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Old 20 September 2014, 06:40   #1
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Zodiac Futura - Opinions & glue issues?

I have the chance of viewing a 3.5m Futura airfloor tomorrow and wanted to seek opinions.

I know they cost about twice that of a standard Cadet/Fastroller Zodiac when new and understand they are quite "sporty" going well for a given outboard size.

I searched this forum and the net last night and was taken aback at just how prone they seem to transom/floor/fittings glue failure.. almost more than any other inflatable. It seems to happen all of a sudden & sometimes when unpacked at the start of a season.

Looking at Ebay sold listings their prices seem very low compared to new costs and most have this or that leak/glue issue declared.

Any thoughts appreciated.
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Old 20 September 2014, 07:10   #2
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Its the same glue used throughout the Zodiac/Bombard range, I have had different ones fail from an AX2 right up to a Futura MK2. You see more about glue failure on Aerotecs and Futuras because they are expensive boats and people try to save them.

In my experience the failure is speeded up by sun exposure and also by the colour of the boat (dark colours absorb more heat ? ) Red are more prone, then grey and lastly white.

You can actually tell when the boat is about to fail, if the glue lifts anywhere on the boat then its all about to go. Life of the glue seems to be anywhere between 10 and 15 years.

But to go against all of the above I have had a Red Futura Junior since 1991, its kept in Spain and only used in extreme temperatures, still good as new, no signs of glue lifting at all !?!

As for prices, I must admit they are low when compared to new, which makes them a fantastic bargain used.
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Old 20 September 2014, 08:40   #3
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Thanks that seems a good overview. It has to come down to a personal choice really of taking the chance you may unpack next year to find its either massive repairs or scrap.

Do you find there is anything special about the performance/handling to make them worth the risk?
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Old 20 September 2014, 09:02   #4
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I have had about 30 sibs, including an Aerotec. But I have had 4 Futuras, a Junior, Mk2C FR, Sport and a MK3 FR, the Futuras are a very special boat. Air floor is rock solid, boat is stable, speed tubes give it an even more rigid feel and allow a stupid turn of speed for a sib.

I really think they are the top of the tree, and the new price reflects this.

Downside ? Tubes are not as big as some and they dont have seats on the FR's (You sit of the rather comfy floor ),you dont get oars or oar locks and unless you are at displacement speed you need to have a brave throttle hand to get the best performance. But I think the eye watering new prices areprobably why there are so few about, a MK3 is now close to 5k new !
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Old 20 September 2014, 09:22   #5
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Hmmm... you see I hate things with no longevity. I keep all my older gear so well it often looks years newer than it is and the though of all that care being "wasted" if the structure fails I find frustrating.

As the tubes are no problem and the transom looks stronger than most I just wonder as soon as the glue starts to fail if a pro Rib repairer transom and floor re-glue might be an economic prospect rather than scrapping... just a thought??

>>>you need to have a brave throttle hand to get the best performance

Do you mean they are twitchy in particular or just the usual SIB at high speed thing?
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Old 20 September 2014, 09:53   #6
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Hmmm... you see I hate things with no longevity. I keep all my older gear so well it often looks years newer than it is and the though of all that care being "wasted" if the structure fails I find frustrating.

As the tubes are no problem and the transom looks stronger than most I just wonder as soon as the glue starts to fail if a pro Rib repairer transom and floor re-glue might be an economic prospect rather than scrapping... just a thought??

>>>you need to have a brave throttle hand to get the best performance

Do you mean they are twitchy in particular or just the usual SIB at high speed thing?

Repair is easy, cheap and straight forward, it just takes lots and lots of time. Not a problem DIY, but very expensive if you take it to a professional.

Nope, not twitchy at all, its just that they ride much better in the air going accross the top of the waves, it gets pretty bouncy, but its a lot of fun.
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Old 20 September 2014, 10:09   #7
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Very useful thanks.... time not an issue as early retired. Have the space and adaptable skills too I reckon... but would I trust self and family in something I'd glued together???

I wonder what a pro transom replacement would be though. 100.... 250... 500??

I'll not buy it if it is already failing big time but if I could at least finish off this year's boating (to about Oct) then if there are issues when unpacking next spring repairing is worth considering... all at the right purchase price though.

Off to look at some "how to" threads and see if there is anything on Youtube.
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Old 21 September 2014, 14:41   #8
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Oh well no glue repairs to do. The 3.5m Futura (it was my guess as to model when the seller said a 3.5m air floor Zodiac) turned out to be a 3.4m Acti-V air floor in very nice condition.
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Old 22 September 2014, 01:27   #9
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Quote:
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Oh well no glue repairs to do. The 3.5m Futura (it was my guess as to model when the seller said a 3.5m air floor Zodiac) turned out to be a 3.4m Acti-V air floor in very nice condition.
So did it follow you home?
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Old 22 September 2014, 04:09   #10
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Yes it did thanks Peter.

It wasn't exactly what we'd been looking at but, as is usual in the UK, the boat, genuine Zodiac launch wheels and outboard came for about what the outboard would sell for on its own next spring so it's a good value way of reminding ourselves if a 3.4m air floor and 15hp combo works for our current "two people + dog, day trip in the car & assemble/take down each time" type needs.
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