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Old 19-09-2010, 10:26   #16
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Location: Brooklin, Maine U.S.A
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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 260 RIB 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.

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Old 22-09-2010, 10:21   #17
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Location: Cruising Eastern Caribbean
Boat: Wauquiez Amphitrite 43- Demeter
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I bought the West marine version of the zodiak 10' 2" with high pressure floor. Pretty much this one without the storage locker.

Air Floor 10' 2"

Have had it for 4 years now with no issues at all. Floor pumps up very solid and holds air as long as we need it to. We run an older johnson 7.5 hp and it planes with the 4 of us. Me, My wife, and 2 small kids. I would prefer a rib but we dont yet live aboard and it seems rediculous to leave such an expensive piece of gear out on the davits in the sun all summer to rot. I use an electric inflator and top off with foot pump. We are just weekend warriors now so we inflate it once on the way out and then keep it on the davits. At the end of the weekend we wash it with soap and water and store it below decks. Love the fact that it can go in the trunk of my car and come home in the fall.

We do plan to liveaboard in a few years and expect the dinghy to probably not last as long since its PVC and we dont yet have a cover. Im told Hypalon is the way to go and I think we would prefer something bigger and better suited to chop down the road. But for now its great, oh and paid for!

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Old 16-04-2011, 16:46   #18
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Re: Best Air Floor Dinghy

We bought an 8'6" Odyssey from defender in Sept 09. Finally got to use it in June 10. The first time I towed it the port "D" ring tore out. Called Defender and learned they are no longer a dealer for Walker Bay. Called them and they tolde me I didn't know how to tow it. It's only my third inflatable in 25 years. If you read their Guarantee there are ten reassons why they won't honor it, the eleventh being attack by sea monster. so good luck. Contacted Consumer Advocate and Walker bay agreed to pay for repair 3 months still waiting for check. While being repaired the shop found seams coming apart and that the HIN's were two different numbers. One saying it was a 2007 the other an 2008 model. Guess which year I paid for. With the seams coming apart and torn D ring I'm not even sure its a 2007. Talked with Walker Bay and now back in the hands of the Consumer Advocate. It was in the water for a few hours 8 times.
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Old 17-04-2011, 07:20   #19
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Re: Best Air Floor Dinghy

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, DeborahLee.

Sorry to hear about your complaints with Walker Bay.

Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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