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Old 03-02-2018, 07:27   #1
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AB Dinghy

I know the which dinghy should I buy has been bet to death a little, so Iím going to be more specific.
My current dinghy at three years is falling apart so badly that it is now beyond my repair capabilities and apparently beyond an experts as well. I have been sitting in an anchorage without a dink for a solid week now waiting for their warranty division to make a decision, and I think they have successfully waited me out, they won, I give up, I need to buy a new dink and get this behind me, we are beginning to lose our minds stuck at anchor with no way ashore and no where to go.

First had anyone heard anything bad about AB, specifically the AL series, the unfinished aluminum hulled ones.
Second, I currently have a 3.10 Meter RIB, and like the bigger size, but the 9.5 foot AB I see a lot, if money werenít an object and you can carry a 10.5 foot dink, would you go with the bigger one, or smaller.
I also have a 20HP Suzuki, so I have enough motor for the bigger dink.

Smaller is appealing as itís well, smaller and a little lighter and Iíd assume be easier to drag up on the beach, but will it be big enough to haul two American sized adults and groceries and say bikes?
Nice way of saying itís been a long time since I weighed 130 lbs.

The real important overriding factor though is to not buy another dink that will be falling apart in a year or two, and that is why Iím seeking some feedback on the build quality and durability of the AB AL dinghy.
Also entertain if there is something better out there. I donít want another budget dinghy though, I want to buy something that if I put chaps on it, will last me ten years.

Oh, and a dry ride is real important to us, would the bigger dink be drier? Tube size is the same.
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Old 03-02-2018, 07:48   #2
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Re: AB Dinghy

Having used a dingy to get to shore for over 10 years, I can answer some of your questions, though none specific to the AB AL series.

AB brand is outstanding. I doubt the AL will give you any problems.

We used a 15hp (102lb) on a 10' rib (135lb) with two adults (290lb) two kids (70lb) fuel and gear (90lb) plus a full load of groceries (unknown weight) and could get on plane easily, even in a mild chop. What we use now is different since we have more kids, more gear, and different needs.

I think it is better to go with the smallest that will accomplish your needs, instead of the largest you can fit.
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Old 03-02-2018, 07:53   #3
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Re: AB Dinghy

I have an unpainted AB 13AL purchased new 2 years ago. My previous dinghy was a 10 year old 12VS. We're a cruising family of 7 and the dinghy gets used pretty hard. My experience with build quality and durability of AB boats has been great.

I would go with the biggest dinghy you can handle. The extra foot and deeper V of the AL was a remarkable improvement for us. We anchor off the beach rather than drag ashore.
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Old 03-02-2018, 07:58   #4
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Re: AB Dinghy

Besides AB, it may be worth a look at Caribe as those seem to be another good brand of inflatable that have a generally good track record.

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Old 03-02-2018, 08:12   #5
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Re: AB Dinghy

We have the fiberglass version of the AB. It is 4 yrs old and still in perfect condition but we did buy the factory chaps.

I wish I had bought the AL as the FG version is harder to pull up the beach.

We had a Walker Bay that fell apart and they gave us our money back after a fight, it was in the warranty period but they needed to be encouraged to honor the warranty.
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Old 03-02-2018, 08:25   #6
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Re: AB Dinghy

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Moondancer View Post
it was in the warranty period but they needed to be encouraged to honor the warranty.

I feel sure I will drag this Zodiac down to Ft Lauderdale as itís my understanding that the only US factory store is there and try do the same, but based on a telephone conversation with them, Iím real sure all they will offer is at best a discounted price on another one, which I donít want.

Anybody ever bought from 84 boats in Ft Lauderdale? They seem to be the only East coast Fl dealer for AB.
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Old 03-02-2018, 08:45   #7
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Re: AB Dinghy

To expand on the AB, where would you buy one, Defender, 84 boats or in the Bahamas?
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Old 03-02-2018, 09:05   #8
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Re: AB Dinghy

A couple things regard AB RIBs I had:
I had the 10 ft and liked it a lot with a 15 hp engine. It was old and worn and I ended up selling it with a boat. I then bought the 9 ft AB RIB and it was a good dink, but I liked the 10 ft a LOT more for sure. Tracked better and stable. 15 hp was too much for the 9 ft, squirrely for sure and "bow up" a lot.
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Old 03-02-2018, 09:06   #9
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Re: AB Dinghy

It may be worth a call to Suncoast Inflatables. He sells both AB and Highfield. I bought a Highfield a year ago from him, it was $1k cheaper than comparable AB. Ask him about warranty claims on each, it's an interesting story.

SUNCOAST Inflatables. Florida | FLORIDA'S LEADING SOURCE FOR INFLATABLE BOATS, YACHT TENDERS, OUTBOARD MOTORS, SURVIVAL PRODUCTS AND LIFE RAFTS

PM me for the owner's name and cell number if interested. The good news with Miami Boat in 2 weeks, you'll get to take advantage of factory incentives.
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Old 03-02-2018, 10:00   #10
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Re: AB Dinghy

Tampa is way away, think they would ship?
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Old 03-02-2018, 10:29   #11
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Re: AB Dinghy

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Tampa is way away, think they would ship?
They deliver for a fee.
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Old 03-02-2018, 11:16   #12
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Re: AB Dinghy

Thanks, I got the PM.
Iíll call Mon.
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Old 03-02-2018, 12:15   #13
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Re: AB Dinghy

It's just awful to be stuck on the boat when you want off! When our dinghy was stolen, we moved into a marina, for the shore access. It's a little chilly for us to swim here.

We have always had the largest dinghy we could manage. It allows us to leave the big boat where she's safe, and go fishing, exploring, diving. We used to also carry a small Achilles (hypalon) soft transom dinghy as backup. We try to get 18" diameter or larger tubes. They do help you keep the laundry, bread, crackers, and toilet paper and paper towels dry. Imo, the larger dinghy would serve you better. Anyhow, my recommendation would be for the larger dinghy. A spare fender makes a good roller for rolling the dinghy up the beach, easier than dragging.

If you're looking for a 10-15 yr. dinghy, you do want hypalon, and glued, again, imo. The Swift hypalon dinghies we looked at impressed us, but shipping to FL would take too long, as well as adding to the cost of an already expensive dinghy. Look for a hypalon RIB, big tubes, just measure to be sure you can fit it on your boat somewhere. You may have to get them to let the air out, to measure it in its smallest configuration.
Ours just fits between the inner forestay and the mast. I rather doubt you can easily deal with two people and two bikes in the 9 ft. one.

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Old 03-02-2018, 12:24   #14
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Re: AB Dinghy

I also have no experience with AB but have had two Achilles and great luck with those.

Regarding where to buy, they aren't the only game in town but Defender is a great company to deal with. I believe they are the largest inflatable seller in the country and they are great if you ever have a warranty claim.
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Old 03-02-2018, 12:34   #15
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Re: AB Dinghy

Current dink I bought from Defender. They helped as they could easily get the the original bill of sale and Iím not discounting them, just as a cruiser, how do you have something truck freighted to you?
Ann, the marinas here are very expensive, and even then from looking at maps and Google Earth, there just isnít anywhere to go, there doesnít even appear to be any food stores within scootering range, looks like you have to get on the highway to get anywhere.
Yeah, I think I will go for the bigger one, itís same size wise as I have now, but significantly heavier than the 9.5í one, but lighter than what I now have.
What I have is 18Ē tubes, both ABís are 17Ē.
What I have now is 200 lbs and thatís just too heavy. The 9.5í is 95 lbs and the 10 is 127 lbs. cutting the dinghy weight in half is attractive.
I can put a dinghy ahead of my mast, just lose use of the staysail if I do, or lose use of being able to tack easily anyway. Itís self tending, but the boom is easily raised alongside of the furled sail.
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