The fit-out of Jendai, our 2008 Beneteau 343 continues. Latest addition...bought a West Marine Compact RIB 310 dink.
Yes, yes...thou shalt never buy a PVC dink. But I couldn't resist. One of those craigslist deals that was too good to pass up. For $1400, I was able to secure a 2005 West Marine Compact RIB *WITH* a 5 HP Mercury. These are the models of West Marine RIBs made by Zodiac, not their current private label made by some cheap sweatshop out of Shenzhen China. That in itself isn't the deal though...
The best part of this whole deal, they had in the past 4 years *NEVER BEEN USED*. Not a once! The guy bought them, had them in his garage for years and never even assembled the two together! The engine still had the protective plastic film on the cowling and the RIB was still in the protective bag!
Anyway, this fits our cruising well, its a RIB...the boat and engine are "light" (48 lbs for outboard, ~100 lbs for the dink), but I've heard that PVC is not the best for UV. Thinking of inflating and using 303 Aerospace protectant for UV protection.
The question is as follows:
- Are their better methods of protecting the PVC fabric from UV and other degrading factors
- What can we use to hoist the dinghy onto the foredeck. I've realized that with my bum back, even 100 lbs is too much to lift and carry around
- What is the best system for towing the dink? I see several bridles on the web, are they worth it to get the floating line or just some spare line is good enough?
- Any other general recommendations on care/feeding of a PVC RIB?
I hope you have good luck with it, but my Zodiac PVC roll up is at the inflatateable store to be repaired. Over the winter the starboard tube just stopped holding air. It was fine last year.
Now the scary part is, that while I was dropping the dink off to be checked out, the repair guy asked if the floor was falling out. He said they stopped carrying Zodiac's recreational line, because the glue gave up and the floor fell out after about 5 years, use or no use. My dink is a little used e-bay deal that looks nearly brand new but is at the age the guy mentioned where problems started to appear. As it happens, I had just noticed a section of floor that had come loose, but not completely separated, while packing the boat to take to the shop. The guys comment before ever laying eyes on the boat does not inspire confidence that I will be using this dink far into the future. It seems that Zodiac is apparently is selling an inferior recreational line trading on the name and reputation of their higher end commercial/military stuff, much like John Deere, sells cheesy lawn tractors through Home Depot trading on the reputation of their heavy duty equipment. I won't be buying another Zodiac.
I hope it will be a reasonable repair on the dink I have, but I don't want to throw good money after bad. Defender's warehouse sale is looming, so if the news is bad, I'll probably find myself buying an Achilles Hypalon dink.
I don't know how it would work with a RIB, but I haul my dink up tight against the stern when towing so the bow is lifted and only the rear 2/3rds are in the water. I've found it works fine in fair weather and better in rough. We had the dingy flip once last year but becasue the boat was up close were able to right it from the cockpit with some muscle. I've heard of people having to cut the dink away when it flipped while towing some distance behind the boat.
For lifting, I recommend a trick picked up from an older cruising couple at our marina assuming you have a windlass. They attach a block the spin halyard and lead a line through the block to the windlass. Raise the halyard to position the block about 10-12 feet above deck height and attach the running end to your dink's lift harness, then use the windlass to lift the boat to the deck. Works pretty neat and the two of them get their RIB on the foredeck with little strain to eithers back,