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Old 12 May 2021, 14:28   #1
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Opinions please Excel/Honwave

After many months we have finally narrowed down our search and almost certain now to buy a new set up after looking at many reviews here and youtube etc
Will have a chat with Terry at Excel tomorrow and he will give a package quote and take it from there.

Are there any other dealers/companies/options you would recommend for comparison?

Choice Ideas are Excel Volaire or Volante 390 or latest Honwave T38 if any of them are available.

Can anyone explain the real world differences between the 3.

Honwave: Feel the slope of the V floor might not be the best for our needs, fishing dog etc but havent been in one. Warranty not very good. Any other issues?

Opinions?

On their website the 2 excel sibs seem very similar in spec weight etc but they claim the Volaire "The lighter construction requires less power, a 10 hp is adequate for planing speeds"

Does anyone have any experience of both? Any idea on different materials used? Differences with air floors?
Any issues with our choices?

https://www.excel-inflatables.co.uk/...boat-sd390.php

https://www.excel-inflatables.co.uk/...volaire390.php

Do you think our thought process below is correct?

New/Used:
Lack of knowledge of Outboards and Inflatables when things go wrong. (Can normally get my very old and temperamental lawn mower to start but not going to put others lives at risk if the grass grows a bit longer)
Time constraints to go searching around and the market as things are seems some secondhand prices almost comparable to new.
With new we have 5 years or 2 years warranty on sib. Resale values.


Size/Type:
We believe air floor models preferable for weight, storage and transport. I have a large estate car boot and possibly would buy a towbar rack later for our other car for more options.

Minimum 3.9 sib. Larger boat generally copes better in seas we might encounter in the future as our experience grows, but still manageable size for stowing and set up.
Main use will be for minimum 2 to 3 people and the dog with occasional fishing/camping gear.
When looking at a couple of smaller older sibs from boatworlds own brand we felt we would struggle for space, and the quality of the sibs and OB for the money being asked was crazy.

Outboard:
Lightest (although we realise not such thing as light 4 stroke in hp we would be looking at) But suitable 4 stroke Main brand outboard: Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, Tohatsu, Mariner, Mercury etc
Warranty. Service parts. Resale values a few years time.

Will discuss with Terry but seems minimum we would need is a 15hp and possible a 20hp at the load and size of sib we are looking at.
Do you agree?

We realise that in an ideal world we would let someone else take the big depreciation hit by buying used set up, but I guess time is getting on to be sorted out for the summer months.

Thanks...Brian
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Old 12 May 2021, 15:06   #2
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After owning a Volante 390 and giving up on it after one year, I think the Volaire will be the better boat. I was very happy with the build quality and Terry/Excel inflatables as a business. The two issues I experienced were:

1. Weight. Even separated into two bags, the one with (only) the main boat was almost unmanageable. When wet and saturated, even worse.
2. Prop ventilation. Low pressure sausage keel deformed when planing heavily loaded with four adults. It led to the formation of an air bubble which would build and burst out causing momentary prop slip. The cycle would repeat every 20 to 30 seconds.

I wouldn't ever own a SIB that size now. 3.3 or 3.5m perhaps.

Finally, there's no point you buying a 15hp 4 stroke when you can have 20hp for the same (heavy) weight.

I can't comment on the Honwave but it would be a no2 choice after the Volaire. The SD360 might be a good choice as well, I don't think the shorter hull deforms like it's bigger sibling (I did like the fact the SD floor was flat and dry).
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Old 12 May 2021, 15:41   #3
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Hi Brian, I have no experience of how the Honwave T38 performs on the water but have seen one and sat in one, and like you I have a dog. Vet bills and cruciate ligaments immediately sprang to mind, I spent over 2k on our last dog when she slipped on ice and did her cruciate in and don't want a repeat. I know people with a T38 and a dog will shoot me down, but I just didn't want to take the chance.
As for Excel, great quality which is hard to fault. I have the SD360 the smaller sibling to the SD390 and I really like it. Performance, space and handling IMO are very good, not as fast as some, but fast enough for me. However, if I would have been a few years younger and fitter, could guarantee at least 1 other to help me all the time, I think I would have gone for the Volaire 390.
Don't think that because the SD390 and Volaire 390 are similar inflated weights that they are the same deflated/dead weight, they aren't.
The SD390's floor is separate so can therefore be packed separately, and as it probably weighs close to 8kg it makes a considerable difference when lifting on your own.
As for airfloors, no problem. If your thinking about punctures from the dog/fish hooks etc then put down some Eva mats as I do, to protect the floor. I think you have more chance of puncturing the tubes when fishing than you have of puncturing the floor.
I would also question using 10hp on a Volaire. Pikey Dave is in a better position to advise as he has a Volaire, but I would have thought min 15hp and preferably 20hp and as they are roughly the same weight I'd go for the 20hp, I didn't and I now regret not doing so.
I went for a new EFI 4 stroke, three reasons - guarantee, works without me having to spend hours tinkering about with it and the price difference between new and used didn't justify buying used.
Hope you get sorted and enjoy your time on the water.
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Old 12 May 2021, 16:05   #4
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I have a Volante 390 on order. If I had plans to go out in a range of weather than I'd have gone for the 360 just to bring the length back from the max that an air floor can cope with. But as this is going to purely used in the style of an air balloon (wake up in the early hours, check the weather and decide whether to shovel the children in the car and drive for 2 hours) then the extra space of the 390 was opted for.

The Excel boats seem heavier than most of the others and the 390 is something like 60kg and it doesn't pack down into a size that will fit into the average boot.

Again, I decided this wasn't a deal breaker as it will just be myself and two children so I can drop half of the rear seating on the estate car. And I'm going to use a sheet of ply with a stop at the base to hoist and slide the bag in. I've also ordered the tow hitch carrier as I suspect that will be the easiest way to tilt and flip the bag. But I know how I'll be using the boat and where. I know the slipways and that I'll be able to build the boat next to the car. The hardest bits will be pulling it onto beaches for lunch. But I'm not going to have to be lugging the boat anywhere far or difficult. If I was then I'd have gone sub 360.

Another advantage was the flat floor. This wasn't for me directly but to make my life easier with regards to passengers. My girls tend to like to sit down on the floor and peer out and I'm certainly more relaxed with them there and at the some time I wanted the easiest way for them to hop on and off.

Engine? I didn't see any point in going for anything less than a new 20. Got fed up looking and after a conversation or two with choppers I took a punt on an old 2 stroke 15, the appeal being that it can be walked with one hand so you get to keep the skin on your shins after a lovely but long day on the water.

You mention the high prices of used kit. I'm a massive fan of buying used. I don't like VAT but used values need to offer a solid discount to offset the risks and in the current market everything has gone like Sonos speakers where people will bid up used stuff in Ebay above what Richer Sounds are jobbing new out for.

Why did I chose Excel? Frankly it ticked two boxes, good reviews and within an hours drive to sort out any issues face to face. The sales patter is a touch low rent with that uncomfortable element of pitching against the competition rather than pitching the product on its own merits but I've seen a couple of older ones and they both looked in good condition and reviews were above average.
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Old 12 May 2021, 16:16   #5
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>>>The sales patter is a touch low rent with that uncomfortable element of pitching against the competition rather than pitching the product

Sadly that has been a factor with other members in the past and I remember well with Limecc when he was choosing at the outset the sales patter was all about doing Honwave down and bigging up Excel with some "facts" presented against proven experience on here.
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Old 12 May 2021, 16:18   #6
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Originally Posted by TmMorris View Post
I have a Volante 390 on order.
Oh dear. Quite literally a heavy price to pay for the extra 12".
I hope it works out for you, it didn't for me. Terry offered me 500 to take it back in as new condition.

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>>>The sales patter is a touch low rent with that uncomfortable element of pitching against the competition rather than pitching the product

Sadly that has been a factor with other members in the past and I remember well with Limecc when he was choosing at the outset the sales patter was all about doing Honwave down and bigging up Excel with some "facts" presented against proven experience on here.
Good comment.
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Old 12 May 2021, 16:27   #7
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................ The SD360 might be a good choice as well, I don't think the shorter hull deforms like it's bigger sibling (I did like the fact the SD floor was flat and dry).

The floor on my SD360 has deformed a few times. Really flat water, heavy load, half throttle - increase the speed and it soon stops. Has it been a problem - no, would it put me off a SD360 - no.
Can't comment on the SD390, but if it had happened more than a few times I think it would annoy me. So perhaps Limecc has a point, if its a 390 you really want, then a Volaire is the way to go.
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Old 12 May 2021, 16:47   #8
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The floor on my SD360 has deformed a few times. Really flat water, heavy load, half throttle - increase the speed and it soon stops.
Tried everything except over-pressurization to no avail.

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if its a 390 you really want, then a Volaire is the way to go.
Or get the Honwave
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Old 12 May 2021, 17:07   #9
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Here's a similar thread
https://www.rib.net/forum/f50/excel-...ave-85490.html
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Old 12 May 2021, 17:09   #10
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Tried everything except over-pressurization to no avail.



Or get the Honwave
Flat floor, dog, vet bills

I didn't have a problem with Terry's sales patter, there wasn't any He is not a natural salesman, IMO he's not any type of salesman. I think you need to know what you want when you go to see him, ask for it and haggle to get the price down!
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Old 12 May 2021, 18:11   #11
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I have the Volaire 390 & am very happy with it, as is the missus, which always helps. We bought it at the Boat Show in 2019. I found Terry pretty reserved as far as salesmen go, it was very much a case of here's the boat, this is what it does, here's the price (which was very good including a 20hp Suzuki) do you want it? The deal was done & dusted in 1/2 hour. The boat was delivered on time & was exactly as it said on the tin. It's a heavy lump when deflated & is definitely a 2 person (1 man+1 woman) job to manhandle it. We keep ours in a box trailer & inflate/deflate as required. I have no worries about dogs claws or fish hooks. We've been out in some testy conditions fully loaded, & have had no issues whatsoever with air bubbles or floor deformation.
I'm not in a position to compare to other SIBs as my experience with SIBs is limited, but we are impressed with this sturdy little beast.
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Old 12 May 2021, 18:24   #12
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Kaman on here has a 4.3m Volaire and a Honwave T38 so ought to have some interesting input if he saw the thread.
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Old 13 May 2021, 01:18   #13
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Oh dear. Quite literally a heavy price to pay for the extra 12".
I hope it works out for you, it didn't for me. Terry offered me 500 to take it back in as new condition.

.
It's going to be an interesting learning curve that's for sure. I'll be doing set ups and pack ups on my own so I was conscious with regards to weight and object shape and did trade both of those a little for size.

I think the key to manhandling the pack on my own will be to fabricate a trolly that will make the tilting and pushing of the pack into the car workable while also serving as a means to transporting to and orientating for setup.

I'm working on the possibly erroneous assumption that the transom wheels will be utilised on the trolly.
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Old 13 May 2021, 01:37   #14
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It's going to be an interesting learning curve that's for sure. I'll be doing set ups and pack ups on my own so I was conscious with regards to weight and object shape and did trade both of those a little for size.

I think the key to manhandling the pack on my own will be to fabricate a trolly that will make the tilting and pushing of the pack into the car workable while also serving as a means to transporting to and orientating for setup.

I'm working on the possibly erroneous assumption that the transom wheels will be utilised on the trolly.
It's all coming back to me now.
Another problem were the supplied transom wheels. I made the right choice by getting the largest 300mm ones but they were not plain bore and had bearings which rust-stained terribly and rattled and buzzed from engine vibration to great annoyance.

You would be well advised to get a bow trolley. The weight used to cut into my fingers, alleviated only slightly by wearing gloves.

The last straw was my exhausted wife getting chest pains ripping her arms out hauling it up a beach together. I couldn't manage it on my own. It had to be sold. Nobody's idea of fun.

P.s. when designing your car loading system, be prepared for salt water entering the car. It just keeps on coming and coming
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Old 13 May 2021, 01:47   #15
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Thanks. I've a pair of lifting handles that I use for manhandling stuff due to not wanting to put my back out. One experiment will be to clip them onto the bow and see if they'll do the job. They also come in handy for dragging objects into the boot from the back seat.

I'm fully expecting all these plans to vapourise upon first contact with the enemy and to have one of those inevitable moments of standing there asking those two questions, what have I done? And is it too early for a gin?
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Old 13 May 2021, 02:28   #16
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And is it too early for a gin?
Yes enough negativity.
The combo has enough grunt to pull a towable toy. I have the Airhead 'Slash2' which is steerable and great fun. Your girls would love it.

Cold waters of Old Blighty made a 5mm wetsuit mandatory though. And I still remember the trauma of having to do my first pee in one.
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Old 13 May 2021, 02:31   #17
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It's all coming back to me now.
Another problem were the supplied transom wheels. I made the right choice by getting the largest 300mm ones but they were not plain bore and had bearings which rust-stained terribly and rattled and buzzed from engine vibration to great annoyance.

You would be well advised to get a bow trolley. The weight used to cut into my fingers, alleviated only slightly by wearing gloves.

The last straw was my exhausted wife getting chest pains ripping her arms out hauling it up a beach together. I couldn't manage it on my own. It had to be sold. Nobody's idea of fun.

P.s. when designing your car loading system, be prepared for salt water entering the car. It just keeps on coming and coming
Have you sold everything now and stopped sibbing all together?
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Old 13 May 2021, 02:45   #18
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Have you sold everything now and stopped sibbing all together?
Yes somebody got the Volante and Suzuki 20 with under 30 hours on it for 3K.

Transitioned to a RIB and now a hard sided boat and never looked back. Am very happy trailer launching. Mrs Limecc is expert powering it on and now loves boating. Even has her PB2 license.

As always the downside is launching cost and/or extra expense parking the trailer as well as the car but I'm fine with that. Previous RIB owner used secure storage out of season on the farm campsite.

Kept the kayak, even upgrading it to a drop stitch floor model.
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Old 13 May 2021, 03:29   #19
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So Sibbing in general wasn't for you then?

Someone got a bargain with your last set up.

Pleased it worked out in the end and you are both enjoy g the Rib.
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Old 13 May 2021, 03:49   #20
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So Sibbing in general wasn't for you then?

Someone got a bargain with your last set up.

Pleased it worked out in the end and you are both enjoy g the Rib.
Yes for the reasons given. Thanks. We use the kayak where we can't take the hard hull. Not done it yet but have enough room to take it with us and inflate at destination if we want. We can go further, in more comfort and stay drier, not to mention we no longer skate about in turns.

Learning curve shortened thanks to excellent advice on this forum, but still heard what I want to hear and made mistakes
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