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Old 17 January 2020, 03:51   #1
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Country: UK - Scotland
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Avon SR4 and Zodiac 420 Comparison

Hi,

I am new to the forum so hopefully posting in the correct place.

I like the look of these boats and wonder if people with experience of them can please provide a comparison. I have experience of small boats (speedboats mainly) but not RIBs.

I am looking for a family rib, primarily for 2, but sometimes 4, easily towed and launched. I prefer the look of a bench rather than jockey seat. Budget is <£5k and it will be mostly used on scottish lochs.

Thanks
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Old 17 January 2020, 12:49   #2
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Make: Avon Searider
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You'll get lots of strong opinions on that one! Avon Seariders have a very loyal following (just do a search on here - its possibly one of the most widely discussed boats). They are great - some of the early ones dating back to the 1970s are still in regular use with the original tubes and upholstery - really built to last (and like Trigger’s broom, pretty easy to repair in a garage with basic tools when things do go wrong). Because so many were made over the years (they stopped being made under the Avon brand mid 2000s but are still available now under the "Zodiac Milpro" brand) they are commonly available often very cheaply. Unfortunately, most of the ones you see for sale these days have more often than not had bodge-job repairs and modifications over the years and are in a very much less than original and tidy state (beware a very cheap searider – it’s probably a wreck). Restoring the mighty Avon Searider back to (better than) new condition has become a pastime for many in it’s own right! They do still occasionally come on the market in original tidy condition but you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled. Why are they so popular? Well, a great hull to start with on all models – they handle an unruly sea very well; they were of course originally designed for commercial and rescue use. The flooding hull design is unique to the Searider and makes things like fishing or recovering a swimmer/skier considerably easier due to the extra ballast the boat has. This is also an advantage if you want to leave the boat on a mooring as it sits more solidly in the water. The tubes are all Avon’s own hypalon which was really made to last; my own one is a 1999 and is often confused with something that’s only a handful of years old. Very good quality indeed.

The Zodiac 420 is geared more towards the more usual type of leisure boater who wants something a bit more easy on the eye than the typical Searider orange and grey. I believe these all have PVC tubes (nothing wrong with that at all, but there’s a reason commercial and professional rescue RIBs usually have hypalon tubes). One advantage of the tube design here is that you can change the tubeset yourself in about half an hour should the need ever arise. The layout again appeals/is designed for a leisure boater with the bench seat at the back type configuration. Pro’s and cons to this; sitting at the back can be more comfortable than being further forward, but its likely to slam more in any sort of sea than something like a Searider with a mid-mounted console which balances the boat out better. Some have reported filling the anchor locker with a sand bag or two on small boats with that configuration to try and balance the boat out a bit more. The bench seat is more family friendly but becomes much less comfortable than a jockey console when the tough gets going; the standard 4m Searider console feels very secure with two (if they know each other well) in a rough sea.

Ultimately, if it were a game of top trumps I’d like to think the 4m Searider would win, but at the end of the day go with the one you like the look of most and ticks your own boxes, and indeed is on the market at the right price.
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Old 17 January 2020, 16:47   #3
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I don't really have an opinion between the models but I'm so glad we have a jockey seat setup. Far better balance, but I guess if you are using it primarily in calmer conditions a bench could work.
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Old 17 January 2020, 17:54   #4
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What Tim said, I couldn't agree more.

Zodiac Pros are generally geared for the leisure boater. Just look at their publicity material, flat calm Mediterranean seas or navigating a marina in Florida. Zodiac also make their Pro range in Hypalon-Neoprene at extra cost instead of Strongan Duotex which is their own PVC material, but new, this is an expensive way to buy unless it's second-hand.

I used to have a Pro 7-Man (Pro 420). Actually a great little boat, but if you are thinking of a Zodiac, then opt for the next size up, which will be a Pro 9-Man (Pro 500) where you can realistically put 50-60hp on. They are shallow to mid V hulls, so navigating in a confused sea, or wind over tide, then you're going to have to reduce speed to make any headway. Most are bench seat set ups which seem to suit the boat.

Zodiac come with a fairly comprehensive dealer network, a parts catalogue with numerous accessories (although expensive), and the slide on rail tube is still a positive thing, in the respect you can buy a new tube set 10-15 years down the line and effectively have a new boat. Lots on the market at this time of year so you can afford to be picky.

Check out Harry Dwyers restoration of a SR Deluxe. A lot of information and good viewing. https://m.youtube.com/user/harrywickedo
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Old 19 January 2020, 16:41   #5
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Thanks for the replies, very useful.

I appreciate the loyal sr4 following and the reasons behind it. I agree it would win top trumps

I am constrained by the size of my garage so canít go bigger than 4.2m. And the reason I was looking at bench seats is that it seems more family friendly. If it was just 2 of us, I would be going sr4.

I have seen a number of sr4s on you tube and the deeper v looks better in a rougher sea. (The Harry Dwyer restoration was very good.). Thankfully I am not likely to be out in the rough too much.

I will look at the sr4 back to back sears but if there are any other suggestions, please let me know. I will take a closer look at the pro man 7.
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Old 19 January 2020, 18:33   #6
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This has sold, but useful for reference in terms of layout. https://www.thewolfrock.co.uk/boats/...-man-rib-2010/

I used to run a Yamaha 40hp on mine. It's rated for 50hp, but I doubt you will find one with that kind of horsepower. If you're 4-up, then look to 40hp as a minimum.

For fuel my ou can fit 25 litre tank under the console, and another 25 litres under the bench seat.

Never seen one fitted with suicide seat (in front of the console). Doesn't look particularly robust. You can also get bespoke bow cushions for an additional seat on the bow locker from https://www.marine-trim.co.uk/collec...cht-upholstery or Outhill Marine.
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