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Inflatable Dinghies - the good, the bad and the ugly?

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It's time to replace my old inflatable dinghy that is falling apart at the seams. It is beyond repair!!  :mad:

 

What I need is a roll-up rather than a RIB, length 220 - 240cm, that is light enough for one person to lift out of water and onto deck. Inflatable keel seems like a good idea so that it would track better underway or when towed.

 

Some research on line and talking to a couple of retailers seems to indicate German manufactured PVC with welded seams likely to be more durable. My current piece of crap (an old Aquapro roll-up) has glued seams but I will never go there again.

 

Has anyone out there had any experience / opinions - good, bad or indifferent - with some of the current products in the NZ market??So far I have looked at Southern Pacific "Shearwater", Zodiac "Cadet" and Aakron "Yachtmaster"models.

 

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Aquapro certainly had some serious issues when they took production to China. My old NZ made Aquapro RIB lasted 15 years of real abuse. It was a great boat, but at nearly $5 k for a 2.7m  replacement (I understand that the quality issues are sorted now) I could not bring myself to buy another.

I bought an Aquastar  RIB recently - (off trademe) paid $1800 for it new (but with a scratch in the hull, so discounted) If it gives me 5 years or so I'll be happy. Time will tell. It is not as well thought out as the Aquapro - and is harder to push (slower with the 2.5hp). But it fits on the foredeck, and is light (ish) at 38KG. The oars are crap alloy ones, and the seat is rubbish. otherwise OK. So far...

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 One of the things I do is that I repair the damn things for a living, my advice would be the Zodiac Cadet it's nearly all welded but the glue they use where they use it is an environmentally friendly wall paper paste. Or the Southern Pacific's a good light weight boat but I haven't seen their new Shearwater Air floor yet which would be the only one that has a V shape to the hull. Air floors are great but if they're a glued construction once they start to let go they're on their last legs. I've got an Avon with an air floor but it's welded. Also Zodiac are doing a cheaper brand called a Zoom. These are Chinese and glued together, nothing wrong with them but they are what they are and they're not a "Zodiac". For a light weight roll up it's hard to beat the Southern Pacifics. As for a V shape in a small 2.2-2.4mt the benefits would be very small and they end up heavy if they have a ply floor. If you got a small S'Pac you'd be able to shorten your painter right up to the push pit or easily drag it on deck.

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Ocean Inflatables of Dunedin. They will freight free, so don't worry about extra cost of freight. I have been really impressed with it's value for money. It is up there with the best of them, but the cheapest on the market. At first I was worried about buying one due to it being cheap, but as I said, I am really impressed. Apparently they designed the range themselves based on their own Fishing and Diving use and then got them made to their spec in China. But they use the Korean 1100 fabric. They have lots of little "extras" you only see on the real expensive names, like a bow roller, pad/strap for fuel tank, Ally floor, a splash fence right around the top that has a line threaded through it, an extra large scupper, good quality air valves and a decent solid resin seat.
Also several choices of colours.

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Guest 000

I may be a bit biased here, but from long and painful experience, if it's made in China then it is rubbish.

Maybe if you are exceptionally lucky you will get 5 years from a Chinese build, but I've never managed more than three. I took good care of my deflatables- stored under cover and all that - but I do cruise full time for three months each summer which probably stresses them a bit. So far, I've had Zodiac, Force 4, Aquapro and Java.

I met a couple of chaps on two boats in Te Kouma a few weeks back. They were cruising in company and each had a Lancer which they'd had for 25 and 28 years respectively. That would seem the way to go but are fantastically expensive. Otherwise do what I'm doing and build a nice lightweight clinker dinghy. Mine's a nesting one so easy to stow and unlike those deflatables, it will give you a long life with minimal maintenance, and you can row it as well.

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I  have had a 2.3 metre quicksilver with an inflatable keel and floor for the last 6 years,its nice and light i can lift it onboard easily by myself and carry it on my shoulders up the beach,its starting to show signs of wear and i may only get 2 more seasons out of it,but it has had a lot of use the kids give it hell.I will buy another one when she dies.

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looked at a Akron yachtmaster at last years boat show,the rep was busy and took my details and never made contact,so no contact whats their service like?ended up with a maxxon and very happy!

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