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Old 25 March 2019, 13:51   #1
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Country: UK - England
Town: Fairford
Length: 3m +
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Big sib for river use case

I live on the Upper Thames.

Here are my parameters:

1. Light weight. I am looking to replace a GRP rowboat that weighs 185 lbs and is suitable only for 2 adults and 2 small children. I can just about manage getting it in and out of the river but it isn't pleasant. 2-3 people makes it easier but I would like to be better able to manage.

2. More passengers. As many as possible while hitting a weight under the 185 lbs. The Honwave 3.8 for example is 5 adults + 1 child.

3. Performance is almost completelty irrelevant. The speed limit on the river is quite low. I will never be out in rough conditions. Basically I plan lazy days putting to the pub.

4. I have heard a bit about larger subs. Like maybe 5 meters. If light that could be perfect.

What are some boats I should be learning about?
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Old 25 March 2019, 14:02   #2
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Country: UK - England
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Boat name: Mousetrap
Make: Zodiac Cadet 310S
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Engine: Mariner 4 stroke 9.9
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Remember that going upstream (against the current/tide, as applicable) your speed over the ground is much reduced. You will need enough speed to cope with the river itself and with any river traffic. However, it sounds like you will not need to reach planing speeds.

For comfort and safety, don't just look at the length overall. Consider also the diameter of the tubes. Fatter tubes give more buoyancy, more rigidity, and a drier and more comfortable ride.

My 3.1 metre inflatable with a plywood floor is something like 30 minutes from car boot to the water. That's using a foot pump, and loading a fairly heavy engine, anchor box etc. A bigger boat will take longer to inflate.

The general rule is that when the boat is in storage, smaller is better, but when you're on the water, bigger is better. Everything is a compromise. A 3.3 or so will comfortably carry a family of 4 on a river, and will make OK progress with a 6 hp motor. These small–medium motors have built in fuel tanks, which saves space and clutter in the boat.

Remember that the more people you try to carry, the more lifejackets/buoyancy aids you will need to buy.

An inflatable boat is great fun if you have decent kit and treat setting up and putting away as part of the hobby. However, it is not necessarily the cheap and easy way into convenient boating that brochures might suggest.

Try looking on www.apolloduck.co.uk for some reasonably priced bargains, and ask in this forum when you have seen something that appeals. It's far easier to advise for or against a specific choice than it is to give general advice.
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Old 25 March 2019, 14:05   #3
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That is great start!

I am planning to keep the boat under a cover next to the river... not to deflate/inflate much!
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Old 25 March 2019, 20:43   #4
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Country: UK - Scotland
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A spearfish550 with electric propulsion might suit your needs. With the added option of an outboard for seaside holiday fun when you're not speed limited.
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Old 26 March 2019, 05:43   #5
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If you keep the boat adjacent to the river and river use is your thing then there are boats far more suited to that use than an inflatable. There is always debris in rivers and sharp snags here and there... also wanting to single handed launch a 4m plus inflatable does risk damage due to pulling it about.

4m+ inflatables with an alloy floor will weigh more than your current dinghy... if you go up to 5m then much more. 4m plus air floor inflatables will be lighter but to my mind not suited for your needs.

Also inflatables are an inefficient shape in the water and do not slip along as well as a river suited sleeker hull.

I'd be looking for a light weight alloy boat... what they call a Jon boat in the USA for example... or thinking of easy ways to launch/recover a GRP boat.

Do you launch off the bank or at a boatyard or slipway.

BTW welcome to the forum.
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Old 26 March 2019, 06:11   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevie Bill View Post
A spearfish550 with electric propulsion might suit your needs. With the added option of an outboard for seaside holiday fun when you're not speed limited.
Super interesting, found the website here:
https://www.spearfishboats.com/spearfish-550-18

Very lightweight. Narrow so I'm not sure how "social" the seating arrangement might be... nice little canopy so in case of a light drizzle then kids/wife might hide under it.
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Old 26 March 2019, 06:14   #7
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Originally Posted by Fenlander View Post
If you keep the boat adjacent to the river and river use is your thing then there are boats far more suited to that use than an inflatable. There is always debris in rivers and sharp snags here and there... also wanting to single handed launch a 4m plus inflatable does risk damage due to pulling it about.

4m+ inflatables with an alloy floor will weigh more than your current dinghy... if you go up to 5m then much more. 4m plus air floor inflatables will be lighter but to my mind not suited for your needs.

Also inflatables are an inefficient shape in the water and do not slip along as well as a river suited sleeker hull.

I'd be looking for a light weight alloy boat... what they call a Jon boat in the USA for example... or thinking of easy ways to launch/recover a GRP boat.

Do you launch off the bank or at a boatyard or slipway.

BTW welcome to the forum.
Thanks for the kind welcome, Fenlander!

I hear you - I was looking at aluminium Jon boats and that's certainly a contender. Certainly I can get one that suits 5 people and weighs about the same as my GRP canoe which is for 3. And the robustness of that (basically can't break it even if I wanted to haha) sounds great.

I launch off the bank. There's a pretty nice grassy hill down to the water, although there are in places a bit of broken down former wall made of stones. I'd have to be wise about where I put it in to minimize damage with an inflatable. I've never owned one so I'm not really clear on how much they can handle in practical terms.

Also: PS I am American so I call them jon boats - as I google for it in the UK, is there a more UK-specific name for a jon boat?
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Old 26 March 2019, 06:40   #8
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Well actually I've always known them as Jon boats and that design isn't so easy to get in the UK compared to being so popular in the USA. In many ways it's a broad version of what we'd call a punt

I had a sixth sense of the way you might launch and a durable boat would suit. How about one of these... 4.1m long and only 125lbs.

https://www.marine.cz/pages/getpdf.a...=45883&lang=en

Agents for them are Barnet Marine who I've bought from many times...

https://www.ribs.co.uk/aluminium-boa...-boat-fishing/

Despite the fact that I travel almost 2hrs for a day out preferring the sea the local river is only 15mins away and I've bee messing about that stretch for 55yrs now with both an uncle then parents living riverside.

We had many different boat types on the bank over those years... GRP, plywood, timber, alloy... but never an inflatable.
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Old 26 March 2019, 09:59   #9
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Country: UK - Scotland
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Make: reiver 3.8/regal3760
Length: 10m +
Engine: 40hp 2st 2x6lp 315
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It may be worth your while looking at these
https://www.bhg-marine.co.uk/ribeye-...del-4590-p.asp
3.7m 6 man and lighter than your current boat
People automatically think an inflatable will be lighter than a rib but these aluminium hulled ribs are usually lighter than a similar size inflatable.
Easier to row and perform better under engine than a sib too
Only downside is they dont fold up but i guess your used to that with your current boat
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Old 26 March 2019, 10:49   #10
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What about something like a Fun-Yak. Rotomoulded plastic, double skinned so 'unsinkable', very stable and has wheels for launch & recovery. Limited to 4 people I think for the models with wheels


https://www.fun-yak.co.uk/product-ca...fun-yak-boats/
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