After months of to'ing and fro'ing I finally took delivery of a little Zodiac Acti-V 3.4 with a Mariner 15hp on Friday. (As per a previous thread, and at the advice of some fellow Ribnetters, on Saturday I also took delivery of a 2002 Jeanneau Leader 705, but she's not a RIB, so I won't go on about her!)
I went for the Zodiac for obvious reasons, though notably the Zodiac dealers I spoke to were hugely knowledgeable and helpful. Thanks Julie at Chas Newens - clearly a world expert - but finally to Leon at Wills Marine in Devon. He couldn't have made the whole process more simple - I recommend him highly to anyone 'in the area'.
So, as I set off down the Kingsbridge estuary to Salcombe, there was enough chop in the water to give 'LittleLordy' a bit of a test. Being an inflatable floor, there was a fair bit of 'rippling movement' that would no doubt have concerned me had I not already been warned about it on this esteemed forum.
And yes, you're right - I wouldn't want to tiller steer anything much bigger than a 15 - I'm so relieved I didn't go for the bigger 25/30 I was originally planning.
With just my young son and I in the boat as we originally set off, she fairly flew over the water, even though we couldn't go at wot. When the rest of the family came out the next day - making 5 of us - there was an understandable drop in speed, but we still managed to plane without wot.
So far so good, or so brilliant actually - apart from a small side-on, beaching mishap with a wave down at South Sands. Oh and a struggle to get the transom wheels up after we'd re-launched from the beach - all thanks to the excellent advice I have received on Ribnet.
So, many thanks to one and all, for the advice on both the boats I now very proudly own. I hope I'll be able to advise any 'newcomers' as well as you lot have done for me...once I get a few sea-hours and an RYA course under my belt, that is!
PS John - how easily does blood wash out of these Ribnet t-shirts??!!
To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.