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Old 21 April 2009, 00:12   #1
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Help With Pre-Owned Futura Purchase

I am looking for some urgent help on the purchase of a Zodiac Mark II HD Futura.

Boat Info:
Model Year 1999
Length 13" 5"
Beam 6' 6"
Aluminum floor
2 bench seats
Zodiac Bow bag
Zodiac Transom Bag
Original oars, repair kit, foot pump
Brand new steering console (not hooked up, currently set up for tiller)
New dry storage cooler that wedges between tubes
New canvas mooring cover

Motor Info:
30 Hp Johnson 2-stroke short shaft
Model Year 1999
Tune-up
New Cowling Paint Job
New fuel lines
New 6 gallon tank

Trailer Info:
New carpeted bunk trailer painted to match

Boat's Story - Sat in a garage still in the box until Spring of 2008. Older man bought it new in 1999 and never used it. He passed away and then the neighbor bought the boat from the owners children. He planned on using it as a tender for his Grady White so he bought a new steering console, trailer, fuel tank and lines, painted the motor cowling, and purchased storage cover. He used it last summer, but not that often and he said he really doesnt need a tender so he is selling it. It was stored on the trailer in a garage through the winter and held air. He claims the boat only saw use for one summer and always stored covered or inside. He said the boat has been babied.

I dont know the seller and the story came from him, so I am taking his word for it at this point. I have numerous high definition pictures and the boat does look mint and brand new.

Asking price is $5000 USD. Thoughts on this number?

Should there be any concern with buying a 10 year old boat? Has Zodiac made any major changes to there boats since then, PVC material? Are the seems welded on a 1999? I noticed the cones are slightly different.
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Old 21 April 2009, 10:38   #2
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Sure looks to be in good condition. I don't see any obvious signs of wear, regluing, patching or that sort of thing. Zodiac did weld many of the seams on the Futura in 99. But the floor to tube seam, the speed tube covers to floor seams and the transom all were glued rather than welded. I purchased a 99 mk11 with a 40hp 2 stroke nissan and a very nice galvanized trailer for $4k (US). I think I overpaid for the particular boat I bought. It had separation of the floor to tube seam, which wasn't a big deal to me, but the original owner had layered glue over glue trying to repair the boat and that was a pain to remove. The boat had been stored covered in a hot inland climate and a number of the seams were delaminating. The transom seams that looked fine leaked when the boat was in the water. All of these issues were repairable and the zodiac is a lot of fun. Here is what I recommend. Take a hose and fill the boat with a few inches of water. Any and every small leak will be visible. Look particularly for any leaks at the transom, where the seams on the tubes and the floor material cross and all along the floor seams. If the boat has no leaks or seeping that is great, but a ten year old pvc zodiac will generally require some seam maintenance at some point. Tailor your bid according to the boats current condition. My futura looked like it had gotten a lot more use than this one, but just sitting doesn't mean it is still like new.

Nice to see that the outboard has been tuned, but if the cowling needed a paint job it may have seen more use than you might think. If it was all freshwater then it shouldnt be a big deal, but old outboards that have been saltwater run may have deposits in the cooling passages restricting water flow. Look for good water flow when running for inspection. If the impeller hasn't been replaced it should be. The rubber impeller will degrade over time whether it is being used much or not. I replace mine every year or two without fail. Don't over value a ten year old outboard. Particularly one that is not set up for remote controls. Getting the weight forward in the boat is key to controlling bow rise. You will appreciate the Futura more if you enable your console.

Is the trailer solid, have good support bunks that reach all the way aft and extend under the transom? Don't trailer the zodiac without keeping the transom itself supported.

The vessel looks good, but 5k is high in my opinion for a 99 hull, 30 hp tiller motor and indeterminate trailer. The newer zodiacs have larger diameter tubes and blunt cones on the end. This increased flotation is meant to support heavier four stroke motors. The older smaller tube sizes work just fine, but you may have issues carrying a four stroke at the full max hp rating if you decide to upgrade.

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Old 21 April 2009, 11:38   #3
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Shouldn't be a problem. There's plenty of 10 year old Zodiacs that get reasonably heavy use still out and about.

The price seems a bit steep, but if, as you have stated, the thing was never used, well... As an indicator, a used boat similar to that would probably run between $2K to $3K.

Quick question, though: If the motor was new at the time of purchase, and the second owner bought it unused, why did he paint the cowling?

Check the fasteners on the trailer - that may give you some indication of actual use (assuming it was bought at the same time as the hull.) People will go out of their way to clean up the boat, but not so much with the trailer. Heavy corrosion on trailer parts would mean something in the story may not be right.

But, all in all, I'd say it's a pretty decent package.

jky
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Old 21 April 2009, 12:40   #4
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Thanks for the help! The concerns you share are the same as I do. You both also bring up great things to check out before someone should purchase. Problem for me is the boat is 350 miles away so I have to really feel strongly about it to go take a look at it.

The trailer was bought new 1 year ago.

He claims he painted the motor because it had some scratches in the cowling from getting moved around in the garage. These scratches bothered him because he enters boat shows with his Grady White and is "THE most anal person" when it comes to his boats. From the pics, the lower unit does show some wear and discoloration, but the engine was only run in fresh water.

I am thinking even if it is in perfect condition it is still a 10 year old PVC boat with no warranty and some old technology. So after a put a couple years of use on it, it is a 12 year old boat in hopefully good condition. What would it be worth than? $1000? Seems like it would depreciate really fast.

Still undecided. Anyone else have some information or opinions? Thanks
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Old 21 April 2009, 13:59   #5
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What you haven't said was what you intend to use the boat for. If you just want to cruise around or fish a little, then the smaller outboard and lack of remote controls, instrumentation and wired battery set up isn't probably a big deal. But as it stands the console (while not cheap) doesn't really do anything for you unless you spend a lot more coin. When I bought my boat it already had a nice clean three cylinder 40 hp outboard running with console and controls fully installed. I figured that the outboard, controls and instruments were worth $1500-2000 all by themselves. The trailer was galvanized, in great shape and is big enough to handle a hard bottom boat if I wanted to buy one, I figured about $800. Look on Craigslist to see what the various pieces of this deal are going for in your local area. For me the zodiac itself wasn't a big investment (about 1k) and I recognized that I would either be doing some work on it or getting another hull of some type eventually. I have definitely gotten my money's worth out of the hull. I don't have any expectations regarding resale. The boat you are looking at has some nice accessories, but isn't exactly rigged to take full advantage of the Futura design. If your expectations and the set up are in line, it could be fun. Otherwise, well, it won't be cheap to move up!

All that said I paid more than I wanted because nice aluminum floored, speed tube equipped zodiacs with remote controls don't pop up around here very often... being rational doesn't necessarily apply to boating.
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Old 21 April 2009, 16:00   #6
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Originally Posted by kelson View Post
What you haven't said was what you intend to use the boat for.
Thanks for bringing this up, because I have been thinking about what the ideal boat is for what I want it for. The first trip the inflatable will be on is a bear hunting trip on the Alaska coastline. It will be a week long trip where 2 guys will load up the boat with camping and hunting gear and cruise the coastlines looking for bear. This trip might turn into an annual trip. An inflatable would be ideal for this because of the 20 foot tides and the beachings that will be required and because we could roll it up and haul it in the back of a pickup. Not having to tow a trailer 3000 miles roundtrip would really make things easier.

I currently own a 17 foot aluminum fishing boat with a 40 Hp 2002 Suzuki 4 stroke tiller. Because of this I wont be doing much fishing out of the inflatable boat unless I want to go to a remote body of water with no boat ramp. So besides hunting trips the boat will be used for recreation and cruising around on warm days in fresh water. In all reality the boat wont see too much use.

I also have a 25 hp 2006 yamaha 2 stroke tiller. This is what I planned to use for hunting trips because it is portable and only 100lbs.

Because the main use of this boat is for Alaska trips the boat needs to perform and be reliable. If something happens to the boat the whole trip is over. Being on a remote Alaska coastline is not the place to have equipment fail. Also the seas can get rough so I need to find the balancing act between larger better handling boats and smaller more portable boats.

From my research my ideal boat would be a Gemini Surf 400, but I cant find any in stock on this continent so that is probably out of the question. It seems these cat hull boats can handle rougher water and still be a fun cruiser in nicer weather. The Surf would be great because it has the closed off bow as compared to the open bows like most inflatable cats.

How much of a performance increase do you see on boats equipped with speed tubes? Are they faster and do they handle better in rougher water than equivalent boats without the speed tubes (Compare the Zodiac Classic MKII HD VS Zodiac Futura MKII HD)?

Because of my location (midwest) I cant go to a local dealer and check any inflatables out. That’s why this used one 300 miles away seemed like a good route. More than likely I will have to ship one to me.
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Old 21 April 2009, 18:25   #7
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The Zodiac Futura has been around for ages. The latest model comes in a number of sizes from 3.7m - 4.5m, with the option of an inflatable floor (FR), wood composite (ST) and aluminium (HD). Still has speed tubes and inflatable keel, however the main sponsons are oversized - probably the biggest change.

I've had Zodiacs for over 20 years and swear by them. I had a Zodiac MKII CGT for 18 years. It finally gave up the ghost after the seams failed. As the boat was manufactured in 1986 the seams were on top (under the rope collar and rowlocks). Trouble with this design is that the PVC was subjected to extremes of temperature during the day and eventually it developed leaks over time. Zodiac eventually moved the seams underneath the sponsons. Although I professionally repaired it (including the end cones), I lost faith in the structural integrity of the boat, especially as I was using it on the west coast of Scotland (Atlantic).

To go back to your original query. The best thing about this boat is that it's been inflated and stored on a trailer or under cover and in a garage. Regular inflating and deflating and folding all take their toll on the PVC fabric.

Price-wise, Zodiacs have never been particularly cheap, and with an engine, trailer and remotes and it all adds up. To give you a comparison a brand-new Mk2 Futura HD would be 3,300 GBP around $4,800 USD
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Old 21 April 2009, 18:49   #8
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Add a new 4-stroke Mariner engine with remotes and it will cost 7,000 GBP rising to over 8,000 if you opt for a 50hp Evinrude E-Tec. (By the way this is for a long-shaft engine - which the new Futura Mk2 uses). Add in a trailer and you're looking at 8,750 ($12,800 USD). A tidy sum.

The boat for sale looks in good condition, although I'd want to service the engine thoroughly to be sure it's up to the job (especially if you're planning to use it to head up the coast of Alaska. (New impeller, sparks, clean thermostat, change gear oil, drain fuel filter, renew starter rope, clean carbs, lube linkages and grease nipple points).

The Futura will handle most beachings on sand and round stones, but for ease, a 30hp (2-stroke) is about as big as I would go, especially if you're hauling up a beach at night. Remember you'll be carrying water, fuel, camping gear, etc. Some waterproof plastic drums will be a must, well lashed down.

Not so sure about the Gemini Surf 400. I'd be looking for more boat for my money, and the reassurance of a closed transom so you're not taking onboard water, especially if you're in a choppy sea. The Gemini Dive 470 looks like a good boat. Not unlike the old Zodiac Mk3 Grand-Raid. The daddy of Zodiacs, the original go-anywhere, load to the gunwales, type of craft. That's my tuppence worth!
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Old 22 April 2009, 01:23   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spartacus View Post
Not so sure about the Gemini Surf 400. I'd be looking for more boat for my money, and the reassurance of a closed transom so you're not taking onboard water, especially if you're in a choppy sea. The Gemini Dive 470 looks like a good boat. Not unlike the old Zodiac Mk3 Grand-Raid. The daddy of Zodiacs, the original go-anywhere, load to the gunwales, type of craft. That's my tuppence worth!
The Gemini Surf 400 has a closed transom. The Dive 470 would be a little more similar to an FC-470, but without a center keel & with bigger speed tubes known as hijackers.
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Old 22 April 2009, 10:31   #10
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Praire Tuber - could you clear out some PM's? Its saying you are full.
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