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Old 16 April 2012, 14:19   #1
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HELP: Zodiac Futura Reviews...

Hi peeps!

First post here!

I am after peoples reviews of the Zodiac Futura inflatables, in particular I am interested in the Mark 3 HD with 60hp.

Currently when I go away to my family's holiday home in Mallorca I have a Zodiac Yacht line 3.4m tender/rib with 2 stroke Yamaha 25hp outboard motor to play with. I have had this for about 8 years now, and it has served its purpose really well being great fun during long summer holidays, especially towing a rubber ring, we even managed to do skiing with it and with 2 people in the boat!

Its now time to upgrade, and I have always loved the idea of getting a proper sports rib, say about 5m long with proper seats/steering (I steer via the tiller handle and we sit on the tubes at present!) and a decent sized engine (100hp plus) etc etc. Unfortunately this wont be possible, well it is, but the problem is it will be far too much hassle. It all comes down to weight of the boat/engine. We are fortunate enough to have a slip way and crane in our apartment block, BUT unfortunately it would be VERY awkward to manoeuvre/carry a boat up onto the slip way, a trailer cannot really be used. We can only manage a boat that 2 people can carry/move together, so now you can see weight is a very important issue.

This is one of the reasons why I like the look of the Zodiac Futuras, the mark 3 HD is 4.5m long and can take 60hp. The boat weighs 116kg and can be dismantled, and roughly a 60hp 2 stroke engine would be 100kg hopefully less?! So in other words I think my father and I could just about manage it together. I can manage my 3.4m rib (75kg) and 25hp engine (50kg) just about on my own, but my father helps me when I need it.
I just worry about the weight of the 60hp engine, hence why I would prefer to get a 2 stroke! At present, when bringing the boat in at the end of the holiday, I remove the engine from the boat in the water just in front of the slip way and carry it out of the water myself, I do wonder if I could cope with a 60hp engine, I think I would struggle A LOT but then I saw on the zodiac website you can get transom wheels for the Futura! Zodiac Marine - Accessories - Launching wheels This will solve my problem assuming it can take the weight of the engine whilst on the boat? As then I could pull the boat up onto the slipway to below the crane and crane it up to the boat house, never needing to remove the engine!

Right I have waffled on far too much, the reason for me coming on here is because I think the Futura mark 3 HD ticks all the boxes at present, fast, fun and light for its size and has seats/steering! The only other thing I'm worried about other than engine weight is the actual design of the hull with speed tubes. I assume this will make the ride a lot more bouncier and harsher than a rib as it will not cut through the water like a rib will. I have watched a few videos on you tube and tried searching google for reviews but no real luck. Everyone using these inflatables are using them in very very calm waters from what I can see. Fortunately Mallorca is in the Med which is fairly calm, well it looks calm compared to the River Themes here! lol. But there can be a bit of swell/waves from big boats etc in Mallorca, which is why I normally stick closish to the coastline.

So how do these Futura inflatables cope in slightly rough/choppy water? I found this video and would say the water looks like a good day compared to the water around where I am in Mallorca so I think I would just about cope on an average day, but I worry how the Futura copes in slightly rougher waters. I can imagine it bounces about a hell of a lot. Don't get me wrong, my little 3.4m rib bounces a lot in choppier waters and you have to hold on for dear life sometimes if trying to go full throttle! lol. But how would a 4.5m Futura fair? I guess being that much longer than my current rib will help, but still?!


So please tell me your reviews of the futura inflatables, and are there any other inflatables or very light weight ribs I should consider?! I'm looking for a manageable step up from my current boat without the need for a trailer!


Finally where is good/cheap to buy brand new (or 2nd hand even) Zodiac Futura mark 3 HD with 60hp engine or just inflatables/ribs in general?


Thanks very much for your time!

James
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Old 16 April 2012, 14:30   #2
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You need a crane or engine hoist to remove a 60hp. Its too bulky, awkward, and risky to manhandle it on and off without dropping it on the skeg or worse. I have had transom wheels and they are "ok" but its alot harder to pull 200+kg of boat uphill than you think.

The basically soft bottom Futura is a decent hull but doesn't handle rough water well compared to an actual RIB. It may work well for you, but you also may decide its not as much of an "upgrade" than you expect or want. Have you considered getting an actual RIB on a trailer and launching it down the street someplace and only tying it up at your place temporarily?
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Old 16 April 2012, 15:31   #3
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I've got a mk2 futura 3.8m with 25hp 2 stroke, so smaller and much lighter than what your looking at buying
It's fairly easy to move with transom wheels attached however it's still quite heavy with fuel tank, outboard etc so I wouldn't want to move it too far, personally I couldn't manage anything heavier than 25hp (52kg) to lift onto transom, in/out of car etc
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Old 16 April 2012, 20:40   #4
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I've always rated the Futura Mk3 HD.

Had one for about four or five years, now, that we use for fishing in the North Sea off of Essex and Suffolk.

Handles a chop admirably, and doesn't get upset when it encounters really lumpy conditions.

We sometimes head out twelve miles offshore, usually in the middle of winter, so full confidence in the boat's ability is essential.

If you click the link in my signature you should find some videos of ours. One them was filmed rattling along in some fairly choppy conditions.

Reminds me, I've got tons of fishing footage from over the years. Must get around to doing something with it.
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Old 16 April 2012, 20:55   #5
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Old 16 April 2012, 20:56   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captnjack View Post
You need a crane or engine hoist to remove a 60hp. Its too bulky, awkward, and risky to manhandle it on and off without dropping it on the skeg or worse. I have had transom wheels and they are "ok" but its alot harder to pull 200+kg of boat uphill than you think.

The basically soft bottom Futura is a decent hull but doesn't handle rough water well compared to an actual RIB. It may work well for you, but you also may decide its not as much of an "upgrade" than you expect or want. Have you considered getting an actual RIB on a trailer and launching it down the street someplace and only tying it up at your place temporarily?
I will only use the transom wheels to pull the boat out of the water and onto/up the slipway to below the crane, to then crane up to the boat deck level and then wheel the boat into the boat house near by. I can imagine pulling 230ish kg out of the water on tansom wheels will be hard even for two people, but hopefully still managable just about! if not I can hook up the crane's cable to the front of the boat to help pull it up onto the slip way and out of the water. Unfortunately our slip way is steep and at the bottom of the slip way is two steps. The water level is level with the middle step so it will be awkard to pull boat out, but should be possible. I was thinking I could always get the transom wheels "beefed up" by having say a metal plate welded onto it and then drilling a couple more holes into the transom to secure it to.

I would love to get another bigger RIB as you say and launch it from somewhere else as you suggest, but unfortunately we don't have a car out there, plus nowhere to store a trailer either! My boat is secured to a mooring and is only brought in and out at the beginning and end of the holiday, so it must be manageable for me and my father who isn't getting any younger! lol.

Here are three pics so you can see the set up better...





and a pic of my little 3.4m Zodiac (its the one in the middle) moored up...





Quote:
Originally Posted by thestig1973 View Post
I've got a mk2 futura 3.8m with 25hp 2 stroke, so smaller and much lighter than what your looking at buying
It's fairly easy to move with transom wheels attached however it's still quite heavy with fuel tank, outboard etc so I wouldn't want to move it too far, personally I couldn't manage anything heavier than 25hp (52kg) to lift onto transom, in/out of car etc
Do your transom wheels cope well with the weight? A "classic mark 2c" 3.8m weighs 77kg with a 52kg engine = 129kg then fuel etc say roughly 150kg for round figures, so thats roughly 80kg less than the mk3 4.5m with 60hp engine. Do you think the transom wheels you have could with stand a further 80kg of weight? I only need to move the boat about 15m MAX in total on the wheels to get it in the boat house! Tho I would hope the transom wheels for the biggest Futura are stronger than the ones for the smaller Futuras, though I guess Zodiac would have just produced one strong enough for all of them?!

Like I said I could always get the transom wheels "beefed up" at a metal work/welders shop. Oh yea, I am assuming the transom wheels can be attached to the boat WHILST its in the water, is this correct?!


Any more experiences on how the Futuras handle in rougher waters?

Cheers
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Old 16 April 2012, 21:08   #7
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Originally Posted by Sharkbyte View Post
I've always rated the Futura Mk3 HD.

Had one for about four or five years, now, that we use for fishing in the North Sea off of Essex and Suffolk.

Handles a chop admirably, and doesn't get upset when it encounters really lumpy conditions.

We sometimes head out twelve miles offshore, usually in the middle of winter, so full confidence in the boat's ability is essential.

If you click the link in my signature you should find some videos of ours. One them was filmed rattling along in some fairly choppy conditions.

Reminds me, I've got tons of fishing footage from over the years. Must get around to doing something with it.
Great reply thanks! love this vid too! Zodiac in Choppy Water on Vimeo

I'm in Essex, where abouts are you?! Which Futura do you have and what size engine has it got? Also do you have the standard seats? Just wondering because if so they obviously are up to the task of taking a battering by the looks of things! (as mine will no doubt!)

As for going 12 miles offshore, got to say that impresses me, you obviously trust your boat!


Quote:
Originally Posted by HCD Canada View Post
If you want performance and light weight here is your answer New boats | Thundercat Racing UK
LOL love that! but I think my dad will have a heart attach! Plus where are the chicas going to sit?!
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Old 16 April 2012, 21:17   #8
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I'm also in Essex. We have the Mk3 HD with a 30hp Mariner 2 stroke.

Seats are standard. Never had a problem with them.

You do get some odd looks from the more 'substantial' vessels when you go past them at the ten mile mark and the air temp is minus 6. I like to think that they find it reassuring having us in the area should their sea cock burst and they sink. Lol
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Old 17 April 2012, 03:01   #9
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Transom wheels would be fine with the extra weight and you'd easily manage to move it such a short distance (15m)
Not experienced choppy water yet in futura but I reckon it'd cope well
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Old 17 April 2012, 06:04   #10
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Originally Posted by Sharkbyte View Post
I'm also in Essex. We have the Mk3 HD with a 30hp Mariner 2 stroke.

Seats are standard. Never had a problem with them.

You do get some odd looks from the more 'substantial' vessels when you go past them at the ten mile mark and the air temp is minus 6. I like to think that they find it reassuring having us in the area should their sea cock burst and they sink. Lol
Don't suppose you ever come to sunny southend in your boat?!

Good stuff about your seats! So you have the mk3 HD which is the one I'm looking at, 4.5m with aluminium floor. Out of interest how does the boat cope with 30HP? looks fine in your videos! Do you ever wish you had another 30HP on tap? I plan to do a lot of water sports so want the max size engine possible!

and yes I can imagine you do get a few weird looks from bigger boats that far out!

Quote:
Originally Posted by thestig1973 View Post
Transom wheels would be fine with the extra weight and you'd easily manage to move it such a short distance (15m)
Not experienced choppy water yet in futura but I reckon it'd cope well
That's good to hear you think that the transom wheels will take the weight. Do you even think I will need to get them strengthened up to be on the safe side? and can they be fitted whilst the boat is in the water?

Cheers guys.
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