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Old 16-09-2010, 11:04   #1
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I Need Some Advice: RU-260 West Marine 8' Inflatable Dinghy

Hi,

We've been cruising 10 years now and it's time to upgrade our dingy. Thinking about taking a different attitude about our next dinghy purchase. Instead of getting the best hard bottom, I'm thinking of buying that cheap West Marine 8' inflatable (RU-260 Sport: $749 - w/5 year guarantee) and consider it a throw-a-way after 4/5 years.

My wife and I are fairly light weight...combined total of 275 lbs. Thinking of an 8hp or 10hp (2 stroke) outboard for it (specs say 4hp max)

(*) Does anyone have any experience with this model that can answer the following questions:

1. Will the dingy support the higher than recommended hp outboard?
2. Am I kidding myself to I think I can get 4-5 years out of it?
3. Is this a good performing boat with 8hp - 10hp? (fast, stable, etc.)

Any advice someone could offer would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Ken
svpolaris@yahoo.com
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Old 16-09-2010, 12:13   #2
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We have had an RU-260 for 2 years and are generally satisfied with it. However, our experience has been that the 2.5 hp Tohatsu outboard we have is about as big as we would dare go. With 2 people and a dog the RU-260 is loaded, and since the side tubes are all that is providing any rigidity even a modest amount of chop has the tubes bending and the bow starting to hop.
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Old 16-09-2010, 13:04   #3
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In the tropics you should be getting a hypalon as the PVC will not hold up in a lot of direct UV.
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Old 20-09-2010, 13:16   #4
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we got 8 years from our pvc

We have a mercury sport 240 and have gotten 8 years of service in FL. Just this fall we had a seam fail but a patch fixed that, of course going to the bahamas for 3 months meant a new one. We do cover it when we're not at/on our boat.

I agree hypalon will last longer all things being equal, but our budget at this time does have enough stretch for it, maybe next time.

-dennis
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Old 21-09-2010, 08:17   #5
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Hey Ken,

I work for West Marine and deal with these boats on a daily basis...and I would not put that big a motor on the RU-260.

But I would suggest you go one step up and look at the SB-275. It can take the 8hp motor, and is really a much better boat than the 260. It has a hard floor all the way forward, rather than slats. It also has an inflation tube under the floor, giving you a v-bottom. It planes, corners and tracks much better than the flat bottom 260. And if that's not enought....it's on sale right now.

Lorenzo's point about PVC in the tropics is spot on, hypalon last longer. But if you put on some protectant and use a cover occacionally, Dennis is also correct that PVC can be good value for dollar.

And lest you think I'm just some West Marine shill, I sold a perfectly good one year old Zodiac C260 this summer so I could buy one of these SB-275s....and I've been very happy. It's a better boat. And by the way, Zodiac makes them for us. So either way....it's a Zodiac.
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Old 22-09-2010, 08:10   #6
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For what it's worth we just got a West Marine RIB 350 HYP and run it with a 4 hp and are very happy, but then we're always happy. We like this retirement on the water thing.
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Old 22-09-2010, 08:46   #7
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PVC is half the price of Hypolon.....

I am looking at the anchorage here and all the rocky, scrapey bits, and remembering the coral close to beaches and the scratchy bits dragging the dink up those beaches, thinking of all the times I've repaired small holes, wondering how easy for some jerk to knife a dink...

I think I would much prefer to throw $899 up into the wind than $1899!

And just think every 3 years or so yo can get a brand new one! Thats gotta impress the chics!!!!!
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Old 22-09-2010, 09:58   #8
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You're right, of course, you can buy 4 pvc cheap dinghys for the cost of a good HYP, and they do have a bad habit of floating away in the night.
We live on a large ugly old steel shrimp boat that we have to anchor away from other boats and it's nice to have a solid heavy hypalon dinghy that will move us about it nasty seas. After shopping around for two months and checking out boat shows, we just decided to bite the bullet for a dinghy that should last longer than we will and store it on top at night.
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Old 12-10-2010, 06:52   #9
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Thanks Dan

Dan, I appreciate you sticking your neck out as a WM employee. I don't think your comments are a shill for WM. We're still tossed on new. Do you know of a good place to find used hard-bottomed dinghies?




Quote:
Originally Posted by danleach View Post
Hey Ken,

I work for West Marine and deal with these boats on a daily basis...and I would not put that big a motor on the RU-260.

But I would suggest you go one step up and look at the SB-275. It can take the 8hp motor, and is really a much better boat than the 260. It has a hard floor all the way forward, rather than slats. It also has an inflation tube under the floor, giving you a v-bottom. It planes, corners and tracks much better than the flat bottom 260. And if that's not enought....it's on sale right now.

Lorenzo's point about PVC in the tropics is spot on, hypalon last longer. But if you put on some protectant and use a cover occacionally, Dennis is also correct that PVC can be good value for dollar.

And lest you think I'm just some West Marine shill, I sold a perfectly good one year old Zodiac C260 this summer so I could buy one of these SB-275s....and I've been very happy. It's a better boat. And by the way, Zodiac makes them for us. So either way....it's a Zodiac.
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Old 12-10-2010, 07:29   #10
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check out Used inflatable boats, Used Outboards
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Old 12-10-2010, 11:21   #11
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Aside from Lorenzo's link, I'm not aware of other sources.

Here in Seattle we have a great used boat stuff store, Dunato's Second Wave. We all take our spare stuff there to put it on consignment. I presume other port cities may support similar businesses. So I'd look for one in your area. Aside from that, Craig's list might have some things.

Good hunting.
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Old 25-02-2011, 21:20   #12
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Re: I Need Some Advice: RU-260 West Marine 8' Inflatable Dinghy

I was wondering if Dan or anyone else would mind answering a few questions about the SB-275. I am in a similar situation, looking for an inexpensive dinghy. However, I am on a smaller boat and worried about space. Furthermore, part of my calculations involve how long the dinghy will last for...whether I will have to buy a new one in 7 or so years when I move to a bigger boat and full-time cruising or whether I can hope that the whatever I purchase now will still serve me then.

I was wondering what size the dinghy folds up to? Is the inflate/deflate and fold process as easy as West Marine makes it out to be? Anyone have any guess on how long one of these will last if well-taken care of and mainly stored indoors? Any use for the foreseeable future will be out of the tropics in Chesapeake to Maine summers.

Thanks for any and all comments.
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Old 25-02-2011, 23:07   #13
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Re: I Need Some Advice: RU-260 West Marine 8' Inflatable Dinghy

We recently (18 months now) bought a west marine folding transom dinghy (compact RIB 310). As expected the original case lasted less than six months in the sunlight.

The bigger concern is that despite the relatively light use (perhaps sub 20 hours running and less than two weeks of sitting in the water during this time) the seams now leak.

I'm going to try some of the majic seam sealer but still this is pretty disappointing.

The second part to the problem I have in our purchase, which was not what I consider cheap, was that we had some issues getting the correct paperwork to register the boat at the DMV. This involved several visits to the store (having been turned away from the DMV the first time) and eventually getting a different store on the line to explain what we needed.

My conclusion is that not many people register their tenders....

All in all I'm not too impressed with the seam quality. Given the light use there is no reason for ours to have started leaking. We've not stressed it, it's had a decent cover made for it and sits on deck without squashing the boat (in fact less than the original case did). And while the cheaper end of the RIB market it was definitely not what we consider cheap.

The good news is that it fits in the space that it said it would and has exactly two inches to spare between our dodger and the vang!

<In awnser to your original question, which I appear to have used as an excuse to rant, I don't think you'll get 7 years due to build quality...>
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Old 26-02-2011, 00:17   #14
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pirate Re: I Need Some Advice: RU-260 West Marine 8' Inflatable Dinghy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helbent View Post
I was wondering if Dan or anyone else would mind answering a few questions about the SB-275. I am in a similar situation, looking for an inexpensive dinghy. However, I am on a smaller boat and worried about space. Furthermore, part of my calculations involve how long the dinghy will last for...whether I will have to buy a new one in 7 or so years when I move to a bigger boat and full-time cruising or whether I can hope that the whatever I purchase now will still serve me then.

I was wondering what size the dinghy folds up to? Is the inflate/deflate and fold process as easy as West Marine makes it out to be? Anyone have any guess on how long one of these will last if well-taken care of and mainly stored indoors? Any use for the foreseeable future will be out of the tropics in Chesapeake to Maine summers.

Thanks for any and all comments.
ROFLMAO.... your looking for an inflatable dinghy that'll last 7yrs... and be good enough to transfer to the next boat...??
And then you'll unpack it... I asssume...
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Old 26-02-2011, 07:27   #15
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Re: I Need Some Advice: RU-260 West Marine 8' Inflatable Dinghy

Tom, I hope you took the boat back to West Marine. It's still under warranty, and they will help you deal with it, or replace it if seams are leaking. Talk to the Manager or Assistant Manager at the store. FYI, West Marine branded boats are made by Zodiac on the same floor and by the same crews, and you should not see any difference in build quality.

On the registration issue, you should have gotten a packet of ownership papers when you bought the boat from West Marine. That packet has the paperwork needed to register with a state licensing office. As for how many register, well, I can't say. Here in Washington state you don't have to if the dinghy is used only as a tender to larger boat....but you do need numbers of the larger boat put on the tender. But lots of folks don't do that. We all have different risk of ticket tolerance.

Helbent....on your original question...how long will it last. As others have said, 7 years, that's getting old for a rubber dingy if it's used hard. Most people buy, intending to treat it perfectly, fold it up, put it away, put UV cover on always, treat with protectants, etc. And then they don't do any of that. I personally try to treat my rubber boat nicely, but I don't sweat about it too much. I imagine I'll get 7-10 years out of it. But if it gets cranky at 5 years of hard use, I'd probably consider that ok.

On the issue of "ease of rolling up", that really comes down to which model you buy, and how often you do it. The slat bottom boats roll up very fast and easy, since there's nothing to take in or out. The plywood bottom boat (sb275), which is the one I have, is a little trickier. The plywood panels snap togeather and apart easily enough. But the tricky part is the aluminium rails that roll onto the panel edges along the bottom of the floor to provide stiffness. You have to get good at positioning the rail along the side of the floor and rolling the rail down in place. Once you get the hang of it, it's easy. And the result is a very stiff floor, which is good.

Hope that helps. I've taken a new job, so my West Marine days are behind me for now. But I enjoyed working with the crew at my store. Nice folks.
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