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Old 25-02-2009, 21:19   #1
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Inflatable Dinghies - Recommendations ?

After considering anticipated usage and all the tradeoffs, I have come to the decision to buy a small rollup inflatable with a high pressure floor. However, I don't know much about the different makers. Zodiac, Walker Bay, Sea Eagle, Mercury, West Marine and others have competing models. Defender has a nice sale on the Walker Bay Odyssey 240 AF, but I don't know about quality. Any opinions regarding the relative quality of the different makers? All help greatly appreciated.
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Old 25-02-2009, 21:36   #2
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I work at the marina and one of our jobs is repairing inflatables, 80% of our repairs are Zodiac, **** glue
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Old 25-02-2009, 22:51   #3
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I dunno, but ours "Lil Dink" is a Zodiac roll-up we bought second hand in the Caribbean. Its just a couple of thousand miles from circumnavigating... its from Perth Western Australia outliving one of its parents boats. Its a bit long in the tooth at about 10 years old and the floor does leak a bit. Nic calls it her foot spa.

But Lil Dink happily rolls up into the lazarette and waits to be treated like crap next stop. She's wonderful! and we love her very much!


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Old 26-02-2009, 00:18   #4
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Originally Posted by KIWI View Post
I work at the marina and one of our jobs is repairing inflatables, 80% of our repairs are Zodiac, **** glue
Kind of makes you want to stay away from their Liferafts!
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Old 26-02-2009, 07:53   #5
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We bought a Mercury hypalon from Defender a few months ago. Dang good price on a leftover...
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Old 26-02-2009, 09:20   #6
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Here's a good web site for info. Inflatable Boats, Marine and Boat Products and Accessories Caution; they do sell inflatables so I suppose they have an agenda but there is lots of good info and links.

Whatever brand you buy make sure they have a good dealer network to get it serviced. These boats do have occasional problems (as some one said, bad glue, holes, leaks, things coming off, etc)
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Old 26-02-2009, 09:42   #7
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I would stay away from any thing made out of PVC or non Hypalon--Zodiac and other try to make up names for materials that--if you push the sales folks they will admit are still PVC. I ran into a lot of discarded PVC (mostly Zodiac) inflatables in the dumpsters in marinas around Central America. Personally, I would question the idea of an inflatable floor--I had one and went back to wood--not that much more difficult to inflate or store for the durability. If you are out cruising you are going to get stuff in the boat (anchors, fishooks, tools, etc) that will puncture a floor and the inevitable will happen.

Zodiac glued their floors into their PVC units and, while the electronically welded seams of the tubes hold up, the glued floors come apart and make these into spas. It is a chronic and well known problem and I doubt if the construction techniques of other brands are different. I have a Zodiac I will sell you cheap that has a floor been repaired many many times with proper and improper glues and still leaks. Tubes are fine.
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Old 26-02-2009, 10:23   #8
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I bought one of these;

HDR 8500 [HDR8500] - $749.00 : Inflatable Boats, Aquamax Inflatable Boats, Dinghies, Inflatable Rafts,inflatable dinghy. Aquamax boats, the only thing inflated is our boats, Affordable inflatable boats

There's a good seller on ebay that sells them for $559 new. At that price, I don't mind if I have to chuck it in 5 years due to it being PVC. I do plan to deflate, and store in the lazarette.
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Old 26-02-2009, 10:31   #9
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I'll second the opinion on Zodiac. Keep in mind that West Marine inflatables are made by Zodiac. I had a West Marine model and the floor fell out when the glue failed.

Now I have an Achilles with the roll up aluminum floor. So far, so good.

Rich
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Old 26-02-2009, 11:15   #10
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I'd second the Achilles - hypalon construction from Japan at reasonable prices. Further if you want a high-pressure air floor (much easier set-up/storage than RIB's or aluminum or wood floors), Achilles were also the first to use Hypalon in this critical area. I've had mine for 3 years of trouble free use.

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Old 26-02-2009, 11:15   #11
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I agree about PVC unless you are on the Great Lakes or other northern areas. I also question roll up or inflatable floors. My favourite is the AB 11 foot aluminum bottom RIB. It has a double bottom, V shaped with a high prow to help keep it dry in high seas. It will take up to 25 HP, although I use a Yamaha Enduro 15 HP. It will plane easily with 4 on board. With 2 it will do over 20 knots, important when the anchorage is a couple of miles from town. It is lighter then fibreglass and is more rugged.
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Old 26-02-2009, 11:19   #12
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mercur PVC

I've got a 5 year old wood floor mercury PVC that is; knock on wood, holding up well in FL (I keep it covered when not in use). This was cheap ($??) enough that with 5 1/2 years of use I could pitch it if I had to.

-dennis
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Old 26-02-2009, 11:25   #13
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here is another seller of the PVC boats. Seems that they might be all made by the same folks, but rebranded by the different resellers:

Inflatable Boats SALE. 11' Saturn Inflatable Boat only $925. Lowest prices in USA!
Chris
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Old 26-02-2009, 13:08   #14
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here is another seller of the PVC boats. Seems that they might be all made by the same folks, but rebranded by the different resellers:

Inflatable Boats SALE. 11' Saturn Inflatable Boat only $925. Lowest prices in USA!
Chris
I think that's probably right. The Saturn SD260 looks almost exactly like the HDR8500 I bought from this guy;

[COLOR=#22229c]]8'6"PVC dink for $559
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Old 26-02-2009, 13:38   #15
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i just purchased a walker bay odyssey 240SF from defender and am looking forward to using it in april.
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