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Old 05 March 2008, 01:36   #1
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Are Air decks dangerous?

I've read somewhere that air decks - Bombard, Honda, Zodiac etc. models - are so light that they can flip over in a slight gust or chop, particularly with only 1 or 2 people sitting toward the back.

In the case of children, being much lighter this would be much worse.

I ask as I'm investigating options (still) that are kiddy-friendly, ie something that 12-14 year olds could gain confidence in driving on their own. An air deck would be nice and light and require a smaller outboard, thus easier to start.

But has anyone had this 'flipping' experience with an air deck?

Thanks!
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Old 05 March 2008, 05:01   #2
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They won't flip in a "light gust or chop", but it would be a possibility if driven carelessly in difficult conditions. Having used both I don't think that an air floor SIB is any more likely to flip than one with a solid floor - with the max rated outboard and lightly loaded either can be a handful.

If you're going to let the kids take the boat out on their own then I'd suggest starting off with a smallish motor (say 5hp) until they build up their skills a bit. It's a lot more forgiving and still a lot of fun.

John
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Old 05 March 2008, 05:43   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Kennett View Post
They won't flip in a "light gust or chop", but it would be a possibility if driven carelessly in difficult conditions. Having used both I don't think that an air floor SIB is any more likely to flip than one with a solid floor - with the max rated outboard and lightly loaded either can be a handful.

If you're going to let the kids take the boat out on their own then I'd suggest starting off with a smallish motor (say 5hp) until they build up their skills a bit. It's a lot more forgiving and still a lot of fun.
I've been out in some fair chop and wind in my Honwave 3.8.
I am conscious of the weight on the transom - the Yam 20D plus my svelt like figure sitting towards the back makes the bow lift when you give it some throttle to get on the plane, but trimming the motor all the way in helps and once it settles down it copes well. I dont think it is anymore unstable than a SIB with a solid floor. Start kids off with a low power OB They will be far more confident handling the boat. Dont take them out if its going to be crashy and uncomfortable.
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Old 05 March 2008, 06:05   #4
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Thanks John/Mustrib

The reason I'm getting the SIB is sort of as a tender to a GRP boat this summer, but I suspect we may move up to a bigger boat with a cuddy/berths next year or year after.

We probably wouldn't be able to ski/kneeboard behind that, so I'm looking at a SIB to meet those needs next year and onwards. The small engine might be a bit restrictive in that case. Maybe I could find a little second hand one for now?

I've seen an Aerotec 4.2 - unusual size, I know - with a 15hp, which sort of fits both purposes.

As regards use for the kids, it would just be within an estuary (Salcombe), which I don't think gets too choppy. (It would be nice though if we parents could also take it a bit further - I'm still sold on SIBs vs. GRP for messing around in...they just look so much more fun!!)

Anyway, sounds like I don't need to worry too much about air decks then.

Cheers.
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Old 05 March 2008, 06:44   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Kennett View Post
They won't flip in a "light gust or chop", but it would be a possibility if driven carelessly in difficult conditions. Having used both I don't think that an air floor SIB is any more likely to flip than one with a solid floor - with the max rated outboard and lightly loaded either can be a handful.

If you're going to let the kids take the boat out on their own then I'd suggest starting off with a smallish motor (say 5hp) until they build up their skills a bit. It's a lot more forgiving and still a lot of fun.

John
I agree with John and would add that even a largish Airdeck will be good fun with a 5HP on the back, you may even be able to pick up a two stroke in that size which would be an added bonus.
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Old 05 March 2008, 08:29   #6
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Good advice about keeping the outboard power low for the kids and being sensible about the conditions you let them use it in. A prop guard would be another wise decision.
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Old 05 March 2008, 10:42   #7
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Plainly agree with John

"They won't flip in a "light gust or chop", but it would be a possibility if driven carelessly in difficult conditions"

There's a big weight difference between a aluminum floor sib compared to a air deck, about 12 kilos less on a 320/330 lenght air floor sib. Much lighter and more suitable for kids if a lighter engine will be used.

Other important fact to consider for best cruise performance is that air decks uses high pressure air floors that must be infalted to as much as 10/12 PSI to have floor rigidity, if inflated with less pressure jelly like while cruising will perform badly. Will need the correct pump to inflate to that recommended air pressure.

Happy Boating
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Old 05 March 2008, 11:48   #8
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Salcombe Harbour byelaw's say any one under 16 is not aloud to use on there own a boat capable of doing over 8knots!
http://www.southhams.gov.uk/salcombe...ur_byelaws.pdf
Not saying every one follows the rules but worth knowing!
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Old 05 March 2008, 11:57   #9
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Thanks Nick - I did wonder what the age limit was as I was surprised at the number of young'uns pootling around in little SIBs.

So - how do you define what will do less than 8 knots - maybe I need one of those Sunseeker gin palaces with an empty fuel tank and a little 10hp stuck on the bathing platform??!!
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Old 05 March 2008, 12:16   #10
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Yer I like the sunseeker idea!
I did wonder when I got my latest Sib, as ignoring byelaw's I do not want my kids playing around in something that can do 20+knots!
I nearly kept the Yamie Malta I had so I could let them loose with the Sib & keep the speed down!
I do have a little round tail I was thinking of getting a 2hp for so the kids could use this!
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