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Thread: Zodiacs

  1. #1

    Default Zodiacs

    I want to know everything about them, your history with them etc. Are they stable? can they handle large waters ( prince william sound far enough out for butts/silvers... example pigot point. , Are they safe? Comfortable? Does anyone have any personal stories? I would appreciate any advice being this thread will help make my decision on the first real boat I will ever buy... Plan on buying it when im 16-18... Im 14 now, Have 1500~ Saved so far but I need to buy a vehicle first... thanks

    -Nick

  2. #2
    Member AK NIMROD's Avatar
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    Default

    They Are Very Safe, But You Can Still Get Yourself In Serious Trouble With Them. Very Uncomfortable, Plan On Getting Wet, I Have Had 6-7 Inflatables Best All Around Boat For Doing Lots Of Things With In Alsaka. I Used To Go Out 8-10 Miles In Cook Inlet And Had Made 40 Mile Trips Out Of Seward To Go Goat Hunting. Have Bear Hunted From Mine Years Ago Camped On Culross And Traveled As Far As Kings Bay Looking For Bears.
    RETIRED U.S.A.F. CAPT.; LIFETIME MEMBER NRA; LIFETIME MEMBER ALASKA BOWHUNTER ASSOC.
    MASTER BOWHUNTER EDUCATION INSTRUCTOR; MEMBER UNITED BLOOD TRACKERS; POPE & YOUNG MEASURER

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    Default Nimrod hit it...

    ...right on. VERY stable, very versatile, subject to lifting if you are traveling light and into a head wind, esp if you like jumping off of waves. Mine was not particularly wet, as you go over waves much more than plow through them. But, take your rain coat if you run a tiller motor. Good luck finding what you want. Good boats. j

  4. #4
    Member AKMarmot's Avatar
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    Default good starters

    They are safe & stable, that is why you will see the coast guard, troopers, & other people use them as emg. crafts.
    They can be made somewhat comfortable, I have two seats in mine & the front one even has a spring ride. Busters upholstry can make you a softtop to keep you dry however, they will never be as warm or dry as a hardtop boat.
    For a young guy it would be a good starter boat. They are portable, & could fit in a beaver, or be put on a ferry. They will let you explore areas & camp on many shorelines. For example the bays & coves out of Homer, & Seward will get you fish & clams. You can just motor up & set up camp. If the tide is out you can usually drag the boat down to the water if you don't want to wait. They are relatively easy to maintain & take care of as well. Then agian if you save up enough you can get a rigid hull & big enough motor & go as far out as you care. Try chris stout on the forum, although I have never seen his boat it sounds like a nice one.

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    Default yep

    Yep, the next step up from a Zodiac inflatable is a RHIB. I sold my Zodiac after using it for several years and got a RHIB. For me, the RHIB is a better machine, by far, but it is not a starter boat. RHIBs cost.

  6. #6

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    Bought a Zodiac this Spring. Very stable, very safe, very uncomfortable, very small. We outgrew the boat the first time we took it out. Tough to fish from with the limited space. Great starter boat and the most capable boat I can think of for the dollar.

  7. #7
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    Default Inflatables are cool!!

    First off, pigot point is very close, and an excellent place for a beginner to travel there and back to begin experiencing the vastness of open water, boat handleing, and navigation. After a few close in trips, you'll begin to find out that these boats can go a lot farther when good judgment is used, and night island (14 footers or larger are a good idea for these long range trips) is an easily obtainable goal. With a little bit of ingenuity and some more money (it allways comes down to more money) you can beef up the floor a little and put wildshields in, canvass toppers can be made, seats can be installed, consoles can be made, ect. All this stuff can be bought too, but nothing for boats is cheap. Also, adding these things takes away from the portability of the craft, and adds weight which in turn makes shore landing more risky as added weight helps the sharp rocks push up through the bottom easier. With my 14 footer, I found it was comfortable with two people and a medium sized dog, but that's it. I did however make it to fox island with five people and a dog, but it was packed, and although it was safe, it doesn't come highly recommended. The best thing I figured out was building a whitewater raft style frame, which made it easy for incorporating seats, tying gear, and making the boat have more options, you could even mount a windshield or build a soft top on a frame. If you decide to buy a boat like this remember there are many different types and grades of materials, and you do get what you pay for. PVC is a good material, extremely durable, but weathers a little faster, degrades in less time than hypalon, and doesn't roll up as tight. Hypalon, in my opinion, is the best material as it is natural real rubber, and pvc and plastics cure constantly, eventually weakening and britteling. That being said, a QUALITY inflatable boat from any material, when maintained properly, will last a mininum of 10 years before weakening and causing problems.

    The biggest cautions with these boats I can think of is strong headwinds can scare the hell out of you, or worse, so load the front with another person, or your heavy gear or fuel so the bow wants to stay down when comeing over the tops of swells. Loading is a learned characteristic of any boat, so try a few different things and you'll eventually know how you like your boat. Know how to do field repairs on your boat, and allways have a good repair kit. Find a good way to offshore anchor your boat (not allways possible) as bears think these are really fun chew toys, and after that, most repair techniques are out the window. Do your best to keep mud and sand to a mininum, as it gets under the floor and is abrasive to the material.

    Now, that's the best info I can think of on basics, the rest is size choice, brand, engine size, new or used, and care. These boats are expensive new, but can be picked up more affordably used. As with a used anything, caution should be taken (or just take it to alaska raft and kayak for an inspection). Care includes washing and protecting. Aviation 303 is the most widely used, and it is what I use on mine. Wash periodically with mild soaps, and if it becomes really dirtly looking, use citrus hand cleaner with pumice to make it look new again. Ummmm.. That's about it, if you have any further questions let me know.

    Chris

  8. #8
    Member OKElkHunter's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fishwhacker View Post
    I want to know everything about them, your history with them etc. Are they stable? can they handle large waters ( prince william sound far enough out for butts/silvers... example pigot point. , Are they safe? Comfortable? Does anyone have any personal stories? I would appreciate any advice being this thread will help make my decision on the first real boat I will ever buy... Plan on buying it when im 16-18... Im 14 now, Have 1500~ Saved so far but I need to buy a vehicle first... thanks

    -Nick
    I bought an 15.5 ft AVON this spring, an older one, and took it out past Pigot point last weekend. Great boat, extreemely stable but a little tight with 2 guys, a 140 Qt Cooler, safety gear, ancor w/rope, and fishing gear. We were able to fish/troll from it but with the big cooler it was a little tight moving around to land fish. My outboard is remote steer with the steering across the middle of the boat and the bench seat behind it, so, stepping over that was constant. It was great though and we plan on heading back out next weekend. I would take it out even farther if I needed too now that I know how stable it is. I may be selling it next spring so I can get a bigger one. If you are still in the market, keep your eyes on the forum classified and Craig's list.

    Good Luck

  9. #9

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    Took the zodiac out of Seward yesterday and it rained. Man did it rain. We all got soaking wet and cold. I had quality rain gear on and stayed dry, but the wife and kids had crappy rain gear and got cold (don't get rain gear from Walmart). We were fishing around 30 other boats and only 2 others didn't have canopies. (we have a canopy for ours, but didn't bring it.) The boat did great and ran with all the big boats, just a lot of exposure to the elements. I didn't mind getting wet, but all my stuff got wet too.

  10. #10

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    Fishwhacker,

    I've read this post and your post titled "PWS". The first boat I bought was a 16' Achilles with a 1/2 canvas top and a 40hp tiller 2-stroke Yamaha. The motor was detuned to 35hp for the Kenai River. I took that boat to the Kenai, Deep Creek, Anchor Point, Seward, Hidden Lake, Big Lake, etc. Never took it in the Big Su drainage nor did I take it to Whittier. I bought it when I was about 18 or 19 I think. I had lots of fun with that boat and it's fairly trouble free if you use your head concerning knives, gaffs, rocks, etc.

    My friends and I were out most every weekend both before and after I bought that boat, so we felt fairly comfortable in the outdoors in general. My father always made it a point to take me hunting/fishing and that's what probably planted the seed. (I'm glad he did it). Yeah, you get wet and cold in that type of boat...even with a 1/2 canvas...But we didn't really care...we were having fun.

    That being said, one of my friends and I got caught out of Seward one day and I truly thought we weren't going to make it back. I think I was about 21 or 22 by then. Sure, I probably over reacted and we were probably more safe than I thought, but it scared the heck out of me.

    I think they're great boats and fairly safe. Keep your wits about you, mind the weather and listen to what others have to say and you should be fine.

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