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Old 16-08-2014, 09:37   #1
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Rib dinghies, which is the 'best of the rest'?

Hi, we're a British yacht and would appreciate some help with information about dinghy brands on the west side of the pond:

We're looking to replace our very tired AB Aria Rib before heading back into the Caribbean and whilst the AB & Caraibe seem to be the most highly rated, for what we want - an 8-9' Hypalon rib with a grp hull - the prices are <$3000. Whereas the completion: Defender, Achilles, Mercury, Zodiac are available, often discounted for nearer to or even under $2000.

Is there much to choose between these lesser regarded brands, or are they all made in the same factory in China with just different badges/detailing stuck on?
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Old 16-08-2014, 10:13   #2
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Re: Rib dinghies, which is the 'best of the rest'?

If the ads are true, they may be made in the same factory but with different fabric. Defender says their ribs are made with the same fabric as an Avon.
I do know that our new Defender 9' rib is not as fast as our old Apex with a double wall hull.
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Old 16-08-2014, 10:42   #3
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Re: Rib dinghies, which is the 'best of the rest'?

Achilles.. lessor to none. Don't go anywhere near a Zodiac or West Marine brand.
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Old 16-08-2014, 10:45   #4
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Re: Rib dinghies, which is the 'best of the rest'?

It seems if you want an aluminum RIB, then the higher priced ones seem to be better, but since you seem to want a GRP, then maybe not.
I've been very pleased with our Zodiac, build quality seems excellent and if I remember correctly on the data plate it says made in China, but then the motor I put on it, a Suzuki was made in Singapore or Malaysia, not Japan.
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Old 16-08-2014, 17:17   #5
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Re: Rib dinghies, which is the 'best of the rest'?

I think Avon Jet is best. At least it is best of what we have used.

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Old 16-08-2014, 20:41   #6
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Re: Rib dinghies, which is the 'best of the rest'?

I highly recommend the Caribe dinghy. We purchased our hypalon Caribe dinghy 8 years ago and it has served us from Aus to Alaska and back through the milk run across the Pacific. It is still in very good condition and gets lots of tough wear as we are divers and live aboards so gets lots of use. So whether in the tropics or cooler climes the dinghy has proved its worth. I love the large pontoons which give a very dry ride (a much better ride than our previous Zodiac). So a little more money up front will serve you well in the long run.

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Old 17-08-2014, 00:32   #7
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Re: Rib dinghies, which is the 'best of the rest'?

I'm not close to getting one but I wanted aluminum hull because it's lighter than grp. I saw Swift and Aquapro have them with Inflatables. Ocean Craft is an all aluminum boat(aluminum tubes instead of hypalon) with a skirt around it for bumper that can flip up for splash guard or pad when upside down on deck.

I believe these are all Australian companies though.. I'm in the US. They may have dealers in your area.

I'm basically tagging along in this thread looking for aluminum hulls if they pop up haha
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Old 17-08-2014, 00:51   #8
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Re: Rib dinghies, which is the 'best of the rest'?

Theres more ABs in the Caribbean than Caribs.
With the other cheaper brands make sure if you are comparing Hypolon with PVC.

PVC with chaps should be ok. Shorter life.

Watch aluminium hulls, they are much narrower than the equivalent priced light fibreglass.
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Old 17-08-2014, 07:48   #9
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Re: Rib dinghies, which is the 'best of the rest'?

When I was shopping I found West Marine had good deals, their RIBs are made by others but have West Marine decals and I think they discount them for the free advertisement.
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Old 19-08-2014, 21:47   #10
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Re: Rib dinghies, which is the 'best of the rest'?

Sorry I'm late to this thread.

There's a reason why AB's are the most expensive. We saw this at the boat show">Miami Boat Show. My wife is notoriously cheap (as am I). She's got an AB on her shopping list now. Hands down, a far better built boat.
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Old 24-08-2014, 15:22   #11
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Re: Rib dinghies, which is the 'best of the rest'?

For me, the best RIB is the 100% aluminium dinghy made in Australia, by Ocean Craft. The 'tubes' are lightly pressurised aluminimium. I have placed an order for two new ones for our cat. I am paying extra for the shipping, but the owner of the company, Mike Jessop, has been incredibly helpful and has also assisted in sorting out economical shipping as well as providing customisation for my needs. These ribs are lightweight, strong and fast.
I have lost faith in OceanPro as they are now made in China and the quality has fallen in my opinion.
My 25 year old hypalon Avon 3.1 roll up is still going strong though, but the keel tube failed about ten years ago. It is still good for pottering around.
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Old 24-08-2014, 16:15   #12
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Re: Rib dinghies, which is the 'best of the rest'?

You can get Aquapro in the States. Seach on google.

They do great Alloy Ribs. Aquapro had a real issue when they moved their production to China - the quality really fell off and some boats failed pretty early. My understanding of this is that now the manufacturing has returned to NZ, the quality has also returned.

I have a 14 year old Aquapro (NZ made), 2.7m, that weighs only 34Kg. Yes, it's PVC and 14 years old. Still going well....
Yes, I'd buy another, as weight is important to us. Despite being reated only for 8 HP, our Dingy has had a 15Hp on it most of it's life. It's spent several years in the tropics, and has been thoroughly used and abused!
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Old 24-08-2014, 16:42   #13
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Re: Rib dinghies, which is the 'best of the rest'?

I tow my dingy most of the time since I don't go off shore right now. No rib is light enough, no inflatable can stand being dragged up a barnicle encrusted beach. I need a lower drag dink that won't roll over in the Juan de Fuca. Kyak style construction would work...any ideas?
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Old 24-08-2014, 18:55   #14
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Re: Rib dinghies, which is the 'best of the rest'?

Juan de where?


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Old 24-08-2014, 20:56   #15
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Re: Rib dinghies, which is the 'best of the rest'?

What, you mean like plastic dingies? WAY too heavy - see MAC BOATS - they make polyethylene boats - a 2.7m Mac is 60KG - nearly 2 x the weight of my Aquapro Rib!
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