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Old 25 March 2019, 13:51   #1
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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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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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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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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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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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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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Old 26 March 2019, 10:50   #11
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Agree with Fenlander - I'd certainly consider an aluminium boat for this kind of thing. We have a 16' aluminium runaround as a lightweight boat/tender for just popping around Poole Harbour or out to our sailing boat mooring. Nice and light so easy to launch/recover, drag up beaches, etc., and absolutely bulletproof. No need to worry about scraping tubes along a river bank or mooring up to the bank.

Ours is a American SeaNymph that you can sometimes find second hand. The Linders (Scandinavian) look very nice, the SeaStrike maybe a bit more commercial, but these days there's quite a few people offering small tin boats. Some are more leisure focussed (lighter) and some much heavier for commercial use.
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Old 26 March 2019, 11:54   #12
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Keep 'em coming

You guys are great - giving me exactly the kind of options that I wanted to explore! Keep 'em coming!
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Old 26 March 2019, 14:05   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riverjimmy View Post
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.

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.
Just a thought: the versatility of 2 smaller boats? When it's only 2–4 of you, one that's light and easy to carry; when it's 5 adults and 1 child, 2 boats, 2 people get chance to drive, and you have safety cover if one engine fails.

May be overthinking it, but it's an option.
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Old 26 March 2019, 15:30   #14
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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/
Whilst they have many pros - weight is not one of them!

Quote:
Originally Posted by riverjimmy View Post
The Honwave 3.8 for example is 5 adults + 1 child.
just beware many manufacturers quote numbers which are about a safety limit rather than a comfortable/practical size. Six people on a honwave 3.8 with a fuel tank, a bag of safety gear and any other stuff (like lunch, spare clothes etc) and you may be thinking six is a bit cosy (possibly fine on the river at low speed though).
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Old 26 March 2019, 17:07   #15
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Just a thought: the versatility of 2 smaller boats? When it's only 2–4 of you, one that's light and easy to carry; when it's 5 adults and 1 child, 2 boats, 2 people get chance to drive, and you have safety cover if one engine fails.

May be overthinking it, but it's an option.
That is actually genius.
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Old 27 March 2019, 04:29   #16
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I would echo what poly said about the weight of polythene... The funyak and whalys etc are great, virtually bombproof craft but they are Not lightweight... If you have private access then you maybe couldinstal a winch for recovery, and slide it down for launch (as they do in some YouTube vids for the whaly... Scary stuff!) but you won't be able to haul a 3.90 for example (my own current boat) up any kind of slope without serious mechanical advantage.
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Old 27 March 2019, 05:55   #17
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For clarity, the Funyak 3.50 is the same weight as the OP's current boat - but with wheels.
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Old 27 March 2019, 06:02   #18
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>>>versatility of 2 smaller boats?

Yep good thinking... in fact comes to mind you could raft a pair of Canadian canoes with an OB motor pad for say a lightweight 3.5hp on the rear connecting beam.

You can get 16ft versions that only weigh about 55lbs each.

Easy to launch and very stable.

Years ago we had a 16ft grp Canadian canoe and I made up an outrigger OB pad about three feet up from the very end and we ran that with a 2hp Mariner... slid through the water so well.
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Old 27 March 2019, 12:44   #19
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What I'm doing now is going through the thread and making a spreadsheet with the weight, size (beam and loa), price, manuf. max passenger numbers. Obviously there are other subjective-ish factors like durability, but there are so many options it's hard to get my head around them all. 16ft Canadian canoe is a new thought, and it's going on the list.

I'll try to find a way to share it when I'm done as perhaps someday this thread will be useful for someone other than me!

With all the anger and argument in the world, I love the little lovely places like this on the internet with a bunch of nice people just sharing a hobby and helping each other. A little melodramatic I know but here in Brexit-anger land, it's nice to have nice people.
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Old 27 March 2019, 16:03   #20
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With all the anger and argument in the world, I love the little lovely places like this on the internet with a bunch of nice people just sharing a hobby and helping each other. A little melodramatic I know but here in Brexit-anger land, it's nice to have nice people.
When you've sorted the boat out - come back and ask which engine to put on it - by the time the 2 stroke, 4 stroke and "Etec" argument is over you should have been reassured that this part of the internet is just the same - except we ban politics to make life easy for the admin team!
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