We've had our Achilles for one year. We got rid of our RIB
because on the rocky Maine
coast we wanted a dinghy
light that we could easily carry it over the rocks, up to the high water
line, and set down on the rocks without damaging the hull
. We have the 260cm, and we use either a 2.5hp Suzuki (less than 30# and my parents' preference) or a 6HP Tohatsu (55# and my preference). The main downsides of the 8'6" hull
are less capacity, lots of spray over the bow, and it doesn't plane when loaded down, because of the short waterline. But this was pretty much true of our Avon
lite, too. I would have gotten a 280cm or 310 cm boat, but I didn't want a dink in the davits
that is longer than my transom is wide.
The air floor gets really firm, but of course it's not as stiff as the fiberglass
floor, and I guess this is both good and bad. You can feel the floor flex underneath you somewhat as you pass over waves, so this probably compromises performance somewhat. On the other hand, it's considerably lighter than the RIB lite, so I think it actually gets up on a place more quickly. With the 6hp motor
it leaps out of the water
with one full-size adult aboard, it will plane with two adults after about 15-20 seconds of acceleration, and it will definitely not plane with three adults. Once on a plane, the ride is actually more comfortable than the RIB lite, because the air floor absorbs some of the shock. I don't even install the seat in the boat; I just sit on the air floor or the hull.
Like I said, the biggest hassle of the air floor is the need to wash all the sand off your feet and shoes before climbing aboard. You also lose some cargo volume since you're sitting higher, whereas the RIB has a deep bilge
. So it's all a compromise, but it seems to work for us.