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-   -   Little RIB - Rough Water (https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f90/little-rib-rough-water-63469.html)

farotherside 02-07-2011 17:11

Little RIB - Rough Water
 
Hey,

As a liveaboard sailor living at anchor 100% of the time, sometimes I have to face the realities of rough waters between me and my home. I have been using my 11' Porta-Bote for a few years, rowing through some pretty rough stuff, up to about 4' breaking waves. I've also had to help out on some rescues, and will pretty much definitely have to again.

Recently I purchased my first zodiac, a 10' RIB with a hard fiberglass bottom, and equipped it with a two-stroke Yamaha 8hp outboard, pretty much the perfect match for the boat. I fitted the outboard with a set of those big wings to keep it more stable and get it planing faster.

So, my question to you - apart from learning the hard way, where can I learn more about the best way to handle a small zodiac in rough waters? I know the Coast Guard here teaches their volunteer crews how to handle an 18' zodiac rescue boat in 30' waves off the west coast of Vancouver Island, but where can I learn the "right way" to handle my 10' zodiac in 6' breaking waves?

Anything helps!

Cheechako 02-07-2011 17:54

Re: little RIB, rough water
 
Not sure about that one...but you'll learn pretty fast! At least the 10 footer is more stable, I went from a 10 to 9 in the carribean and it was a huge difference. Wouldnt do that again... You'll find the inflatable skates instead of tracks when you turn... you just have to kind of slide into your landing. They can fly in high winds so be careful of that, but otherwise they'll take a bunch of rough water! Change your drain plug so you can remove it from the inside, then you can drain the boat on a plane....

roger.waite 02-07-2011 18:29

Re: little RIB, rough water
 
One option is to join a lifeguard or coastguard unit as a volunteer, if they use volunteers in your area. They will teach you (over time).

Six foot breakers on the nose seems marginal-to-ambitious for a wee lightly powered RIB, particularly if waves have steep faces. (I hope you are talking about height on the wave front, not from the back!)

Some basics for marginal conditions include:

Rule 1: Discretion trumps valour. Know when waves and winds are simply too big for your direction of travel (or to allow you to return).
Rule 2: Waves can get a lot bigger as you move towards your destination.
Rule 3: Know where your safe havens are, and how you can get into them e.g. if the engine fails. (How will people know if you don't make it?)

And, as with bar crossings, never take a breaking wave beam-on.

Downwind/wave on stern quarter: stay on the back of the wave in front.
Cross wind: keep an eye on wave pattern to windward. Work upwind in flatter spots; veer away from (avoid) breaking portions of waves.

In both the above, make sure you have a safe place to land before you close the shore. Conditions will be worse there.

Upwind: This is most dangerous, as it might be hard to mitigate risks in a short, light, lightly powered RIB. Try to climb waves outside areas where they are breaking or standing up too much. Take waves about 15 degrees off the bow. Go at modest speed, applying power to drive you over the wave faces. Throttle back when the bow is over. Don't let the boat get airborne. One risk is wind can flip you when the nose is in the air; keep weight forward. (How will RIB drain if it takes breaking waves?)

Bayside Bert28 02-07-2011 19:39

Re: little RIB, rough water
 
I have an Avon 315 RIB (roughly 11 ft) with a 2 stroke Yamaha. It seems downright dangerous in anything bigger than 2 footers. I'm just not sure the design is very good for anything other than very small waves.

I love the RIB design (with the hard fiberglass bottom) for most conditions ... love the 2 stroke yamaha. But in bigger water ... maybe this is why I see kayaks on the side of boats!

I would take my river kayak in much bigger water than I would be comfortable with the RIB.

btrayfors 02-07-2011 19:52

Re: little RIB, rough water
 
I'm a little troubled by your "my first Zodiac" comment.

Zodiacs, indeed, have a kind of aura about them. Sadly, however, the reality has been less than the aura.

Maybe things have changed by now. And, indeed, Groupe Zodiak has bought Avon. But the smaller Zodiacs of old were JUNK. Just plain junk. Three of them on my dock had their transoms fall out, including one I bought in London and air-carried back to the States. Based on that experience I would NEVER have another Zodiak.

The Avons were little better. For 10 years in the Caribbean I had an Avon 310RIB and, while well built and relatively tough, its tubes were WAY TOO SMALL, and the damned thing would guarantee you a dousing -- almost a waterboarding -- in anything more than flat calm seas. I had a 15HP Nissan on that RIB and in calm water it was fine, but just a little chop and you'd be very wet.

Finally went with a 9' Caribe RIB which has large tubes. Much better. It can take a chop and not drown you.

In the Caribbean sometimes you have to use the dingy to make relatively long runs -- to the market, to customs, etc. -- so you need a capable dingy which can stand up to the occasional rough chop. The Caribe is fine, as are the Apex, AB, and other inflatables. Some of the newer Avons have much larger tubes and they're OK, too.

Sorry about the rant against Zodiac, but I'll never trust them again given the experience I and my dockmates had, albeit quite a few years ago.

Bill

S/V Alchemy 02-07-2011 20:39

Re: little RIB, rough water
 
I went from a Zodiac C310 RIB (in part because handling a 9.9 HP and a PVC tubed Zodiac with loosening glue was a pain) to a 10 foot Portabote, a 10 foot sailing/rowing/motoring nesting dinghy and a 2 HP Honda 4-stroke my 9 year old can lug around, it being all of 28 pounds.

This makes stowage much easier, deploying and retrieving much safer, and two compact tenders are better than one large inflated thing that dominates the foredeck.

So far.

I may, like you, change my mind once out and about. But the difference is that if I'm wrong and a RIB or inflatable is the better choice, I can pick up one very easily most places around the globe.

But I think I will prefer rowing, stowing and going over watching the wind catch that hulking RIB when it's hanging off a halyard in any kind of wind.

SaucySailoress 03-07-2011 04:39

Re: Little RIB - Rough Water
 
Having just checked out Porta-Bote also known as Portabote, Portaboat. Folds to 4 inches(11cm) Flat I cannot see why you'd give it up for an inflatable. Why did you? And is it worth me buying one of these porta botes? What were your experiences of it...?

Pete7 03-07-2011 04:52

Re: Little RIB - Rough Water
 
You could have a look on Ribnet :thumb: You will find some members of CF also over there.

https://www.rib.net/

This is also quite entertaining, did round Scotland in a similar sized rib a couple of decades ago. Don't think I could do it now, it would hurt too much afterwards and did then.


YouTube - ‪Ribcraft 4.8 Rib Boat‬‏

YouTube - ‪Ribcraft 4.8 Rib Boat‬‏

Greg S 03-07-2011 06:36

Re: Little RIB - Rough Water
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SaucySailoress (Post 720690)
Having just checked out Porta-Bote also known as Portabote, Portaboat. Folds to 4 inches(11cm) Flat I cannot see why you'd give it up for an inflatable. Why did you? And is it worth me buying one of these porta botes? What were your experiences of it...?


Lots of discussion here...https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...bote-6317.html

MarkJ 03-07-2011 06:43

Re: Little RIB - Rough Water
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by drew23 (Post 720478)
I fitted the outboard with a set of those big wings to keep it more stable and get it planing faster.

the best way to handle a small zodiac in rough waters?

Those wings are wonderful.

In Australia at the surf beaches the life savers run their ribs in the surf. If you found a mob like that where you are you could pay one of their instructors to teach you. Would be great fun!

zeehag 03-07-2011 06:56

Re: Little RIB - Rough Water
 
i hated my portabote so much i sold it and bought a used inflatable and a small outboard....i prefer a walker bay 8 ft to portabote-- but mebbe they have improved em since i had mine in 1990....
i used my inflatable in all kinds of water in sd bay and storms and fog--was a cool boat-- just use caution in seas and go slow when wind comes up-- you will be ok-- dont point dead into the seas--- take them at an angle comfortable to you.

simonmd 03-07-2011 07:09

Re: Little RIB - Rough Water
 
My best advice for an inflatable tender in rough water is to keep the weight low and forward. In the normal configuration, you're sitting at the back opperating the heavy outboard, leaving the bow very light and easy to flip up. It's worth buying (or making out of a bit of plastic pipe) an outboard tiller extension so you can sit further forward to keep the boat better balanced.

S/V Alchemy 03-07-2011 08:07

Re: Little RIB - Rough Water
 
That is good advice on the throttle arm extension.

I have had a RIB and I now have a Portabote and a F/G nesting dinghy that is just over 10 feet long. This suits us, because we won't have davits and prefer to stow on deck.

If I change my mind due to circumstance, I can. Different strokes...

If I regularly had to go into heavy surf, a RIB would also be preferable.

Speaking of which, something that is hard to deny is that inflatables, even RIBs, are miserable to row any distance. If you like rowing, or dislike motors, a hard dinghy is the way to go.

farotherside 03-07-2011 11:46

Re: Little RIB - Rough Water
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SaucySailoress (Post 720690)
Having just checked out Porta-Bote also known as Portabote, Portaboat. Folds to 4 inches(11cm) Flat I cannot see why you'd give it up for an inflatable. Why did you? And is it worth me buying one of these porta botes? What were your experiences of it...?

The porta-bote has its own set of strengths and weaknesses - it rows quite nicely, to its credit, but towing it at anything faster than about six knots it has a tendency to stuff the bow and sink!

I didn't give up the Porta-Bote. We are a two-dinghy family. :)

Jim Cate 03-07-2011 12:06

Re: Little RIB - Rough Water
 
G'Day all,

While I recognize that Porta-Boats and their ilk have fans, I've seen several friends who started out cruising with them give them up in favor of RIBs after some real world experience. I guess it is all a personal choice.

BUT, I must say that to take a porta boat into any wave or surf conditions that would daunt a similar length RIB would be sorta suicidal. They simply are not designed for rough water usage... ever see one used as a white water river craft? Not exactly a direct comparison, but you get the idea!

YMMV as to preferences, but for rough conditions a RIB is way better and way safer.

Cheers,

Jim


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