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Old 03 August 2014, 16:18   #1
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Which Zodiac/Bombard would perform better...

I'm thinking about the safety of the following boats if, worse case scenario, I were to get caught 10 miles offshore in rough weather. For now, I need to self-launch from my vehicle and do not want a motor heavier than a 20hp 4 stroke, which I know I can handle.

Considering each boat's combination of length, weight, hull type and relative power, which Zodiac/Bombard body would perform better in CHOP/ROUGH SEAS, WITH A 20HP 4 stroke, carrying two adult males and spearfishing gear?

1) Bombard Aerotec 380 with deep V hull (43kg, 3.8m, max recommended power - 15hp, max allowed 25hp)

2) Zodiac MK2 Futura with inflatable floor (75kg, 4.1m, max recommended power - 20hp, max allowed 30hp)

3) Zodiak MK3 Futura with inflatable floor (81kg, 4.5m, max recommended power - 30hp, max allowed 40hp)

4) Zodiak Classic MK2 with aluminum floor (87kg, 4.2m, max recommended power - 30hp, max allowed 40hp)

Thank you!
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Old 03 August 2014, 18:02   #2
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Ok, I have nearly owned all 4 of your list, Bombard Aerotec, Zodiac Mk2C FR and Zodiac Mk3 FR, all used with 20-25hp 2 strokes. I have also owned a Zodiac Futura Sport, which was 4.2m had a composite floor, jockey console and 50hp Yamaha.

In terms of performance,there is not a lot in it (unless you include the Futura with Jockey console). They all perform well, and all prefer to skip over,rather than cut through the waves. They all felt safe and secure even in a decent amount of chop, with the Aerotec being the 'wetest' , especially against wind/tide. As you know, the V hull of the Aerotec is in a class of its own for V hulls, but the flat floor and speed tube/keel combo of the Futura FR's is even more rigid.

But if you are in bigger waves there is no substitute for size, so the Futura Mk3 wins hands down, the extra length gives you more confidence and with a crew member in the bow its sure footed, well balanced and doesnt want to take off. It will give 20 kts with 2 crew and gear and as long as you are brave get you back in 1 piece, if a little bruised .

The most important thing to remember is that no matter how good these boats are, they are just sibs and will never have the performance of a rib of similar length.

However, and I doubt you are going to like this, for serious wave bashing work I wouldnt choose any of them. Of all the sibs I have had, the most secure and comfortable to use in waves was a bog standard HonWave T40 with aluminium floor and a 20hp Yamaha. The tubes are bigger than the Zodiacs and you can comfortably sit on them and wedge yourself against the the opposite tube, the extra weight allows you to bash forward and the hull has at least an attempt at a V shape. But unlike all the boats on your list it wasnt portable and needed a trailer, it wasalso slower than any of the other boats.

Bombard Aerotec




Zodiac Futura Mk2C FR



Zodiac Futura Mk3 FR




Zodiac Futura Sport




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Old 03 August 2014, 18:03   #3
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well, l don't much about any of those boats, I use an old (1970) Zodiac. However I check the weather before dipping it in the sea and don't go out in rough weather. Ten miles out is a long way in an open boat. Realistically as soon as you're out of sight of other boats that feeling of isolation and vulnerability can set in.
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Old 03 August 2014, 20:54   #4
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Thank you Landlockedpirate!


The honwave sounds great, unfortunately where I live now I can't have a trailer so any RIB is out.

Regarding the Zodiacs, that is extremely useful information. The MK3 would surely be the best, my problem is I will often go out solo and I don't think I could manage installing a 25hp engine on my own too easily, and the 20 hp would be underpowered, no?

It appears the Aerotec 380 and the Futura MK2C FR were fairly comparable, but I wonder about the Futura MK2 FR. I love that it is bigger than the Aerotec 380 and would still fly with the same 20hp.

Do you -- or anyone else who has driven these two boats -- think the Futura MK2 FR would outperform the Aerotec 380 if they were taken out in rough waters with the same 20 hp engine?? It is a more expensive body but perhaps it is worth it.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 04 August 2014, 03:04   #5
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The Bombard and the MK2C are very similar in terms of performance, with the Futura being a bit more bouncy and slightly faster. The Futura is also significantly larger inside, it could carry 5 people comfortably where the Aerotec was 3 or 4.

I have run my MK3 with a 15hp 4 stroke and it jumped straight on the plane even with 3 big people on board, I wouldnt reject it purely on the need for a bigger engine.

But the reason the Bombard is so well liked as a portable sib is packability. Its easy to inflate and deflate, takes about 10 minutes from boot to water and is easily handled on your own. With the floor out, the Aerotec folds to the size of a standard 3m inflatable.

They are all good boats, but bigger is better in choppy water.
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Old 04 August 2014, 09:31   #6
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Landlocked -- you are just the guy I was hoping to find on here. Thank you for this very valuable information!

I would get a 20hp 4 stroke so it sounds like the MK3 wouldn't feel underpowered. How about it's packability? If the Bombard only takes 10 minutes, how long does the MK3 take with a good power pump? And how long did the MK2C take?
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Old 04 August 2014, 10:02   #7
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I use the Bravo high pressure pump for the boats, set up times are all pretty similar with the Aerotec the quickest to the Mk3 being the slowest, simply because it has bigger tubes and they take longer to fill.

But I cant handle the uninflated MK3 on my own, its a 2 person lift. The Aerotec and the Mk3 could be picked up on my own, just.

There is another negative if you are looking at new Mk3's, they take a long shaft outboard, heavier and more difficult to store. (Older ones up to 06 ish take short)
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Old 04 August 2014, 10:51   #8
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Again, excellent info!

It makes me lean towards the MK2 -- slightly bigger than the Aerotec and MK2C, but more maneuverable than the MK3.

I'd give up 16 inches in length though. Do you think the greater onshore struggle of the MK3 is justified offshore by that extra length?
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Old 04 August 2014, 11:28   #9
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You do have another option: Buy a 4 to 5 meter trailered RIB and store it away from home. Lot safer for what you plan on doing.

I'm a little surprised that more SoCal guys haven't been on this thread. There's a few that do the crossing fairly often.

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Old 04 August 2014, 11:29   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shafe View Post

I'd give up 16 inches in length though. Do you think the greater onshore struggle of the MK3 is justified offshore by that extra length?
Yes absolutely.

Although I would not want to be ten miles out in any of them. I'd shake a kidney loose long before getting back to the dock.
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