Initial impressions of Quicksilver 365 Sport HD
This is my first post after having lurked around for a while. I posted a short introduction in the New Members section but short version is that I am a Swede and use the boat for getting out on remote islands where I go camping, fishing, bird watching and just to enjoy the silence from civilization (lot's of places like that here in Sweden).
Introduction / Background
I recently bought a brand new Quicksilver inflatable and wanted to share some of my initial impressions.
For the last 3 years I owned an old Zodiac Futura Mark 1 from 1986 that I absolutely loved. It served me well and kept me afloat in any weather. Unfortunately it started to leak between the chambers so it was time to retire it. I used it together with an Evinrude 15 hp two stroke from 1987. A perfect combo, until the engine broke down about the same time as the boat did.
Thus, time to get something new:
After comparing various makes and models I settled for the Quicksilver 365 Sport HD as it seemed to be the most affordable option that also had an acceptable weight (79kg) and the basic functions I was looking for (alu-floor, rugged material, welded construction and safety grab lines along the top of the tubes). I also wanted something a bit more stealthy looking than the bright red Zodiac I had previously, so I ordered the Quicksilver in light grey color -looks great! And, I was lucky to find it a bit discounted which helped to seal the deal.
I have only used it on the water once so far and have nothing bad to say about it's performance. Maybe only that the alu floor makes a bit of screaky noise when moving about on it. Early days, but the Quicksilver is a bit wider than the Zodiac which seem to keep it more stable on the water in wavy conditions.
To propel the boat I acquired a 20 hp Mercury (1979) in surprisingly good condition -although revving a bit so suspecting either ventilation or the propeller hub might be spun. Anyway, more on the water testing is to be done. Hopefully before this years season ends. Already getting cold here in Sweden now in mid September.
Initial impressions of the boat as such
Upon opening the large cardboard box which the little watercraft arrived in I was a little bit disappointed with the overall quality in details such as:
- Plastic "engine plate" on the transom (with a plastic "eyelet" to secure the motor to the transom). The Zodiac had a sturdy metal plate and eyelet. The Quicksilver does feel much less solid in that regard. Not impressed!
- Transom however does feel quite sturdy and is much thicker than on the Zodiac.
- The pump that came with the boat felt unnecessarily large and bulky. It's a hand pump rather than the usual foot pump. Instead of using standard valve connectors it's equipped with some kind of proprietary two pin plastic fitting that looks like it can break easily -which would be a disaster in an emergency situation as I don't think it would be possible to inflate the tubes without this particular fitting.
Of course the tube that is attached to the pump showed a crack in it after having pumped the boat just once. Ridiculous! All I can say is that I don't trust that pump one bit.
- The bow grab handle is ridiculously small. I have pretty small hands so it kind of works for me, but I would like to see someone with large hands try to pull the boat by that handle. Not very well thought out.
- Fuel canister holder. There are small and narrow aluminium fittings riveted to one section of the aluminum floor with a strap attached to them. This is intended to secure the fuel canister to the floor. The fittings look like they will snap at any time and does not exactly ooze quality. I'll probably drill out the rivets and attach something proper once the rivets break off.
- The safety grab lines that go along the tubes are more comfortable to hold on to than the ones on the Zodiac, so that is a plus.
- The PVC material seem to be pretty heavy duty (although no rubber guards along the underside of the tubes, just along the keel).
- There are no oar locks, the Quicksilver comes with two paddles instead of oars that are attached to straps on the inside of the tubes. Not sure if that is an improvement or not. Time will tell.
More difficult to assemble than the Zodiac. It's a bit heavier, so that might be one reason for it. But also the alu sections do not really "click" together the same way the Zodiac did which did not feel so reassuring upon assembly. They seem to stay in place though so the concern might be unwarranted.
Also, there are no "stoppers" for the "side bars" which felt a bit strange as the side bars might slide back or forwards. They seem to sit in place securely though so "stoppers" might not be needed.
My comparison with a Zodiac Futura might be unfair as the Quicksilver is less than half the price of a Zodiac, however my Zodiac was 35 years old so in that time Quicksilver have had a lot of time to catch up and they could have invested a bit more in the quality of said details without impacting the price a whole lot.
To sum it all up I am hoping to get along well with the Quicksilver for the next coming years, although the heavier boat paired with a heavier motor is almost at the limit of what I can manage to lift and push. Especially as I tend to bring a lot of gear, gasoline, firewood etc. which do add to the weight. Bringing firewood really does help to preserve the pristine islands I visit. Not to mention it's pretty comfortable. Highly recommended!
I will see if I can post some pictures to better illustrate the points made above.
But for now, there you have it. The Quicksilver 365 Sport HD!
[And sorry for bad grammar and spelling errors -I'm not a native English speaker.]