Rib vs soft bottom

Rib vs soft bottom

Postby jmcj » Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:57 am

It’s time to retire our tender little rowing dinghy and replace it with an inflatable with a 6 hp Tohatsu 4 stroke. Length is 9’ 6” which can be accommodated on the swimgrid and there will be a Weaver davit system allowing the motor to be left on the dinghy transom. However the plan is to tow the inflatable as much as possible while cruising. A cruising companion tows his soft bottom aluminum floor 10 footer 6 hp motor all the time with great success. It tracks well whether on a medium tether or pulled up short. On the other hand I see RIBs being towed (usually faster speeds) which seem straining and unhappy.

My question is whether we should pay the extra for a RIB?
Jim McJannet
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Re: Rib vs soft bottom

Postby bill.read » Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:41 am

Jim,
I have had wooden roll ups, inflatable soft bottom, fiberglass RIB, and aluminum RIB. For me, I'll never go back to a soft bottom and additonally a solid floor is worth the extra cost. Last year we purchased a Highfield Classic 31 w/20 hp FI Suzuki and it is a pleasure to use. Check out this site for a wide range of specifics. Not all RIBs are created equal. Do your research to find what will work the best for you. Best of luck...

http://www.highfieldboats.com
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Re: Rib vs soft bottom

Postby Charlie0 » Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:25 am

We purchased an aluminum / Hypalon RIB last year from West Marine. Seemed like a good boat for a fair price. Has aluminum floor. Added a 9.9 Suzuki. Happy so far.

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/west-marine--rib-275-aluminum-hull-inflatable-boat-white-length-8-6--17981226?mrkgcl=481&mrkgadid=3252486983&cm_mmc=PS-_-Google-_-GSC%3EBrand-_-17981226&product_id=17981226&adpos=1o1&creative=231267080879&device=t&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI3sO-28yd4QIVAx6GCh1fZQasEAQYASABEgINwvD_BwE

This one is not Hypolyn but ours is I think.
Got it on sale for $2800 I think
Charlie O
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Re: Rib vs soft bottom

Postby jmcj » Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:11 pm

Thanks both. User Experience with inflatables is what I’m hoping for. Lots of manufacture’s hype out there but it’s what the people who use them think I like to hear. I guess towing behaviour is at the top of the list but also durability. Our cruising is all PNW in BC where there are no sand beaches. It’s rocky shorelines and rough beaches with barnacles and mussels everywhere. I know even a RIB is vulnerable to abrasion on the bottom of the tubes. Apparently there is a product referred to as EPDM which is glued on which may be effective. Would like to hear anyone’s experience with it.
Jim McJannet

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Re: Rib vs soft bottom

Postby rustylewis » Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:08 am

I think the answer to your question is in how you use your inflatable and how often you use it. We use ours a lot. And I like to go fast when I can.

We have a 12" fiberglass/hypalon inflatable. We added a 20 hp Tohatsu outboard, seats, and steering wheel. With two people and some gear, we run about 22 knots at full throttle. We use the inflatable all the time - frequently ranging over five miles from our boat. While we don't intentionally abuse it, we don't baby it either. The bottom has its fair share of scuffing and scratches from the rocky shoreline. It is now about 14 years old and still works great. We don't tow it. We have Sea Wise davits. Tipped up on the stern is not ideal, but it is the most useful storage position. I never have to worry about where it is and what it is doing when we are motoring. We don't have to do anything with it when we are coming and going from docks. The Sea Wise davits make it is easy to launch and retrieve. It takes one person about three minutes to put the boat in the water or pull it out. We have a trailer for it and take it home in the spring and fall for a good cleaning and any necessary maintenance.

We have run from Montague to Ganges for groceries, James Bay to Wallace Island, Prideaux to Refuge, Poulsbo to Shilshole, and so on. The water has to be reasonably calm, though. The boat has a fairly flat bottom and is uncomfortable and wet when it gets choppy. I don't mind as much as my passengers seem to. That's the only drawback for us.

That's how we use our inflatable. Hope that helps.
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Re: Rib vs soft bottom

Postby jmcj » Wed Mar 27, 2019 7:48 pm

Thanks Rusty. Because ours will of necessity will be smaller it won’t get used for your longer trips, but will still be used daily. Two more questions. With the size of the motor, I assume you have a Weaver lever which allows the motor to swing into position. Is it satisfactory? Number two. What winch system do you use to to pull the boat up and let it down? As the weight of mine will not exceed 250 pounds and may only be about 175 pounds was thinking of employing a 6 part block set up. What do you think?
Jim McJannet

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Re: Rib vs soft bottom

Postby rustylewis » Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:14 pm

We had Weaver davits, but moved everything to Sea Wise. It is much easier for us. We have a 20 hp Tohatsu 4 stroke with electric start. It stays upright as the dingy is raised. We use the Sea Wise cable and crank to raise it. I believe it has 25:1 gearing. It is easy enough my wife can raise or lower the boat by herself.

The PO bought the dinghy and put the Weaver mounts on the boat. At the time the dinghy had an 8 hp motor, no seats, steering, etc. It is a big inflatable. It was awkward for us to get the boat up and down with both of us working on it. We found we were reluctant to use the dinghy because it was such a pain to tip up and down. That took the fun out of it for us. We moved to the Sea Wise davits, the 20 hp motor, seats, and steering all at the same time. The inflatable is heavier, but I can just about crank it up with one hand. If it is not easy, it won't get used. At least that's our experience.
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Re: Rib vs soft bottom

Postby jmcj » Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:49 pm

Thanks Rusty. You have my decision making process swinging like a pendulum. We are trying to keep as simple as possible but even then see the need to have a means of easy up and down. A six part block is certainly cheaper than the various crank powered lifts although I accept at times there will be a tangle of lines.
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