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Old 18 August 2015, 10:40   #1
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From '98 Futura MKII to '14 Commando C4

After 17 years of fairly heavy use, my faithful old Futura MKII finally gave out. The transom started to fall apart and the floor was separating from the tubes in a couple spots. Fixing it was way too big of a job for me, so I sold the hull and went shopping at the Inflatable Boat Center.

I initially thought about getting a new Futura, but the MKII uses a long shaft now, and my motor is a short. When I found out that the mini-console and bench would go in the Bombard Commando C4, and that it uses a short shaft I was sold. On top of that it was on sale, going for over $2000 less than the Futura!

The Commando is slightly narrower than the Futura was and the front section forward of the aluminum floor panels is longer and pointier. Other than that they are very similar in shape. The wooden keel gives it a considerably deeper V, so I did have to modify/adjust the trailer quite a bit.

Performance is very similar as far as speed and acceleration. The C4 plows through waves more easily and rides smoother in general. The Futura turned quicker and didn't tend to slide down the sides of waves as much.

Overall I'm really happy with the new boat and am looking forward to another fifteen or twenty years of inflatable boating!
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Old 18 August 2015, 10:45   #2
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Looks a nice Combo...and I've heard good things about the C4...Enjoy!
if she does as well as the Zodi you'll do OK for sure!
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Old 18 August 2015, 12:52   #3
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Looks a nice Combo...and I've heard good things about the C4...Enjoy!
if she does as well as the Zodi you'll do OK for sure!
Thanks, it really has worked well.

The C4 really is a lot like my old Zodiac with the 18" tubes and the pointy cones aft.

The minimum recommended horsepower is 30. I have a 1999 Mercury "Bigfoot" 4-stroke and it does quite well. With two adults, two small (4 & 6) kids and some gear it did 28 mph, pulling the kids in a tube it did 25 mph.
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Old 18 August 2015, 13:24   #4
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I had many years of great Sibbing in my old Zodiac,and it's surprising what Sea's you can handle when you Ballance and get used to them.Looks like you have some really good Inland Cruiseing! I bet the Fishing is "OK" too!
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Old 18 August 2015, 15:10   #5
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Loving the 'special forces' appeal of your C4.

Bombard is part of the Zodiac group, so I'm sure a lot of the processes in thermo-welding and using quality components are all present in your Commando C4.

I don't like what they did to the new styled Futura with over-sized tubes and rounded off tube ends. Looks like it's on steroids. Their prices hopefully will be adjusted in due course considering they were on the brink of administration (European side of the business).
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Old 18 August 2015, 15:52   #6
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I had many years of great Sibbing in my old Zodiac,and it's surprising what Sea's you can handle when you Ballance and get used to them.Looks like you have some really good Inland Cruiseing! I bet the Fishing is "OK" too!
I used to take the Zodiac out diving/fishing in the pacific when I was younger, but mostly I just stick to the bays, rivers, and lakes.

We do have lots of nice reservoirs, the one in the pictures is 3500 acres (1400 ha) at full pool. The fishing is good for the most part, you can catch Rainbow Trout just about every time and Kokanee (small landlocked salmon) if you know what you're doing.

Lots of people fish the rivers for sea-run Salmon as well, but it is kind of a zoo, so I don't do that much anymore.

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Loving the 'special forces' appeal of your C4.

Bombard is part of the Zodiac group, so I'm sure a lot of the processes in thermo-welding and using quality components are all present in your Commando C4.

I don't like what they did to the new styled Futura with over-sized tubes and rounded off tube ends. Looks like it's on steroids. Their prices hopefully will be adjusted in due course considering they were on the brink of administration (European side of the business).
Yes, the owner's manuals all say Zodiac Marine and Bombard on them. Some components (the aluminum floorboards, for instance) are exactly the same ones that came with my Futura.

I agree, I think the new Futura is kind of ugly. Also, the oversized tubes would make it considerably more difficult to pull yourself into from the water.

I am lucky to be only an hour away from Inflatable Boat Center, the second biggest Zodiac dealer in the USA. I picked up the C4 for $3872 USD and I believe they list the Futura MKII for just over $6000. They did have the Futura MKIII on sale for $5600, but I would have had to cut down the transom. I was also worried that it would not do well with the 25 hp motor.
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Old 18 August 2015, 15:58   #7
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I don't like what they did to the new styled Futura with over-sized tubes and rounded off tube ends. Looks like it's on steroids. Their prices hopefully will be adjusted in due course considering they were on the brink of administration (European side of the business).
It had to be done to accommodate modern 4 stroke outboards. If you notice, the Bombard Commando is an older hull design...the HP rating and max outboard weight is lower than that of the new Futura. It's designed for an older lightweight 2-stroke.

Bombard Commandos and Zodiac Futuras are made side-by-side at the factory in Ayguesvives, France (near Toulouse).
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Old 18 August 2015, 16:50   #8
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It had to be done to accommodate modern 4 stroke outboards. If you notice, the Bombard Commando is an older hull design...the HP rating and max outboard weight is lower than that of the new Futura. It's designed for an older lightweight 2-stroke.

Bombard Commandos and Zodiac Futuras are made side-by-side at the factory in Ayguesvives, France (near Toulouse).
I can see that. At the time I bought the boat/motor (1999) the 25 was the biggest four stroke motor I could put on the Futura do to weight considerations. Now I could do up to a 40, as the Bombard is rated up to 253 pounds (It seems like the Zodiac was rated to 232 pounds) and four stroke outboards have gotten considerably lighter.

For now I'll make do with my old 200 pound plus 25 HP Mercury, but if it ever died I would probably get a 30.
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Old 20 August 2015, 11:21   #9
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Congrats, Dan. Looks like a nice rig.

The dive shop I used to use had a beat to crap C5 they used to run (picked up towards the end of its usability from a customer.) Did pretty well for a long time while holding on to life by a thread.

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Old 20 August 2015, 11:36   #10
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Congrats, Dan. Looks like a nice rig.

The dive shop I used to use had a beat to crap C5 they used to run (picked up towards the end of its usability from a customer.) Did pretty well for a long time while holding on to life by a thread.

jky
Thanks!

I'm hoping it lasts at least close to as long as my Futura. I have been working to be sure the trailer is as supportive as possible and plan to use a come-along to lift the weight of the motor off the transom during the off-season.

I have been dreaming of upgrading to a RIB since not long after purchasing my old boat, but economically I couldn't beat the C4. Anyway, if we do get a bigger RIB someday I figured it would be fairly easy to sell the C4 if it is still in good condition.
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