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Old 24 September 2020, 17:30   #1
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Considering a floating caravan

So been out and about having fun with the Cobra 7.5m rib I refurbished during lockdown (see the thread here: https://www.rib.net/forum/f8/project-cobra-83828.html)

Weve had some great days zooming around the North Devon coast, Lundy etc.

However, there are some glitches.

- whilst launching and recovering is relatively easy, parking is a nightmare at our local slipway and has curtailed trips on busy days in the summer.
- the rigmarole of hitching up, driving to the coast, getting the boat in the water, getting it out again, driving home, washing it off and putting it away gets old.
- we can only launch +/- 2.5 hours of high tide.
- the weather in England is predominantly crap
- I have discovered we predominantly use the boat as a cruiser / floating picnic platform.
- whilst we we are not afraid of the sea, our desire to dress up like eskimos and go out in the rain is minimal.
- many of the trips wed like to do require leaving on one tide and coming back on the next. Being on a rib for ~12 hours with little shelter doesnt really appeal.

So, Im considering selling it and buying a different boat. I initially thought about maybe getting a boat in the med, but coronavirus / brexit / life crap have put that idea away.

So now Im considering a boat like an Beneteau Antares 8.80:




My thinking is:

- twin 150hp outboards are super easy to look after, no pesky outdrives or inboard diesels to worry about and we can tilt them up so the boat could live on a mooring that dries out.
- the boat being ~9m long and weighing 4 ton plus should handle worse seas than wed want to go out in (I think?)
- the enclosed pilot house will keep us warm and dry and mean we will head out much more often
- its a perfect floating picnic platform
- if we fancy a spot of caravanning we could sleep on it
- we can lock it up at the end of the day and not worry too much about it or trying to put covers on it and worrying about them blowing away etc.

If we decide that Bristol Channel life is still too restricted, we could move it around to the other coast, maybe Exmouth which is only an hour or so away. Or perhaps go on some extended cruises further afield for a week or two at a time (French canals look interesting).

So can anyone tell me why this is a really stupid idea?

Heres some rib pictures to keep things relevant




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Old 24 September 2020, 17:42   #2
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Why not a caravan that can hold the family, friends, and go around the world? Plus you get to have a RIB, albeit a small one, on the back. Perfect for the med

This is the one I would like to have.
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Old 24 September 2020, 17:45   #3
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Originally Posted by Peter_C View Post
Why not a caravan that can hold the family, friends, and go around the world? Plus you get to have a RIB, albeit a small one, on the back. Perfect for the med

This is the one I would like to have.
I have an aversion to flappy things ever since sailing every weekend as a kid
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Old 24 September 2020, 18:28   #4
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If you can afford it go for it.

Having been on RIBs in crap weather, it's hard going. That said, on decent days, sun in your face, it's hard to beat.

With hard boats at this size I suspect you're on a swinging mooring or a spot in a marina. That is undoubtedly an advantage for just rocking up and going, but will come at cost. Hull needs antifouled, and with twin outboards, then you're looking at double servicing costs, and probably increased fuel, as it's no lightweight.

Costs aside, it has a galley, so you can get a brew on, put on the radio and shut the door if the weather is inclement. I also love you can sleep on board if you're going round the coast for a few days.

Watched a quick video, and the Barracuda 9 which is based on the same hull as the Beneteau Antares 8.80 appeals to me. Okay, it's more expensive, but if you're going down that route it's worth exploring. With twin 200hp, it's more powerful, and seems to drive better, but at the expense of accommodation with just a 2-berth below. I also like the side access to the main cockpit. Some models have a flybridge, but probably more suited for the Florida Keys.
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Old 24 September 2020, 19:37   #5
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Seems a no-brainer now you explained it like you did.
Here's one a little smaller and only one engine which will reduce costs.
https://www.boatsandoutboards.co.uk/...s-7-80/327903?
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Old 24 September 2020, 19:47   #6
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Originally Posted by Peter_C View Post
Why not a caravan that can hold the family, friends, and go around the world? Plus you get to have a RIB, albeit a small one, on the back. Perfect for the med

This is the one I would like to have.
I long thought about building one in retirement and was serious to the point of purchasing plans, but it's just easier to buy a smaller one that's getting on a bit and hence relatively affordable. We'll see if the dream is realised, it can be done for about the price of a decent canal boat or sailing monohull which are two alternatives.
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Old 25 September 2020, 01:19   #7
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You are very inside in that sort of boat and if you enjoy being outside at the helm on nice days. This is not that sort of boat. Somthing perhaps to think about in your search.

I have boats ranging from 2.7 m sibs through 16 - 19 foot speed boats and Ribs with the largest being a 24 foot sports Cruiser kept in a marina.

11 plus boats in total

Of all these boats we tend to use the 4.6 m Rib the most for days out as you describe in your rib.

Regarding the Weather in the UK apart from today I would not agree about it being crap as you say
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Old 25 September 2020, 03:22   #8
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Nice boat, but if you're going in this direction (we're currently going the other way) then you should go 10m as a minimum. You'll get far more useable space inside, decent heads, and seakeeping will be a lot better. If you want the wind in your hair, get one with a flybridge, or go for a targa top.
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Old 25 September 2020, 03:43   #9
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Quote:
- we can tilt them up so the boat could live on a mooring that dries out.
it sounded like a big part of your current constraint was being dictated to by tides, a drying mooring is worse - you can't even decide to tow it to somewhere else if high tide is 3am on the day you want to do out.

Quote:
- the enclosed pilot house will keep us warm and dry and mean we will head out much more often
This is an idea I mull over a lot. What do you currently do on the wet days where you don't want to go on the boat? Because if its not have a picnic in the car with the rain on the windows why will it be better on a boat?

Quote:
- if we fancy a spot of caravanning we could sleep on it
Boats are crap caravans. They are small, cramped and damp. It will be more akin to sleeping in a tent than a caravan, and it will roll around and have water slapping at the hull, mooring chain rattling etc - so be aware a lot of people buy boats with a romantic notion of sleeping aboard but rarely do.

I'm not suggesting its a bad idea, just maybe not quite as ideal as it sounds. If I was in your shoes and buying new I'd give Andre (of this forum) a shout and see if any of his parker range fit the bill - you are getting a "rib hull" with the space and comfort of a shed on top. Should provide an interesting comparison to the Benetau.

Quote:
I have an aversion to flappy things ever since sailing every weekend as a kid
Was that on yachts or dinghies? Very different experience. I'd also say that an american style cat is probably a very different experience again - getting you much closer to caravan comfort.
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Old 25 September 2020, 04:19   #10
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Saw a barracuda 9 near me and was impressed, looked the business.

Otherwise, Axopar?
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Old 25 September 2020, 04:36   #11
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Saw a barracuda 9 near me and was impressed, looked the business.

Otherwise, Axopar?
Axopar cabins look amazing but high purchase price puts them out of reach for many.
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Old 25 September 2020, 04:53   #12
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The Beneteau style hard boats slam in seas - going from a decent RIB to one would be a backwards step for some
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Old 25 September 2020, 05:45   #13
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Originally Posted by Rousseau View Post
Nice boat, but if you're going in this direction (we're currently going the other way) then you should go 10m as a minimum. You'll get far more useable space inside, decent heads, and seakeeping will be a lot better. If you want the wind in your hair, get one with a flybridge, or go for a targa top.
Thought about this but a couple of problems:

- most suitable boats are on shafts and I dont think a drying mooring is the best place for a boat on shafts so would have to moor it somewhere else.

- could get something with outdrives but from just thinking about them I have a mechanical aversion to them (maybe unfairly).
Id rather be on the boat than rebuilding a drive.

- the maintenance and hassle factor is going to increase massively maintaining all the complex systems on what will be an oldish boat and Im the sort of person who will want to fix every last thing.

- for the type of cruising we will do on Bristol Channel, you need to be quite self sufficient. Twin outboards would give quite a lot of reassurance I think compared to some old diesel lumps.

But I do like the idea of a fly bridge
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Old 25 September 2020, 06:31   #14
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The beneteau you first pictured looks like a good choice for what you want. We're lucky enough to have both a rib & twin diesel cruiser & they are totaly different types of boating, a bit like a motorcross bike and a big 4x4
Id agree if you can stick with outboards thats a good choice especially as a shaft drive is impractical. Your right about drives they are a mechanical nightmare, although we have them it was a close run choice between them & shafts but the extra fuel consumption won in our case & I can fix them myself but wouldn't like to pay for their upkeep.
The rib is great for a blast out but the cruiser is better if your wanting to stay out longer or holiday aboard
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Old 25 September 2020, 11:50   #15
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Everyone is rushing to suggest boat styles that may suit ,however if you read your post ,the only problems you have are with the slipway,tides and parking your car ,which location you have chosen to use ,you have no fear of the cash for mooring and storing a gin palace however no thoughts about putting the rib you lovingly restored and enjoyed (and we all enjoyed reading it ) ,put the rib on a versadock in a nice marina where tides dont matter for access . we are not in Florida and days out are few and far between ,so best enjoyed in shirt sleeves ,not in a floating caravan with the windows steamed up , from a floating versadock Boxing day may be a beatiful day ,still and bright ,give me a rip on a rib anyday ,nb i have done hard boats but just dont work for me ,cant even pull up the beach for a breakfast and utilise your Bigplumbs reccomended anchor buddy ,i suspect we do have a smaller window on the east coast ,so may be relevant .
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Old 25 September 2020, 12:13   #16
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it sounded like a big part of your current constraint was being dictated to by tides, a drying mooring is worse - you can't even decide to tow it to somewhere else if high tide is 3am on the day you want to do out.
Yes and no. This weekend max tide height is 5.3m, I really need 5.5m to get down the slipway. Id the boat was on a mooring, I could sneak out for the day.

As for towing somewhere else, in reality we have found that doesnt really happen. We are a minimum of about 2 hours to get anywhere that isnt tidal, and what if you drive all the way there and the weathers not great when you arrive?

Quote:
This is an idea I mull over a lot. What do you currently do on the wet days where you don't want to go on the boat? Because if its not have a picnic in the car with the rain on the windows why will it be better on a boat?
At the moment our criteria is <20mph winds, 0% chance of rain and ideally warm / sunny.
Combined with a max trio time of about 4 hours thanks to the tides, that considerably reduces the number of days you could go out.

With a cabin, a) I think we would happily head out for the day leaving on one ride and coming back on the next, and b) I think wed head out if it was cold or there was a chance of rain. That would drastically increase the number of boating days.


Quote:
Boats are crap caravans. They are small, cramped and damp. It will be more akin to sleeping in a tent than a caravan, and it will roll around and have water slapping at the hull, mooring chain rattling etc - so be aware a lot of people buy boats with a romantic notion of sleeping aboard but rarely do.
Damp I think could be dealt with by regularly using the bot and a good heater to keep it dry.
Ive yet to see a tent with a bed, a patio door, a mini kitchen and electricity.
Rolling around could be dealt with with a gyro if you wanted to.
Water slapping at the hull is maybe quite nice.
Mooring chain could be replaced with a snubber.
But I take your point. Its all compromises.

Quote:
I'm not suggesting its a bad idea, just maybe not quite as ideal as it sounds. If I was in your shoes and buying new I'd give Andre (of this forum) a shout and see if any of his parker range fit the bill - you are getting a "rib hull" with the space and comfort of a shed on top. Should provide an interesting comparison to the Benetau.
Id buy secondhand as Ill immediately rip a lot of it out and refit it to better suit our needs and avoid a load of depreciation that way.
The sea keeping is more recent and I guess I need to try one.


Quote:
Was that on yachts or dinghies? Very different experience. I'd also say that an american style cat is probably a very different experience again - getting you much closer to caravan comfort.
Its bad enough trying to get time, weather and tides to line up let alone trying to add wind speed into that as well. I also want low maintenance and my experience of sailing is that its a constant battle.

I did see this though: https://www.boatsandoutboards.co.uk/...inboard/321057
But I think I would just spend my whole life maintaining it
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Old 25 September 2020, 12:15   #17
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The Beneteau style hard boats slam in seas - going from a decent RIB to one would be a backwards step for some
How badly?
My thinking is its not normally the sea that stops us, its the threat of a shower of rain.
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Old 25 September 2020, 12:17   #18
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The beneteau you first pictured looks like a good choice for what you want. We're lucky enough to have both a rib & twin diesel cruiser & they are totaly different types of boating, a bit like a motorcross bike and a big 4x4
Id agree if you can stick with outboards thats a good choice especially as a shaft drive is impractical. Your right about drives they are a mechanical nightmare, although we have them it was a close run choice between them & shafts but the extra fuel consumption won in our case & I can fix them myself but wouldn't like to pay for their upkeep.
The rib is great for a blast out but the cruiser is better if your wanting to stay out longer or holiday aboard
How far afield do you go on your cruiser? Do you stay on board?

I think if I bought a cruiser Id buy a little 5m rib I could launch on my own and blast around on without worrying about scratching it.
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Old 25 September 2020, 12:35   #19
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I changed from a rib, an Island Rib 7,5 meter to a beneteau Ombrine 800, stay aboard all the time, even with a baby, I am now Looking to go slightly larger to 9.25 meters, love the floating caravan, not at all damp or small and not at all like sleeping in a tent, you just have to pick the right boat for you, my beneteau which is a 2005 Hull is quite good, not sure about the newer ones. I would struggle to go back to the rib now as we have got use to being on a bigger boat with loads of space and a screen..
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Old 25 September 2020, 12:54   #20
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How far afield do you go on your cruiser? Do you stay on board?

I think if I bought a cruiser Id buy a little 5m rib I could launch on my own and blast around on without worrying about scratching it.
We have cruised extensively in the 3 different cruisers we did several holiday trips including a holiday starting from largs & sailing to inverness via crinnan and caledonian canals in a 24ft single engine boat with 2 of us & 3 kids over 2 weeks. After selling that boat and buying a 29ft twin engined boat we kept in hartlepool after a few months on the east coastwe moved it to the west coast (largs) via the forth & clyde. We then enjoyed many trips around the west coast & northern ireland over about 5 years keeping it at largs as a holiday home. We then decided we liked the west coast so much we relocated to north Ayrshire & bought our current 37 ft boat we've done some fairly lengthy trips including isle of man a few times & southern & northern Ireland.
Cruisers open up so many new things that you wouldn't do in a rib. Re the alleged poor seakeeping from our point of view its pleasure not endurance we look for, if its rough we find something to do onshore to entertain the kids. Its totaly not like camping even 5 of us in a 4 berth boat was fine over 2 weeks away. The kids were small then, around 1, 3 & 6yo. We've also done a month away in the bigger boats
Ribs are great & we enjoy ours but we also enjoy the cruiser too
Drop me a pm if you want a chat I'll send you my no
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