HD 3.8mtr boat with a hard floor but may compromise to a 3.6 airfloor if that makes the difference between decent performance on a 9.9hp ob vs having to go up to a 15 hp (because of the weight).

So my main question is will a 9.9 4stroke plane with this set up ?

Other considerations incl -
I would prefer to take the boat down each day and put it in the back of my estate car, so is a hard floor practical or are the air floors that much easier ?
I may wish to add an electric motor for pushing it around when fishing, is this necessary with an already small quiet petrol OB on the back ?
And lastly, are the launching wheels a necessity for 9.9 or 15hp rigs ?

Many many thanks for all pointers in advance.

Rose and Bruce
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Old 07 August 2013, 14:58   #2
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When all is said and done, the " on the water " experience with a hard floor and 15hp will far outweigh the extra two minutes spent with the floor. Get a 15 if you can. A mariner 15 is the same size and weight as an 8, they look identical other than the number.
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Old 07 August 2013, 16:07   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mister p View Post
When all is said and done, the " on the water " experience with a hard floor and 15hp will far outweigh the extra two minutes spent with the floor. Get a 15 if you can. A mariner 15 is the same size and weight as an 8, they look identical other than the number.
I have a 2 s 15 mariner it wieghs a ton an 8 must be lighter... I dont think you ll fit a 3.65 in an estste boot the bag is massive , 10 hp will plane 22 stone and picnic... I guess its how big and heavy a unit you want, i think most people agree a 15 is the best way forward but you are downsizing..
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Old 07 August 2013, 22:55   #4
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If there is any chance you could find a couple of Sibbers (or even dealers) near so you could try both set ups for yourself that would be ideal.

A hard floor will require more space in your vehicle and will take a little longer to set up. Once you are used to doing it, it would probably add 2-3 minutes to set up time compared to an air floor.

The benefit of the hard floor is more versatility in terms of items you might want to take on board. A hard floor will have a much more solid feel to it. If you don't anticipate hauling much more than picnic items the air floor would easily be up to the task.

Launching wheels are worth their weight in gold and make the difference between misery and bliss.
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Old 07 August 2013, 23:17   #5
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I have a 2 s 15 mariner it wieghs a ton an 8 must be lighter... I dont think you ll fit a 3.65 in an estste boot the bag is massive , 10 hp will plane 22 stone and picnic... I guess its how big and heavy a unit you want, i think most people agree a 15 is the best way forward but you are downsizing..
The 2 T 15 HP Mariner is easily handled by one. Easily. I can far my 3m hard floor Zodiac AND engine AND launch wheels AND bow bag AND seat case into the boot of my Jag XJ. An estate should cope easily. Launch wheels are a great help.
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Old 08 August 2013, 01:21   #6
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I move my Mercury 15hp 2 stroke about easily with a trolley & it's not too much effort putting it on the transom. It flies on my 3.2 Ally floor with 3 up and total bodyweight of @35 stone.........
The aluminium floor is not much trouble to assemble and the sections sit flat on the boot floor under the folded boat. A decent set of launch wheels will make the whole thing so much easier. We're on a beach in Scotland at the moment with about a dozen sibs launching/recovering every day and there's been no issues!
I just have a small 11 litre petrol tank on mine as I find the bigger tanks take up a lot of room & are very heavy when full.
My wife, one of the kids (13) & myself can lift and carry the complete outfit with engine on but I wouldn't want to try without the launch wheels on by myself !!
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Old 08 August 2013, 05:22   #7
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R & B some good advice above. I'll add our experiences with SIBs from 3m - 3.6m, hard and air floors and outboards from 4hp to 15hp.

Others have said a 15hp Mariner/Mercury 2stroke is easily handled by one... or it weighs a ton. They actually weigh about 80lbs and as said previously there is no point in getting an 8 or 9.9 as they weigh almost the same. The exception is the highly sought after Tohatsu 9.8 (not the 9.9 which is heavier) which weighs 57lbs and the 22lbs saved over an average 15hp makes a huge difference when carrying a little way over rocks, sand or a weedy slipway. Yes you can lift a 15hp OK from car to transom when setting up next to the car but they are an awkward carry at many launch sites.

However all of my experience is with transom wheels apart from a 3m Zodiac (weight 134lbs) which two of us would carry to the water and then lift on the 9.8 Tohatsu. Transom wheels are a revalation and if you set up close to the car then outboard size is less of an issue as the wheels take all of that weight. I can't agree any SIB over 3m with a decent size outboard, fuel tank and kit is an easy carry even for 3 folks. Our 3.5m alloy floor Honwave weighs 160lbs, the full fuel tank 35lbs, outboard 80lbs, anchor and other kit 50lbs... 325lbs+ isn't a viable carry for three.

Air floor vs hard floor is a very personal choice and you will only know if you are OK with an air floor by using one. They feel a little springy and can give odd prop slip issues in some circumstances. There is no doubt as mister p says the hard floor is a better experience on the water. Our Honwave has an alloy floor which is as rigid as a GRP boat and gives a very secure feel. It does come at a price though as the extra weight of the floor panels and the extra 5mins to assemble the floor sometimes make you wish for an air floor. There is no doubt the weight saved with an air floor makes the performance more lively for any given outboard size.

How it packs in the car might be an issue for you. The air floors do pack up smaller and with our last estate car crucially the Zodiac 3.6 Fastroller would fit neatly across the loadspace between the wheelarches leaving rear seats in use, no floor panels of course and the outboard fitted behind the boat then the rest of our kit/luggage would go on top and we could still draw the loadspace cover. Our Honwave packs a little longer meaning it would not fit crossways so one seat would need folding and the floor sections added to the bulk.

Another thing to think of is buying a Bravo 12v pump. In particular air floors take some getting up to full pressure needing frantic red faced pumping.

At the moment we are two adults of similar weights to you plus a medium size dog and two light teen girls. The Zodiac 3.6m Fastroller we had previously with a 15hp was fine for size and 20mph+ performance, the current 3.5m alloy floor Honwave is far more rigid and stable feeling due to its floor but there is a performance reduction down to 18mph.

However as our girls get less interested in family holidays (they are 16 & 18 now) we expect to go down to a 3.4m approx. air floor and downsize to a 9.8 Tohatsu for the two of us and dog. This will be easy for us to load in the car, assemble and transom wheel to the water. I say us but in truth Mrs F tends to have the dog on the lead and gaze at the water while I do it all single handed. From experience of a similar combination we know this will give planning performance and very good economy and perhaps is the sort of thing you should look at.

Hope that helps.
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Old 08 August 2013, 05:35   #8
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Bruce, this 'which SIB' question is one of the most common down the years and gets asked every week in a slightly different form.

The guys above have nicely summed it up and it always comes down to a compromise - however, nearly all of tend to agree for a handy but capable outfit that a minimum 3.4m and max 3.8m is the way and the engines again always come down to the Tohatsu 9.8 or Yam/Mariner/Merc 15hp. Always 2 stroke.

Air floor is lighter and quicker to assemble but is a compromise in solidity, flex and feel compared to the more 'hard boat' feel of a solid floor.

I always advocate going second hand for a nicely looked after outfit - at least two or three are listed each week on eBay and if you're patient and in the right place you will get an amazing deal and be on the water for 1500 in a rig that someone originally would have paid double for. Buy right and you will lose nothing, these outfits if looked after will not depreciate, the engines are going up all the time. And as so many of use find the first boat is not the right boat it is easy to sell and move on.

I bought mine from David (Fenlander) above and the 3.4m Zodiac with Tohatsu 9.8 is a classic combo for 1-2 people. More than this a 15 is preferred.

I flash up nice ones when I see them and if either of the following are relatively near I would not hesitate in going for a look - 1500 for a 3.4m Zodiac or Quicksilver with a 2 stroke 15 is unbeatable, the engine in each is worth 1250 + and the boat 500 +:

Lovely SIB outfit on eBay

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...#ht_287wt_1137

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mariner-15...#ht_197wt_1320
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Old 08 August 2013, 05:58   #9
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Another thing to look for in your eventual choice is the detail of the fittings for how you will want to use the boat.

Some come with two sets of seat fittings so you can fit front/rear seats or both. Some don't have a grab rope all the way round the tube which you may find an issue. Some have lift handles each side front and rear so if it suited they can be carried by 4 folks with outboard on and full kit. Some have extra carry handles inside the rear tubes behind the transom so with no outboard on so also using the bow lift handle 2 people can carry the boat. some boats have nice grab handles inside the tubes near the bow for folks to hang on to, others don't. Some have strong rubber reinforcing under the "keel" and tube ends where dragging up a beach might cause wear, others don't. Some have neat lever operated transom drains, others have a rubber bung.

As Max says above these used outfits with a main brand inflatable and 15hp outboards would be a great start to see if the combo suits. If the 15hp was too big or the hard/air floor didn't suit then you could trade out that part of the outfit for something more suitable and lose nothing or even make a few pounds.
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Old 08 August 2013, 13:04   #10
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i`m sib nobbing in stratford the weekend i`ll take some photo`s of my 3m generic compared to my 3.65 excel in their bags i think it`s important to realise how big these things are ,36 kg is a bag and half of plaster , go down the merchants and have a go at lifting the weight, remember your only lifting from boot to boat and deffo launch wheels i prefer the decks to airfloor too, just for the `firmer ` feel .... thinking mister p is a london ganster easily lifting things in and out of his xj pmsl
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