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Old 14 December 2014, 00:56   #1
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newbie ignorance...boat and engine choice with a twist.

Hello all,

So next month my wife and I are moving to the archipelago of Bocas del Toro, Panama. Everything is done by boat. As such we have a 23ft panga. But everything there is two stroke including the 75 I will put on the panga. So basically a hole for fuel. Therein lies the problem...many folks use a skiff and small engine to get around while not hauling gear or a crowd.

So that brings me to this thought. A skiff (john boat shaped)in the ocean just feels sketchy to me. As such I started thinking of an inflatable. I am also thinking of a four stroke I can ship there once again for fuel savings.

My journey town is about 7 miles. These are inner islands not open sea, though the swells could be 2' or so. The boat will be in constant use, not a weekend thing. 2-3 adults.

So I am considering a Zodiac 310 with a yamaha F6 or F8. The F6 is much lighter. There are no 4 stroke parts in Panama so a solid reputation for reliability is a must.

I am concerned it may be too slow but maybe not. Price is an issue as this is a second boat. Fuel consumption is the main factor, but it still has to be viable transport.

I am completely new to power boats. Sorry for the long post but there are some factors that stand out from a casual user.

Thanks for your time and patience in putting up with common newbie post.
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Old 14 December 2014, 04:41   #2
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7 miles each way..... so 14 miles a day often with three adults. A 3 meter inflatable with a 6 or 8 hp sounds like it will be too small for this kind of use... I would think you would want something bigger with at least
20hp on the back... If it were me I would be thinking small rib 4-5 meters
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Old 14 December 2014, 05:16   #3
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Let me amend my statement about passengers. It would rarely be 3 people, sometimes 2 and often 1 person. I would use it to go to work. My wife pointed out if we had 3 we would likely take the panga just for comfort...and as usual, she's right.
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Old 14 December 2014, 05:31   #4
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I would still want something a bit bigger...
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Old 14 December 2014, 07:14   #5
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Why not a small RIB + 20/30 HP engine ?
Even 3.8, 3.9 m
This one mentioned below is 3.9m

It is OK for 3 adults but you have not a lot of room for bags.

If you use it for shopping or need some equipment maybe a little bigger be better ...

[yt]=
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Old 14 December 2014, 09:33   #6
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Hi & welcome 👍
There's been several posts on here just of late regarding a folding Rib.
From what your saying , it sounds ideal for you, it'll push along at a good speed, run forever with a small 4stroke on its back.
Have a look at the F-Rib threads.
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Old 14 December 2014, 09:47   #7
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Hi & welcome 👍
There's been several posts on here just of late regarding a folding Rib.
From what your saying , it sounds ideal for you, it'll push along at a good speed, run forever with a small 4stroke on its back.
Have a look at the F-Rib threads.
Just what I was thinking
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Old 14 December 2014, 10:21   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biggy View Post
Hi & welcome 👍
There's been several posts on here just of late regarding a folding Rib.
From what your saying , it sounds ideal for you, it'll push along at a good speed, run forever with a small 4stroke on its back.
Have a look at the F-Rib threads.
Quote:
Originally Posted by philpot View Post
Just what I was thinking
Srsly?!?

This guy has to travel 7 miles to work over two foot waves? What kinda shape will he arrive in? And why would he need a folding RIB? Is he transporting it in an automobile?

OP:

What price is gas in Panama? Is there a supply issue? You'll find that the jon boats/skiffs are very fuel efficient and likely OK if handled properly. That said, they look a bit on the light side to me! You might be better to consider a GRP/Ali hard boat with slightly more freeboard and some integrated buoyancy. Keep the weight in mind and spec an engine that you will be running at around 70% revs for your required speed. Personally, I'd go for whatever 2 stroke brand the locals are using and make sure it's not too small - they're not THAT bad on fuel unless you run them flat out all the time. Be aware that SIB and RIBs tend to be heavy compared to hard boats of a similar size and thus need a bit more power to push them.
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Old 14 December 2014, 11:11   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willk View Post
You might be better to consider a GRP/Ali hard boat with slightly more freeboard and some integrated buoyancy. Keep the weight in mind and spec an engine that you will be running at around 70% revs for your required speed. Personally, I'd go for whatever 2 stroke brand the locals are using and make sure it's not too small - they're not THAT bad on fuel unless you run them flat out all the time. Be aware that SIB and RIBs tend to be heavy compared to hard boats of a similar size and thus need a bit more power to push them.
I'd agree with this I wouldn't expect a rib/sib to last very long given the intended use

I don't think you could go much better than an aluminium hulled dinghy with some built in buoyancy

Light easily repaired & tough & I'd definitely go with an engine you have local back up for.

There is a reason old two strokes are so sort after over here & that's simply they are very good engines for small boats
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Old 14 December 2014, 13:54   #10
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Ok guys I am hearing what you are saying and apparently what I am considering is not a good combo.

Most people who have a skiff tend to run a 10-12 foot fiberglass skiff with a 15hp yamaha enduro 2-smoke. The Indians there have dugout canoes and will often attach a small outboard on those. But all of the expats I speak to want a four stroke in a bad way because of the fuel consumption.

Fuel runs about $2 liter I guess, I haven't checked in awhile.

But fuel is everyone's concern all the time. It literally locks some people at home because they can't afford to leave whatever island they live on very often. This is the reality of living in an island chain.

I am just searching for a solution like everyone else there for a very fuel efficient boat we can mess around in and use for transport when the bigger boat is not needed. I know the small two strokes aren't as bad on fuel but a four stroke would be very fuel efficient.

I am not trying to get too big of a boat or engine. That would defeat my objective here.

Keep it coming guys I am learning a lot.
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Old 14 December 2014, 14:54   #11
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Hi Kayakguy

Personally ..I tend to think...look at what the locals are using.. they are all in the same boat as you..so to speak..so why re invent the wheel? I donít mean the Indian guys in canoes.. but the folk in the same situation as yourself ..there are some others ?

I donít think I would like the F Rib in anything but a flat calm..the reason being.. it appears to have two or three compartments bolted together. Water splashing over the side will eventually fill the compartments with water.. until it reaches a height high enough to slop over the top of the compartment wall into the next compartment. A real pain in my opinion as you will have to bail all compartments instead of one to keep water from sloshing about. I have yet to be in any small SIB where water doesnít come over the side.. so I doubt the F Rib will be any different in a wave. However, Im certain Philpot will keep us informed on how it performs from that respect as I may be wrong.

I fancy the idea of an Aluminium rib ..

TS370 - Super light & strong aluminium tender.

something like this ..but without the jockey seat taking up internal room. Look at the weight of it ... 64kg for a 3.7 meter boat.... that is impressive in my book .. It should be easy to bail with only one compartment..or fit a self bailer. With that kind of weight..a small two or four stroke will get it moving very quickly. :-D

So to recap.. If I didnít like the locals choice.. I think I would go for an aluminium hull and a small engine
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Old 14 December 2014, 15:18   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willk View Post
This guy has to travel 7 miles to work over two foot waves?
Willk is talking sense (savour it whilst it lasts). Very few people here need to travel 7 miles each way to go to the shop / office every day by boat, and whilst you can pick your weather to help you can't ignore it completely. I think that trip could soon become a real drag if (a) the trip shakes you to bits every time - you want a decent hull (b) is a slow drawn out process - you want a decent sized engine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beamishken View Post
I'd agree with this I wouldn't expect a rib/sib to last very long given the intended use. I don't think you could go much better than an aluminium hulled dinghy with some built in buoyancy.
Indeed, usually there is a reason why a particular type of boat thrives well in a local market. Even if it might not be the best design on paper, what everyone else uses is either robust enough for the conditions or simple enough to repair etc.

If you don't want Aluminium look and see if there are any rotomoulded PE hulls around (shipping one will negate any benefit). This kind of "resilient workhorse" application is where they do well rather than on cosmetics etc.
Quote:
I'd definitely go with an engine you have local back up for.
that rule applies to all of us - but is especially the case for someone living on a string of small islands... ...if you turn up with something "exotic" the local guy isn't going to have experience fixing it, software to diagnose it or any spare parts on hand. A modern(ish) 20HP 2stroke running flat out will use a little under 8L an hour, and will probably take 20 minutes each way for your 7 mile trip at full throttle (so ~5L return trip) - at 75% throttle it will be a good bit more efficient and not take much longer. If you did that trip 300 days a year, a four stroke might save you $800 a year (based on your $2/L price).

Quote:
Originally Posted by kayakguy View Post
I am just searching for a solution like everyone else there for a very fuel efficient boat we can mess around in and use for transport when the bigger boat is not needed.
The solution might be in your username - or perhaps something with "free" wind energy and a "get you home motor"? Assuming you are not in a rush
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Old 14 December 2014, 15:47   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willk View Post
Srsly?!?

This guy has to travel 7 miles to work over two foot waves? What kinda shape will he arrive in? And why would he need a folding RIB? Is he transporting it in an automobile?

OP:

What price is gas in Panama? Is there a supply issue? You'll find that the jon boats/skiffs are very fuel efficient and likely OK if handled properly. That said, they look a bit on the light side to me! You might be better to consider a GRP/Ali hard boat with slightly more freeboard and some integrated buoyancy. Keep the weight in mind and spec an engine that you will be running at around 70% revs for your required speed. Personally, I'd go for whatever 2 stroke brand the locals are using and make sure it's not too small - they're not THAT bad on fuel unless you run them flat out all the time. Be aware that SIB and RIBs tend to be heavy compared to hard boats of a similar size and thus need a bit more power to push them.
I think I am going brain dead, why would he need a folding rib ????------------senior moment, just ignore me.

Phil
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Old 14 December 2014, 21:03   #14
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I think I am going brain dead, why would he need a folding rib ????------------senior moment, just ignore me.

Phil
Don't beat yourself up mate
Who knows, the OP may or may not wish to explore the numerous Rio's (rivers) and the two large lakes, Brazo de Hornito and Changuinola not too far from him if he chose to do so
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Old 15 December 2014, 00:40   #15
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Well the good news is when I say 2' seas that is highest I would hope to be in. Conditions are usually glassy. However I am smart enough to know a return trip can be different to what I set off in.

A pole on a Bocas forum showed most using inflatables and 15hp engines. Keep in mind these are gringos. I did not think most would be using inflatables. In fact I wonder how they got in the market there. Maybe people brought them or maybe bought tenders from the many sailboats that pass through.

As for what the locals use...like I said definitely yamaha 2strokes. But that may have to do with cost and availability. There is knowledge of repair there. What there is not is parts. So if your 4 stroke goes down it may be 2 months.

I would not even consider a 4 stroke except we have another boat.

Maybe I just need to get a dugout canoe and call it good. On a humorous side note, these canoes are fascinating. They range from barely more than boards to 40' with huge carrying capacity. Often you will see what looks like half the village go strolling by. But what I think is most interesting is that on the smaller boats they will pack cracks in the boat with plastic bags to slow the leaking. Yea, maybe not a dugout...
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Old 15 December 2014, 00:49   #16
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Oh one more thing...what about these inflatable catamarans? Equally as bad a choice?
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