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Old 20 September 2003, 07:50   #1
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RIB as commuter?

Hi,

I'm considering purchasing a small RIB to commute from my home to work. I live in Portuguese Cove, on the ocean about 12 nautical miles from my work, on the waterfront in Halifax, NS (Canada). I've been trying to find information on fuel economy for RIBs, to compare it with my commuting cost in a car - and so far have only found anecdotal information (doesn't use much, that sort of thing). Does anyone have rough figures, in gallons per hour, or even better, miles per gallon (kilometres, litres, whatever is convenient).

Thanks!

Chris
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Old 20 September 2003, 10:28   #2
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Chris
People on this forum can probably give you a fairly accurate answer to your question.
However, we would like to know:
fuel type (diesel, petrol or other)
size and make of rib
engine size and model
unless you say so, we will assume a moderate weight of load in the boat (ie just you, fuel tank and other "normal" bits and pieces).

Given the above we can probably tell you your fuel consumption rate and probable crossing time given a light sea state.
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Old 20 September 2003, 15:03   #3
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I don't actually have the RIB yet, so I don't know for sure what size or horsepower it'll be (I'll be looking for a second hand one), but a guess would be something like a Zodiac Yachtline YL340DL (3.4m with console steering) or maybe slightly larger with a 20 hp 4-stroke gasoline outboard or so.

Thanks!

Chris
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Old 20 September 2003, 15:35   #4
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Whilst others, more competant to advise than I, ponder their replies to your question, can I raise some other points.
You are on the open Atlantic side - does this not mean that your commuting will be restricted to fair weather?
I guess you will need a drysuit as well as other equipment in your boat (radio, GPS, compass, nav. lights, lifejacket, flares, etc.).
As a pure budgeting exersise, won't these capital costs outweigh any small fuel benefits?
My cartography of that part of the coast does not mention Portuguese Cove. Could you give us your launch and dock-up co-ordinates so that I can admire your bravery in a 3.4m rib?
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Old 20 September 2003, 16:01   #5
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Hi again Brian,

I'm at (or very nearly at) N44 31.185 W63 31.965.

I will definitely be susceptible to weather problems, but I think that I should be able to make it somewhere around 90% of the time, and the other 10% my wife can drive me or do without the car for the day.

I'm planning to get a Mustang survival suit for cold weather, have a handheld GPS, VHF and hand bearing compass (I'm a sailor at heart and have a Roue R/20, pics at http://www.ramoak.com/swallow.html if you're curious), will definitely have to have nav lights, and all the rest of the things that the Canadian Coast Guard requires of boats of that size.

Where we are we only get large swells when the wind is blowing from the SE - any other time I can skirt the land and avoid the worst of it. I gather these RIBs are pretty good in waves anyway, though, aren't they?

Thanks again,

Chris
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Old 20 September 2003, 16:38   #6
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This to me sounds like a canadian wind up.

Chris have you got any powerboating experience. From your post a gather you have never been on a rib and yet you want to cover 24 miles a day on a 3.4 mtr rib and 20HP motor in all weather conditions. Madness
Why don't you charter at least a 6 mtr rib for a day and see how you get on better still get one with an experienced driver and see how you like it

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Old 20 September 2003, 16:56   #7
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Hi Andre,

You're right, I've never been on an RIB. I have run 13' Boston Whalers quite a bit as a sailing instructor and doing a rescue of my father once when his sailboat's auxilliary quit on him in tough weather, and I used to live on an island from which I commuted partway by 14' aluminum boat with a 9.9 outboard (it was further from town (N44 40.545 W63 25.155) by water, so running the whole way in didn't make sense at all) - including a bit of icebreaking from time to time (that was crazier than my current suggestion, which is why I gave it up and moved to the present house), so I have some powerboating experience, but none of it in RIBs.

The reason I thought of an RIB for this is that I've been led to believe that they're quite seaworthy and economical to run.

At this point it's definitely just an idea, but the more I think about it the more appealing it is.

Thanks,

Chris
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Old 21 September 2003, 04:04   #8
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Hi Chris

As an 'extreem sibber' with a 3.4m SIB with a 15hp engine I guess I'm the one on this forum with a boat most like the one you are talking about.

I would just love to say 'hey, what a great idea'....however...

To be honest it would not be practical. 12 miles of sea in a 3.4m boat is quite a run (believe me I know, I've done it). It MAY be okay in good weather on a calm day but with any amount of chop it would be a wet bumpy ride. Loads of fun every now and then but twice a day and it would be a real pain.

I have no idea what the conditions are like where you are but I should imagine that it could also be quite dangerous to be out on your own that often in all weather.

The practicalities are:

You need to have a full drysuit with warm clothing underneath. To get dressed and undressed after your trip would take about 30 minutes. The journey itself if you went at full planning speed (about 15 - 19 mph) would take about 1 hour each way. That is in reasonable conditions. If it was choppy and windy your average speed would be down to about 6 - 8 mph and the journey could take you about 2 hours each way, that's 4 hours per day! And it would be a very wet and bumpy couple of hours.

Fuel costs at wot would be about 15 ltrs per day.

The alternative: do it in a big RIB. In a 7m+ RIB you could probably cope with a journey like that fairly often, say 70% of the time. Your fuel consumption would be about 2.5 mpg and your journey time would be in the region of 30 to 45 minutes.

The RIB would probably cost you 10,000 +.

To be honest as much as I would love to say 'go for it', I have to say that in reality you would be much better off buying another 2nd hand car just for your journey to work.

However if you want a bit of FUN on your comute, do what I do and go to work on a MOTORCYCLE

Keith (sensible for once) Hart
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Old 24 September 2003, 04:03   #9
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Hi Chrick, A few comments from the polar opposite end of the earth.

Firstly, for a once in a while commute - there is nothing wrong with going in on the rib. However all of Keith's comments above are true.

I very occasionaly go to work on the boat. My office is 7 km away by water or 18 by land, however I would do so more often if I had somewhere to moor at the other end and/or didn't have to launch her here. Note to self - must build a jetty sometime soon.

Having said that, it always ends up taking more time than either on the motorbike or in the car!! and its more to think about too...

What keith says is true - , however by the sounds of your icebreaking ventures - you have already done worse. If you do plan to make the journey by RIB - I would have thought a 5m would be a better choice for you?But if there is a need for speed and economy - a car or a bike will be a better bet for sure.

sorry!!
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Old 24 September 2003, 07:54   #10
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I suspect you're all right about this, but being stubborn, I'm going to continue to pursue the idea for a while longer. I'm starting to think about the fishermen who ply the coast around here, and the types of boats they choose, however, and will look in that direction for awhile. I now think that a boat will need to be at least 15-16 feet (5 m range) to be reasonable - a boat designing friend of mine tells me that motion is directly proportional to length, so a 15 ft boat is 33% nicer than a 10 ft. That's a strong recommendation for long! That said, the experiment will fail if fuel economy is too bad, so a 16 ft'er is likely the upper limit. With that and a canvas shelter and foredeck, and a self-bailing, positive floatation hull, it should be at least possible - although maybe not pleasant at times (like today - rain, 20 knots from the SW).

At any rate, even if I don't end up doing it, it's been fun to think about and try!

Thanks for all of your input,

Chris
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