Time for a new dinghy - roll up vs. air vs. rigid floor - SailNet Community
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Time for a new dinghy - roll up vs. air vs. rigid floor

My old Achilles LS4 with wooden floor boards and air keel is really getting long in the tooth (1987 model), so I'm looking for a replacement.

What I'd like is :

Slightly larger - 9'6" or 10"

Easier to put away / deploy (hence the roll-up or inflatable floor)

Not as wet (I get water slopping over the sides near the stern when planing)

Similar performance : I am happy with the top speed - I get up to 14 kts with my Yamaha 8hp 2 stroke. Directional stability seems quite good too.

So I'm interested what people's experience is with the various floor types. Will I be able to get decent speed out of an air floor? I don't need to go really fast, but don't want to be stuck at 4 kts. 10kts would suit me.

I have another thought which is to abandon the ability to store the dinghy, and tow it everywhere, so getting an RIB.

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Re: Time for a new dinghy - roll up vs. air vs. rigid floor

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Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
My old Achilles LS4 with wooden floor boards and air keel is really getting long in the tooth (1987 model), so I'm looking for a replacement.

What I'd like is :

Slightly larger - 9'6" or 10"

Easier to put away / deploy (hence the roll-up or inflatable floor)

Not as wet (I get water slopping over the sides near the stern when planing)

Similar performance : I am happy with the top speed - I get up to 14 kts with my Yamaha 8hp 2 stroke. Directional stability seems quite good too.

So I'm interested what people's experience is with the various floor types. Will I be able to get decent speed out of an air floor? I don't need to go really fast, but don't want to be stuck at 4 kts. 10kts would suit me.

I have another thought which is to abandon the ability to store the dinghy, and tow it everywhere, so getting an RIB.
For me, a hard bottom inflatable with a folding transom is by far the best all-around solution... Stows in a very low-profile package, fits pretty neatly even on the foredeck or a boat as small as mine...





Mine is an older Avon Lite, no longer in production, unfortunately... Not sure what Zodiac has to replace it, but I know Achilles makes a folding transom RIB, and I think Walker Bay might as well... I'm really surprised other manufacturers like AB, Caribe, Apex haven't followed suit, these kind of boats are a wonderful all-around compromise...

I only use a 2 HP with mine, but with your 8 HP, this thing would fly... With a relatively deep V forefoot, this inflatable rows and tracks very nicely, as well...


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Re: Time for a new dinghy - roll up vs. air vs. rigid floor

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For me, a hard bottom inflatable with a folding transom is by far the best all-around solution... Stows in a very low-profile package, fits pretty neatly even on the foredeck or a boat as small as mine...





Mine is an older Avon Lite, no longer in production, unfortunately... Not sure what Zodiac has to replace it, but I know Achilles makes a folding transom RIB, and I think Walker Bay might as well... I'm really surprised other manufacturers like AB, Caribe, Apex haven't followed suit, these kind of boats are a wonderful all-around compromise...

I only use a 2 HP with mine, but with your 8 HP, this thing would fly... With a relatively deep V forefoot, this inflatable rows and tracks very nicely, as well...


I just got an Achilles RIB with a folding transom. I haven't used it much yet but like the compactness. Zodiac also has one model with a folding transom.
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Re: Time for a new dinghy - roll up vs. air vs. rigid floor

Thanks for the food for thought! Sounding like a good option.

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Re: Time for a new dinghy - roll up vs. air vs. rigid floor

I have a hard floor AB I think the 9VL Light weight fibreglass.
I have had a roll up dinghy before and they're horrible. But they do stowe easier.

The point is a dinghy is driven by me multiple times per day every day unless sailing. Only on passage is she stowed. So for me its much better sense to get the one thats best to drive.

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Re: Time for a new dinghy - roll up vs. air vs. rigid floor

Funny how things happen, today I traded a guy a paddle boat that I used to go out to my mooring ball with last year for a West Marine Zodiac inflatable with a 1.2 HP outboard. Kind of feel like I got a good deal on it.
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Re: Time for a new dinghy - roll up vs. air vs. rigid floor

We just went from a 7'6" roll-up to an 8'6" aluminum hulled RIB - smallish, 60lbs, not hard to lift and fits the foredeck OK. Our rollup floor finally separated from the tubes over the summer. This new-to-us RIB rows much better, and motors fine with our 3.5 Nissan. Would plane easily with more power.

Friends have had a 9' with an air floor and it planed nicely with a 5 HP and a light load. The ability to stow and roll up was important to them.

While I expect we'll be doing more towing than in the past, we think the RIB is a much better, more comfortable tender.

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Re: Time for a new dinghy - roll up vs. air vs. rigid floor

I have a slat floor roll-up zodiac, and a hard shell dinghy. I'd happily trade them both for a folding transom hard bottom RIB.
The zodiac is stable and easy to store, but small inside and not compatible with the dogs (or the missus, she has a habit of stomping down right into the middle which has already snapped one of the boards). The hard shell is roomy and indestructible, but also so ridiculously tippy that it is also not compatible with the dogs or the missus.

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Re: Time for a new dinghy - roll up vs. air vs. rigid floor

Mark,

Have you considered a Portaboat? Works very well for us for years. Easy to set up, stores easy on our boat, tows easy. AND, I can run it up on any beach even with rocks.



And oh yes, with just one of us in it, it planes with our 3.5 Hp To-hot-to

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Re: Time for a new dinghy - roll up vs. air vs. rigid floor

I have had a Mercury Air Deck (inflatable floor). 10 Years old and the Hypalon has held up well. Too bad the inflatable floor is mad of PVC .

It does well with a 5 hp, planes nicely. Rowing is not horrible for an inflatable.

The problem is the air deck. The PVC does not hold up well, I already replaced the floor once and it's on it's way out again.

Before replacing it the first time I called Mercury. They asked me if it came in contact with ANY gasoline or petroleum products and/or if I left it out in the sun. I guess they are made to be rowed in doors.

It collects water under it and you cannot pump it out. Also it drains very slowly and you have to hold it up to get all the water out.

My next boat will be a Rib.
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