Dear Richard, Charles, Keith, Nick and wavelength,
As the Product Manager for Walker Bay I would like to thank you all for your interest in our Rigid Inflatable Dinghy. Your interest in our product is of particular value to me because I know that RIB users in the UK are some of the most pioneering and wildest in the world. As a subscriber to RIB magazine I have read about the Round Britain race so I know you like to be thrilled. I was also fortunate to attend RIBEX last year and saw first hand some very exotic and innovative RIBs coming out of the UK.
I would like to take this opportunity to answer some of your questions personally because I understand our RID is something new for most.
Wavelength, you are quite right! It is a displacement RIB.
The rest of your comments seem to revolve around one simple question...What's the point?
Well, the reason for the design was in fact the by product of a committee as Keith suspected. The committee was made up of inflatable users, RIB users, dinghy users, sail and power boat owners, boating retail owners and inflatable/RIB manufacturers. There were people from the UK, France and four other EC countires, Canada, the USA, South America and South Africa.
We consistently found that people had the following criticisms with small dinghies and inflatables and RIBS: Dinghies are not as stable as inflatables, without a fender they bump into and can scratch or mark other boats like their mothership, and they have low horse power and carrying capacities relative to inflatables and RIBs. RIBs on the other hand row "like jellyfish", have little or no seating unless it is a deluxe model (Inflatable manufacturers actually suggest you sit inside the inflatable, not on the tubes as most people do). Inflatables are also useless when the tubes are punctured and they can't really be sailed.
So the point of our RID design is a boat that rows better (It comes with 2.15m wood oars with a spoon blade) and has more internal space and protected seating than an inflatable. The RID has a full hull that protects the tube from the side, top and bottom (the rub rail protects the fourth side) and with the easy addition of one of our sail kits is a delightfull, safe sailing dinghy.
The RID has more weight and horsepower capacity than a traditional dinghy and is more stable. The tubes are designed to have minimum drag when the boat is being rowed or sailed. They only engage when the boat is tipped to the side or when the boat is loaded up with lots of gear. Our RID is also very safe (The VPD tubes four airchambers make it the only rigid inflatable type boat that is certified and approved by the US Coast Guard). Finally, you can bump into other boats without worrying about damaging their varnish or gel coat.
I doudt any of you will be running out to buy one of our RIDs to go and race in the Round Britain race - I sure wouldn't. But if you are looking for a fun, versatile, and safe tender this may well be what you've been waiting for! We called it a RID because it is not a RIB but it has inherited some of the great features of RIBs.
If you are still not convinced go and try one. If that is not an option you can read some of the reviews magazines have done since the boat was introduced a few months ago. We will be displaying them proudly on our website in a few weeks once we have had a chance to post them.