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Rubyeye 31-03-2010 06:18

Dinghy Choices
I want to purchase a hypalon dinghy and am comparing the Achilles with an inflatable floor or slatted aluminum floor to a Walker Bay Odyssey with an inflatable floor. The Achilles is a 2009 version and the Walker Bay is a 2008 version. I am looking at either the 10'2" or 11'2" versions. I have an 8hp Tohatsu motor. This vessel would be used to make short trips to shore during local river sailing trips as well as on sail trips to Key West or the Bahamas. The dinghy would be pulled behind my 30' sailboat as I don't have davits at this time. I was looking at new, because I got burned when I purchased a used pvc dinghy in the past. Does anyone have any knowledge of either of these options, or maybe a better option that I haven't investigated?

bstreep 31-03-2010 07:40

We have a Mercury airfloor. It's not bad. It rolls up easily so it can be stowed when not in use. It handles pretty well - not as well as a RIB, but pretty well. Only complaint is that the airdeck developed a leak - and it only has a 1 year warranty. Mercury is repairing it out of warranty (6 months), but it is certainly something to keep in mind. The airdecks aren't inexpensive.

I'd go with the longer one - that 1 foot will ALL be inside the dinghy, in usable space.

Randy 31-03-2010 08:05

I had an Avon with a plywood section floor and unless storage of the deflated dinghy is a problem which is the advantage of an inflatable floor, I'd get a hard floor model. It helps when you're carrying a lot of stuff and you don't have to worry about punctures as much from the cargo.

Solitude 31-03-2010 08:49

I have a 9ft (knock off) hard transom and 3 section aluminum floor. Its been great for three years.

My experience is that it is very heavy to lift. The aluminum floor is most of the extra weight. This is only a problem once and a while. Right now I have a dinghy (dock slot) to store it in and don’t need to lift it too much.

I do like having a hard floor when lifting things in and out. Its very stable and I can set down my 2 stroke while moving from the pushpit to the dinghy transom.

I have seriously considered making a thin plywood floor out of 3/8 for the weight. I know it would flex but so would an air floor.

So if you are planning to lift your tender onto the bow beware of the extra weight.

Rubyeye 05-04-2010 06:20

Thanks for your replies. I'm convinced that the inflatable floor is probably not the best choice and that the larger of the two dinghies is more practical. My concern with the hard flooring was the weight, so I will look into davits or other options to ease the loading and unloading of the dinghy. I was hoping to hear if anyone had any specific problems with either manufacturerer that I was considering...Walker Bay or Achilles. Any input about either companies products would be appreciated.

jrd22 05-04-2010 08:43

I bought a new hypalon Achilles 10' air floor last year based on my great experience with an old wooden floor Achilles I've had forever. I'm not too happy with the new one for a couple of reasons even though it works well for what we do. The air floor had a large leak when we got it and it was replaced immediately (Defender's customer service was exceptional). The chambers do not stay inflated for very long before needing to be pumped up again, which is disappointing since our old one held pressure consistently. The most inconvenient thing about the boat is the placement of the line attached along each of the tubes, it is inboard so far that it makes carrying the boat really awkward. I'm going to try gluing a handles at the balance points on each side to use instead, but they are expensive. Overall the boat is stable, gets on a plane easily and is lightweight so it's easy to get onto the foredeck but I think if I had it to do over again I would get a Mercury like my brother bought, he has had no trouble with it at all.

Rubyeye 05-04-2010 10:09

Thanks for the information jrd22. I never would have expected the sort of inconveniences you mentioned because Achilles has such a great reputation. I haven't really looked into Mercury dinghies, I assume it's also a hypalon. I will continue to investigate. Thanks again!

Sandero 05-04-2010 10:43

My recommendation is the AquaPro

Alum bottom hypalon RIB 10'. Best boat for the money and best boat for the size.

Rubyeye 05-04-2010 11:25

I haven't heard of an AquaPro, but will look into it. Thanks,

Lost Horizons 05-04-2010 12:23

I had an 11' inflatable with a high pressure air-floor. With a 15 hp Yamaha it planed with approximately 500 pounds of load (3 people) in an ocean with 1-2 foot seas. That, in my opinion, is the only benefit of an air-floor vs. roll-up versions. With an 8 hp motor an air-floor inflatable will probably plane with one person on a mirror like surface at high RPM's.
My unit did not leak, but it required extra effort to pump it up and deflate for storage. The boat was also heavy, 100 lb or so, it took two people to handle it. If I was buying something now as a tender, I would get lighter inflatable (50 lb would be my target) with slated floor, as compact as possible to keep it in a locker. Would use it with a 4-6 hp motor, also as light as possible.

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