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Old 06-06-2012, 13:24   #16
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Re: What's the best airdeck inflatable?

I have a rollup slat floor dinghy,usually keep it on deck rolled up.When I have towed it,I keep it right up tight on stern with only transom in water(motor off).In really rough weather it was no problem.
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Old 06-06-2012, 17:09   #17
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Re: What's the best airdeck inflatable?

Just so you guys know. . . (unfortunately) I'm still working, not crusing. I get the hard bottom concept, and if I was crusing, it would be my only choice to drag around (like I see so many people do here on the Chesapeake do.) I've decided against the davits for now, so, that leaves me with some sort of stowable inflatable. My current 8' slat floor West Marine / Zodiac doesn't plane, but that doesn't bother me too much - it's just wore out. The Catalina 350 is just perfect for crusing the Chesapeake, but I can't say it's overgenerous on storage. The airfloor seems to be a fair compromise for space, convenience and performance.

It seems that the Hypalon air floor is the ONLY option for an airdeck inflatable.

BTW: CSY Man, If you have an opinion on the Mercury product, please do not hold back next time. You should share how you really feel! (LOL) It's what I like about this site. Great place to ventillate and express ourselves! If I was the Marketing Director of the Mercury Inflatable Division, I would be having a Conniption Fit reading your post.
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Old 06-06-2012, 20:46   #18
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I spoke with an expert in depth about this. His comments were that pvc dinghy as soon as they are exposed to sun one time the aging process starts. If never exposed. Last for ever. If exposed once and put away will last about as long as one out in the elements. The degradation of the pvc begins as soon as uv ras hits it. Of course exposure to chemicals over inflation.etc speed it a little. Most last 5-7 years. Hypalon lasts a long time I have seen 35 year old hypalon achilles ( started making them in the sixties) and it looked great. I have seen an achilles transom. Fail and they wouldn't cover it as well as a hypalon airfloor. You can get an aftermarket airfloor of pvc for 200.00 or so. Or 3 pieces of plywood for less lol. I like airfloors for portability but there's no comparing durability to a rib or slat floor as they are simple and last a long time. Merc seemed to give me great customer service so maybe it was the shops dunno.
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Old 06-06-2012, 21:06   #19
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Re: What's the best airdeck inflatable?

I've owned two airdeck boats over the years, a Metzler in the early 80's and a Zodiac in the 90's. Both broke my heart. If the deck isn't solid, it's just not solid.
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Old 06-06-2012, 21:54   #20
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Re: What's the best airdeck inflatable?

Someone was posting about a Mercury Hypalon inflatable with airfloor not holding up.

When I was shopping for a new dinghy (bought the Achilles) it was my understanding that the Mercury Hypalon inflatables came with a PVC airfloor.

For those who don't know there is a major difference in the seams between a PVC and a Hypalon. The PVC seams are welded together in a heat based process. The Hypalon are glued and in some cases stiched and glued.

The PVC construction process can be more automated and requires fewer manhours too build hence the lower cost of PVC inflatables.

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Old 06-06-2012, 22:33   #21
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Re: What's the best airdeck inflatable?

My Mercury inflatable has the hypolon floor and it is coming apart at the seems.
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Old 06-06-2012, 22:45   #22
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Re: What's the best airdeck inflatable?

I have a 2005 PVC Zodiac that I bought used with an inflatable floor. We use it about 6 or 8 times a year. It has held up well but with a 15hp motor on the transom it isn't so great. I plan on applying penetrating epoxy to the transom to avoid the problems others have complained about.
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Old 07-06-2012, 06:00   #23
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Re: What's the best airdeck inflatable?

Thanks so much for the input. I have updated the spreadsheet and listed my preference from left to right. The Achilles seems to be winning. My conclusion is that unless you buy an ultra cheap PVC boat, you are going to drop coin on a well-built PVC, so, for the difference, why not get the better built Hypalon?
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Old 07-06-2012, 07:05   #24
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Re: What's the best airdeck inflatable?

Defender.com has them on sale right now, for instance the Achilles is $1789.00 Vs $2100.00 on your spreadsheet.
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:39   #25
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Re: What's the best airdeck inflatable?

We have the West Marine 340 Hypalon by Zodiac powered by a Mercury 15hp outboard. The dinghy is very large, and accordingly heavy, and we have not been impressed with either the boat or motor. This dinghy replaced a 1987 era WM 9' inflatable with plywood panel floors (with an inflatable keel) powered by a 1960's era Evenrude 6hp "Fisherman" outboard. Oh how I regret having given up that equipment. It was old but it endured and I could get the boat on plane even with 3 mid-sized adults aboard. The floors were a pain in the neck to assemble so we often towed the dinghy as we didn't have enough space on the deck of our old boat. When we bought our current yacht, I though the HP inflatable floor model would be an improvement but we were quite disappointed. If I were doing it over, I would purchase a relatively smaller rigid floor dinghy with a folding transom and carry it on deck or in davits between anchorages and use a smaller, lighter engine.

FWIW...
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:20   #26
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Re: What's the best airdeck inflatable?

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Originally Posted by sww914 View Post
Defender.com has them on sale right now, for instance the Achilles is $1789.00 Vs $2100.00 on your spreadsheet.
As far as warranty goes, I would guess that it doesn't really matter where you buy it. It's a boat and could end up anywhere in the world. I'd have to register it in Maryland no matter where I bought it. Does the seller send warranty information into the manufacturer, or does the owner fill out a warranty card and mail it in? Have you ever heard of service related isses if you did not buy from a local dealer?
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:50   #27
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Re: What's the best airdeck inflatable?

While the air floor is not near as good as a RIB, for your stated purpose it is probably the one to get. I would be more concerned with seams staying glued than with whether it was PVC or Hyp... for your use. It SEEMS (?) like PVC boats have a lot of seam problems... but maybe that's a bad perception. or maybe it's because these tend to be the cheaper boats. Is it harder to glue PVC "permanently" than Hypalon?
While the Achilles is not the most popular boat, I think maybe due to tube size in the past, they seem to be very good. I have a 1983 10 ft Achilles (ply floor) that continues to hold air fine... even if not used for a year!
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:27   #28
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Re: What's the best airdeck inflatable?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Windseeker View Post
As far as warranty goes, I would guess that it doesn't really matter where you buy it. It's a boat and could end up anywhere in the world. I'd have to register it in Maryland no matter where I bought it. Does the seller send warranty information into the manufacturer, or does the owner fill out a warranty card and mail it in? Have you ever heard of service related isses if you did not buy from a local dealer?
I broke a floorboard in mine right away, going too fast in really rough conditions with it not inflated enough. I called Defender and they had Zodiac send out a new piece that day and I received it a couple days later.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:48   #29
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Re: What's the best airdeck inflatable?

Quote:
BTW: CSY Man, If you have an opinion on the Mercury product, please do not hold back next time. You should share how you really feel! (LOL) It's what I like about this site. Great place to ventillate and express ourselves! If I was the Marketing Director of the Mercury Inflatable Division, I would be having a Conniption Fit reading your post.
No, ain't holding nothing back and Mercury management have never come back to me and apologized or tried to make good on the problems with the P.O.S. dinghy they put on the market so I can only assume the sh!tty dinghy and the sh!tty warranty service is part of their program and therefore they deserve every broadside I can dish out.
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Old 07-06-2012, 13:10   #30
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Re: What's the best airdeck inflatable?

BTW, it's quite clear to me now that we're cruising, that RIBs are the best dinghies out there if you can store them and if you can afford one in the first place. If we had a 60 footer and a big pile of money you can bet that we'd have a 12' rib up on deck.
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