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Old 08 September 2011, 06:30   #1
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Zodiac Fastroller 360 Acti-V holiday report.

Soon after buying my new Zodiac Fastroller 360 I posted a mini review... Zodiac Fastroller 360 Acti-V mini-review ... but only after one river trip. Now it's been on our hols to Scotland and been in salt water here's a better review and several images.

We stayed for 10days in the Kyle of Lochalsh area, a cottage just above Loch Duich and only 5mins drive from the Dornie bridge slipway. The air floor 360 just packs into the car with 15hp Mariner, tank, transom wheels, Bravo pump, lifejackets and all its kit leaving room for one case and a few coats on top. The teens cases go in the footwell and on the back seat between them. Space is tight.

Image of it as travelled to launch sites after all the normal luggage taken out...


By fenlander2 at 2011-08-30

Our nearest launch was the Dornie slipway beside the community hall which has toilets, changing and washing facilities 8am-8pm in summer... ideal. Free parking and no slip charges but there's a donation box and I put something in each day. Slipway is the old ferry one from the early 1900s and a bit bumpy with cobbles which the transom wheels just coped with...


By fenlander2 at 2011-08-30

Always sheltered and with just a mild cross current at certain times as the water went in/out of Loch Long under the bridge.

The four of us soon had inflating and deflating down to a well organised drill, massively helped by the Bravo pump which took the effort out. There is no doubt an air floor is a benefit for daily use with no trailer.

Performance was excellent with around 19mph on the GPS four up (total 40 stone) and a maximum 23mph two up. It would pop on the plane in seconds with the 15hp 2-stroke.

The flexy nature of the air floor was fine. It never suffered problems getting on the plane or falling off again. This feeling other air floor users mention of a "hump" of water passing under the boat at times was there but it was just noticeable rather than a problem. As I mentioned elsewhere the floor feels very hard to a slap but if you stand on it and sway there is flexing. We did notice when it was a little choppy it's very comfortable on the legs, particularly when I knelt down for a while in a bar crossing type situation where I know a bouncing hard floor would have been jarring.

In pictures you'll notice I fitted a second seat to the alternative position provided... and an under seat bag. Both really useful extras.

Video of self and teens leaving the Dornie slip. Worth clicking on the 720HD tab and watching full screen.... Scotland does give so above average boating backdrops!



We also launched from the Plockton slipway about a 15min drive away. Nice smooth slip with adj free parking and no slip charges... like Dornie it had a donations box which I added to. Lots of places to get food too within seconds walk of the slip. Modern pontoon next to the slip and we were told that was free too for short term use by our small boat.


By fenlander2 at 2011-08-30

Wake shot just ten minutes from Plockton slip... it's in a superb location for scenery.


By fenlander2 at 2011-08-30

Next a closer shot of the boat itself on the Plocktoon pontoon.


By fenlander2 at 2011-09-08

And a wider shot showing the super location.


By fenlander2 at 2011-08-30

Finally a wake video as we turned in a gentle circle just off Plockton. Shows the two up performance onto the plane from low speed... about 17mph in the turn and maxed out at 23mph towards the end.



All in all the 360 Fastroller was roomy, comfy, very stable, easy to do the daily slip inflate/deflate, good performance and as good in a chop as a normal SIB could be. Having said that this brilliant holiday boating could have been achieved the same in any similar size inflatable... and next year it might be.

Some will remember this Fastroller is a warranty replacement for the original which had a cone seam issue. Sady this one too has a couple of quality issues and it is currently back with Zodiac for a full refund!

It seems in the quest for ultimate lightness... and to keep the price £1000 cheaper than the Classic/Futura models... these very latest Fastrollers may have had inevitable compromises made which go against what I was seeking in a brand new boat.
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Old 08 September 2011, 08:51   #2
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Country: UK - Scotland
Make: Bombard Aerotec 380
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Nice one mate! Good to read as that boat was basically second on my list, after the BOMBIE! What issues have sent the boat back this time, out of interest?

Your boot of car looks like mine does/did!!! I have a legacy estate. I got a very cheap roof rack and now strap the boat in the bag onto that. I can also fit a drybag with some "gubbins" in it, life jackets, wet suits, flippers, snorkels etc etc This leaves room for all the other holiday shight that the family apparently require for 2 weeks. I have a trailer though, so will probably use that next time.

Plockton is an amazing place - was there with no boat last year (wishing I had a boat) but we are going back there again, so good to read about slips and pontoon. Did you get all your petrol requirements at Loch Duich??

Next year, pick the sunny week (!?!) and head around the summer isles, up from Ullapool - you'll love it - you can even play chicken with the Stornoway ferry!

Total nectar!
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Old 08 September 2011, 09:30   #3
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Nice write up David - shame about your second boat having problems though. Can you elaborate? My (your old) Fastroller is 10 years old and I cannot fault the construction, it's still like new all over. Like anything these days, manufacturers always seem to downgrade quality over time in the quest for 'progression'.

Personally I prefer the older style cone ends - I'm sure they are a better construction method and they do look neater.

Are you going to look at something else now?
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Old 08 September 2011, 12:46   #4
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Yes Plockton is brilliant... making investigations to go there next year for 10 days. Loch Carron and Loch Kishorn to explore and then a little further to creep along to Skye.

We covered 65mls that week which was a good shake down for the first time we'd been out with just a single inflatable.

I mentioned in another thread we did initially have an issue with the outboard in that the replacement Solas prop I'd fitted was totally unsuited to the setup but once replaced with the original Mariner prop it was fine.

Oh and the senses were on alert with the engine stopping a fair way out when I throttled back to chat about our destination choices. Realised after some minutes the fuel line had gone over the seat and daughter was kinking it against the hard seat edge as she sat on it. Once we realised and I'd re-primed it started OK but had to be revved to clear with no load as it had oiled itself up while struggling to pull the fuel through.

Regarding the issues with this Zodiac... suffice to say there were no major failures but I just had the feeling it would be suffering quite a few issues if kept into middle age which was our intention.

This was totally against my previous Zodiac experience of the earlier models which seem to stand up to age very well.

Yes Max I'm already scouring the ads and Ebay plus threads on other inflatable choices... ought to leave it a couple of months though for a winter bargain.
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Old 08 September 2011, 15:25   #5
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Great Pics and vids

We did Skye and Lochalsh Late July/Early August

Cant wait to get back up there next year !!

Handa Island and Summer Isles Next.
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Old 08 September 2011, 15:32   #6
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Great report, David!

Coincidentally, I was on holiday with my family on Syke at the same time you were there. We stayed in the old inn at Kylerhea (now a self-catering cottage) close to where the Glenelg car ferry docks. Here's a pic of the view from the inn, looking back toward the mainland (Loch Duich is a couple of miles around the corner on the left):



The tidal current that swept through the strait was impressive. At full flood it looked like a raging river. It was incredible to watch the small ferry navigate the rapids. I talked to the crew and they let me ride back and forth a few times. It would have been exciting to run through there on my Avon.

Though we spent most of our time exploring Skye, one day we took a drive around Loch Kishorn and over to Applecross. If you didn't have a chance to go that way, I highly recommend it.

Sadly, I didn't have access to a boat during our trip. I was very envious of the dozens of RIBs and SIBs I saw; it's definitely inflatable boat heaven!

Here's a gratuitous pic of one of the larger tour boats:

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Old 08 September 2011, 15:35   #7
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Darn, we could have had a RIB.net convention
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Old 08 September 2011, 17:49   #8
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Fenlander, where are your transom wheels? I notice the brackets aren't on the transom when the boat's in the water. Did you use them? What make are they?
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Old 08 September 2011, 18:14   #9
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It's funny you should have been about Delta... I did wonder if we'd meet any fellow forum members but mostly we saw and chatted to land based holidaymakers who were using the boat trips. One day we came out to the Skye bridge from Loch Duich and Mrs F asked "what's down there" pointing towards Kylerhea as we passed the north side of the narrows. I commented it was where the water went out like a bath plughole and it wasn't an ideal place for us once the tide was running.

Did you go to Elgol? We did without the boat to look at the hope we could launch on another day. There was a fair south westerly and it looked quite exposed going across to the Cuillins which is what we'd wanted to do. I think I noticed the same trip RIB as your image being moored up there.

g123 if you look at the image of the kit in the back of the car you can see one of the transom wheels. They are the smaller of the Zodiac models for the Fastroller and Cadet range. I chose them because they are far stronger than most of the aftermarket ones and as you've noticed once unclipped leave just a very small bracket on the boat. See the image of the Zodiac at the pontoon... if you click the yellow bar to max size it you can see the two small brackets for the wheels on the same line as the transom outboard pad. It is my opinion when you are packing the boat up daily you need transom wheels that leave almost nothing on the boat.... many sets leave a long sharp channel which can't do the fabric any good once it's packed up tight.

These Zodiac wheels are either on or off and don't fold up which suits my needs.
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Old 09 September 2011, 02:37   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fenlander View Post
I commented it was where the water went out like a bath plughole and it wasn't an ideal place for us once the tide was running.
Apt description!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fenlander View Post
Did you go to Elgol?
Yes, one day I got up early before the rest of the family was awake and drove down to Elgol for some freediving. The visibility was rather good but I was disappointed at the lack of fish life (it was the same when I dove off the beach at Kylerhea - at slack tide, mind you!)

On another day, my 15-year-old son and I hiked up Bla Bheinn in the Cuillins:



It was an excellent walk (in spite of a rather hairy climb up a scree slope to the saddle to the left of the ridge) and we were rewarded with a fantastic view of Elgol, Camasurnay, the Isle of Rum and the outer islands.



How did you cope with the evil midges???
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