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Old 07-11-2019, 16:07   #1
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F-RIB or traditional RIB

Hello all,

My family and I have recently purchased our first full on cruiser. The dinghy that was included in the purchase is a larger center console, so we’ve decided to size down.

We’ve done some research into the F-RIB 375 and 360 and find how compactly they can be stored under passage really alluring.

Does anyone have advice or experience with how reliable foldable RIB’s are compared to the traditional aluminum ones?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-11-2019, 19:19   #2
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Re: F-RIB or traditional RIB

We switched from an aluminium-bottomed AB Inflatables RIB to a soft floor catamaran inflatable (TrueKit Explorer 3.3). Among other reasons for the switch was the ability to deflate it and store it below for passages.

No regrets, but we are WAY more careful with rough bottoms now. That is probably the biggest drawback with soft floor. Otherwise it’s lighter and goes better with our relatively small outboard.
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Old 07-11-2019, 19:50   #3
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Re: F-RIB or traditional RIB

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Originally Posted by CaptainDenver View Post
Hello all,

My family and I have recently purchased our first full on cruiser. The dinghy that was included in the purchase is a larger center console, so we’ve decided to size down.

We’ve done some research into the F-RIB 375 and 360 and find how compactly they can be stored under passage really alluring.

Does anyone have advice or experience with how reliable foldable RIB’s are compared to the traditional aluminum ones?

Thanks in advance.
We had a folding RIB, not an F-RIB brand but the West Marine version of the same design (not longer sold by WM). We got a great deal on it, spending only about $1500 for it. It worked well for us--but with some caveats.

The downside of the F-RIB is that it is made of PVC, because the Hypalon fabrics are too stiff to fold. It WILL have a shorter life especially if you cruise in the tropical sun. Ours gave us 3 good years, and the 4th was a struggle. We are full time cruisers, and the boat got used virtually every day.

On a dollar per day spent, we got a deal, but we needed something tougher and more reliable for the long term. When it was time to replace, we went to an (expensive) aluminum hull rib of the same length, but with the full sized 17" tubes. We compromised and live with it stored on deck.

The F-RIB is great because you can store it in a tiny space compared to a "real" rib. It will out perform any of the soft bottom boats, including the high pressure floor ones especially if you are landing on rocky, or coral shorelines.

It will have a shorter lifespan in the sun than a full sized hypalon dinghy. A 17" tube dinghy will give you a better ride and be dryer, and be harder to store on board.

Only you can tell if the tradeoffs are right for you and your boat.
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Old 08-11-2019, 05:31   #4
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Re: F-RIB or traditional RIB

We’ve got a folding transom rib, I know it’s not the same, but it’s been great!

Ours is Hypalon foo g on 10 years with no problems from the folding section.
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Old 08-11-2019, 07:13   #5
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Re: F-RIB or traditional RIB

I switched to an Avon Lite 310 Hypalon folding transom RIB, from a wheel-steered Avon 340. I guess 5 years ago.


This particular folding RIB is significantly less seaworthy than the big RIB was, with much smaller tubes, and single bottom.


But it is much lighter and incomparably easier to handle and stow. It folds down to almost surf board dimensions, and easily, so I mostly stow it on the foredeck where it hardly sticks out further than the bulwarks, so costing zero windage. It is so easy to handle that I haul it onboard, deflate it, and stow it in its bag, single handed, without much trouble, so little in fact that I don't use my davits very much anymore.



I am very pleased with it; I think folding RIBs are really excellent solutions for cruising boats. The previous big RIB was great if you needed to use it with the sea less than calm, or any longer distances, or with a big load -- it was a proper little motorboat -- but lord was it hard to handle, requiring big electric davits and with no alternative way to get it on board. The change to the folding one was really worthwhile.
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Old 08-11-2019, 08:22   #6
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Re: F-RIB or traditional RIB

Been looking into a F-rib for our boat.
I'm assuming the OP is wanting info on this brand of F-rib and not ones w/folding transoms. These are made in the UK but now have US distribution sources.
They do have a Korean made PVC material that is supposed to be more UV resistant. They do not make a hypalon version as hypalon doesn't do well deflating and folding. The real UV resistance in the tropics is one of my biggest concerns. Could easily see that a set of chaps would be needed. They need to last more than 3 years!
The tube size for the 360 (11.8') and 375 (12.3') models is 17" while a newer model (430; 14.3') has 18.5" tubes. The 360 &375 models have 3 air chambers while the 430 has 5.
Folded up they are a similar small package of ~3.7'x3.7'x1.6' for the 430 model and the others mentioned are slightly less.
Biggest complaint I've read in reviews is about the ride in rough water. Think they we described as "teeth jarring" and doesn't quite ride like a solid rib. From the brochure, it appears like they are trying to address the ride with a better hull shape in the newer 430.
We are planning to go down to Ft. Lauderdale this winter to do test rides on the 375 and 430 models to see how they handle/ride.
We have a nesting hard dinghy now that we like (rows well, small ob, very rugged and good storage over the aft cabin), but doesn't handle rough water well and limited pay load. We've tried air floors (soft inflatable) and they are ok, but not great. Don't want a regular rib up on the foredeck (personal preference), so we are hoping the F-rib may be the answer.


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Old 08-11-2019, 11:04   #7
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Re: F-RIB or traditional RIB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill O View Post
Been looking into a F-rib for our boat.
I'm assuming the OP is wanting info on this brand of F-rib and not ones w/folding transoms. These are made in the UK but now have US distribution sources.. . . .

The F-Rib brand folding RIBs are made in Russia, not the UK.


Looks like an ingenious design, and they are highly respected in the UK, where they started selling them maybe 10 years ago.


But the PVC would be a deal breaker for me.


I think one thing that you need to think of is whether you need this form factor or not. A folding transom RIB is also very compact; it's even flatter, but it's longer. If that fits where you need it to go, then a folding transom RIB probably makes more sense. But if you need to fold the whole thing to make a shorter (albeit thicker) package, for example if you plan to store it inside a locker, then F-Rib is your only choice.




Here is a rave review of the F-Rib which I think generally reflects opinion of them in the UK:


https://www.yachtingworld.com/review...b-foldable-rib


They were apparently designed for the Russian Special Forces, and I laughed when I read, in this review:


"Our only concern is that the Russian special forces are designing equipment this good!"


Note that the reviewer has got chaps on his example. If you're going to use a PVC boat, I think this is mandatory.
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Old 08-11-2019, 11:44   #8
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Re: F-RIB or traditional RIB

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The F-Rib brand folding RIBs are made in Russia, not the UK.


Looks like an ingenious design, and they are highly respected in the UK, where they started selling them maybe 10 years ago.

But the PVC would be a deal breaker for me.

I think one thing that you need to think of is whether you need this form factor or not. A folding transom RIB is also very compact; it's even flatter, but it's longer. If that fits where you need it to go, then a folding transom RIB probably makes more sense. But if you need to fold the whole thing to make a shorter (albeit thicker) package, for example if you plan to store it inside a locker, then F-Rib is your only choice.
The patent for this design is held by a Russian company (Winboat) and their main facility is in St. Petersburg. Distribution and world wide representatives for the F-rib is out of the UK. In the long run don't care where its made as long as it well made.
Do have concern re: the PVC material holding up in the tropics. On the F-rib site there seems to be some confusion if they are using a German or Korean (Mirasol) PVC material. Both are supposed to be UV stable and they have made some decent strides in this area. Also they have gotten much better in thermowelding of the PVC which some argue is better than the hypalon glue joints.
Yes, I want a smaller folding package to put on my aft cabin top and not have some inflated rib blocking my view & deck space while underway. Doubt I'm going to be able to fit a 12 or 14' rib another way than have it folded up.

Quite frankly I'm not a big fan of having to do cardio resuscitation for leaky inflatables, but have to suck it up if we want to travel longer distances in open water. If I was going to put anything on the foredeck it would be a larger nesting hard dink.


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Old 08-11-2019, 13:25   #9
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Re: F-RIB or traditional RIB

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The patent for this design is held by a Russian company (Winboat) and their main facility is in St. Petersburg. Distribution and world wide representatives for the F-rib is out of the UK. In the long run don't care where its made as long as it well made.. .

Russian military hardware -- from everything I've heard (all second hand, but all consistent), F-Ribs are exceptionally well made and well engineered. I would be disappointed if it weren't better made than any of the recreational-grade RIBs we use. The maker is a military contractor.
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Old 08-11-2019, 20:11   #10
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Re: F-RIB or traditional RIB

Ok, I’ll bite. Who sells F Rib in USA?
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Old 08-11-2019, 20:13   #11
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Re: F-RIB or traditional RIB

I also don’t understand why people aren’t also considering Porta -bote. They are made of foldable plastics, hold up well in sun, take rocky/coral beach landings, take a small space once folded. They are reasonably priced.
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:03   #12
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Re: F-RIB or traditional RIB

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I also don’t understand why people aren’t also considering Porta -bote. They are made of foldable plastics, hold up well in sun, take rocky/coral beach landings, take a small space once folded. They are reasonably priced.
Here is a link to dealer locations world wide.

Not to have this thread drift into a PB discussion, but have had several them and IMO they are just ok. For many reasons, they don't suit my intended purpose where the F-rib would fill in nicely.

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Old 09-11-2019, 13:22   #13
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Re: F-RIB or traditional RIB

Bill O, thanks for the link to four seas. A lot to like on the FRIB. They are pretty expensive. Probably worth it. I can see why guys on bigger boats wouldn’t mind the weight. Trimarans are much more sensitive to weight. Also I don’t think I have the strength to haul a hundred pound boat up on the nets. Will you be putting an electric motor on yours or gas?
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:08   #14
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Re: F-RIB or traditional RIB

I have an F-RIB and have owned it for 2 years or so. I bought the F_RIB thinking that I could easily stow it in a lazarette while on longer passages. Overall, I am fairly disappointed with the F-RIB. First, it doesn't fold down small enough to fit into most lazarettes. The promotional video does show it fitting into the boot of a hatch-back automobile, but unless you are on a super-yacht, I doubt that your lazarette will be of similar size. It does fold up smaller than it is while inflated (of course), but just not enough for there to be much of a real gain for me and my boat. Second, there are no drain holes between the floor sections so you get separate pools of water that don't drain to the aft section where you could drain out the bung plug in the transom. There are a lot of other small design flaws which I find irritating such as no D-rings in the transom, no non-slip floor, poor performance, etc. On the last point, I only have a 6hp Yamaha on it and it is very squirrely under full power if it is just me in it (85kgs). I get very nervous when my son drives it alone. With two adults in it, it won't plane using a 6hp outboard. Since I get no added value having it folded, i will exchange my F-Rib for an aluminum bottomed RIB and a 9hp motor.
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Old 11-11-2019, 07:00   #15
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Re: F-RIB or traditional RIB

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Bill O, thanks for the link to four seas. A lot to like on the FRIB. They are pretty expensive. Probably worth it. I can see why guys on bigger boats wouldn’t mind the weight. Trimarans are much more sensitive to weight. Also I don’t think I have the strength to haul a hundred pound boat up on the nets. Will you be putting an electric motor on yours or gas?

Petrol. Depending on the size F-rib we purchase it will probably be a 10-15 hp.
Electric would be fine for around the anchorage, but want the F-rib for extended range and to cover those distance fairly quickly.


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