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Old 25 July 2004, 17:19   #1
Country: UK - England
Town: cheshire
Boat name: Magpie
Length: 5m +
Engine: 55hp yam
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 70
Advise please the use of a small inflatable as 1st boat

Hi all, advise please my mate wants to get into boating and is thinking of getting himself a new small inflatable around 8-10ft with maybe a 4-5hp outboard just to potter about in, I wonder if any of you folks that may have used this type of boat could give some advise about the use of this type, he plans to use it in sheltered water only around the isle of bute, but he tells me in the area he was thinking of the tide can run at up to 5knts, he would like to carry maybe 2 adults and 2 kids, what can he expect from it ect, I am only used to bigger power boats/RIBs ect so I cannot help him to much.

Regards Nick.

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Old 25 July 2004, 17:26   #2
Country: UK - England
Length: no boat
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 16
A 4 hp engine can push 1 adult + 2 kids around at 5 knots max, in a maybe 6-8 foot Yam inflatible.

More engine power would definately be needed.


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Old 25 July 2004, 17:29   #3
Country: UK - England
Town: Norfolk
Make: Redbay
Length: 7m +
Engine: Inboard
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 5,139
Buy a Quicksilver 270 with airdeck. It was my first inflatable and will plane with 2 adults and 2 kids. It'll take up to a 10hp engine, and is fairly friendly on the wallet, at around 700.
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Old 25 July 2004, 18:39   #4
Richard B's Avatar
Country: UK - England
Town: Berkshire and Devon
Make: Lodestar
Length: under 3m
Engine: Mercury 5hp
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 5,015
Some good advice above IMHO.

I used to have a 3.6m inflatable with 18hp which carried up to 4 adults reasonably comfortably in calm sheltered water.

The biggest problem was the weight as I had the aluminium floored model. I would definitely consider an "airdeck" model if I was buying again. Zodiacs, although pricey, have the advantage of being the lightest airdeck inflatable on the market.

My only concern would be the seakeeping qualities of a small craft in a strong tidal area. I think that a 3m+ would be appropriate, suitably powered in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendation, probably in the region of 15hp. Also bear in mind that these craft, even when fitted with an inflatable keel, are essentially flat bottomed and do not have the same sea keeping qualities of a small fibreglass hulled rigid inflatable.

Edit - thinking back, the 18hp engine gave me 18kts+ which felt extremely fast on a little boat (too fast really - the craft was very twitchy and almost unstable at that speed). Get an inflatable just big enough so you can all sit in it rather than on the tubes.
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Old 26 July 2004, 04:00   #5
Country: UK - England
Town: Norfolk
Make: Redbay
Length: 7m +
Engine: Inboard
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 5,139
Even my Quicksilver was too heavy to carry with an engine on the back. I would recommend the use of a trailer; having to inflate a boat every time you want to use it is a real pain!
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Old 26 July 2004, 04:35   #6
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Country: UK - England
Town: Brighton
Length: 3m +
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 6,679
If you're going to keep in on a trailer, then get a RIB not a SIB!

For an inflatable I would definitely suggest an inflatable floor. I have had inflatables with wooden and aluminium floors and now I wouldn't even contemplate anything other than an inflatable floor as it makes everything immeasurably easier.

Around the 3.5m mark would be a good size. Easy enough to carry and store, enough room for 2 adults and 2 kids.

Zodiac have a number of options including:

- Cadet Fastroller 3.4m
- Classic Fastroller 3.5m
- Futura Fastroller 3.7m

These are listed in price and performance order, as well as size!

A 10hp motor will be enough to push you around, a 15 will give you a bit more fun but is heavier to carry. The bigger ones will take up to 25hp which will potentially be quite exciting, but is quite a lump to carry up and down the beach.

Whichever you go for then investing in an LVM Hi-Speed Inflator would be a good move. They're not cheap at about 70, but well worth it!

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Old 26 July 2004, 05:04   #7
Country: UK - England
Town: Essex
Boat name: Inflatable
Make: Ribcraft & Zodiac
Length: 5m +
Engine: Suz F140,F6 & Yam F6
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 246
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I have a 3.4m Zodiac Fastroller with a Mariner 15HP two stroke. This set up is about the limit for me with respect to what I can lift. With a set of launching wheels I can launch and recover single handed with ease.
Engine weighs in at 34KG which is the same as the 10HP.
As John said go for the LVM High speed inflator. You will need to finish off the air deck with a foot pump or a high pressure / low volume inflator.

The new Zodiac cadet fastroller range also has a high pressure keel in addition to the floor.

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Old 26 July 2004, 06:07   #8
Country: UK - England
Town: Dorset
Length: 4m +
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,410
I have some experience with small inflatables as my parents have had several as yacht tenders.

The first was a Bombard AX2 with Honda 2HP 4 stroke. This was very light and packed up small, but only took two people. Did about 9 knots on gps one up. However, it soon become came known as the wet arse for obvious reasons as it was useless in any waves. The Honda drank very little fuel but was vey noisy (air cooled) and a pig to start. If you do get a small outboard (4-6HP) make sure it has an external tank or fit one! The Ax2 was only really suitable as a small tender.

We have just replaced the Bombard with an Avon Rover 250 Air deck which came with a Yamaha Malta (2.9HP). The boat is very heavy but fantastic when inflated, it has oversized tubes so you can sit in it. It does 11.7 knots one up with the malta but it will take up to an 8HP.

IMHO I would recommend a 3- 3.5 M Quiksilver or similar with a 9.9. or 15.
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Old 26 July 2004, 06:09   #9
Country: UK - England
Town: Chelmsford/Anglesey
Make: Avon SR/RibLite 3.1m
Length: 4m +
Engine: Honda 30hp/Yam 8hp
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 970
Take a look, too, at the recently launched range of Honda inflatables. Airdeck versions are available in 2.7 and 3.2m lengths and have some neat design touches such as buoyancy pads at the bottom of the transom to handle the heavier 4-stroke engines. They're very well put together and competitively priced. Available at a Honda marine dealer near you
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Old 26 July 2004, 16:08   #10
Country: UK - England
Town: Aylesbury/Lymington
Boat name: Farfetched
Make: Solent
Length: 6m +
Engine: 150hp Optimax
MMSI: 235021048
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 858

Took my Zodiac 3.2 with 6hp Suzuki around Bute a few weeks back. Quite slow and had to be careful with the rough bits. Took myself and 14 year old boy. No problems getting onto the plane with the fuel tank in the bow. Quite wet when tides worked the wrong way, a little scarey but never dangerous. AND I can lift the motor single handed and get it from a marina onto the transom without killing myself.

FYI took me about 2 hours from Rhu to Rothesay at WOT most of the way.



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