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Old 04 September 2009, 16:01   #1
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Country: UK - Scotland
Town: Aberdeenshire
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Zodiac Open Pro 550 - any views?

I'm considering upgrading my Zodiac Pro 7 to an Open Pro 550. It's quite a jump I know, and I'm only going on Zodiac's reputation, having never actually driven one. I've had Zodiacs for over 20 years, so maybe it's misplaced loyalty?

Any members here current owners? I've read mixed reviews about it's performance, but it seems like a capable boat, maybe more suited for the south of France than the Atlantic or Moray Firth. Could be more a 'pretty boat' than all out performance rib.

Examples I've looked at have been a damaged repairable (Devon) which eventually sold for 2,100 (minus trailer and engine) which did tempt me, and other models from 1998 to 2007, ranging from 9k-14k.

Should I be widening my search?

We tend to use it in the Moray Firth and in the west coast (Atlantic), both fairly challenging environments if the wind gets up. I have a young family, so boat ride is important, and the ability to get from A to B quickly, without constantly watching the fuel gauge. Also comfort for fishing, and the chance to move about on deck is a consideration.

Performance-wise, a 90HP engine would suit me fine. Although the 550 will take a maximum of 120HP it would be wasted on me.

Lastly, I have a domestic garage, which the Pro 7 fits in quite comfortably. However saying that, I have a long trailer drawbar and the sponson cones touch the up and over door. Would you keep this sort of boat in a driveway covered over?

Decisions, decisions...
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Old 04 September 2009, 17:47   #2
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Country: UK - England
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Phil and Mark at PA Lynch, Morpeth (01670512291) would be able to give you advice on a 550 as they use one regularly. I bought a pro9 from them to replace a pro7 and before that a mark2c so i know what you mean by loyalty to the badge but they have always been helpful, fair and offered good advice and value for money. Could be worth a call if only for the advice. It may be a bit of a trip from where you live but they delivered my first boat to me (80 miles) and deonstrated how to inflate/pack away the mk2c.
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Old 05 September 2009, 17:12   #3
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Country: UK - Scotland
Town: Aberdeenshire
Boat name: Sula
Make: Ribcraft 4.8m
Length: 4m +
Engine: Tohatsu 60hp + aux
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Originally Posted by giddyup View Post
Phil and Mark at PA Lynch, Morpeth (01670512291) would be able to give you advice on a 550 as they use one regularly. I bought a pro9 from them to replace a pro7 and before that a mark2c so i know what you mean by loyalty to the badge but they have always been helpful, fair and offered good advice and value for money. Could be worth a call if only for the advice. It may be a bit of a trip from where you live but they delivered my first boat to me (80 miles) and deonstrated how to inflate/pack away the mk2c.
Thank you for that. How have you found the Pro 9 Man? It's only 20" longer, but tubes are a little bit bigger. It's also mariginally wider and the maximum hp goes up to 70hp, although most examples I've seen are kitted out with 60hp.
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Old 06 September 2009, 11:14   #4
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The pro 9 was bought to give the power to get my lads wakeboarding and with a 60hp it does well. We fish from it and though when four are aboard, the room is limited, we have used it to explore the coast around the Mull of Galloway. We will take it to Ireland one day when the sea conditions allow. It is a much more stable boat than the pro 7 and that extra length and tube size gives greater security and a better ride. There are limits of course and a 550 would handle a rougher sea better. The pro 9 can be launched off the beach with just my wife and I but a 550 would be too heavy to move about on sand/ unhitched and pushed deep enough to get the boat off. The pro 9 is easy to shove about. If I had access to a regular ramp though I would have gone for the bigger boat. We take ours on holiday and launch off two beaches, one soft sand/shingle and the other hard sand. I dont like getting the car wet so I wont drive into the sea but have seen some do just that with bigger boats! So the ability to launch where we holiday was the determining factor in my choice of boat and I have not been disappointed with the boat in any way (top speed 35mph). We have been half way to Ireland to join the rib raid on Portpatrick and riding their wake back in for 10 miles was great fun...yes I too want a Scorpion with a 300hp on the back but we would never be able to launch off the beach!! On a calm day, the 24 mile crossing would be perfectly possible and we were hoping to do it this year but this summer has never given us the window that we needed...roll on next year.
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Old 06 September 2009, 14:36   #5
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Keeping it in a domestic garage would clearly be better than covered over outside, both my own RIB and my dive clubs RIB are keep inside and not only are they easier to work on but the tubes are like new and the engines are just left with dust sheets over them which allows everything to dry out and breath.

I built a custom A frame, which fits in just under the door and although I can remove the trailer drawbar just fits without.

I know someone with an 550 in Oz and he certainly likes his.

Good luck
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Old 06 September 2009, 16:45   #6
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Country: UK - Scotland
Town: Aberdeenshire
Boat name: Sula
Make: Ribcraft 4.8m
Length: 4m +
Engine: Tohatsu 60hp + aux
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giddyup View Post
The pro 9 was bought to give the power to get my lads wakeboarding and with a 60hp it does well. We fish from it and though when four are aboard, the room is limited, we have used it to explore the coast around the Mull of Galloway. We will take it to Ireland one day when the sea conditions allow. It is a much more stable boat than the pro 7 and that extra length and tube size gives greater security and a better ride. There are limits of course and a 550 would handle a rougher sea better. The pro 9 can be launched off the beach with just my wife and I but a 550 would be too heavy to move about on sand/ unhitched and pushed deep enough to get the boat off. The pro 9 is easy to shove about. If I had access to a regular ramp though I would have gone for the bigger boat. We take ours on holiday and launch off two beaches, one soft sand/shingle and the other hard sand. I dont like getting the car wet so I wont drive into the sea but have seen some do just that with bigger boats! So the ability to launch where we holiday was the determining factor in my choice of boat and I have not been disappointed with the boat in any way (top speed 35mph). We have been half way to Ireland to join the rib raid on Portpatrick and riding their wake back in for 10 miles was great fun...yes I too want a Scorpion with a 300hp on the back but we would never be able to launch off the beach!! On a calm day, the 24 mile crossing would be perfectly possible and we were hoping to do it this year but this summer has never given us the window that we needed...roll on next year.
Interesting. The more I think about an Open Pro 550, the more inclined I am to think about the extra work in launching. It's not exactly small, and at 400kg it's a bit of a heavy-weight. Add the engine (up to 190kg) and we're now talking over half a ton.

I launch from a number of slipways on the noth-east coast of Scotland, and for a couple of weeks on the west coast (Lewis) and the Pro 7 will float in a small amount of water. The long trailer drawbar allows the boat to simply shove off without getting the rear wheels wet. It's not particularly heavy and trailering is easy. The Pro 550 is 18' long (same length as my garage) so won't fit. My only other option would be to have it in the drive, but there's the security issue.

The Pro 12 looks like a nice boat, but for the same money I'd opt for a 550 any day. At just over 17 feet it's going to be too big too. The Pro 9 is 15' 5" and should fit on the Indespension Rollercoaster 1 trailer by moving the winch-post forward. This already fits in my garage, so I think this may now be my preferred choice.
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Old 06 September 2009, 16:49   #7
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Town: Aberdeenshire
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Make: Ribcraft 4.8m
Length: 4m +
Engine: Tohatsu 60hp + aux
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davej View Post
Keeping it in a domestic garage would clearly be better than covered over outside, both my own RIB and my dive clubs RIB are keep inside and not only are they easier to work on but the tubes are like new and the engines are just left with dust sheets over them which allows everything to dry out and breath.

I built a custom A frame, which fits in just under the door and although I can remove the trailer drawbar just fits without.

I know someone with an 550 in Oz and he certainly likes his.

Good luck
Thanks. I agree regards keeping it in a garage. We can get hard winters (-15 last winter on one occasion) and loads of snow. Even with a boat cover - it would be out in all weathers, so my preferred choice is to get it under cover when not in use.

How much of the trailer drawbar can be removed (what's the make)?
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Old 06 September 2009, 17:03   #8
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Forgot to add. the pro 9 stays in the garage...fits with the engine down and the garage is just an average one...No alteration to the trailer...only 6 inches to spare but at least it fits, snug as a bug, wheel clamp on and with the door locked.
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Old 07 September 2009, 06:03   #9
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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: 3,105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giddyup View Post
Forgot to add. the pro 9 stays in the garage...fits with the engine down and the garage is just an average one...No alteration to the trailer...only 6 inches to spare but at least it fits, snug as a bug, wheel clamp on and with the door locked.
I'm the same, engine down and hard to port - fits with inches to spare. Also have wheel clamp, hitchlock, outboard motor lock and the door is on main Yale security house alarm. Call me paranoid!
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Old 07 September 2009, 07:33   #10
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Boat name: Wildheart
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I guess if you haven't bought it yet the other thing to remember about getitng it to fit a garage is that there's a good chance the engine will stick out further than the toobs. I managed to save about 3" by parking mine on the lowest trim pin for storage (Gearbox / cav plates stick out surprisingly far!), and swapping the long stroke 2 cyl Yam to the relatively short but taller Merc got another 3 or so inches room.

MY trialer is an old Snipe, and the way the winch post clamps onto the drawbar I have managed to be a bit creative with the packing. I got an Ifor Williams "pin" jockey and have to be absolutely certian the pin is in before I start winching, but having found their "lock points" I have set them up so I can winch either happily as long as the other is in the "stowed" position. I also turned my winch handle throug 180deg so it "parked" out the way of the jockey winder. Granted I also have about 1/2" clearance from the bow to the tailgate on a flat road, and I'm stuffed for getting into the boot if I forget to let the car roll forward 2" when stopped to release the trailer brakes & extend the hiitch......

Also a length of old carpet down the back wall protects the engine form scrapes.
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