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Old 14 February 2013, 09:24   #1
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Any reviews on Grand Boats Ranger models?

Hi, I'm considering buying an R460 SIB from Grand Boats, and am wondering if anyone has or currently owns one. What is the performance like, and how is the construction holding up over the years? I'll be using is with a console 40 hp yamaha

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Old 16 February 2013, 00:54   #2
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I haven't seen their boats in person, had a look on their website and found it difficult to take the company seriously.

Have you compared these against similar sized SIBs from more local manufacturers or distributors such as Polaris boats in Langley BC ?

Also have you considered a cat-hulled SIB of this size (not to be confused with the tri hull of a zodiac futura) over a traditional center inflatable keel (a huge upgrade in comfort and performance?

Polaris Inflatable Boats (Canada) Ltd. - Spirit Series Fabric Bottom

Dive 470 | Gemini-Evo


Performance Cat : TEAM Xtreme, Inflatable Boats

| Ceasar Canada
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Old 17 February 2013, 18:01   #3
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Grand R460

Hi Prairie tuber,

Its difficult to judge from the website, I did like that they posted some videos. I have briefly seen the boat at the dealer, and it looked like good quality. The PVC I would get is a heavy duty PVC, 1400 g. They also have the wood keel option, although I don't know how much this would improve performance.

My previous boat was an AMI XL-460, which had a performance cat-hull. I had it configured with a centre console and 40 hp engine. I have to say that I wasn't overly thrilled with the performance, for a few reasons. The main reason I didn't like it was that I found it difficult to balance the boat. When I was in it with a heavier guy, or 3 people, the boat wanted to lean forward too much and the prop would cavitate. I often had to get someone to sit behind the console bench near the engine to bring the balance back. Other then that, the performance was 45 km/hr lightly loaded, and went down to 35-38 km/hr with 2-3 people and light gear. The cats are nice when you are on plane, the air cushion effect under the hull gives a very smooth ride in up to 1-2 feet waves, after which the wave tops start hitting the flat bottom and knocking pretty hard. In 3' or above I had to go real slow or I thought I would smash the floor out. Once the waves become bigger then the height of the cats, the waves hit the flat bottom, and without a keel to separate the wave you get a pretty rough impact. I have not owned a traditional SIB this size, so I can't really comment on the how it would handle better/worse in these types of seas. My other negatives on this design are that it takes more water to launch, as the cats make the boat deeper in order to get the same flotation (and also make for creative trailer mods), and the design drives the cost up. For example, the AMI was manufactured in china, yet cost $5000-6000 when they were new. A typical SIB of comparable size is $3000 made in China. The extra cost almost puts you in the entry level RIBs, in which in my case I have the room to trailer, or in the price range of the top end manufacturers such as zodiac or achilles. These comments all relate to the AMI models, and AMI when bankrupt, so maybe they weren't the greatest. I can't speak for other companies, their designs might be better balanced. I'm sure the zodiac futura is well designed, and the tri-hull has the best of both worlds. I considered the mk III futura as an option, but the transom (2'11") looks too narrow to fit both a 40 hp and a 2.2 kicker. I want the kicker as I will be exploring some remote places.

Polaris is in Langley, which is an expensive ferry ride from Victoria so not that local for me. Have you had experience with the Gemini-evo? Not sure who would sell these around here.

Overall, nothing beats knowing someone who has owned the boat for a few years. The big advantage for me with the Grand is that a local dealer sells it here and will do warranty repairs if I have any. I'm planning to keep it for 5 years, then probably sell and upgrade to a 17' RIB.

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Old 17 February 2013, 23:48   #4
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Hi Malcom,

Great info about the AMI boats, I was curious about the 4.6m version. My first inflatable was a Zodiac Mark 1c (3.4m), which I still have, but no longer sees much use. My main boat is a Gemini Dive 470 (I took the photos that are on Gemini's website). I have also owned a Zodiac Grand Raid Mark II (4.2m), which is now my brother's boat.

I bought the Gemini from a couple who were Gemini Dealers (as a sideline) based in Parksville, BC at the time. I haven't been able to pull up their old website or get their contact infomation lately. At the time, I was living in Winnipeg and flew out to BC to visit relatives and check out a few different inflatables. During that trip, I checked out the Polaris factory in Langley, and sea trialed both an AMI Advanced Cat (~3.8m with an air floor) and the Gemini Dive 470 that I eventually ordered.

I did not get a chance to sea trial a Polaris SIB, but did see how they were put together and was very impressed. If I were looking for a traditional center V-keeled SIB and could choose between a zodiac Grand Raid and the Polaris Sea Master, the Sea Master would be a no-brainer - much sturdier build quality. Top notch guys that run the place as well.

My sea trial of the AMI boat was with a fellow based in Schwarz Bay who had recently begun selling them. Being a shorter boat, and an air floor it was hard to extrapolate what sort of performance I could expect from a 4.6m hard floor version. Reading of your experience with one is very helpful. The AMI seemed to be reasonably well built, but certainly not of the same caliber as Polaris or Gemini.

My experience with the Dive 470 is that it really is not very sensitive to weight distribution issues that you have described. I am wondering if the AMI designed their high-jackers to be long enough in relation to the overall boat length. Another thing that might make a difference is that I ordered the Dive 470 with 3/4" Marine Plywood floorboards so there would be as little floor flex as possible. In any sea condition, it is far more comfortable than a inflatable V-keel SIB. I am quite certain that if you go from a cat hull to traditional SIB hull, you will notice a far harsher ride in any condition.

I can relate to your other observations that when not on plane, a cat hulled SIB will sit a little deeper in the water than a traditional hull (although nothing like a RIB), and they do require custom modifications of the trailer to accomodate them.

If you have settled on a traditional SIB hull, it would still be worth stopping by Polaris when you are on the Mainland. They are hypalon only, and likely are more expensive than the PVC SIBs from Grand, but they are very well made and should last a long time.
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Old 18 February 2013, 21:50   #5
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Hi,

I sent an email to Polaris for a quote for their 15.5 ft hypalon SIB, ~$8800! They do look like a solid company, and I would expect to pay that price for a hypalon SIB from Zodiac or Achilles. However that's 2.5x the cost of the Grand. I guess it depends how important quality is for you. If I were going off the coast of Antarctica and didn't have the luxury or equipment to perform repairs, then maybe I would need top notch quality, or if I was doing commercial operations. In my situation however I am looking at 3-5 day camping trips and I can get repairs done locally, so it's difficult to shell out all that cash. At that price I could also look at RIBs in my situation.

There is someone local selling a used 16.5 ft hypalon ZEBEC, have you had experience with these?

Z-BEC 16.5' INFLATABLE Central Saanich, Victoria

What set-up do you have on your Gemini? Get some good speed?

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Old 19 February 2013, 03:29   #6
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They also have the wood keel option, although I don't know how much this would improve performance.
The Grand Wooden Keels are too thin, and not properly fastened to the hull so they tend to warp in more demanding conditions.
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Old 20 February 2013, 00:02   #7
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Hi Malcolm,

I have seen the Zebec boats in a showroom, there was a local dealer in Winnipeg. They looked like solidly built PVC boats. I haven't heard or read of any bad things about them, but have read of good things about theml constructed. I am pretty sure they only use PVC fabrics with various thickness options.

http://test2.illusioncomputers.ca/in...mart&Itemid=57


The price of the boat in the ad seems high for what you are getting. The motor is way under powered for that length of boat. Perhaps the present owner is susceptible to vertigo and wants to ensure that the boat stays under planing speed. I'm sure you would want to replace it with something more suitable (~40-50 hp). Maybe you could haggle out a much better price from him, but before doing that I would be sure I could line up a motor trade up at a cost that I could live with.

Not sure what to make of the sun shade thing and pontoon seats - they look a bit dodgy, but maybe they are solid. One huge plus is that they didn't try to install a console, which really limits functionality on inflatables that are 5m.

Might be worth contacting a Zebec dealer to check on pricing as a comparison.
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Old 20 February 2013, 10:46   #8
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... meant to say "...limits functionality on boats that are under 5m."

More on info about the advantages of a tiller in the " Advice on possible Zodiac futura purchase " thread here.

Advice on possible Zodiac futura purchase

The upshot is if you are dealing with rough seas, large rapids or any other tricky water, you are far better off with a tiller.
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Old 20 February 2013, 22:12   #9
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The Grand Wooden Keels are too thin, and not properly fastened to the hull so they tend to warp in more demanding conditions.
Hi,

Did you own a Grand? Wondering how the boat held up after a few years of use. If the keel is to thin, was there any option to reinforce it with a layer of plywood? I would have to see a spec sheet.
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Old 21 February 2013, 03:12   #10
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Hi,

Did you own a Grand? Wondering how the boat held up after a few years of use. If the keel is to thin, was there any option to reinforce it with a layer of plywood? I would have to see a spec sheet.
I never did own one, i have an italian SIB with a wooden keel.
Someone from my Watersports club oned one.. Like i just wrote, the keel is too thin, but that can be reinforced, of course. another trouble is that the keel is held in place only by brackets screwed on the floorboard, while mine is held by big rubber brackets on the actual rubber boat floor.

I have found some pics





This is a 3.80 ranger , i think, with a warped keel.


This is my Eurovinil E2. 3.20 long. you can compare the thickness of the keels, and you can spot the rubber brackets if you look carefully.
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