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Old 03-02-2019, 05:46   #1
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Single Alu Floor RIB

Time for a new dink ...

Was running a Walker Bay Genesis 310 & Tohatsu 9.8 which came with the boat, but after several years in storage, the tubes were in pretty bad shape and WB advised that it would cost more to re-tube than to buy a new one.

Having just retired, money is an issue right now so I could be tempted to go with an air floor model, but they just don't ride as well as a RIB plus I tend to use the dink for exploring away from the mothership and I think that I would be forever patching up a textile floor as I drag it over the rocks and coral.

So ... I was planning on buying a minimal spec plastic bottom inflatable from WM as soon as a sale comes up (which they seem to do on a regular basis) until I spotted a Zodiac Aluminum bottom RIB at Defender for just less than 2BU (*boat units) https://www.defender.com/product3.js...295&id=4445464

Yes, it's a single floor. Yes, it's PVC. Yes, it's made in China. No, it doesn't have any fancy addons like bow lockers. I get all that. But it's a price point I can afford as opposed to 4 -5BU for a fancy double floor Hypalon tropic special.

Here's the question(s):

Never had an Alu bottomed boat before, what are the pros and cons versus a GRP or plastic moulded hull ?

I realise that a double floor would be much nicer (easier to get in, put groceries on, mount toys / batteries etc.), but it's just going to be a run about and with an Alu hull, would that be hard to live with after a while.


p.s. I've read enough threads about Hypalon v. PVC and one brand versus another, we all seem to have our own opinions on that, this is specifically about aluminum single skin hulls versus plastic double floors..
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Old 03-02-2019, 07:03   #2
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Re: Single Alu Floor RIB

1) The bottom of boat's interior is also the bilge. If warm water wear sandals, if cold wear boots. Put groceries in waterproof bags.
2) PVC does fine except exposed to lots of UV. If you are in UK clouds or keep boat covered no problem.
If PVC is what fits the budget, make do. Lots of other cruisers do the same.
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Old 03-02-2019, 07:07   #3
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Re: Single Alu Floor RIB

Oh, btw, aluminum hull on RIBs rock. Bulletproof in comparison to fiberglass.

I have an aluminum hull hypalon RIB. It is double hull. Very happy but think a single hull with PVC is an appropriate way to save money. Protect from UV = protect investment.

About the only negative to aluminum is if hull is not powder coated and is bare aluminum. In that case things carried inside boat get stained a grey color from rubbing on the bare aluminum. If powder coated no problem. If painted no problem until paint chips off. The boat you showed looks like it is at least painted but does not say so in description that I could see.
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Old 03-02-2019, 07:41   #4
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Re: Single Alu Floor RIB

Thanks for the reply Dennis.

I hadn't thought of the unpainted aluminum rubbing off thing, that's why this forum is awesome.

According to the manufacturer's literature, it's power coated, so I'm golden there.

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Old 03-02-2019, 07:48   #5
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Re: Single Alu Floor RIB

Take a look at the Defender brand RIB's - you can't beat them for price and features
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Old 03-02-2019, 08:48   #6
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Re: Single Alu Floor RIB

Two additional factors that you might also want to consider are that the alum RIB is lighter than a comparably sized FG one (less weight on davits / foredeck / hauling up on shore / less HP / easier to row and tow etc.) and that the double floor provides a more stable platform to stand on. You might also want to take a look at the Sirocco RIB's.
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Old 03-02-2019, 08:58   #7
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Re: Single Alu Floor RIB

I loved my alu rib in PVC.
Will not last as long as Hypalon.

The bottom will dent if dropped. Lighter than any fiberglass bottom.

Lasted several years, hard use 5 months a year of
continuous cruising and fishing in the Bahamas...etc.

Australian if I remember correctly. About 9+ feet, 15 hp 2 stroke Merc.
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Old 03-02-2019, 09:13   #8
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Re: Single Alu Floor RIB

I have a single skin alum. RIB, of New Zealand build (came with boat I bought two years ago), a 1998 model, 9ft. long, Hypalon fabric tubes. I had a 10ft. Avon RIB on previous boat.
Though the Alu. floors are not flat, and yes, water does accumulate there and feet can get wet, the weight difference is amazing, about half. I would not go back to a fiberglass floor RIB.
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Old 03-02-2019, 10:03   #9
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Re: Single Alu Floor RIB

We have a Highfield 340 on our 53, but currently on the 62, we went an entire trouble free season using a HydroForce aluminum floor dinghy purchased for only $599 from Costco. Amazing quality for the price and should be compared to Defender and Westmarine dinghies costing $1400 or so. We easily transported five adults (one weighing 320 pounds) using a 15hp outboard. I highly recommend this as a low cost, high quality alternative. Looks like the current price is $649.https://www.costco.com/Hydro-Force-M...100341175.html
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Old 03-02-2019, 16:08   #10
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Single Alu Floor RIB

I second the defender brand, I know nothing about the boat, but will bet money that if there is a problem, Defender will make it right.
I had a Zodiac, if you have a problem, you have a problem, not them.
Chaps would probably add years, literally to PVC.
I have chaps on our Hypalon tubes.
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Old 04-02-2019, 10:10   #11
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Re: Single Alu Floor RIB

I have a WEST MARINE RIB-275 Aluminum double bottom hypalon which has served us well so far. Dry ride due to larger tubes and double bottom. It is super strong and easy to enter and exit. The down side is weight (106lbs) and cost ($3500 plus tax). I am working with a boat builder to make a skin on frame rowing/sailing dinghy which will be about 1/2 the weight and way more fun. We switched from a 9.9hp mercy to a 3hp Epropulsion Spirit 1.0 electric motor last year and will use that on the new dinghy.
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Old 04-02-2019, 10:54   #12
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Re: Single Alu Floor RIB

OP here. Thanks to everyone who chimed in on this.

I guess the title of the post was a bit misleading, I meant "Single Alu skin RIB" I suppose.

Comforting to know most that have tried Alu instead of GRP or injection mold plastic seem to really like them, so I think that's the way I'll go for sure.
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