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Old 23 February 2021, 08:46   #1
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Zodiac Small Rib seaworthiness question

Hi all,

I'm new to boating and I bought a Zodiac Cadet Rib Alu 360 and Merc 20hp efi at the end of the season last year and haven't had a chance to get out in it yet. I had a little experience before this with an Excel HD435.

I live on the UK South Coast and have been looking at a trip from Littlehampton to Chichester harbour as something to build up to as I become more experienced... but can I ask, do you think this size boat/engine is big enough for such a trip? I'm talking here about in calm weather as best as that can be predicted...
Chart plotters are showing me a passage through the Looe Channel which I hear can be quite rough... also keeping a wide berth from Selsey Bill takes you quite far out to sea (3/4km) - would you do it in a sub 4m Rib? With flares/radio/lifejackets etc of course.

Just putting the feelers out really - I was wondering how seaworthy a small boat like this could be. Thanks
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Old 23 February 2021, 09:25   #2
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In the right weather & good preparation you should be fine, take a look at some of the gurnards expeditions documented on here for inspiration
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Old 23 February 2021, 13:29   #3
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Originally Posted by Tonus View Post
Hi all,

I'm new to boating and I bought a Zodiac Cadet Rib Alu 360 and Merc 20hp efi at the end of the season last year and haven't had a chance to get out in it yet. I had a little experience before this with an Excel HD435.

I live on the UK South Coast and have been looking at a trip from Littlehampton to Chichester harbour as something to build up to as I become more experienced... but can I ask, do you think this size boat/engine is big enough for such a trip? I'm talking here about in calm weather as best as that can be predicted...
Chart plotters are showing me a passage through the Looe Channel which I hear can be quite rough... also keeping a wide berth from Selsey Bill takes you quite far out to sea (3/4km) - would you do it in a sub 4m Rib? With flares/radio/lifejackets etc of course.

Just putting the feelers out really - I was wondering how seaworthy a small boat like this could be. Thanks


As Ken says, preparation & planning are the key. If the conditions arenít perfect Iíd be tempted to go out with wind over tide( westerly wind & west going tide) That way youíre going out in the worst conditions & hopefully coming home in the best. You donít want to get stuck away from your launch point. You also know that if the outgoing leg gets rough, you can turn around.
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Old 23 February 2021, 16:27   #4
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That tripís doable but probably difficult in your rig and a bit dull except on a very sunny summerís day.
IMO youíd be much better off launching in Chichester harbour, maybe Itchenor but there are loads of other options and heading out around Hayling Island.
That also gives you the possibility of a good bit of sea time and some exploring, seals, walking, beaches, pubs etc., the Solentís just there as well.
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Old 23 February 2021, 16:58   #5
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Thanks gents - I hear what you're saying about careful planning. Dave that sounds like a plan... I'm going to start small and branch out.
I know this coastline is not famously inspiring, but I think to start I'll just be happy to be out. Going to try the Arun up to Arundel and Aberley/Pulborough too.


Ferryman - why are you saying the trip is probably difficult? Is it tough to navigate?
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Old 24 February 2021, 04:43   #6
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Difficult may be the wrong word, itís a long way into the wind in a smallish boat and a bit dull but totally doable.
There are bars on both entrances which can be a bit lumpy and avoid the Bognor rocks if you want to stay inshore. The Looe channel is fine on a calmish day and you can always pull up on the beach at Selsey for a pint/ice cream.
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Old 24 February 2021, 05:04   #7
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We made it as far as Amberley in an SR4 from Hayling Island, I think you can go much further up the river.
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Old 24 February 2021, 06:32   #8
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Great stuff Ferryman - I hope to get out and explore Hayling Island - I think a trailer will be on the cards at some point...
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Old 24 February 2021, 07:43   #9
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I've not been that way for decades and then on liveaboards but my concerns if planning that trip with our SIB would be same as mentioned above.... both start and destination points being tide dependent... as is the not so simple Selsey Bill in the middle.

If you get a unique mirror calm day you'll wonder why anyone had doubts... if unexpected weather kicks up part way it could really challenge.

I don't remember... are you using a chart plotter on the boat and have you sorted out working out tides re height and current direction at leaving/midpoint/arrival times?
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Old 24 February 2021, 08:00   #10
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Thanks - yeh Iím using a chart plotter.
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Old 24 February 2021, 08:01   #11
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Not going to take on that trip for a little while as Iím still finding my feet!
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Old 25 February 2021, 18:14   #12
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Does anyone else have any suggestions as to good spots or trips in that neck of the woods? Iím in Felpham - was thinking Ferring/Worthing - maybe Brighton eventually.
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Old 25 February 2021, 19:31   #13
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I would second launching from Chichester Harbour as mentioned above. We used to stay at West Wittering when I was younger and there was loads of interest for boats large and small. Speed limit of course.

Don't know if you can still put in at Haines or the hard near them in Itchenor?
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Old 26 February 2021, 15:50   #14
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Thanks Fenlander - Iíll get out that way for sure. Any good coastal spots you know of heading east? Towards Worthing?
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