More RIB Advice Needed
Stephen Lancer, a Defender guy, essentially is trying to convince me that perhaps I should go with the Achilles HB315LX, which apparently Practical Sailor loved. Stephen makes some interesting points, and the boat is much less expensive than an aluminum AB, which is a big plus of course.
Anyone have experience with this model Achilles?
By the way, I started a new thread because the other one was about experiences with the aluminum RIB. If the powers that be believe this should be in that thread and that I should not have started a new one, first my apologies, and second I have no objection to moving this over to the other thread.
What points did Stephen make?? BTW, I have a smaller model Achilles, and love it. :)
Basically arguments for glass over aluminum in terms of repairability and dealer support. And the fact that PS liked it so much he viewed that as a selling point.
He does have a good point there, especially if you're planning on cruising long-term and long-distances... fiberglass is something you could carry the materials and patch yourself in a pinch... can't do the same as easily with aluminum.
Personally, I'd go for a PortaBote instead... it stows a lot smaller, and they're a lot more durable, since they have no inflatable portion to damage.
I would love the PortaBote if they were fast, stable, light and easily deployable. Of course, they're slow, unstable, heavy and a PITA. But other than that, they're great. :)
We're sold on RIBs. We've had a number of different kinds of dinks, and while nothing is 100% perfect for every situation, the RIB does the most things the best. And even as to those things for which it is not "best," it's damn good.
Aluminum v. glass. AB v. Achillies v. Caribe v. Zodiac. 10' v. 11', etc., I could be swayed. But for us, a RIB it is.
Have you actually used a porta-bote???
The 12' 6" portabote weighs about 100 lbs. completely assembled.. which is probably a good deal lighter than the RIBs you're looking at. They're very stable and reasonably fast, even using a small 3.5 HP four-stroke, which is more than I can say for the RIBs you're looking at. The only real problem for some people is assembling them, and that can be done in as little as 15 minutes with two people.
On top of the other advantages, stowing in a small space, being fairly fast and stable, being fairly light, the portabote hulls are tougher than aluminum or fiberglass ones.
Dawg...while Portabotes are a good selection for certain applications, I would ALWAYS choose a Rib for cruising if I could handle one....and I have been in one and seen the choices available.
Compared to a Rib...
1. They are in the same ballpark weight wise.
2. They are significantly slower and can't be used in many situations where I would take my rib.
3. They hold significantly less weight and load carrying capacity is important when cruising.
4. They handle chop and waves much less well.
5. The assembly is a pain and the seats are a known problem.
That said...they are a very reasonable choice when short distance dinghy rides are all that is required and where space is at a premium. I've been looking at the sailing version as something that might be a nice addition to an RV. :D
I have been in Portabotes, and I really was just teasing you with the tone of my post. That said, I'm not a huge fan. They are fine for a variety of applications, but they just can't compete with RIBs on just about any level. The one advantage they have would be on-deck storage, but we're not doing that.
In case anyone cares
We decided to go with the Achilles 315LX.
Stephen at Defender made us a very nice deal (he's a great guy, very honest very helpful, and I would highly recommend doing business with him).
In the end, the weight is comparable to the AB aluminum (a little more, but not materially), the boat has a tremendous amount of interior space, much more than I expected (Stephen let me poke around one on display at Defender), the tubes are large and there's a lot of sheer, comparable to the AB, which should give the boat a relatively dry ride. The sheer is a little more sudden than on the AB, which gives it a little less graceful of a look, but hopefully that won't present a performance problem.
It doesn't have a bow locker, which is a compromise you make when trying to keep weight to a minimum, but neither did the AB so that really was a wash.
And the final factor, the cost was a little more than half of the AB. I just couldn't see spending thousands of dollars more for not all that much more benefit. If the AB were comparably priced I probably would have gone with it. The AB might be better constructed (I'm not really sure), but at half the price I'll live with that.
I'm picking up the boat next week, and in the spring when we get our davits installed we'll spash the new dink and then start working out the best way to haul and secure her on the davits.
Here are some pix of the Achilles:
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