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Old 12 August 2015, 16:30   #1
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Country: USA
Town: Kirkland
Boat name: SD365
Make: Saturn
Length: 3m +
Engine: 15HP Yamaha
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 6
Hello from US West Coast

Hi Everyone.
I have 12ft inflatable (Saturn SD365) with a 15HP Yamaha, high-pressure air floor and inflatable keel. It's mainly used for recreational purposes with up to 3 kids and 3 adults (when friends join us).

This is my first RIB, that I keep inflated all year, except for keel which gets in a way on a flatbed trailer. With a motor it's light enough to launch with a dolly wheels. For the off-season, I built an electric hoist that lifts boat with trailer against garage ceiling.

After couple of years of owning it, I realized that I probably want to change a few things:
  1. Too bouncy on waves
  2. Bends on waves under full load (5 adults)
  3. Need steering console with throttle and electric start
  4. Add seats and some bow storage

I've ordered an aluminum floor to replace bendable air floor, but I think it'll only allow me to address the 2nd issue and maybe somewhat help with 1st, since the inflatable v-keel probably can't cut the waves. And it's probably not a solid foundation to add console, controls and seats.

Does it make sense to keep an order for aluminum floor, or should I cancel it and plan to buy a real RIB with fiberglass v-hull for next season instead?
My concerns with buying new real RIB besides the price are:
  • Would my 15HP short shaft Yamaha still be enough?
    It's probably the most expensive part on which I would loose money.
  • How heavier it'll become?
    Flatbed trailer won't work, may need a boat trailer. Though this is already heavily customized tilting trailer, that I can keep converting into a boat trailer. Would it still be possible to launch or load it on a trailer with dolly wheels? Lifting existing one on trailer is a two man job.

Any recommendations are greatly appreciated.
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Old 13 August 2015, 11:06   #2
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Country: USA
Town: Oakland CA
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Hi, Tim (I assume), and welcome;

Your boat is a soft-bottom inflatable; referred to on here as a SIB (as opposed to a rigid hull inflatable, aka RIB.) No big deal there.

A traditional console takes up a fair amount of deck space, something that is at a premium on a small boat. There are other non-traditional systems, like the Zodiac helm-on-tube-frame job, but I rarely see those and can't really comment on them. Electric start is nice, but you then have a little more complexity and maintenance (and need to keep the battery somewhere.)

On my tiller steered 14'. 3 adults and 3 kids would have been about my max load for anything other than puttering around in flat calm water. Losing the kids (or one of the adults) would have been preferable to that. That said, I did once take out 7 divers and gear; it worked, but we weren't going far, we weren't going fast, and it was a one way trip; point being that the boat is probably far more capable than your comfort levels.

A small RIB will ride better than a small SIB, but it's not going to be a truck vs Cadillac kind of improvement. You'll still get tossed around and beaten up in rough water. Your best bet is to see if you can bum a ride in a boat similar to what you're looking for, and compare it to the ride of your current boat (tenders to larger boats will give you the comparison opportunity - maybe a bribe of a couple of beers would get you a ride?)

As far as specs go, it depends on the RIB build, so I won't speculate there. It will likely be considerably heavier than your SIB. It would likely take a bit more power than the 15 would provide. It will almost certainly require something other than a flatbed trailer (the Vee is rigid, so you need something to support that.)

jky
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Old 13 August 2015, 13:30   #3
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Country: USA
Town: Kirkland
Boat name: SD365
Make: Saturn
Length: 3m +
Engine: 15HP Yamaha
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 6
Thanks JKY, that brings some clarity.
The 3 adults + 3 kids scenario is something I'd like to cover, for cases when I invite some friends to join us, though I doubt reaching that load often.

It seems the basic hard floor upgrade would be a waste unless I intend to keep the SIB. A 12-14' RIB would appear more appropriate. I'd also have to upgrade my almost new 15HP Yama to whatever the new RIB would take (25+). This would add ~250lb to the overall weight and would force trailer launch only, but should still be OK for my garage hoist system. This should also make pulling someone behind the boat more feasible.

I rent a 20' Bayliner, which still bounced quite a bit at high speed, but certainly quite comfortable at cruising. Although traditional boats are more comfortable and used are even cheaper than a new good RIB, the storage and fuel efficiency is a big problem compared to RIBs it seems. I'd love to try some RIBs on a water, but majority of people I see on water around here are on yacht, traditional boat, PWC or basic inflatable with electric motor
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Old 14 August 2015, 12:42   #4
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Yeah, that's the problem in the US - RIB's are kind of a one-off.

RIB's are much more popular with the diving crowd than regular boaters. If you have any dive spots near you, it might be worth a trip or two to see what you can find.

jky
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Old 14 August 2015, 13:59   #5
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Country: USA
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Make: Zodiac RIB-P
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maybe a trip up to Vancouver. Lot's of RIB stuff happening up there. Call around and you can probably find a dealer or shop that has a bunch of different sizes.

Jason
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Old 18 August 2015, 17:49   #6
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Country: USA
Town: Long Beach
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timch View Post
Hi Everyone.
I have 12ft inflatable (Saturn SD365) with a 15HP Yamaha, high-pressure air floor and inflatable keel. It's mainly used for recreational purposes with up to 3 kids and 3 adults (when friends join us).

This is my first RIB, that I keep inflated all year, except for keel which gets in a way on a flatbed trailer. With a motor it's light enough to launch with a dolly wheels. For the off-season, I built an electric hoist that lifts boat with trailer against garage ceiling.

After couple of years of owning it, I realized that I probably want to change a few things:
  1. Too bouncy on waves
  2. Bends on waves under full load (5 adults)
  3. Need steering console with throttle and electric start
  4. Add seats and some bow storage

I've ordered an aluminum floor to replace bendable air floor, but I think it'll only allow me to address the 2nd issue and maybe somewhat help with 1st, since the inflatable v-keel probably can't cut the waves. And it's probably not a solid foundation to add console, controls and seats.

Does it make sense to keep an order for aluminum floor, or should I cancel it and plan to buy a real RIB with fiberglass v-hull for next season instead?
My concerns with buying new real RIB besides the price are:
  • Would my 15HP short shaft Yamaha still be enough?
    It's probably the most expensive part on which I would loose money.
  • How heavier it'll become?
    Flatbed trailer won't work, may need a boat trailer. Though this is already heavily customized tilting trailer, that I can keep converting into a boat trailer. Would it still be possible to launch or load it on a trailer with dolly wheels? Lifting existing one on trailer is a two man job.

Any recommendations are greatly appreciated.
Hi, I wanted to know how long have you owned the Saturn? Have you had any issues with it? Any leaks? What is the quality like? Thanks.
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Old 18 August 2015, 18:36   #7
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Country: USA
Town: Kirkland
Boat name: SD365
Make: Saturn
Length: 3m +
Engine: 15HP Yamaha
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 6
I had it since 2012. No complaints, other than I probably outgrown it and need something more solid It has no leaks, punctures or discolorations. The material holds well, so are the valves. Pretty much everything is in "like new" condition and works as such. Maybe I haven't been hardcore enough with it and/or maybe the quality is good. The colors are pretty attractive too, so I keep getting compliments and questions.

It's normally stored inflated on trailer in my garage, the only things I deflate are keel and floor. I'm in Washington, so perhaps our sun is not harsh enough to deteriorate the tubes, or the hypalon material is holding well against the UV.

I have removable transom wheels and 15HP 4stroke motor on it. Not counting the engine and under 300lb load, you have to be suicidal to go full throttle, 300-700lb it plains well, at 900lb it's hard to plane and I feel like the inflatable floor is rolling over waves. Though I'm not sure if I had the thing properly inflated without having a pressure gauge, where proper inflation is really the key. The tubes are protected with pressure releasing valves, not sure if that applies to keel and floor. It's very stable, i haven't been able to capsize it even standing on a side and pulling another person from the water. Practical max occupancy is hard to tell, I've had up to 9 people there at once (4 adults+5 kids)+motor, and felt mostly limited in room rather than weight. Technically it's rated up to 1450lb.

Unfortunately, I'm probably going to sell it now, making room for a real RIB. The only thing this dingy is missing would probably be hard floor (aluminum floor sold at $300) and pressure gauge.
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Old 18 August 2015, 18:44   #8
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I hope mine holds up just as good. I just purchased the 17.5 ft saturn from boatstogo. I will be arriving tomorrow. I am excited to get it on the water. I will also be storing it in my garage. I hope the seams and valves hold up for many years. I will probably start saving up for a rib for the future.
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Old 19 August 2015, 10:42   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dom7337 View Post
I will probably start saving up for a rib for the future.
Don't make the mistake I did. I ran a SIB for about 5 years; did one dive and then, on a whim, did a second off a friends RIB on a fairly rough day. Started making plans to obtain a RIB that evening (ended up taking about a year, but it started from that one ride.)

jky
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Old 19 August 2015, 12:15   #10
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Country: USA
Town: Kirkland
Boat name: SD365
Make: Saturn
Length: 3m +
Engine: 15HP Yamaha
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 6
So, was the difference between SIB and RIB was that significant to convince you RIB is a way to go? Was the size of your SIB and friend's RIB the same? Did your SIB had a hard or inflatable floor, v-keel?
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