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Old 13 August 2008, 09:29   #1
Country: UK - England
Town: Bucklers hard
Boat name: Charter
Length: 6m +
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 21
Avon searider 4m vs. Zodiac pro7 4.2m

Looking for an easily stored,easily launched,fairweather only,simple rib experience for river and occasional coastal forays-love the classic simplicity of the searider but zodiac possibly more practical and comfortable for a young child to enjoy too

What do we all think?

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Old 13 August 2008, 10:41   #2
Country: USA
Town: Oakland CA
Length: 3m +
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 6,620
I doubt the Zodiac would be mroe comfortable (in the sense that it's all fluffy pillows and ice cream.) Creature comforts are generally add-ins anyway.

For a fair weather boat, either would be fine, I'd say. They're different boats, and they're both fairly proven designs. I doubt that storage or difficulty in launching would be dramatically different between the two.


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Old 14 August 2008, 16:11   #3
spartacus's Avatar
Country: UK - Scotland
Town: Aberdeenshire
Boat name: Sula
Make: Ribcraft 4.8m
Length: 4m +
Engine: Tohatsu 60hp + aux
MMSI: 235087213
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 3,059
Speaking from experience - I'm pleased with the Zodiac Pro. Had a Zodiac MKII CGT for 18+ years, and it was a tough little boat - which I suppose gave me the loyalty to stay with the brand.

The basic Pro is basically a bare RIB and you add to it - depending on your intended use - such as diving, fishing, etc. As I have a family, I opted for a bench seat which also houses the reserve 25 litre fuel tank. The console has a watertight compartment - useful for flares, knife, tool kit, etc. The console also houses the main 25 litre fuel tank.

Up front there's a bow locker. Zodiac in their wisdom don't supply a bow cushion, however it's essential if you're going to put some poor sole up there - as their a** will be in mid-air 90% of the time! I had a cushion professionally made.

The boat handles well with a 40hp 2-stroke, and I've been out in a F5/6 with 3 people, full kit, etc. Because it's a relatively shallow V hull, it tends to ride waves rather than cutting through them. If you can - opt for a 50hp, which the transom is rated for. Maybe not much in it if you look at the weight of a 4-stroke v's 2-stroke torque. I also manged to sqeeze in a 3.5hp auxilliary for piece of mind.

Plus points: economical entry-level RIB for general fishing, diving and leisure use. Solid well-constructed hull with 5 year tube guarantee. Easy to launch, store and use. Quality materials used in construction. Stainless-steel cleet and bow-roller are fantastic for retrieving anchor - nice touch.

Bad points: slaps in a rough sea (but feels safe), over-priced Zodiac accessories, transom drainwell - is a pain to clean.
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Old 15 August 2008, 09:32   #4
Country: UK - England
Town: Brum
Boat name: UTV
Make: zodiac FR
Length: 3m +
Engine: 2 stroke 15hp
MMSI: 999
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 379
I have owned both, searider with the classic layout, 2 forward 2 backward facing seats and the zodiac with a centre console.

Zodiac seemed lighter with a more shallow draft than the searider, ideal for shallow estuary's. Did slam a bit over the rough stuff but suspect it was quicker out of the hole (in the flat).

Avon, great in the rough stuff and I must say the classic seating layout was very useful, sits four in confort and we all felt safe (not just the ones on the centre console).

Conclusion? I would save some money and go for the searider with the completely un fashionable classic layout
Big waves, small boat ;)
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Old 17 August 2008, 08:18   #5
Country: UK - Scotland
Make: Ribcraft
Length: 5m +
Engine: 90hp
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 380
I had an SR4 with a home made jockey style console. When we go this our now eldest was 7 months old and never had any issues. He sat either in front of me (helping "drive") or in front of my wife. We used to regularly cruise medium distances and through some quite rough weather and boat performed extremely well. Only thing I would say is that in rougher weather, it's a wet boat and does slam as mentioned above. Jury is out as to whether the water ballast actually makes a huge diff at rest but it's certainly a very stable boat for it's size.

Went like a rocket with a 50HP! Lots of fun to drive!
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Old 17 August 2008, 08:21   #6
Country: UK - Scotland
Make: Ribcraft
Length: 5m +
Engine: 90hp
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 380
oh yeah - and if you go for one of the classic ones with the spray deck - great place to stow all your gear and keep it dry!

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