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Old 13-03-2014, 03:48   #1
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Best Inflatable RIB

Need some opinions on a good quality RIB.
My previous one bought in Australia split the seems after only 2yrs, it was a pvc material and the sun killed it, we quickly replaced it with a tinny which i have grown to loath because of the damage it causes to my topsides an i miss the stability of the inflatable.
So what i need is a 3.1m ,ali floor and Hypalon material, as we are based in Phuket in the tropics ,i was advised not to get a' Chinese Hypalon' if there is such a thing. I believe there are 1 or 2 inflatable builders in Phuket, would be really interested if anyone has any experience with them.
Thanks all
Richard
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Old 13-03-2014, 04:19   #2
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Re: Best Inflatable RIB

Personally I don't think I'd bother with anything other than a Caribe or AB Hypalon RIB.
I'm considering an aluminum AB for its lightness, also I would be able to get away with a smaller lighter motor.
Currently have a Caribe 10'4" with a 25hp Johnson 2 stroke as a daily runner at my home port.
But once I start moving around its much too heavy and long of a rig for stowing daily.
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Old 13-03-2014, 04:49   #3
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Re: Best Inflatable RIB

I think most are made in China, I'd bet all the fabric is, but that is just a guess.
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Old 13-03-2014, 06:55   #4
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Re: Best Inflatable RIB

I sewed up "dinghy chaps" for our dink a few years ago to protect our PVC Zodiac from the sun, but also to provide better traction for our dog (long story, but now he is more confident jumping on and off the boat.) Sailrite provides great instructions at: Dinghy Chaps Instructions It was tedious to build, but well worth it IMO.

"Chinese Hypalon" gives me the willies, but I suppose that's the way of the world these days. Hypalon does handle sun much better than PVC, so I'd recommend it. I used to be a Klepper dealer and I often saw 25 year old boat in useable shape (however they were not stored in sunlight.)
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Old 13-03-2014, 07:03   #5
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Re: Best Inflatable RIB

After losing my Caribe 10X by wear and tear after ten years of good service I was looking for a light weight aluminum hull RIB, but I was unable to find a good source here in Florida. I decided to purchase the Caribe 9L that is much lighter without the double floor and It's served us well for about five years now. I do leave this light dinghy on my davits offshore without the outboard or contents stored in the dinghy.
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Old 13-03-2014, 12:03   #6
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Re: Best Inflatable RIB

We just went through this exercise. We purchased a new dinghy last month at the Boston Boat Show.

On fabric, we determined that hypalon is the only way to go for the south east, Bahamas and Caribbean. We wanted light weight so we could put in on our bow easily. We looked at single floor fiberglass RIBs and single and double floor aluminum RIBs from AB, Carib, Achilles, Defender, Zodiac and Highfield. In the end we purchased a Highfield double floor aluminum RIB. It weighs 108 lbs and has a lockable anchor locker (others don't). We paid $3,200 and it came with just about every accessory we wanted. This brand isn't very popular in the US yet but I read a lot of positive info coming out of Australia.

Single vs double floor. We had two (well three on the AB) concerns with the single floor. First, we have a dog that will be going cruising with us. We were concerned how comfortable the deep v of the single floor would be for her. Second, stability. I like to fish from our inflatable by standing up and casting. I am not sure how stable a single floor would be for that. Plus when you are stepping onto the inflatable from a boat in a rolly anchorage you would have a flat, stable area to step onto.

On the AB, the other concern we had was the heat of the unpainted aluminum floor. They can't seem to paint them right so most people are getting them as bare aluminum. The Highfield is powder coated and doesn't seem to have the issue with the paint flaking that the AB does. This may be more of an issue on the double floor because with the single floor what you step on is in contact with the water so it's not as bad.

Good luck and fair winds.

Jesse
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Old 13-03-2014, 15:33   #7
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Re: Best Inflatable RIB

thorcat,

We bought a Gemini, which uses the alloy hull built by Swift in Australia. It weighs less than the Swift. The problem is that the hypalon they use is not thick enough, and now, after 9 years, the hypalon has started to chip off the scrim. I would rather buy a Swift, heavier by virtue of better hypalon, if I were starting over. However, the hull is still in good nick, so we will investigate getting Swift to put new tubes on, and compare with Gemini doing it. The Swifts are used by various government groups in Australia, we've been told.
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Old 13-03-2014, 15:39   #8
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Re: Best Inflatable RIB

After a decade with an AB, I have to say I am charmed by our Walker Bay 11 foot Genesis. Aluminum floor means sacks and backpacks don't get wet, the floor is flat for me and for the dog, it planes with a 15 hp. All I know is, be sure to get hypalon.

Hannah on s/v Rita T
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Old 13-03-2014, 15:58   #9
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Re: Best Inflatable RIB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hannah on 'Rita T' View Post
................. Aluminum floor means sacks and backpacks don't get wet .................
Give us some more thoughts about this idea. I'm not aware of why aluminum would keep things drier than some other materials.
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Old 13-03-2014, 16:26   #10
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Re: Best Inflatable RIB

They probably should have described it as a false floor.
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Old 13-03-2014, 17:37   #11
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Re: Best Inflatable RIB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
thorcat,

We bought a Gemini, which uses the alloy hull built by Swift in Australia. It weighs less than the Swift. The problem is that the hypalon they use is not thick enough, and now, after 9 years, the hypalon has started to chip off the scrim. I would rather buy a Swift, heavier by virtue of better hypalon, if I were starting over. However, the hull is still in good nick, so we will investigate getting Swift to put new tubes on, and compare with Gemini doing it. The Swifts are used by various government groups in Australia, we've been told.
We have just bought a new Swift 3.1m RIB after owning one previously. As you say Swift build RIB's for numerous agencies and groups including Volunteer Marine Rescue, Police etc. of course the downside with a good quality construction is they don't come cheap, the upside though is they last for years....

Tenders 2.4-3.1 - Swift Marine
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Old 13-03-2014, 17:59   #12
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Re: Best Inflatable RIB

Thorcat,

Presumably you are based in AUS.
The swifts certainly look good and are better priced than the Naiad. Possibly some specials on at the Santuary Cove Boat show in May.

From my experience in the tropics the Naiads used by the charter boats lasted forever. Cost might be the issue as I haven't priced them recently. No doubt they are most durable. they use an outer protective cover over a separate inner tube.

Woody Marine's RIB Gallery

Another possible option is a Spirited catamarans ripple tender. possibly lighter than same sized al floored RIB.

Tender Catamaran Kits | Tender Catamaran Plans | Ripple Tenders

Cheers
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Old 13-03-2014, 18:28   #13
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Re: Best Inflatable RIB

I used to have an ancient Avon Redcrest that was about 40 yo and had never had a patch on it. The original, genuine hypalon material was extremely durable. That dinghy went with our last boat, but we also have an Apex fibreglass 2.9m RIB that is a few years old now and made of "modern" hypalon. This material is inferior imo to the original stuff in that it is thinner, has lots more loose threads hanging out of the seams and the material seems to abrade much easier to the reinforcement layer than ever happened with the old Avon. Can't complain about the UV resistance though, and it can take the knocks; not just as good as the Avon could.

As an alternative, I notice that around my way now polyethelene dinghies are becoming a very popular choice for tenders. They are no doubt heavier than an inflatable, but compared to a tinny they would do less topsides damage and would have better stability (I also have a tinny as a tender and am very familiar with it attacking the mother ship in the middle of the night!). Have to confess I would seriously consider on of these to replace our RIB when/if it dies or gets pinched.
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Old 13-03-2014, 19:49   #14
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Re: Best Inflatable RIB

Many thanks for all the very informative posts, i will look into all suggestions.

The reason i asked about the Phuket manufactures is the boat is based there at the moment,so importing some of the good quality Aussie boats like Naiads etc would not be viable .
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Old 14-03-2014, 16:23   #15
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Re: Best Inflatable RIB

Quote:
Originally Posted by IslandHopper View Post
We have just bought a new Swift 3.1m RIB after owning one previously. As you say Swift build RIB's for numerous agencies and groups including Volunteer Marine Rescue, Police etc. of course the downside with a good quality construction is they don't come cheap, the upside though is they last for years....

Tenders 2.4-3.1 - Swift Marine
Funny, the Highfield is the exact same boat.

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