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Old 14-05-2019, 09:13   #16
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Re: Lets talk inflatable boats

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Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
Defender is the largest inflatable boat dealer in the US. They put together their own "brand" a few years ago, and the owner posted here on CF to talk about it. You might be able to search and find it - it has LOTS of info from folks who really know.



I talked to everyone. At the boat show">Miami Boat Show, they were all there, side by side. It's easy to see why ABs cost what they do. I had about an hour conversation with the US AB distributor a couple of months ago. He actually suggested that I not by a 2018 leftover, as it has a thinner hypalon than the 2019 models. He was the sales manager at Achilles for many years. I talked to Defender. Again, they were fantastic. They won't recommend a particular brand, but they know everything.



Personally, we decided on a fiberglass boat. My thought is that if I damage the glass, I can fix it. If I damage the aluminum hull, I can't weld AND it will require tube removal.
Thanks for the info, I was actually asking a dealer for leftovers but I would have to rethink that if they do indeed have thinner fabrics. I'm like you, I do all my fg repairs and that is the only reason I would like to go with FG. The only thing I noticed is that if is a FG double hull is that is not the same way as the aluminum double hull if I'm not mistaken, with aluminum you can run the fuel line under the top layer and the water also stays under the top layer, that's not an option with the FG, right?

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Originally Posted by fxykty View Post
We had an AB 9.5AL that came with our boat and it was OK but not great. The double floor is very nice to keep a dry interior, but of course adds weight. With a 2stroke 9.8hp it just planes with two adults. The deep V hull and high bow handles rough water well. Tubes do delaminate after some time and the repair is a pain. Like all rigid hull inflatables it is very unstable at rest - you canít really just stand on a tube.

Weíve gone in a different direction with a soft-floored catamaran inflatable with open bow. Very lightweight, stable at rest and at speed, very easy access from the water, planes very easily and handles rough water well. Deflate fully and keep in a large bag - easy for transport and storage. Ours is a https://truekit.nz/products/true-kit-discovery. It is PVC, so we keep it covered or packed when not using it. And cheap! 15hp will fit on it, but not for an inexperienced operator. To see what cats can handle check out https://www.thundercatracing.co.nz/
I was looking at catamarans the other day but I think I rather stay with a rib. Thanks for the input about the ab 9.5, I have a Suzuki 9.9 that I'm planning on upgrading the carb to a 15hp for the extra hp.
Thanks

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Originally Posted by KD8NPB View Post
Without going in to to much detail, I work for a RIB manufacturer here in the Charleston area that I could happily give you a tour of and arrange for factory pickup if you chose to order one of our products. You can PM me for details if you want.
PM sent, thanks.


This is what I've been up to, reading and reading a ton about rib boats and although I'm sold for an AB for some reason I don't really know (my only guess is so many positive opinions about them) I'm trying to be open to other brands as I don't want to spend so much. This morning I've been looking at the best brands I think are out there like AB, Caribe, Achilles and even considering Defender but defender don't have lockers and it is something I would like to get if possible.

The one I like the most is ab 9.5 but it's way out of budget.
These are the different ones I'm considering even without lockers but those would be my last option if I can't make my mind to spend the extra cash for that.

AB 9vs, 9vl, 9al
Caribe C9 and C9X, just received a quote for a c9x and it's out, very expensive too.
Achilles 310al, 310ax, 315lx, 280dx, 315dx

I have a 9.9 outboard and I'm thinking of getting something with a hp rating of 15hp or maybe 20hp but then I would have to go bigger and I want to try and stay no bigger than 10'. If I go with a boat with a 15hp and then upgrade the engine with a 20hp, would it really hurt the integrity of the transom/hull?
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Old 14-05-2019, 09:15   #17
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Re: Lets talk inflatable boats

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Originally Posted by Wallaby View Post
Regarding Defender inflatables, I have serious issues about product quality, in particular the adhesion of the various attachments to Hypalon. The inflatable in question had seen four seasons in the Bahamas, of 3 months each. It was stored undercover when not in use. Over a 3-month period, every attachment failed when the material was not more Hypalon (some kind of plastic for oar rowlocks and holders, rope holders, handles, etc). Note: the glue remained on the Hypalon, not on the attachment--basically peeled off.



I would call this a systemic failure.



Since the inflatable was out of warranty, Defender denied responsibility. I would NOT buy another one.
Thatís pretty common.

If varnish starts to peel after 5 years, I think the best course of action would be to sand it, wipe with solvent, and re varnish. Same for inflatable accessories. Sand, wipe with solvent, reglue.


Itís not reasonable to expect a product to be maintenance free for a decade. For some reason, this is a unique philosophy to inflatables.
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Old 14-05-2019, 11:00   #18
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Re: Lets talk inflatable boats

I am not as knowledgeable as some on this thread about materials and dinghy workmanship, but I have had a 10' Aqua Pro hypalon tube with aluminum hull in the Salish Sea including the inland waters of British Columbia for 17 years so far. I will use it at least another season or two, though only seldom. Its a very stable boat with a flat floor despite a deep keel hull design. Water in the boat goes below that flat floor into the keel and keeps passengers' feet dry unless the boat is inundated. It drains out easily when the plug is pulled and the boat is out of the water. It has some kind of white finish on the hull. Baked on paint? Anodized? I don't know. It also has a rubber strip on the bottom of its deep keel. I drag it up on gravel and mussel strewn beaches from time to time and have seen no damage to the aluminum hull's finish. No problem with the hull at all like I had with a previous fiberglass hull. And its a bit lighter too. I have had problems with the rubber stripes and things glued to the hypalon, but not with its seams. No leaks ever. I used a caustic cleaner on it at one point and bubbled the hypalon. That may also have weakened the glue too. My bad. Once a patched the hypalon, its been great again. If I ever get another dinghy, it will be aluminum hulled hypalon.
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Old 14-05-2019, 11:09   #19
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Re: Lets talk inflatable boats

AB would be a very good choice.
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Old 14-05-2019, 11:14   #20
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Re: Lets talk inflatable boats

I have a 12 year old Achilles 8.5 ft rid it runs a 9.9hp and has outlived 1 motor so far, it's well cared for but run hard 6 months of the year, I would only buy a well made rib, the higher price is made up by its longer life......
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Old 14-05-2019, 11:44   #21
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Re: Lets talk inflatable boats

I have an AM (Italian ) which seems well built especially as they build really big an torture tested RIBs, as I understand the pros and cons of aluminum obviously the weight is less than glass but if using it primarily in warmer climes they can be miserably hot on the feet, I think that was the motivation for powder coating to give a whiter and less heat absorption.
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Old 14-05-2019, 12:09   #22
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Re: Lets talk inflatable boats

KD8, thank u for the technicals on bonding elastos to aluminum. Well written and cost u a ton of time. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. It is one of the reasons I love this forum
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Old 14-05-2019, 12:14   #23
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Re: Lets talk inflatable boats

Wellcraft, have u looked at Porta-bote? They are excellent boats made of fiberglass. I think the larger ones might be able to handle a 9 hp. Don’t need to trailer them. Impervious to salt water and sun. Go to website and check it out. Half the price of AB. Many full time cruisers on here use them. Easy to repair.
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Old 14-05-2019, 14:02   #24
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Re: Lets talk inflatable boats

2019 AB VS models have room for a 6g tank AND the hose runs under the floor. We bought ours from Kracken in Kemah, TX. They are a new AB dealer. Might give Brandon a call. https://www.krakensailing.com/
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Old 14-05-2019, 14:20   #25
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Re: Lets talk inflatable boats

Don't ever kid yourself into thinking that with dinks you don't always get what you pay for because you do get what you pay for. Personally i see very little difference in quality between AB and Caribe, to me they are very similar. They sell the lions share in the Caribbean for good reason, they are good dinks.
Achilles used to be very good dinks but I'm not up to speed on their quality these days.
Hifield still has some work to do in my opinion, some I've seen have been great, others not so good but all had some nice features.
There are other choices and some might be good but it's pretty hard to go wrong with the first couple. R
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Old 14-05-2019, 14:45   #26
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Re: Lets talk inflatable boats

Over the years I've had an Achilles, then a Calypso (they morphed into Apex) then a Bright then an AB and finally a Highfield. All were hypolon.
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Old 14-05-2019, 14:51   #27
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Re: Lets talk inflatable boats

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Over the years I've had an Achilles, then a Calypso (they morphed into Apex) then a Bright then an AB and finally a Highfield. All were hypolon.
Brig not Bright. I still have the Brig and Highfield. All were good dinks. Buy a high end dink not an el cheapo and you should be alright. I did not particularly look after any of them. And got good service out of all of them. If you want a recommendation go with Highfield but make sure it's a hypolon one as they also make them in PVC.
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Old 14-05-2019, 15:08   #28
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Re: Lets talk inflatable boats

After a member of this forum brought to my attention an issue with AB tubes ungluing from aluminum I decide that it would be better for me to go with FG bottom, the only reason I wanted the aluminum hull is for weight and the double hull design. As far as I understand with the fg double hull you don't get the extra space between the 2 pieces so you don't have a "bilge", is that right?

I did see that you can run a fuel line to the front compartment for the fuel tanks, which is good for me.

The 2 options I have with the options I would like (locker, fg, about 10', Hypalon, double hull) are the ab 9vs and Achilles 280dx but the price difference is about $1200 which I don't know if the price difference is worth it. Think Achilles has a 5-year warranty and AB 10. Need to compare them side by side to see if one has more standard options over the other.

Does anybody know if there is a foam core between the 2 hulls or is it hollow?
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Old 14-05-2019, 15:18   #29
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Re: Lets talk inflatable boats

Just curious, I often see people talk about choosing fibreglass over aluminium because of ease of repair by the owner. How many aluminium ones have actually ever needed repair? It is so much more durable than fibreglass which may well need repair from time to time. if there was a hole punched in an aluminium hull one would have to wonder just how much worse the same hole would be in a fibreglass one and how big a repair job that would be. You can still do an epoxy patch repair on an aluminium hull that will hold until you can get it welded.
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Old 14-05-2019, 15:28   #30
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Re: Lets talk inflatable boats

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Originally Posted by Dehler 25 View Post
I have an AM (Italian ) which seems well built especially as they build really big an torture tested RIBs, as I understand the pros and cons of aluminum obviously the weight is less than glass but if using it primarily in warmer climes they can be miserably hot on the feet, I think that was the motivation for powder coating to give a whiter and less heat absorption.
Painting the aluminum for that reason make sense, I was thinking about how bad could it be during the summer.

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Originally Posted by alansmith View Post
Wellcraft, have u looked at Porta-bote? They are excellent boats made of fiberglass. I think the larger ones might be able to handle a 9 hp. Donít need to trailer them. Impervious to salt water and sun. Go to website and check it out. Half the price of AB. Many full time cruisers on here use them. Easy to repair.
I have seen them during my search but haven't seen them in details, it is not something I like, but thanks for posting that info.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
2019 AB VS models have room for a 6g tank AND the hose runs under the floor. We bought ours from Kracken in Kemah, TX. They are a new AB dealer. Might give Brandon a call. https://www.krakensailing.com/
That's what I needed to know, I saw a picture but wasn't sure if it was from a different model, that is something I really want. Back in the 80's when I had a zodiac I was always fighting with the fuel line and the tank and that is why I want the front compartment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
Don't ever kid yourself into thinking that with dinks you don't always get what you pay for because you do get what you pay for. Personally i see very little difference in quality between AB and Caribe, to me they are very similar. They sell the lions share in the Caribbean for good reason, they are good dinks.
Achilles used to be very good dinks but I'm not up to speed on their quality these days.
Hifield still has some work to do in my opinion, some I've seen have been great, others not so good but all had some nice features.
There are other choices and some might be good but it's pretty hard to go wrong with the first couple. R
I used to live in Puerto Rico and remember seen the caribe all the time and I'm almost positive I saw a few AB's, bunch of Achilles. Going with one of this brands is the reason I want to get a good quality boat, I started with a $2k budget until I started doing a real search and realized I wasn't going to get anywhere with that budget. I'm willing to pay but quality and longevity have to be there.

I do like Highfield a lot but they haven't in business too long and that steer me away from that brand. Love all their features.

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Over the years I've had an Achilles, then a Calypso (they morphed into Apex) then a Bright then an AB and finally a Highfield. All were hypolon.
Which have you liked the most?

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Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
Brig not Bright. I still have the Brig and Highfield. All were good dinks. Buy a high end dink not an el cheapo and you should be alright. I did not particularly look after any of them. And got good service out of all of them. If you want a recommendation go with Highfield but make sure it's a hypolon one as they also make them in PVC.
I'm definitely going Hypalon.
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