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Old 08 February 2007, 07:51   #1
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Cat vs RIB

I have owned a Tohatsu SIB with a 5hp Tohatsu outboard for 3 years now - used to beach hop (South Hams in Devon) with the children. However, now that they are getting older (7 & 11) they would like to travel a little further and waterski - but predictably the 2.9m SIB is not great in anything other than a flat calm sea (and not powerful enough as a tow boat).

I don't have huge storage space at home and a trailer is a pain to park when we visit friends in Salcombe, so although I was going down the route of a 5.8m RIB with a 90hp, I spotted a couple of catmaran designs which could possibly be deflated for storage and transport (back of an old 110 Land Rover). Therefore I'm interested in any comments from the huge experience available on these forums (I have lurked and read with interest here for a couple of years) on the Ceasar Thunderbolt or Gemini Surfcats :-

- I do not expect them to slice through huge seas like a monohull, but I don't expect the family to want to go out in anything larger than a 5ft swell anyway
- The tubes appear to be PVC not Hypalon (which worries me slightly)
- There is very little information on the web about either of these catamarans
- I have seen one post on here about the Gemini Surfcat, but would ideally like to get 4 adults and 4 children on board so suspect that the 5.3m Thunderbolt would be better than the 4.1 Surfcat

Anyone ?
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Old 08 February 2007, 08:11   #2
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I should have added some links :-

http://www.ceasarmarine.com/ceasar_thunderbolt.aspx

http://www.gemini-inflatables.com/in....asp?boatID=36
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Old 08 February 2007, 10:04   #3
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Bumbleabout,

The Gemini Dive 470 might suit your requirements very well. It is basically a larger version of the Gemini Surf and is available in not just PVC, but also in double skinned PVC, 1100 dtx hypalon, and in 1670 dtx hypalon (Orca 866). The 24 inch diameter tubes on the thing are huge & beneath them are very large hijackers. The transom is 2" thick.

http://www.racing-inflatables.com/diving.htm


I have one on order in the 1670 dtx hypalon. I test drove the double skinned PVC version off the coast of Vancouver Island this past summer, and it is an extremely well built boat. The dealer also has had some PVC Gemini Surfs & zapcats, as well as a Gemini RIB (either 5.05 or 5.5 m -don't remember).

He likes the zapcats for the pure adrenaline rush and says that the performance of the Surfs (basically a round nosed version of the zapcat) comes pretty close to the zapcat. But he finds the Dive 470 to be the most versatile of all of those boats because of it's huge capacity while still being extremely high performance.

He says he rarely uses the RIB any more since the performance of the Dive 470 is so close in the chop and it weighs considerably much less - making it much easier for beaching & relaunching. Hope this helps. From what I've heard, Gemini hasn't really marketed it's Dive series to the European Market.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08 February 2007, 10:09   #4
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By the way,

That Thunderbolt also looks great too, but what did it for me was the option of heavy hypalon with the Dive 470.


Also, this is what I'm about to order to speed up the setup/takedown process which I would do each time I use the boat;

http://www.scoprega.it/or4/or?uid=SC...29&levelid=133
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Old 08 February 2007, 11:16   #5
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Very interesting thanks - I can't work out why they make this information so difficult to find for prospective customers !

I use a high volume, low pressure pump on the SIB and it makes inflating/ deflating very quick (although I had to modify the pump nozzle with a thin bar across the mouth to depress the valves when deflating).

- What engine are you looking at on the Gemini 470 (I found my Tohatsu to be utterly reliable and very easy to service) ?
- Do you know what the approximate deflated dimensions (excluding outboard) are ?
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Old 08 February 2007, 11:50   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prairie tuber View Post
By the way,
Also, this is what I'm about to order to speed up the setup/takedown process which I would do each time I use the boat;

http://www.scoprega.it/or4/or?uid=SC...29&levelid=133
I have (and occasionally use) a Bravo 12. It's an electric dual-chamber rocker-type pump; works very well. Unfortunately, it has been pulled from the market (at least the model I have was - I think it's been re-designed and re-released) after several of them caught fire. My only complaint about it is the noise. Pretty loud (don't know how the others, such as the one PT ordered, end up being.)

jky
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Old 08 February 2007, 12:19   #7
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"LVM Hurricane" is the one that I use - and yes it is noisy, but a lot quicker than a footpump !
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Old 08 February 2007, 13:52   #8
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BumbleAbout,

I hear you about the availability of information about these boats on the net. Boath Gemini and Ceasar do an atrocious job about providing adequate pictures (no videos) and information on their websites. It's almost like they don't want anybody to know about their products. I spent many hours searching the net, many phone calls, and made a 3000 mile round trip to Vancouver Island to test drive the boat (and visit family, LOL).

I haven't completely resolved the engine issue yet. The Dive 470 is rated for up to 60 hp. Right now + just have a Mercury 'classic' 25hp 2 stroke (which is actually Tohatsu built). It is a very durable and reliable little motor, and with light loads should move this boat along at a reasonable speed. I am on the lookout for something more powerful. My first choice for this boat would be a tillered Tohatsu/,
Nissan M50D (about 150 lbs). My 2nd choice would be a Tohatsu/Nissan M40C (about 130 lbs) or maybe a Yamaha 2 stroke carbed 50 hp. It is very difficult to come by these motors here in North America anymore.

All of these new EFI 2 strokes and four strokes are ridiculously heavy and complex and aren't going to be repairable by a backwoods mechanic, let alone field repaired.
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Old 08 February 2007, 14:26   #9
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Thanks for the info on the pumps guys.

While I was on Vancouver Island, I test drove another round nosed cat hulled fully inflatble from a Washington based company (AMI). These were made of PVC and manufactured in China. The boat I tested from them was a 3.8 m airdeck (I don't care much for air decks) since that was the only model on hand (although they make up to 4.6 m hard floor models). I think these boats might suit someone well for light duty tender use if weight and price are the main concerns. But in terms of construction, the Gemini products are far more robust in every way.
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Old 08 February 2007, 16:33   #10
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Ceasar Thunderbolt

I appreciate that there are not enough photos or videos on the site. We will work to rectify that over the summer.

The boat is works very differently than a deep V hull but nonetheless works incredibly well in virtually any sea state. I have been out in far bigger seas than 5ft in a Thunderbolt and it is great fun.

We tube the Thunderbolt with the same quality PVC as we do the Thundercat. These boats are built to last and are subjected to huge amounts of abuse as you have probably seen in the race circuits. As long as a good quality PVC is used, it is more than strong enough and the other advantage is its cost. It is less labour intensive to glue PVC and it is cheaper than Hypalon. This keeps the price of the boat down as the boat itself is very labour intensive to manufacture.

These boats can be deflated and folded length ways. This will become a bit less practical if you have a large engine on the back. However, it can definitely be disassembled for storage over winter periods or times when you do not expect to use the boat.

The other benefit of the catamaran design is the large amount of deck space available. This means that you will be able to fit yourselves and your children on there with ease.

I have attached the price sheet and a few photos here for your interest.

If you would like any further information then please call on 01271 869101 or email info@ceasarmarine.com.
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Old 08 February 2007, 17:25   #11
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Does anybody know were you can get the gemini surf grx from in the u.k?
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Old 08 February 2007, 19:47   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceasar View Post
I appreciate that there are not enough photos or videos on the site. We will work to rectify that over the summer.

WHAT??? And let the secret out?




The thunderbolt looks very cool, I'd love to try one sometime.


BumbleAbout,

I don't know what the packed dimensions of the Dive 470 will be, but I'm guessing that the total weight (including floorboards) will be somewhere in the 275 - 300 lb range.
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Old 09 February 2007, 04:01   #13
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ceasar - thanks for the reply - I may be in the minority here, but I like to research a product on the internet; narrow down the list; and finally visit a small number of vendors for demonstrations before I buy. If I am unable to see enough information about a product then I am suspicious - it might be a brilliant design, but why are more people not raving about it ? Rather than more photographs or videos, I would personally like to see (especially if a product is fairly new) :-

- some basic line drawings or even a table showing inflated & deflated dimensions (this helps me with trailer or car size and storage space when out of the water)
- a few configuration possibilities - my wife liked the look of the cobra seats for the children, but would have been sold immediately if there was a drawing showing that you could have a 2x2 configuration (you may only sell these to a small number of family boaters, but the drawing should be cheap !)
- some reviews from customers (what is it really like to crew; why they bought this design; why they are going to get another one)
- some impartial (or as impartial as they get) reviews in a RIB/ boating magazine plus a copy or link to the reviews on the manufacturers web site
- with a "different design" I would like a comparison (helming in different conditions; mainenance; ease of waterski starts; launching or recovering; ease of towing; examples of family use which make it brilliant for purpose)between for example the Thunderbolt and an equivalent monohull RIB. I need to be told why it is so good !
- I have found a small number of articles on catamaran hull design which equate a cat to a mono hull 20-30% longer - if this is true, then it would be a useful comparison for me to see that your 4.7m cat is equivalent to a 6m monohull in conditions up to a force 4 (or whatever)
- because of a sceptical audience who typically trust their lives at sea only to well proven designs, I would expect any different designs to have to work far harder to prove themselves (so you need more information on your web site than the competition)

"The boat is works very differently than a deep V hull" - I assume from Zapcat/ Thundercat videos on YouTube that it skims the surface of the water on the hijackers - but I really need a description of what is different and why that is the best thing since sliced bread for a family/ sports/ speed/ racing audience ! A response of "come and try a demonstration" is fine, but misses the initial sell to convince me in the first place.

I also suspect that the selling points to the boys (speed, 2G cornering, sharp handling in a force 5 etc) need balancing against selling points for the mothers (safe in a force 5 because of twin hulls or whatever).

"We tube the Thunderbolt with the same quality PVC as we do the Thundercat. These boats are built to last and are subjected to huge amounts of abuse as you have probably seen in the race circuits. As long as a good quality PVC is used, it is more than strong enough and the other advantage is its cost. It is less labour intensive to glue PVC and it is cheaper than Hypalon. This keeps the price of the boat down as the boat itself is very labour intensive to manufacture." - fantastic, but I can't see this very useful information on your web site !

- Do you include waterski tow points on the transom as standard (possibly a selling point that would not cost a fortune to implement) ?
- I would really like to see a drawing and or photograph of the deflated boat (I don't even know if the floorboards can be removed yet)
- I would like to see some description of the assembly/ deflation process with approximate timing for experienced users
- With an outboard trolley and some quick release bolts can I partially deflate at the end of the day and load the boat onto a large roof rack ? Or use wheels at the rear and wheel up a beach rather than having to leave at a mooring ?
- I need an idiots guide to the deck space in comparison to an equivalent sized RIB (what can I fit and where) - I think this is a huge selling point, but I can't currently see photographs of 4/6/7 people sitting with a couple of waterproof bags on the deck to work out how good.

This is meant to be a positive critique from a prospective customer who cannot find out the basic information of what makes these boats so brilliant (I'm an engineer not in sales or marketing) ! Tell me more - then put it on your website along with references to the competition so that people will then find your boats when they are looking at the small number of other manufacturers.
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Old 09 February 2007, 09:06   #14
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Originally Posted by BumbleAbout View Post
ceasar - thanks for the reply - I may be in the minority here, but I like to research a product on the internet; narrow down the list; and finally visit a small number of vendors for demonstrations before I buy. .....
Exactly the process I went through - scour the net, followed by a number of calls & the finally the leg work. It was about 3 years from the time I started looking at different designs to the time I finally made a decision (though personal economics was the main factor for that length of time).


Quote:
Originally Posted by BumbleAbout View Post

...... This is meant to be a positive critique from a prospective customer who cannot find out the basic information of what makes these boats so brilliant (I'm an engineer not in sales or marketing) !
You listed pretty much the same questions I had and things I was looking for when I visited the Gemini dealer on Vancouver Island. From some some of your previous questions, I suspected you might have had an engineering background . While I am now in professional sales, my academic background is in biomechanics/athletic injuries.

In that vein, I would not recommend a low slung cobra seat type configuration for any boat, unless it is used specifically for racing in perfectly glass calm water. Even if the hull design handles a chop amazingly well, it still is a boat, and will have it's ups and downs with the occasional hard landing. About the only thing I can think of that would be worse for your back than a low slung seat while in a chop, is standing on your head.
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Old 14 February 2007, 07:11   #15
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Ceasar Thunderbolt

Dear Bumbleabout

We here at Ceasar Marine appreciate the great lengths that many of our customers go to before deciding upon a particular product for purchase. We are a young pro-active company looking to build a reputation for quality products and are committed to building a trusted after sales customer relation program. We welcome all critique, good and bad, in continuing to improve our future business relations. We have taken your comments onboard and will be updating the Ceasar Thunderbolt section of the website in due course, with more information relating to the topics you brought up also adding clearer images and line drawings of the X Class range.

To answer some of your questions now -

Q) “Some reviews from customers (what is it really like to crew; why they bought this design; why they are going to get another one)”
A) We are looking to add a customer based community section to our website where past Ceasar owners can get together online, discuss their boating activities, and speak to Ceasar representatives regarding ownership and upkeep of their Ceasar products.

Q) “Some impartial (or as impartial as they get) reviews in a RIB/ boating magazine plus a copy or link to the reviews on the manufacturers web site
A) At this moment in time we have been concentrating our efforts on promoting the P Class range of Ceasar products. A review of the P850 can be found on many of the leading RIB Magazines in the UK, with the ‘impartial as they get’ view upheld in some cases! Unfortunately not all RIB/boating magazines are happy in providing links directly to their websites. We are working on this and feel it is important to uphold a level of transparency and to promote impartial views on all of our products. We are confident that the views expressed will always be of a positive nature.

Q) “With a "different design" I would like a comparison (helming in different conditions; maintenance; ease of water-ski starts; launching or recovering; ease of towing; examples of family use which make it brilliant for purpose) between for example the Thunderbolt and an equivalent monohull RIB. I need to be told why it is so good!”
A) We will add this kind of information to the website over the coming months. However, we can answer these kind of questions over the phone in the meantime. It could be possible to tie this information in with a case study as mentioned during your first question. If you would like to discuss further our contact details are available on our website www.ceasarmarine.com

Q) “Because of a skeptical audience who typically trust their lives at sea only to well proven designs, I would expect any different designs to have to work far harder to prove themselves (so you need more information on your web site than the competition)”
A) We here at Ceasar Marine feel strongly that the only way to fully push the sale of a product is through the customer demonstrating and testing it out for him/herself. We are never going to sell a new concept just through information itself. There has to be a balance between enticing the customer in, appealing to their sense of style and then forcing a dialogue. The fact that we are having this discussion now means we must be doing something right!

Q) “Do you include water-ski tow points on the transom as standard (possibly a selling point that would not cost a fortune to implement)?”
A) Yes we do and have now added this to the Thunderbolt text on our website. Thank you for highlighting this.

Q) “I would really like to see a drawing and or photograph of the deflated boat (I don't even know if the floorboards can be removed yet)”
A) We will be adding images of each of the deflated X Class Packages Ceasar Marine offer, and also a ‘how to’ for deflating and storing in the future. We have already added deflated Thundercat images to the website.
The floor of the Thunderbolt is constructed of marine plywood with a fiberglass outer lining. There are two floor boards joined in the centre by an aluminum strip. If the boat is deflated then these can be removed. Depending on the seating and rigging layout it is possible to fold the boat in half, lengthways for storage. To remove the cabling and electronics from the engine is a fairly lengthy job and we would not recommend doing this unless the boat was to be stored for a prolonged period.

Q) “I would like to see some description of the assembly/ deflation process with approximate timing for experienced users.”
A) See above.

Q) “With an outboard trolley and some quick release bolts can I partially deflate at the end of the day and load the boat onto a large roof rack? Or use wheels at the rear and wheel up a beach rather than having to leave at a mooring?”
A) At 5.3m the Ceasar Thunderbolt is a fairly large leisure craft with a minimum 60hp engine. We would not recommend the Ceasar Thunderbolt be transported by roof rack on any vehicle. Again, to remove the cabling and electronics from the engine is a fairly lengthy job and we would not recommend doing this unless the boat was to be stored for a prolonged period. We would recommend trailering the boat on a bunker trailer. However, due to the fact that it is lightweight you will be able to maneuver the Ceasar Thunderbolt out of the water and over a short distance on trolley wheels.


Q) “I need an idiots guide to the deck space in comparison to an equivalent sized RIB (what can I fit and where) - I think this is a huge selling point, but I can't currently see photographs of 4/6/7 people sitting with a couple of waterproof bags on the deck to work out how good.”
A) We will be updating the Thunderbolt image gallery in due course and will strive to add some images showing the ample deck space available along with some text describing possible seating arrangements.

Please feel free to call us to discuss further, details on our website. Or if you would like to arrange a demonstration we now have a dealer network throughout the UK with M.I.RIBs based in Chichester being the closest X Class dealer to Southampton. Again the contact details are available in the dealer locator section of our website.

Regards,

Ceasar
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Old 14 February 2007, 08:06   #16
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if your restricted by space why not look at a zodiac futura? they have two speed tubes under the hull which gives a kind of catamaran effect, wouldnt be ideal in rough weather, but im sure they are capable boats. you cana lso put a sizeable engine on the back which would allow you to waterski behind it. These boats i believe have PVC tubes, but there is nothing wrong with PVC, there is always an ongoing debateabout the advantages and disadvantages of each material...... I admit our boat has hypalon, but our previous boat, a zodiac had pvc and had no problems
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Old 14 February 2007, 12:58   #17
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I'm very impressed - the website (http://www.ceasarmarine.com/ceasar_thunderbolt.aspx) has been updated with lots of information about the Thunderbolt.
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Old 14 February 2007, 13:23   #18
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I should have also said that the calls and legwork phase is approaching sooner than I thought - I do like the square deck (more space) of the Thunderbolt catamaran, given the amount of kit that seems to accompany the family for the shortest of trips.
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Old 21 February 2007, 06:15   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xpertski View Post
if your restricted by space why not look at a zodiac futura? they have two speed tubes under the hull which gives a kind of catamaran effect, wouldnt be ideal in rough weather, but im sure they are capable boats. you cana lso put a sizeable engine on the back which would allow you to waterski behind it. These boats i believe have PVC tubes, but there is nothing wrong with PVC, there is always an ongoing debateabout the advantages and disadvantages of each material...... I admit our boat has hypalon, but our previous boat, a zodiac had pvc and had no problems
Interesting - the Futura appears to have the inflatable keel of my present SIB with the addition of "hijackers" - so I presume it generates less lift at speed than a (Zapcat type) catamaran hull and so possibly would have a lower top speed ?

The whole thing folds down to 4'7''x2'6''x2'1'' (which is good).
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Old 21 February 2007, 06:25   #20
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And I just found a user on hotribs who has one :
"I own a Zodiac Futura with a 40hp, 2 stroke, Nissan on the back. In regards to the boats performance, it's amazing. With this much power on the smallest Futura you don't so much get up on plain as you leap out of the water. This boat is FAST. The speed tubes are fantastic for small chop but lets not get this boat confused with a RIB, you ride on the waves! It can be brutal depending on the chop. It can handle almost any conditions and I've been out in 10 ft waves before. Fun running between them but good luck trying to make any head way into them. I find I enjoy the boat most in either flat condition or raging waves. In between chop just isn't fun. In big waves you can launch this boat so far into the air you'll swear that death is just around the corner. Anyways one the most adrenaline pumping little Zodiacs I've ever owned!"

Particularly interesting quote "The speed tubes are fantastic for small chop but lets not get this boat confused with a RIB, you ride on the waves" - time to go out and try one ...
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