Join Date: Feb 2009
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I have been thinking about getting this dinghy for about a year and found very little in the way of useful reviews/opinions online. Mostly just Hypalon vs PVC arguments. This week, I pulled the trigger and bought one. I have only used a few times, so take my opinion for what it's worth.
I am coming from a Zodiac 340 Hypalon made in the 80's and still holding air (for at least a few days). It has an aluminium floor and is an overall great boat.
That said, the Zodiac dominated my 41 foot boat. It didn't fit in the lazarette when deflated and took up a quarter bunk somewhere. It was heavy and awkward to move around below or bring up. Inflated, it had to be towed and was awkward to try to inflate on the foredeck.
The HP-310, on the other hand, easily fits in the lazarette and can be move and launched easily single handed. When done, you can roll it up and put it away just as quickly.
I feel like I got my sailboat back instead of it just being a carrier for my dinghy.
I am in the SF Bay and my dinghy use is occasional. For someone constantly island hoping in a sunnier climate who keeps their dinghy inflated all the time, I could see the justification of a better dinghy. For occasional use, I think I am going to be very happy with the switch.
Performance-wise, the Zodiac 340 is a better boat, but I am happy with the HP-310. It is more stable underfoot than I thought it would be and it gets on plane quickly. I am confident it will get me the mile from Angel Island to Sam's and back.
On build quality, I am happy so far. I will note that it comes with a 5 year warranty and is made in France. Some folks say they are made in China, which is not true. The oars and pump are made in China, but the boat itself is made in France.
No doubt Hypalon is 'better' than PVC and I seriously doubt the HP-310 will be around the 30 years the Zodiac has been, but for a dinghy that gets out of the way of sailing, the HP-310 is great.