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Old 02-09-2015, 08:53   #16
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Re: Experience With Avon Compact Lite Rib?

Zodiac's professional/military (and much larger) line is quite different than their consumer stuff. AB, Apex, and most likely others, also make a professional/military line that is of a different quality breed than their consumer line.

Zodiac's consumer rep is well-deserved.

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Old 02-09-2015, 09:12   #17
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Re: Experience With Avon Compact Lite Rib?

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Zodiac's consumer rep is well-deserved.

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I'm not doubting you, but what do I need to be on the look out for, maybe if forewarned I can inspect / minimize the damage?
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:29   #18
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Re: Experience With Avon Compact Lite Rib?

I know of three Zodiacs at my dock, one of them mine, that had the floors debond and fall out in less than a year. Not nice to step into dinghy and have to tread water. 😁


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Old 02-09-2015, 11:05   #19
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Re: Experience With Avon Compact Lite Rib?

If your Zodiac is PVC, you can plan on throwing it out at any time. If hypalon, then the seams and fittings are notorious for failure. Also, they used thin fabric, so wear can be an issue.

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Old 02-09-2015, 11:54   #20
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Re: Experience With Avon Compact Lite Rib?

I would say, if your going to have a RIB of any type it will need a folding transom so it can be stored on deck on some of your longer open water legs. Knowing that you like to go north alot, you need a RIB for the rocky beaches. I would love one but don't have the room you do. The idea of a separate boat for your mooring is perfect. Put your old motor on it and keep using it till it fails. I do dread the day I am on shore and my inflatable is punctured and the repair kit is in the locker on the mothership
It might be useful to consider having some better engineered davits made. I am thinking about a hydraulic system, electric/manual but spending money for carp factor has me stopped for now. I figure if anyone on here will figure out an decent solution it will be you. (No! not the 60 foot solution)
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Old 02-09-2015, 16:12   #21
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Re: Experience With Avon Compact Lite Rib?

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Originally Posted by IdoraKeeper View Post
I would say, if your going to have a RIB of any type it will need a folding transom so it can be stored on deck on some of your longer open water legs. Knowing that you like to go north alot, you need a RIB for the rocky beaches. I would love one but don't have the room you do. The idea of a separate boat for your mooring is perfect. Put your old motor on it and keep using it till it fails. I do dread the day I am on shore and my inflatable is punctured and the repair kit is in the locker on the mothership
It might be useful to consider having some better engineered davits made. I am thinking about a hydraulic system, electric/manual but spending money for carp factor has me stopped for now. I figure if anyone on here will figure out an decent solution it will be you. (No! not the 60 foot solution)
If I may give you a word of advice based on years of hard and bitter experience -- do NOT go there -- I mean, electric, hydraulic, nuclear powered, or any other kind of complex davits. Davits are a PITA in any case -- you want them to be as simple and robust as possible, and hand cranking them is the tiniest price to pay for not having to fix the Rube Goldberg style motor mechanism Davits should be made like Lewmar winches -- simple, robust, bulletproof, field-stripped without tools in under 30 seconds -- TJW -- They Just Work. If someone would make a davit like that, the world would beat a path to their door.


I have been agonizing over my crap davits for years, and today had an unexpected and revelatory solution. I was browsing one of the marine marketplace websites and ran across a pair of the old Simpson manual hand-cranked davits for sale. For 600 quid. I jumped in the car and ran over there and bought them on the spot (for 500 quid ). My God, this is a totally different story from my crap, Rube Goldberg, electric Simpson davits with the bronze machine with 37 gears and other bits, an impossible to adjust clutch, but driven by a windshield wiper motor (!) with plastic (!) gears -- what kind of an ass designed that -- he should be shot.

A 37-gear bronze machine, moreover, which is not supported by parts and is apparently impossible to fix. The only solution the mfgr could offer me was to replace the entire mechanism with the latest Rube Goldberg Jr. model for something like $5000

The old Simpson davits -- notwithstanding the fact that they came from the same defunct maker -- are completely different -- with a wire rope windlass with simple gears driven by a simple and robust hand crank, stopped not by an idiot's idea of a clutch, but by a massive pawl, which you can operate by hand. Yes!!!!

So this weekend I will be unbolting my hated davits, resisting with all my strength the temptation to fling them into the drink (I intend to sell them off for parts to other desperate owners like I was, bwa hah hah ), and installing these beauties, which are a direct bolt-up fit.


As to the dinghy --

Yes, I fully comprehend and realize how great the wheel steering, deep V hull, and 25 eager two stroke horsepower are. I will truly miss them. I will miss having a real tow vehicle in case of emergency, and I will miss losing the capacity to take a long open sea jaunt in my dinghy.

But it's the right decision for this particular time -- Although I love to anchor out, I rarely anchor anywhere which needs long distance dinghying. I will miss my "dinghy cruises" like up Wareham Creek to Wareham, or up the Dart River. In the UK, most of the harbors are in estuaries with speed limits, so you can't plane anyway.

It means that I have been lugging around for thousands of miles this lovely little motorboat for the sake of really using its capabilities a couple of times a year. It's clearly not worth it.

I made a deal tonight on the Compact Lite 310 with the little Selva 8 horsepower (single cylinder -- will be crude and rough, but it weighs all of 27kg or less than 60 pounds). It folds into an amazingly small package (looks a bit like a Portabote when folded), which means I can get it out of the davits altogether and strap it to the pushpit when I have a rough sea passage ahead.

Meanwhile I will fix up the 340 Rover RIB and sell it. Use it as a harbor tender until someone buys it. I will miss it, but I'm tired of dragging it all over these waters without hardly ever being able to use its capabilities.
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Old 02-09-2015, 17:52   #22
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Re: Experience With Avon Compact Lite Rib?

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Originally Posted by poiu View Post
I have also got similar dinghy problems and am planning my dinghy replacement. I have an Avon, a couple of sizes up from yours and with a jockey seat. 13 years old with a few patched leaks, torn and worn through fabric and a rusty aging Honda 50.

I used to have a foldable transom Zodiac. It reduced the folded size, by quite a bit, but was not particularly solid. I didn't like it much. I hope the Avon one is not the same design and is better built, but I have no idea about that.

If I were to plan to be in horrible conditions (with a high risk of breaking waves of over the davit's height) or to use my dinghy infrequently such as if I were doing mainly marina to marina hops then I would definitely go for the on-deck solution and I think the one you are looking at sounds good. It's not the right choice for me. Your use may be more compatible with making the on-deck storage workable. Especially if you have a second dinghy for your main base.

The jockey seat is a great feature on a dinghy and I would want one in my next dinghy. I have been able to motor in conditions where the bouncing would have thrown me off the rib tubes into the water and where I can stand using my legs as shock absorbers where it would be impossible or dangerous to either sit on the tubes or to stand without suitable standing hand holds. Like you I have been in open water and in conditions way beyond what a tiller dinghy would be happy with. It is safe and comfortable. I may swap it for a seat, but I would require the ability to stand to steer and to hold onto a console grip. You are going to give up these advantages on occasion and will have to do 5kt when you could otherwise do 20kt.

I also wouldn't want to remove the engine and tank, deflate and tie down for every passage. It will take ten times longer than hooking onto the davits and pressing the winch button.

I'm going to deal with the weight on the davit issue with a smaller motor of 25 or 30 hp and a smaller and lighter dinghy such as an alu rib from AB or similar, but it will have remote steering and ideally a jockey seat with standing grab rails for passengers.

I will miss the remote steering and jockey console, for all the reasons you mention, but for my use (these days) it will be worth it.

I certainly do NOT intend to deflate and store on deck every time -- God forbid! I will use davits, except for hard weather or long passages.

You talk about "putting in davits and pushing the winch button" -- what kind of davits do you have? Are they not troublesome? Most Oysters I've seen have Simpson davits like mine (shudder). "Just push the button" is not how I would describe my experience with them.

Incidentally -- although I would like the option of on-deck storage for hard crossings, my actual experience does not indicate that it's really necessary. I have done probably 15,000 miles with my heavy Avon 340 in the davits, some of it in all kinds of awful weather, including four North Sea crossings, one in a Force 9. I have even had a knock-down with the dinghy in the davits, without the dingy getting swamped or knocked loose. This arrangement is more robust than it might same.

The problem is that in rough seas, the dinghy works in the davits and chafes (no matter how well you tie it down), and gradually works the davits loose. I think there will be some cases where it will still be better to have it on deck. Furthermore, the lighter the dinghy, the easier it will be to control in the davits.
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Old 03-09-2015, 04:04   #23
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Re: Experience With Avon Compact Lite Rib?

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I will miss the remote steering and jockey console, for all the reasons you mention, but for my use (these days) it will be worth it.

I certainly do NOT intend to deflate and store on deck every time -- God forbid! I will use davits, except for hard weather or long passages.

You talk about "putting in davits and pushing the winch button" -- what kind of davits do you have? Are they not troublesome? Most Oysters I've seen have Simpson davits like mine (shudder). "Just push the button" is not how I would describe my experience with them.

Incidentally -- although I would like the option of on-deck storage for hard crossings, my actual experience does not indicate that it's really necessary. I have done probably 15,000 miles with my heavy Avon 340 in the davits, some of it in all kinds of awful weather, including four North Sea crossings, one in a Force 9. I have even had a knock-down with the dinghy in the davits, without the dingy getting swamped or knocked loose. This arrangement is more robust than it might same.

The problem is that in rough seas, the dinghy works in the davits and chafes (no matter how well you tie it down), and gradually works the davits loose. I think there will be some cases where it will still be better to have it on deck. Furthermore, the lighter the dinghy, the easier it will be to control in the davits.
I have the 300kg Simpson davits, which I think will be pretty much the same as yours, except mine have the manual gear box and are a little bigger.

I have had indeed had lots of problems, but they have been worked through.

First the steel wire got twists in it and jammed up. Then they got wrongly rethreaded by a crew member and friction became a problem. They were sawing through the internal parts. That required a disassembly. Then the wire started breaking up and making fish hooks - very painful! Eventually I replaced the wire with a top end Dyneema. No problems since with the rope.

The wire/rope used to jump of the end sheave and jam in the gap. It would take hours to fix that problem each time whilst hanging precariously off the end of the davit. The solution was to make a new sheave a bit wider and with an improved groove to catch the rope and make jams less likely. No problems since.

The gear box was the biggest issue. It became unusably stiff despite frequent greasing. The problem was that with it having only plain bearings, once the shaft was scored it wouldn't work smoothly anymore. The shafts bound in the bore and finally started chewing up the frame and putting so much load on the gears that the teeth bent, so I rebuilt the gear box this time using ball bearing to support the shafts. I remade the gears, which had also worn to the point of imminent failure and replaced the bronze with a high end stainless, which were again suspended in sealed ball bearings. I am confident it will outlast me now and works perfectly with very little effort.

I modified the winch handles by welding the head of a large socket bolt onto them so I can use an electric drill to motorise them - they go up and down very fast and easily now, so for me the button is the drill button.

I had a dangerous tipping problem when hoisting and longer strops dealt with that.

I also have a problem with bunching in the winch when hoisting, but great care to always have tension on the rope dealt with that one. I removed the weight (a wrecking ball at the back of your boat!) and control tension with my hand. It is far from foolproof, but if done right works very well now. To deal with the risk of a screw up I prefer to hoist and lower the tender myself. I still haven't found a safe way to do it in a large swell where it can be positively dangerous.

To deal with chafe at sea, I use two ropes to cross brace, but I still have a little chafe. An extra hypalon patch should really be applied. Simpson make some anti-chafe blocks you can buy. They look like a good solution.

It hasn't happened to me, but it can happen that the rope snaps at sea, which might result in the dinghy having to be cut away. To deal with that possibility I have a safety strop with a snap shackle from the davit to the dinghy when hoisted.

Also, it can happen that the brake mechanism fails, which has happened to me. The above strop prevented disaster, but I now also put a loop around the handle - belt and braces. Regular greasing seems to help with this.

I had a stainless bolt snap (SCC again) for a dinghy harness attachment ring. Luckily the other rings held the dinghy from falling until I could fix it. A good reason to have multiple and oversized fixings.

My dinghy is at the limit of weight for the davits and the flex at sea is something I am not happy with. Turning the engine to sit closer to the boat helps a bit as does removal of fuel and anchors, but really I should get a lighter and smaller dinghy and this is my plan for when this one dies.
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Old 03-09-2015, 05:59   #24
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Re: Experience With Avon Compact Lite Rib?

Quote:
Originally Posted by poiu View Post
I have the 300kg Simpson davits, which I think will be pretty much the same as yours, except mine have the manual gear box and are a little bigger.

I have had indeed had lots of problems, but they have been worked through.

First the steel wire got twists in it and jammed up. Then they got wrongly rethreaded by a crew member and friction became a problem. They were sawing through the internal parts. That required a disassembly. Then the wire started breaking up and making fish hooks - very painful! Eventually I replaced the wire with a top end Dyneema. No problems since with the rope.

The wire/rope used to jump of the end sheave and jam in the gap. It would take hours to fix that problem each time whilst hanging precariously off the end of the davit. The solution was to make a new sheave a bit wider and with an improved groove to catch the rope and make jams less likely. No problems since.

The gear box was the biggest issue. It became unusably stiff despite frequent greasing. The problem was that with it having only plain bearings, once the shaft was scored it wouldn't work smoothly anymore. The shafts bound in the bore and finally started chewing up the frame and putting so much load on the gears that the teeth bent, so I rebuilt the gear box this time using ball bearing to support the shafts. I remade the gears, which had also worn to the point of imminent failure and replaced the bronze with a high end stainless, which were again suspended in sealed ball bearings. I am confident it will outlast me now and works perfectly with very little effort.

I modified the winch handles by welding the head of a large socket bolt onto them so I can use an electric drill to motorise them - they go up and down very fast and easily now, so for me the button is the drill button.

I had a dangerous tipping problem when hoisting and longer strops dealt with that.

I also have a problem with bunching in the winch when hoisting, but great care to always have tension on the rope dealt with that one. I removed the weight (a wrecking ball at the back of your boat!) and control tension with my hand. It is far from foolproof, but if done right works very well now. To deal with the risk of a screw up I prefer to hoist and lower the tender myself. I still haven't found a safe way to do it in a large swell where it can be positively dangerous.

To deal with chafe at sea, I use two ropes to cross brace, but I still have a little chafe. An extra hypalon patch should really be applied. Simpson make some anti-chafe blocks you can buy. They look like a good solution.

It hasn't happened to me, but it can happen that the rope snaps at sea, which might result in the dinghy having to be cut away. To deal with that possibility I have a safety strop with a snap shackle from the davit to the dinghy when hoisted.

Also, it can happen that the brake mechanism fails, which has happened to me. The above strop prevented disaster, but I now also put a loop around the handle - belt and braces. Regular greasing seems to help with this.

I had a stainless bolt snap (SCC again) for a dinghy harness attachment ring. Luckily the other rings held the dinghy from falling until I could fix it. A good reason to have multiple and oversized fixings.

My dinghy is at the limit of weight for the davits and the flex at sea is something I am not happy with. Turning the engine to sit closer to the boat helps a bit as does removal of fuel and anchors, but really I should get a lighter and smaller dinghy and this is my plan for when this one dies.
Does it not strike you as absurd that one item of gear should produce so much grief with such remarkable variety and persistence? What POS davits.

Your story sounds very bad to me. Some ideas for you, which come out of my own struggles:

1. I don't think that the lifting mechanism should be used as the primary holding mechanism, at least, not with that particular mechanism, which has many potential failure points including the clutch. I have had one end of my dinghy drop down at sea a few times. I was fortunate it was never a disaster and I was able to recover the dink, but it could have turned out much worse.

2. I experimented with different holding mechanisms, starting with belly bands as you see in the old Simpson documents. Belly bands might catch a falling dinghy but impossible to get the tight enough to be the main holding force.

3. I also tried using a spare mainsail halyard. This works ok provided you run it through the safety eye so that the vector of pull is vertical. But I was concerned that it would be bending the mast back and stopped using this, although it might be worth considering as a safety.

4. I ended up using stainless ratchet straps attached to each lifting point in the dinghy floor, slung over the davit, and run back to the base of the opposite davit, and cinched up tight. This works brilliantly and was what held my dinghy even in my North Sea knockdown. You can even release the lifting mechanism -- it's totally secure. Downside is the straps scuff the davits a little but that doesn't bother me much. I do recommend this. I eventually arrived at ratchet straps after trying for a long time to figure out a way to rig up Hyfield levers with wire rope strops. The ratchet straps are cheap, straightforward, simple, reliable, and good -- just what you want here. There is a UK company which makes them to order with nice stainless hardware -- if you want I can try to dig up the name.

5. I would certainly not want the dinghy to be at the limit of the rated load of the davits, especially these davits . If I were you, I would be downsizing that dinghy for sure.

6. I highly recommend tightening the attachment bolts every time before long sea passages. They will work loose, and once loose, something will break, as happened to me. The lighter the dinghy is, the less the working will be -- keep in mind.

7. The dingy must be cross-braced to avoid rubbing a lot at sea. A ratchet strap works a treat for this. I put a bit of foam between the front of my jockey console and my starboard side davit, and cinched the dinghy up hard is that -- and that really did the trick. I must say however that using three ratchet straps (I only used one on the forward end of the dink) cinched up tight as the holding mechanism almost eliminated the rubbing right there, because the dinghy was so firmly held in place.


For whatever it's worth.


I like your idea about Hypalon patches. As an alternative, I am also thinking about having chaps made, which will deal with this problem plus keep the sun off the tubes.


Here are my new davits:

Click image for larger version

Name:	$_86.JPG
Views:	104
Size:	114.5 KB
ID:	108362

I have no idea how old they are. The mechanism is completely different, much simpler, and with a robust pawl. I will try to install them tomorrow.
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Old 03-09-2015, 07:14   #25
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Re: Experience With Avon Compact Lite Rib?

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Does it not strike you as absurd that one item of gear should produce so much grief with such remarkable variety and persistence? What POS davits.

Your story sounds very bad to me. Some ideas for you, which come out of my own struggles:

1. I don't think that the lifting mechanism should be used as the primary holding mechanism, at least, not with that particular mechanism, which has many potential failure points including the clutch. I have had one end of my dinghy drop down at sea a few times. I was fortunate it was never a disaster and I was able to recover the dink, but it could have turned out much worse.

2. I experimented with different holding mechanisms, starting with belly bands as you see in the old Simpson documents. Belly bands might catch a falling dinghy but impossible to get the tight enough to be the main holding force.

3. I also tried using a spare mainsail halyard. This works ok provided you run it through the safety eye so that the vector of pull is vertical. But I was concerned that it would be bending the mast back and stopped using this, although it might be worth considering as a safety.

4. I ended up using stainless ratchet straps attached to each lifting point in the dinghy floor, slung over the davit, and run back to the base of the opposite davit, and cinched up tight. This works brilliantly and was what held my dinghy even in my North Sea knockdown. You can even release the lifting mechanism -- it's totally secure. Downside is the straps scuff the davits a little but that doesn't bother me much. I do recommend this. I eventually arrived at ratchet straps after trying for a long time to figure out a way to rig up Hyfield levers with wire rope strops. The ratchet straps are cheap, straightforward, simple, reliable, and good -- just what you want here. There is a UK company which makes them to order with nice stainless hardware -- if you want I can try to dig up the name.

5. I would certainly not want the dinghy to be at the limit of the rated load of the davits, especially these davits . If I were you, I would be downsizing that dinghy for sure.

6. I highly recommend tightening the attachment bolts every time before long sea passages. They will work loose, and once loose, something will break, as happened to me. The lighter the dinghy is, the less the working will be -- keep in mind.

7. The dingy must be cross-braced to avoid rubbing a lot at sea. A ratchet strap works a treat for this. I put a bit of foam between the front of my jockey console and my starboard side davit, and cinched the dinghy up hard is that -- and that really did the trick. I must say however that using three ratchet straps (I only used one on the forward end of the dink) cinched up tight as the holding mechanism almost eliminated the rubbing right there, because the dinghy was so firmly held in place.


For whatever it's worth.


I like your idea about Hypalon patches. As an alternative, I am also thinking about having chaps made, which will deal with this problem plus keep the sun off the tubes.


Here are my new davits:

Attachment 108362

I have no idea how old they are. The mechanism is completely different, much simpler, and with a robust pawl. I will try to install them tomorrow.
Yes agreed, a lot has gone wrong and they could have been much better designed.

1. I have belt, braces garters and suspenders to deal with a lifting mechanism failure. Safety strop, belly strap and handle strap and rope cross braces, so I am not too worried about the mechanism failing now.

2. Agreed.

3. I think the halyard is perfect in an emergency. I wouldn't like the sway of the mast yanking the davits though. There is a lot of power up there.

4. The ratchet straps sound like a good idea. Do you have more info please - picture and supplier details would be great? I have it in mind to use something like this to secure my lazarette storage boxes also.

5. Agreed.

6. I did check my bolt torque recently, but you prompt me on an important point here. These bolts are under a lot of load and get wet, they are a prime candidate for SCC. I haven't done it, but I think they are the very bolts that should be preemptively replaced. One to add to the job list.

7. As 4.

Can you approve the contract to your client now?

Re the davits they look nice, but check the weight limit - it might only be 175kg (fine of course for the proposed new dinghy):

Traditional Davits
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Old 03-09-2015, 09:06   #26
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Re: Experience With Avon Compact Lite Rib?

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Re the davits they look nice, but check the weight limit - it might only be 175kg (fine of course for the proposed new dinghy):
They are at BEST 175kg!

But my existing ones are 175, too, and the old dinghy is just about at that weight, which I consider to be really massive.

The new dinghy weighs 43kg, with a 27kg motor, and if we had 20kg for tank, anchor, and other carp, we still have only 90kg, and that's kind of the whole point of changing the dingy
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Old 03-09-2015, 09:55   #27
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Re: Experience With Avon Compact Lite Rib?

Not to sideline your thread, but I thought you might wonder as well. Does anyone make chaps for the Avon 310 Lite? I had a local guy make a cover for mine for when it is handing in the davits. But we are going cruising, and it's going to see a half year of sun on the hypalon. Would like to get chaps for it, but hoping someone already offers them ready to slip on. In Sunbrella fabric of course.
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Old 03-09-2015, 12:09   #28
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Re: Experience With Avon Compact Lite Rib?

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Not to sideline your thread, but I thought you might wonder as well. Does anyone make chaps for the Avon 310 Lite? I had a local guy make a cover for mine for when it is handing in the davits. But we are going cruising, and it's going to see a half year of sun on the hypalon. Would like to get chaps for it, but hoping someone already offers them ready to slip on. In Sunbrella fabric of course.
An intresting and relevant question.

I would have just gone to a sailmaker or canvas guy, but if there are ready made ones available, that could be interesting.
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Old 03-09-2015, 15:15   #29
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Re: Experience With Avon Compact Lite Rib?

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Originally Posted by sailjumanji View Post
Not to sideline your thread, but I thought you might wonder as well. Does anyone make chaps for the Avon 310 Lite? I had a local guy make a cover for mine for when it is handing in the davits. But we are going cruising, and it's going to see a half year of sun on the hypalon. Would like to get chaps for it, but hoping someone already offers them ready to slip on. In Sunbrella fabric of course.
Sorry, but I would guess there is no way in hell that a set of off-the-shelf chaps for an inflatable that hasn't been made in years exists, anywhere...

;-)

You're gonna have to make your own, or have them made for you... FWIW, I'd suggest going with Stamoid fabric, instead of Sunbrella...
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Old 10-09-2015, 12:57   #30
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Re: Experience With Avon Compact Lite Rib?

I've taken delivery of the new dinghy, and frankly, it's a disappointment.

The tubes are much smaller, the transom is flimsy, and in general it feels like a rubber ducky toy compared to the old one.

The 8hp Selva one-lunger vibrates ferociously. The rig planes quite readily with one person on board, but it is frightening. The tubes are so small it seems like it will flip or be swamped with the slightest ripple in the water, so different from the old one which would bash intrepidly through even heavy surf.

I had a farewell cruise with the old one, some miles in open water from Beaulieu to Lymington and back at 20 knots - fun! But it goes up for sale tomorrow. The way I use my dinghy here years, lightness is more important. We shall see how it works out.

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