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Old 17 May 2018, 14:02   #1
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What to buy - Aerotec/ Honwave/ F-Rib?

So, as mentioned in my intro, I am looking at buying my first SIB. Have lived by the coast forever and done some kayaking, sailing and cruising but never had my own boat, all been holidays and friends stuff.

We were looking at a 6-7m trailerable Pilothouse (Jeaneau/Parker/Quicksilver) initially as our first boat but having researched the SIBS they could do a lot of what I would initially do in the hard boat and be a lot easier on the transportation and the wallet until we get some sea miles under our belt

My research and through reading a lot of all your posts on here leads me to a shortlist of the Aerotec/ Honwave Airfloor / or F-Rib but I just wanted to get some pro's and con's from the experiences on here before taking the plunge. My criteria (as far as I know them ) are:

Cost: up to circa £3k (i.e. not brand new) and also will need to purchase basic safety kit etc.
Usage: Close inshore on Kent coast for fishing and then holidays in Dorset and Argyle/Bute (seen to many of Gurnards' videos!! )
PoB: max persons on board will be 3, more often 2 up and occasional solo fishing trips.
Size: minimum is 3.2 upto 3.8 probably
O/B: Probably 10hp+, doesn't have to be uber fast but needs to be able to plane
Transportation: Will be in the back of a van/4x4 so transport isn't a problem. Will be launched by hand though (very few slipways in S Kent) so needs to be manageable hence airfloor not solid. Comfortable lifting 45kg (2 bags of sand) but...... obviously lighter the better

So what else do you need to know?

Sort of questions I have on my mind are:
1. Size - will a 3.2m be a bit small for two of us to travel/fish in comfort? Is it worth going "large" for the bit extra weight?
2. Been a bit put off 2nd hand Honwaves by the problems with the air floor...... never having bought/used one before not sure I would be able to spot a problem one prior to purchase
3. What are the advantages of an aerotec over honwave (they generally seem to be more expensive)
4. Does the F-Rib design allow you to get away with a lighter/smaller engine because it planes better (solid floor)
5. Really dumb one here - do any of you find the lack of any seats with a back on them uncomfortable/tiring after a long session boating?

There you go - tried to cover everything I see asked on the various "which SIB" threads, but bound to have missed something

But if you could pile in with advice/thoughts/ideas that would be great

Cheers,

MM
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Old 17 May 2018, 14:44   #2
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Quite a jump from a 6m hardboat with wheelhouse to a 3.2m sib!

Your question 5 is definitely not dumb. Without doubt the best upgrade I have made to my boat for all day boating is adding backrests. Iím not sure if any of the sit on top kayak seats could be adapted for sib use.
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Old 17 May 2018, 15:01   #3
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Yeh, I had got pretty well into thinking a hardboat was the way to go, mainly for fishing use in the channel. But it would probably be marina based down here as launching facilities are very few and then I got into all the vid's about the Western Highlands and exploring the coast and that kinda switched me onto SIB's.

Also on the basis you always end up changing your first boat, a SIB is a lot cheaper way into boating than a hard boat. Also has the upside that if we do eventually go hard boat I might be able to use a SIB as a tender for exploring and the hard boat for sleepovers...

Cheers,

MM
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Old 17 May 2018, 15:28   #4
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OK....

1. Size - will a 3.2m be a bit small for two of us to travel/fish in comfort? Is it worth going "large" for the bit extra weight?

If you are keeping to an air floor then both Aerotec and Honwaves are manageable and the extra room over a 3.2 is very welcome.... for people's space and seakeeping. I think the Frib 360 is only a few kg more than an Aerotec.


2. Been a bit put off 2nd hand Honwaves by the problems with the air floor...... never having bought/used one before not sure I would be able to spot a problem one prior to purchase.

I'm not sure what problem you've read of... they are very durable... or do you mean the few folks (the minority) who are sensitive to a little flex?


3. What are the advantages of an Aerotec over Honwave (they generally seem to be more expensive)

The Aerotec is the only air floor that has a deep V that continues to the transom. Hence it gives a softer ride in a chop and has a particularly natural transition getting on the plane... far less bow rise and waiting to get over the hump. The downside (but not for me) is the sharper V to the internal floor is no so suited to fishing. Also the Aerotec floor comes out leaving a normal separate bottom material... so if there is damage underneath this will often be held back from puncturing the HP air floor. With the Honwave the bottom is the air floor.


4. Does the F-Rib design allow you to get away with a lighter/smaller engine because it planes better (solid floor)

Yes that is very much the feedback from folks... perhaps 4-5kts more for a given OB size.


5. Really dumb one here - do any of you find the lack of any seats with a back on them uncomfortable/tiring after a long session boating?


I'm 62 and not at all. I can sit on the tube and tiller steer for ages. Mrs F sits on the seat and that suits her.


I've had loads of SIBs and have moved onto the Aerotec as our perfect model. They are expensive new or used so I often say the Honwave is a safer bet for folks starting out with SIBs. For me the Frib does not suit my car packing arrangements because the hull of a 360 for example is larger than the packed Aerotec and not flexible in the same way as a deflated SIB. Not an issue for you with a van though. Also some folks who have owned Aerotec and Frib in the same time period have reported on the comparison and their conclusions lean towards the Aerotec for what I'm looking for. If you want outright speed on glassy calm then it's a Frib all the way... but that's not what we do.

In truth though Aerotec, Honwave and Frib will all get you a good day out and safely back. The importance of their differences is very much a personal choice.
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Old 17 May 2018, 15:43   #5
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Awesome info thanks Fenlander (hope you enjoyed the Chinese )

With the V hull on your Aerotec, is it less suitable for fishing as it doesn't ride as well at anchor/drifting or is it because the floor is not as flat as a Honwave?

On one of the vid's I have looked at it looks like the V has a skin between the ribs, does this just sink into the bottom of the V when you stand on it? Also does stuff get lost under this skin in the "bilge" until you collapse the boat and does this become wet if you are taking on spray/how do you bail? (or maybe I am just overthinking it )

I haven't seen any Aerotec's with wheels fitted to the transom like the Honwaves, do most people trailer or is it as easy as a Honwave to beach assemble/inflate and launch?

Much appreciate the input (and trying not to look at the Aerotec for sale on here at the moment)

Cheers,

MM
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Old 17 May 2018, 18:11   #6
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RE fishing purely as the ultimate would be the flat alloy floor models with greater width like the Honwave 3.5/4.0m models.

No the flap of material between the V stays taught when you stand on it. Yes it is possible to lose stuff if it goes in either bow or stern end. If you need to bail it can be done at the stern as the join flap stops short of the transom. Actually this is an advantage of the Aerotec over Honwave and Frib… a fair bit of water can sit between air floor and outer skin before your feet get wet.... with the other two the slightest water gets you wet.

It's just chance you haven't seen an Aerotec with transom wheels... the majority have them... either removable or flip up. I have the removable OE Zodiac type. See this thread... Transom wheels for Aerotec


Oh if you can easily manage the weight of that Mercury 20 the 2016 outfit on here would be one hell of a start into sibbing!
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Old 18 May 2018, 05:36   #7
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Great info thanks, just been reading the old thread by Max on his experiences with the 380 - very interesting, especially the rubber matting in the bottom.

The SIB will be mixed use so fishing probably 50% of time or less not primary use,

I presume with the 380 I will end up buying oars (do you glue fix rowlocks?), wheels, and need to look into how I will carry engine as as you and others have mentioned a 20hp 4 stroke is a bit of a lump! A bit like Max most of my local launching here is on shelving pebble beach so need to think how I get stuff up and down the beach.

Would I be right in thinking the 380 is a bit lighter than a honwave or is the difference not noticeable in practice? Does anyone launch by two people just carrying the SIB down to the water or do you all use transom wheels/trolleys?

Cheers,

MM
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Old 18 May 2018, 06:03   #8
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The T38 Honwave is only around 3-4kg heavier so not much in it. Far easier to carry a SIB with 3 folks... one each side near transom and one at bow. With two it's hard to get the balance point as the lift handles are never in the right place. The Aerotec is a little easier in this respect as you will see it has a grab "rail" all along the tube top with frequent hand cut-outs so easier to get a balance. It still cuts into wet hands on a longer beach carry though.

And that will be without the OB on and no kit in the boat. If you load them up then carrying two up is near impossible.

The Aerotec comes with two paddles and as I always have crew so that suits me. I regard them as a last ditch way of moving short distances so I'm happy that they aren't like proper rowing.

Couple of guys here have neatly removed a section of the Aerotec grab rail and replaced it with glue on rowlocks then they use oars.
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Old 18 May 2018, 06:28   #9
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Good to really think this through before buying if you are going straight in around £3k. Many of us have started with lesser SIBs and smaller OBs then worked up to our ideal solution.

Value plays a big part. That used Aerotec outfit on here is great value at £3k but... if the Honwave T38 suited you could get a brand new one plus a brand new Suzuki 20hp and transom wheels all in for £3480 or perhaps less as a package. From here for example... https://www.elyboatchandlers.com/

If Max's experiences were of interested this might be too... my first experience of using an Aerotec myself... Old used Aerotec impressions.
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Old 18 May 2018, 07:17   #10
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Yep sound advice and part of what I am thinking about.

On top of the boat and engine I will need pump, anchor, safety basics (lifejackets etc), probably want to get a handheld VHF as well as I will re-use that over time so all of that will add up.

Therefore there is an attraction even to a new Honwave and used decent engine which would allow me to budget maybe upto £500 for all the extra's.

Really appreciate all the input, I like to research stuff properly not just dive in

Cheers,

MM
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