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Old 30 November 2020, 16:23   #1
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Futura Mk 2 vs Mk3, and some other questions

Hi this is my first post on this great forum, ive been doing alot of reading ! Im considering getting a Zodiac Mk 2 or Mk 3; will be primarily used on the South Coast in fair weather, and also for scuba diving with 3 or 4 others. The Zodiac Futura Mk 3 looks like it ticks all my boxes, I intend on packing it away and storing indoors during the winter. Anyhow I have a few questions below if anyone could answer that will be great.

Is the Mk3 cumbersome for one person to fold up and put in the back of a van, in comparison to the Mk2 ?


The"air floor" which I suppose relates to the keel on these boats, is the air floor on the Mk 2 and Mk 3 optional ??

It seems odd to me that the soft keel of these boats can withstand such harsh environments found close to the vicinity of beaches ect, should I be worried ? Can these boats handle bumps and knocks below ?

Can I mount a fish finder, garmin GPS, compass ect to these boats without a jockey/console ?

Anyone usd these boats for scuba diving ? How many divers (with kit) can they (relatively) comfortably transport without becoming overcrowded ?

Is there anything I should be aware of if purchasing a Mk2 or Mk3 second hand, like age/materials.

Thanks all
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Old 30 November 2020, 19:10   #2
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Welcome to the forum.

Quote:
Is the Mk3 cumbersome for one person to fold up and put in the back of a van, in comparison to the Mk2?
No experience of MK3 Futura, but used to build MK2CGT regularly years ago. Came in 2 bags, one for boat, the other for aluminium floor, stringers, etc. I did this with a car with the seats down, but if you have a van, then it's a lot easier. The boat isn't the issue, it's the engine. A sack trolley or being able to park near the slipway will be key. Build, allow an hour or so to build with practice. A trailer would let you rock up and launch. You can still dismantle at the end of the season to store.

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The "air floor" which I suppose relates to the keel on these boats, is the air floor on the Mk 2 and Mk 3 optional??
Comes in Fastroller (air floor) or aluminium floor (HD). That's the deck only, under that you have an inflatable keel tube and the Futura speed tubes under the main tubes.

Quote:
It seems odd to me that the soft keel of these boats can withstand such harsh environments found close to the vicinity of beaches ect, should I be worried? Can these boats handle bumps and knocks below?
They are tough, but you need to be sensible. Hauling it onto a beach, that's just abrasion, but rocks and sharp edges are to be avoided for obvious reasons. Inflatable pressure is important to give the boat rigidity. Used carefully then there no reason to get damage.

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Can I mount a fish finder, garmin GPS, compass ect to these boats without a jockey/console?
Plenty experts on here who have mounted electronics, just refer to some of the fit-out threads under inflatables.

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Anyone usd these boats for scuba diving? How many divers (with kit) can they (relatively) comfortably transport without becoming overcrowded?
No experience of diving. MK3 will handle 4 people and kit I'd have thought. Seriously consider HD floor for that reason as it will absorb knocks. Also how do plan to get back onboard? Dive ladder? Futura uses oversized tubes. If you're running 4-up, fuel and dive gear then I'd be looking at 40hp minimum long shaft on a tiller, which is 2-man job to lift. Could work with 25hp, but MK3 is 4.5m, so you need something decent.

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Is there anything I should be aware of if purchasing a Mk2 or Mk3 second hand, like age/materials.
These boats are thermobonded PVC. Plenty examples about, and you can afford to be picky. Personally I wouldn't look at anything older than 8-10 years old, and needs to be mint.

Zodiac Grand Raids were hypalon. You can still get them new if you have a spare £6-7k without an engine. You see them come up for sale from time to time. Actually there's one here: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Zodiac-in...EAAOSw66tfpDXo

Older Zodiac models can suffer from seams parting, air leaks at keel, transom support material deteriorating, cone ends deterioration, speed tubes damaged, etc.

Great dealer network, but be warned that parts and accessories aren't cheap.
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Old 01 December 2020, 04:20   #3
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Originally Posted by Mel769 View Post
Hi this is my first post on this great forum, ive been doing alot of reading ! Im considering getting a Zodiac Mk 2 or Mk 3; will be primarily used on the South Coast in fair weather, and also for scuba diving with 3 or 4 others. The Zodiac Futura Mk 3 looks like it ticks all my boxes, I intend on packing it away and storing indoors during the winter. Anyhow I have a few questions below if anyone could answer that will be great.



Is the Mk3 cumbersome for one person to fold up and put in the back of a van, in comparison to the Mk2 ?





The"air floor" which I suppose relates to the keel on these boats, is the air floor on the Mk 2 and Mk 3 optional ??



It seems odd to me that the soft keel of these boats can withstand such harsh environments found close to the vicinity of beaches ect, should I be worried ? Can these boats handle bumps and knocks below ?



Can I mount a fish finder, garmin GPS, compass ect to these boats without a jockey/console ?



Anyone usd these boats for scuba diving ? How many divers (with kit) can they (relatively) comfortably transport without becoming overcrowded ?



Is there anything I should be aware of if purchasing a Mk2 or Mk3 second hand, like age/materials.



Thanks all


A year ago I was all set to buy a new Mk2c, I had the money in my pocket & had done my research, or so I thought. I went to the Southampton boat show with the intention of doing a deal. Then I saw the Excel range & the rest is history. Weíve used our Volaire this year, & are very happy with it. Iíve not regretted not buying the Zodiac.
Itís your money, but there are other options out there.
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Old 01 December 2020, 11:47   #4
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Agree with Dave the zodiacs are good boats but pricey if you want the speed tubes you can get the excel vanguard with them fitted for about £500 extra and get a good deal on a set up from them at half the price. You'll need at least a 40 hp for 3-4 divers too which is getting heavy if you want to plane that is. I have the 435 without speed tubes just enough room for 4 if set up correctly and your mates keep dive kit tidy
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Old 01 December 2020, 12:21   #5
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TBH for 4 divers + kit youíre into RIB territory.
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Old 01 December 2020, 13:15   #6
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We ran for years with a bombard 4m and a Suzuki 40 not ideal but all we could afford you learn to move about to get her on the plane also depends how far your going running at displacement speed you can cover some ground or run with two divers and change out,
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Old 01 December 2020, 14:47   #7
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Thanks for the responses The Excel Vanguard sure looks great and a good price in comparison to the Futura's. I will do some reading up tonight on the Excel range; are the bigger ones as good in terms of quality/speed/comfort as the Futura Mk 3's I wonder ? Is there an option of a aluminium floor on the Excel's. Thanks great.
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Old 01 December 2020, 15:50   #8
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I have two threads new boat Mercury hd 365xs and excel 435 fit out from scratch both for divers
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Old 01 December 2020, 16:42   #9
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I have two threads new boat Mercury hd 365xs and excel 435 fit out from scratch both for divers
I will have a look. thanks for mentioning. Since looking at the Excel website im thinking the Vanguard XHD 485 would be a good size for 4-5 divers. As I need to transport the SIB in my van, would the 485 be too awkward/heavy to pick up (once bagged up) between 2 people do you think ?? Could 1 person do it at a push ?
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Old 01 December 2020, 16:48   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pikey Dave View Post
TBH for 4 divers + kit you’re into RIB territory.
...100%!
4-5 Divers with thier Kit! any sort distance ...in any sort of Sea Safely! = 6m +!
IMO
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Old 01 December 2020, 17:08   #11
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...100%!
4-5 Divers with thier Kit! any sort distance ...in any sort of Sea Safely! = 6m +!
IMO
I would like a rib, the issue is storage and transport so that's definitely off the cards. The max length I could to would be 5m for a foldaway SIB so guess that would narrow down divers to 2-3 with one to remain on board; not the end of the world, im a rec diver on a single cylinder so not loads of equipment.
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Old 01 December 2020, 17:55   #12
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I have two threads new boat Mercury hd 365xs and excel 435 fit out from scratch both for divers
How many divers can you fit in your 435 Jeff ?
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Old 02 December 2020, 05:45   #13
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4 onboard would be ok 3 divers I've dived for years off these types of boat sport and professionally as well as ribs and cabin boats, as you say fair weather diving so you've risk assessed already both mercury and excel build for diving i would also say 40 hp minimum for the engine & look at the speed tubes for the excel. speak to terry at excel for your requirements at least he gives options on the build which you dont get on some makes. he also does good deals on packages.
weight wise the engine is easy on a sack barrow the boat is a lump in two bags its a case of rolling not lifting too awkward my mercury was 100kg i managed to build it on my own but it went straight on a trailer from then on so a launch trolley of some sort will help when its built up and old carpet to build on hope that helps.
edit i see you have a van is it possible to stick the bare boat on a roof rack there are some side loading racks available.
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Old 02 December 2020, 11:06   #14
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4 onboard would be ok 3 divers I've dived for years off these types of boat sport and professionally as well as ribs and cabin boats, as you say fair weather diving so you've risk assessed already both mercury and excel build for diving i would also say 40 hp minimum for the engine & look at the speed tubes for the excel. speak to terry at excel for your requirements at least he gives options on the build which you dont get on some makes. he also does good deals on packages.
weight wise the engine is easy on a sack barrow the boat is a lump in two bags its a case of rolling not lifting too awkward my mercury was 100kg i managed to build it on my own but it went straight on a trailer from then on so a launch trolley of some sort will help when its built up and old carpet to build on hope that helps.
edit i see you have a van is it possible to stick the bare boat on a roof rack there are some side loading racks available.
Hi, yes thanks for the info; I spoke to Terry earlier, he did mention that the speed tubes might not be so suitable for a dive boat as they tend to raise the front end ?? So im not altogether sure if to go for them or not. My initial thoughts were to have the speed tubes for a more comfortable ride but Im a bit perplexed now about this; what would be the advantage of having them ? The max recommended engine size for the vanguard 435 is 30hp, with that in mind would not your proposal for a 40hp be pushing it ? A 20Hp would be easier to manhandle but I wonder if it would give me enough power; thinking about it if I did go for the speed tubes then surely they would warrant an engine bigger than 20Hp (i have no idea)? I'm impressed with the folded up dimensions and weight of the 435, it would fit no problem into my small van which is ideal so that's cheered me up. Your mention of securing the assembled boat to a roof rack, I honestly did not even think of that. I do have a roof rack but maybe would not be so confident strapping a boat to it it could easily fly away while driving at speed I suspect, but it is food for thought I guess, certainly a novel idea and would allow me to drive it somewhere for washing at least before putting back in its bag. Well I've got the bug now, and already planning in my mind how to kit it out
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Old 02 December 2020, 11:28   #15
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Your mention of securing the assembled boat to a roof rack, I honestly did not even think of that. I do have a roof rack but maybe would not be so confident strapping a boat to it it could easily fly away while driving at speed
I strapped mine onto the roof rack while it was still in the bag, the other (drier) bag went in the boot. I used two short sections of aluminium ladder, clamped side by side to the rack. Maybe it's possible to do the same with an inflated boat and full lengths of ladder as bunks? Use u bolts to make a platform, ratchet straps over the top of the boat.

A trailer would be best though and only pack everything away over winter, trailer could store on it's side with a bit of ingenuity.

I agree with the others about the need for a RIB. You will be weather and/or distance limited or else compromised on safety.
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Old 02 December 2020, 11:36   #16
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I agree with the others about the need for a RIB. You will be weather and/or distance limited or else compromised on safety.
Yes a rib would be better but storage is impossible for me without a driveway or garage unfortunately. Sibs have there place
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Old 02 December 2020, 11:38   #17
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Yes a rib would be better but storage is impossible for me without a driveway or garage unfortunately. Sibs have there place
Former owner of our RIB found cheap secure barn storage £15/month I believe.
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Old 02 December 2020, 11:41   #18
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Former owner of our RIB found cheap secure barn storage £15/month I believe.
Cheap secure storage is the holy grail nowdays !
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Old 02 December 2020, 13:17   #19
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Roof-racks have their place, however you're not going to get a Zodiac Mk3 Futura or similar on it unless you want to give yourself a hernia!

It's over 14'9" long, x 6'9" wide, solid transom, plus with the aluminium floor in place you're looking at over 100kg, and inflated it's the equivalent of sticking a parasol on the roof of your van at any speed.

Yes SIBs can be carried on the roof, but I'm thinking more light-weight tenders, Avon, etc

Engine wise, I used to run a Zodiac Pro 420 (rib) with a Yamaha 40V 2-stroke engine. It's still coming in around 100kg.

Your best bet is bagged and assembled and out of the van on site or look at a bunked trailer. When I used to build Zodiac's it was at the start and end of a fortnight's boating on the west coast with a Yamaha 25D 2-stroke, and that was a brute to shift, and not after a day at sea when you're tired and just want to get home.

Regards the Futura speed tubes, it gives the boat stability at higher speed. The extra bouyancy won't harm either. This Zodiac 470 hull is similar to Futura and shows how the speed tubes are integrated.
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Old 02 December 2020, 13:38   #20
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Roof-racks have their place, however you're not going to get a Zodiac Mk3 Futura or similar on it unless you want to give yourself a hernia!

It's over 14'9" long, x 6'9" wide, solid transom, plus with the aluminium floor in place you're looking at over 100kg, and inflated it's the equivalent of sticking a parasol on the roof of your van at any speed.

Yes SIBs can be carried on the roof, but I'm thinking more light-weight tenders, Avon, etc

Engine wise, I used to run a Zodiac Pro 420 (rib) with a Yamaha 40V 2-stroke engine. It's still coming in around 100kg.

Your best bet is bagged and assembled and out of the van on site or look at a bunked trailer. When I used to build Zodiac's it was at the start and end of a fortnight's boating on the west coast with a Yamaha 25D 2-stroke, and that was a brute to shift, and not after a day at sea when you're tired and just want to get home.

Regards the Futura speed tubes, it gives the boat stability at higher speed. The extra bouyancy won't harm either. This Zodiac 470 hull is similar to Futura and shows how the speed tubes are integrated.
Likely it would be in the back of the van, thanks for the input. A couple more questions here from me if you dont mind; would a 4.35m Sib with just the one person on board be safer and more stable in choppy conditions than a smaller sized model; i.e is bigger better ? I see the 4.35 is a popular size, any specific reason for this other than passenger carrying ability ?? in comparison to the old Avon searider RIB (like the one seen on that youtube video where he finds on old harbourmaster one and repairs it), is the handling; comfort, and seaworthiness of a 4.35 SIB greatly diminished ??

Now since looking at various internet stuff, it appears that SIBs are only really comfortable for flat calm seas, which lets face it, is not that often in the UK !?
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