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Old 31-12-2016, 15:44   #1
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Aluminum vs FRP RIB Dinghy

We're in the market for a new dinghy, and weight is an issue. There are many new dinghys on the market now that have alum hulls and are light weight. I'm concerned about corrosion, pitting, maintenance, durability, etc in salt water. Any input is always welcomed. Used to have a Caribe FRP, but too heavy for new boat. Will go with hypalon over pvc. Cheers for a great new year.
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Old 31-12-2016, 15:51   #2
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Re: Aluminum vs FRP RIB Dinghy

I've had great luck with my SeaBright RIB so far. It's only been a year but it has held up well. Time will tell...

They are near Halifax NS but I think they ship.
seabright marine, seabrightmarine, inflatable boats, inflatable boat, hypalon, RIB, RIBs, hypalon inflatable boat, hypalon inflatable boats, hypalon rib, hypalon ribs
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Old 31-12-2016, 16:01   #3
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HighField CL340 Hypalon

The Highfield dinghys are very light.

Our HighField CL340 Hypalon 115 is 134 lbs and carries 6 people.

Outboard is a Suzuki DF20A outboard 97 lbs.

It still looks great after our 1st year.

They come with a 10 year warranty.
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Old 31-12-2016, 16:23   #4
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Re: Aluminum vs FRP RIB Dinghy

We purchased a new aluminum Aqua Pro 3.1 in 2000 along with a 15hp Honda and were delighted with it for many years. However, we dragged it up on so many coral reefs, rocky beaches, etc that the hull began to look like Swiss cheese. I was able to keep the holes in check but after about 30,000 miles of cruising and hard dinghy use, we realized that the Aqua Pro had reached the end of its life cycle at about 15 years.

When we were in Thailand, we bought a locally-made fiberglass RIB that we absolutely love if it weren't so heavy. The 3.1-meter dink weighs in at 60 kilos and in an effort to reduce weight, we powered it with a 15hp Yamaha 2-stroke (35 kilos). Even with dinghy wheels, it can be a struggle for my wife and me pull it up on some beaches.

As to which we prefer, it's hard to say. The fiberglass RIB is a drier ride and it handles better while the aluminum RIB was easier to drag up a beach. Repairing the hull on the aluminum RIB was difficult and while I haven't yet had to repair the fiberglass RIB, I'm predicting that it would be easier.

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 01-01-2017, 02:20   #5
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Re: Aluminum vs FRP RIB Dinghy

Only aluminum rib to consider is one way out powder coating. Ab ultralight is great but close to 6k usd. We opted for an apex ultralight 11'. The hull flexes a little but a great rib. And lightest 11' made.
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Old 01-01-2017, 04:23   #6
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Re: Aluminum vs FRP RIB Dinghy

Got a Highfield last season. Love it. Had an AB Lite before that and that lasted 12 seasons, being left out in the FL sun every summer. AB quality has gone down recently, very impressed with design and quality of the Highfield. They have really captured a big chunk of the cruising dinghy market in the five years that they've been going.
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Old 01-01-2017, 05:29   #7
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Re: Aluminum vs FRP RIB Dinghy

Our new and lovely Highfield aluminum C310 experienced the dreaded paint bonding problem after 4 months in the water. Highfield will replace it. I will get the same boat in a GRP version. No more aluminum. Last boat Aquapro suffered the same issue. 2 makers... same problem. It's aluminum...

I believe some MFGs are abandoning their aluminum designs. That's why.
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Old 01-01-2017, 06:00   #8
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Re: Aluminum vs FRP RIB Dinghy

Corrosion has not been an issue for our AB aluminum dinghy. It was not painted or powdercoated, so there is no flaking issue. Don't get a painted one. It does look a little industrial though. It is much lighter than our old FRP Zodiac, but does not seem to plane as readily or ride as smoothly. But that is nothing a 20hp 4-stroke didn't fix.
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Old 01-01-2017, 09:08   #9
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Re: Aluminum vs FRP RIB Dinghy

I had a AB Ventus 9.5 foot hypalon RIB for years - weighs 106 lbs. You can put either a 10 or 15hp on it. I had a 15 because I prefer a bit more speed. BTW Hypalon a must if you're boating in the tropics.
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Old 01-01-2017, 09:52   #10
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Re: Aluminum vs FRP RIB Dinghy

Have 10 ft Duraboat weighs 110 lbs. takes 10 hp great. Russ
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Old 01-01-2017, 09:59   #11
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Re: Aluminum vs FRP RIB Dinghy

We have two AB aluminums. The quality is still top notch since they escaped Venezuala and moved to Colombia and the newer ones are not painted. The warranty is ten years.

Defender has great prices on them at their annual Spring sale
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Old 01-01-2017, 11:01   #12
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Re: Aluminum vs FRP RIB Dinghy

Happy with my 10+' bullfrog tender with 15hp four stroke. Heavy but still usable with my Lester hydraulics davits on stern. One tough aluminum hull.
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Old 01-01-2017, 13:47   #13
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Re: Aluminum vs FRP RIB Dinghy

Aluminum ribs are nice but stay away from painted or powder coated hulls. Once the finish is damaged it can not be easily resealed and starts to corrode. The AB's are nice as are the new TuG inflatables .
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Old 01-01-2017, 14:17   #14
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Re: Aluminum vs FRP RIB Dinghy

Not all aluminium hulls are the same! We bought a Gemini 3.5 m 13 years ago, and it has been in constant, full time cruising usage ever since. The powder coating on the interior is still in good nick, despite the dink having been stolen and then soaked with petrol and burned when only a few months old! The exterior powder coat is scratched and abraded in a lot of places, with the base metal showing through. There is no noticeable corrosion, even in those bare spots, and no flaking. I'm well impressed! The advertised weight was 47 kg.

That hull was made by the Swift dinghy folks in the Gold Coast, Qld, and Gemini supplied the hypalon bits for assembly here in Oz. I don't know if that scheme is still in place, or if they are still using the same procedures, but it has been a very satisfactory boat in all respects. I'd buy one again, either from Gemini, or more likely Swift, for their hypalon seems a bit better quality. Meanwhile, that old hull is on its third set of tubes: the first was burned up, the second lasted about 12 years, and the third is only a year or so old (and is PVC).

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Old 01-01-2017, 14:23   #15
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Re: Aluminum vs FRP RIB Dinghy

Alum dinghies are much narrower than frp.
Floor space can be quite restricted. Ensure you physically see both before you decide.
I wanted alum.but the extra expense to get a longer dink thus wide enough made the frp a much better deal
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