Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 19-03-2018, 08:53   #1
Registered User
 
Jammer's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,146
Comparing RIBs to HP air floors

So, high-pressure air floors make for a lighter boat and allow deflated stowage in a smaller space; some claim that a smaller outboard can be used due to the lighter weight.

The usual drawbacks cited (compared to an aluminum RIB) are lack of durability and lack of rigidity.

How does this work out in practice? Air the air floors good enough?
__________________

Jammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2018, 09:16   #2
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 21,392
Re: Comparing RIBs to HP air floors

From my experience, no they are not rigid enough if you want to go fast in less than flat water. But that doesnt mean you cant do it. I just found the whole thing to be rather like riding on a noodle. My air floor with 2 people would plane with a 5-6hp outboard, so there's that.
If you just use your dingy to go into town from anchor, it will work. I used my RIB to take day trips to far locations where I didnt want to take the mothership.

I see your boat is 25 ft, so the air floor may be a good choice for you. A RIB is just going to be difficult for that boat. My friends sailed the world and had a rollup with vinyl slats, heavier, but they are durable too and an option for storage.
__________________

__________________
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard











Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2018, 09:38   #3
Registered User
 
Jammer's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,146
Re: Comparing RIBs to HP air floors

Thanks, Cheechako.

There are many alternatives for a "just going to shore" sort of dinghy. If I'm stuck settling for that I will get something really small and light -- and yes, that's where I'll end up if I conclude that I would really need an aluminum RIB to get reasonable performance on plane.

If I could get an air floor that would plane on 6 HP with two people, though, I'd be happier, and would be willing to trade a certain amount of flexing for the portability. Which air floor model did you have?
Jammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2018, 09:50   #4
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 21,392
Re: Comparing RIBs to HP air floors

Mine was a Zodiac. DO NOT buy a Zodiac! I'm a big fan of Achilles inflatables, haven't even looked if they do an air floor or not though. If Achilles makes an air floor I would likely give that consideration.
My friends with the vinyl floor rollup (Avon) used it on their 44 ft boat all the way to New Zealand and back. So that's a thought. There used to be similar ones with aluminum slats too. On both, the slats were full floor/no gaps between slats like the cheap West Marine ones with a slat a gap a slat a gap.....
__________________
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard











Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2018, 09:52   #5
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Virgin Islands
Boat: 1999 Leopard 45, 45 foot cat, 1980 Hunter 33, 33 foot monohull
Posts: 806
Re: Comparing RIBs to HP air floors

Fifteen years ago, I had an Avon 10 foot inflatable floor dinghy with an 8HP Evinrude. In many ways, it was my favourite of all my dinghies. The floor was a high pressure inflatable one, and it was not like a noodle. Quite stiff, in fact, but with a little give. That dinghy was incredibly light and thus scary fast, even with that engine. One of the fastest I ever had. Current one is 12 feet with 25 HP, by the way, also a screamer.

The floor was incredibly comfortable. I used to sit on it and could take a tremendous amount of pounding without discomfort. And, it was a dream to simply lie down in it and take a nap.

BUT.....and it's a big But, the floor was built not of Hypalon, like the rest of the Avon, but of PVC, made by Zodiac. It could not take the heat or sun or gasoline spills, and it was a gooey mess, not many years later. I suppose I could have covered it with a mat, but the heat might have still gotten to it. Additionally, in order to get the water and sand or gravel out of it, you had to deflate the floor, etc. etc.......! The keel was also made of PVC, for some reason, and I was fixing it all the time.

I eventually sold the dinghy to someone for whom the compromises made sense. I will always remember what a dream it was to use, but what a hassle it was to operate, if you get the difference. Might be greater in cooler climates, particularly if it was needed to get in on deck whilst sailing. It was very light.

I did run into an Achilles with an inflatable floor, supposedly made of Hypalon, and I always wondered how it did. Hopefully, someone can comment.
contrail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2018, 10:48   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Caribbean
Boat: Lagoon 450
Posts: 893
Re: Comparing RIBs to HP air floors

Had a Zodiac many years ago with an air floor and a small keel that inflated underneath the floor. Ran a 9.9 2 stroke Evinrude. Pulled kids on water toys. Worked pretty well for 5 years, was light and fast. Then the keel would not hold air, then the tube started coming away from the transom - trashed it it and got a Zodiac 310 Rib - total disaster, the floor fell out of it. Then a Highfield alloy 2.9m RIB with 9.8 2 stroke Tohatsu - brilliant speed and light (2.9m). Now have a Caribe Fibreglass RIB with 20 HP 4 stroke - good and solid but heavy.
Bean Counter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2018, 10:57   #7
Registered User
 
Mike OReilly's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Good question
Boat: Rafiki 37
Posts: 6,585
Re: Comparing RIBs to HP air floors

You didn’t ask, so I won’t babble too much, but a portabote might suit your needs. Problem would be storage on your 25’ mothership, but it might be possible.

My 10’ bote will easily plane with one person using our 3.5 hp engine. I can plane with two adults in flat conditions. Botes are a hybrid, having some of the characteristics of inflatables and hard dinks (and some unique draw backs ).
__________________
Why go fast, when you can go slow.
BLOG: www.helplink.com/CLAFC
Mike OReilly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2018, 11:23   #8
Registered User
 
Jammer's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,146
Re: Comparing RIBs to HP air floors

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Mine was a Zodiac. DO NOT buy a Zodiac! I'm a big fan of Achilles inflatables, haven't even looked if they do an air floor or not though. If Achilles makes an air floor I would likely give that consideration.
Achilles does make a dinghy with an air floor, in several sizes, and I am looking at these with interest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
You didn’t ask, so I won’t babble too much, but a portabote might suit your needs. Problem would be storage on your 25’ mothership, but it might be possible.

My 10’ bote will easily plane with one person using our 3.5 hp engine. I can plane with two adults in flat conditions. Botes are a hybrid, having some of the characteristics of inflatables and hard dinks (and some unique draw backs ).
Interesting. I believe I remember seeing a thread on this. I'll look for it.

Stowage on the 25' Morgan is going to be a problem with anything other than a deflated inflatable. In the next 1-2 years my cruising plans take me chiefly to marinas, but there are a few exceptions and it seems foolish not to have a dink of some kind. Time consuming to inflate and deploy, then deflate and stow, but I'm willing to do it for these fairly rare uses.
Jammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2018, 11:28   #9
Registered User
 
Jammer's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,146
Re: Comparing RIBs to HP air floors

Quote:
Originally Posted by contrail View Post
Fifteen years ago, I had an Avon 10 foot inflatable floor dinghy with an 8HP Evinrude. In many ways, it was my favourite of all my dinghies. The floor was a high pressure inflatable one, and it was not like a noodle. Quite stiff, in fact, but with a little give. That dinghy was incredibly light and thus scary fast, even with that engine.

...

I did run into an Achilles with an inflatable floor, supposedly made of Hypalon, and I always wondered how it did. Hopefully, someone can comment.
Thanks, that helps. I'm looking at Achilles dinghies. They do make a 9'6" and recommend 6 HP. There are some very light 6 HP outboards with integral fuel tanks that look like an ideal combination if the whole affair could get up on plane with 2 people.
Jammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2018, 12:22   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 720
Re: Comparing RIBs to HP air floors

I too, reached the conclusion that only an inflatable could live on a sub-30 foot mother ship. Though I've towed a Walker Bay 8 a few times, there's really no way to carry it on deck and still retain the ability to sail the boat. And I certainly don't want it dragging back there during a day sail.

After an unfortunate experience or two, I realized that a dinghy of some sort is an absolute safety requirement, at all times. Although an inflatable kayak or SUP stowed in the sail locker will usually do. (Since I got the SUP, I almost never use the kayak.)

I've only had the HP floor Zodiac since last fall, so not enough experience with it yet. But so far, I like it much more than the old wood-floor Avon I used to have. Amazingly light and surprisingly stiff, for what it is. I have one motor that's too small for it and one that's too large, but having a separate fuel tank lashed to the floor forward really seems to help with boat trim.

It seems to me that the HP floors I looked at a few years ago were inflated to 10 psi, but most current HP inflatables go around 15 - 18, so I wonder if this has made a significant change in performance? AFAIK, only one or two companies in the world actually make all of the drop-stitch style HP inflatable things that are marketed under numerous different names.
toddster8 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2018, 13:35   #11
Moderator
 
JPA Cate's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: aboard, cruising in Australia
Boat: Sayer 46' Solent rig sloop
Posts: 16,062
Re: Comparing RIBs to HP air floors

Jammer,

We had an air floor (Zodiac) for a short while. To me, their biggest drawback is their vulnerability to gasoline spills, it really attacks them seriously. The other thing that happens is that the internal stuff that holds the bottom and top in the correct relationship to each other, fails, causing "hernias."

We had some friends that cruised the entire South Pacific using an old Avon Redcrest, hypalon, rollup dingy. They always anchored in close, to facilitate rowing it ashore, but the point is, it worked fine. If you can locate one of them, they lasted really well.

Some other friends, with a Virtue, a 24 footer, built a plywood dinghy that fit on the foredeck, and it weighed about 45 lbs, iirc. Again, it is a rowing dinghy. It was painted international orange, for visibility to others.

You could also look at building a nesting dinghy, some of them take a small o/b, and will plane w. 2 adults, and are also rowable. Googling will lead to plans for them.

There are many options. Good luck with it.

Ann
__________________
Who scorns the calm has forgotten the storm.
JPA Cate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2018, 14:12   #12
Registered User
 
willk's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Ireland
Boat: Redbay Boats 950-E
Posts: 22
Re: Comparing RIBs to HP air floors

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
So, high-pressure air floors make for a lighter boat and allow deflated stowage in a smaller space; some claim that a smaller outboard can be used due to the lighter weight.

The usual drawbacks cited (compared to an aluminum RIB) are lack of durability and lack of rigidity.

How does this work out in practice? Air the air floors good enough?
Looks as if you're condemned to the airfloor due to stowage space?
Some alu hulled tenders are lighter than their airfloor counterparts, so don't figure on weight as a factor. As they are fully rigid they tend to be faster too and will deal with somewhat rougher water.

Back to the airfloor - the most common complaint I see about them is "lack of rigidity" and in my experience that is almost always due to insufficient inflation pressure - they need VERY high pressure to work well on the plane. If you buy an airfloor - treat it with a UV spray and buy an electric pump
willk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2018, 14:12   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 720
Re: Comparing RIBs to HP air floors

AFAIK, the inflatable-floor boats are exactly the same as the rigid-floor boats. They just come with different floors. If the floor fails (significantly before the rest of the boat does), you can always just make a replacement out of plywood and a couple of hardwood rails. Replacement air floors are available, but prohibitively expensive, compared to just buying another used dinghy.
toddster8 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2018, 14:27   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 720
Re: Comparing RIBs to HP air floors

Hmm... looking around, I'm not so sure that the Zodiac replacement air deck is even available any more. Achilles and Mercury, yes. Guess I'd better be really careful with the gasoline.
toddster8 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2018, 15:03   #15
Registered User
 
Jammer's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,146
Re: Comparing RIBs to HP air floors

Quote:
Originally Posted by toddster8 View Post
I too, reached the conclusion that only an inflatable could live on a sub-30 foot mother ship. Though I've towed a Walker Bay 8 a few times, there's really no way to carry it on deck and still retain the ability to sail the boat. And I certainly don't want it dragging back there during a day sail.

After an unfortunate experience or two, I realized that a dinghy of some sort is an absolute safety requirement, at all times. Although an inflatable kayak or SUP stowed in the sail locker will usually do. (Since I got the SUP, I almost never use the kayak.)
Thanks for that. Your experience validates my previously hypothetical concerns.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
Jammer,

We had an air floor (Zodiac) for a short while. To me, their biggest drawback is their vulnerability to gasoline spills, it really attacks them seriously. The other thing that happens is that the internal stuff that holds the bottom and top in the correct relationship to each other, fails, causing "hernias."
I believe the Zodiacs are PVC, right? I'm looking at Hypalon.

Quote:
We had some friends that cruised the entire South Pacific using an old Avon Redcrest, hypalon, rollup dingy. They always anchored in close, to facilitate rowing it ashore, but the point is, it worked fine. If you can locate one of them, they lasted really well.
There is one for sale locally. The Redcrests are all older, now, however, and that concerns me somewhat as they do not last forever.

Quote:
You could also look at building a nesting dinghy, some of them take a small o/b, and will plane w. 2 adults, and are also rowable. Googling will lead to plans for them.

There are many options. Good luck with it.

Ann
Thanks. I've seen a number of the plans. My sense has been that these are simply not practical for crossing meaningful distances, nor as safe in chop as inflatables of similar size. I would build a nesting dinghy in a heartbeat if I could convince myself that they are practical. I think they are a much more elegant craft than anything made out of rubber.

Quote:
Originally Posted by willk View Post
Looks as if you're condemned to the airfloor due to stowage space?
Some alu hulled tenders are lighter than their airfloor counterparts, so don't figure on weight as a factor. As they are fully rigid they tend to be faster too and will deal with somewhat rougher water.

Back to the airfloor - the most common complaint I see about them is "lack of rigidity" and in my experience that is almost always due to insufficient inflation pressure - they need VERY high pressure to work well on the plane. If you buy an airfloor - treat it with a UV spray and buy an electric pump
Yes, I have near-zero storage space on deck at present which rules out an aluminum RIB. Thanks for the advice on inflation pressure and pumps.
__________________

Jammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
rib

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
moist cabin floors rockborn Construction, Maintenance & Refit 8 21-03-2013 04:07
RIBs with Solid Aluminum Floors at Ft. Lauderdale Show Ocean Roads Auxiliary Equipment & Dinghy 3 19-01-2012 11:46
Timber Floors Rimfire Construction, Maintenance & Refit 10 16-09-2009 06:26
varnishing cabin floors seafox Construction, Maintenance & Refit 28 14-07-2006 22:07



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 22:46.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.