TBT Tuesday

Since we are talking about the time before time today at IBC we thought we’d share some of the discussion with you in the form of pictures. Obviously if you have to ask why these photos are black and white then you weren’t alive in the period when these were shot.

You see kids back during the TBT (time before time) chemical companies used to coat plastic with photo sensitive chemicals and sell it to people as a product called “film” . In those glory days of old it was much more difficult to get a good picture than it is today where digital technology allows you to take 100’s of photos and just delete the bad ones or put them on facebook.

Those of you who remember Zodiacs from the TBT enjoy this blast from the past, and don’t forget to take off the lens cap!

The Chinese Invasion or The Red Menace, You Decide

The internet is filled with a dizzying amount of inflatable boats marketed as a Zodiac™,  but what is it really you’re getting for your hard earned dollar?

In this post we examine the Chinese Zodiac™ (not the sign you were born under), it’s copy cats and it’s limitations.

  • The first question we need to ask is did Zodiac™ ever make any of their inflatable boats in China?

The short answer is yes.

Zodiac manufactures parts and tubes in many different countries for the different market segments. Take for example the Avon™ manufacturing plant in the U.K., Zodiac™ has switched this capacity to military and professional only with just one model still wearing the Avon™ badge for the recreational market. As of this writing, and to this author’s best knowledge the new heads of Zodiac™ will be moving all of the Chinese Zodiac™ models back the French plant in mid 2017. Zodiac manufactured the “Zoom™”, Typhoon™”, and most recently the “Cadet™” model range in China to compete with the low end internet specials that were destroying the brand name.

With a clever marketing program online featuring metadata and keyword stuffing via shopping sites these no name “Zodiacs” won favor on cost alone.

  • If Zodiac™ made some models in China why are they better than the rest?

Zodiac™ inflatable boat models that were made in China were made in a Q.A. Certified factory by Zodiac™ trained technicians out of materials that also were Q.A. compliant.(Q.A. stands for quality assurance) Most if not all other Chinese inflatable boats utilize much different materials of a lesser quality or lighter grade, valves that look similar but share none of the same dimensions or parts making repairs difficult to perform when they become necessary. One thing to remember here is that China is the counterfeiting capital of the world, from microchips to cds, to inflatable boats they cover it all. Think about that little fact the next time you see that designer bag or watch for 1/10th the cost of the original. You will always get what you pay for!

  • Everything comes from China these days why not buy their inflatable boats too?

 Getting a similar boat you saw online for $1000.00 because it was less $$$ than the Zodiac™ and came with free shipping? Wow! How can you pass it up! Those guys at IBC or any other Zodiac dealer in America want way more money, screw them! I’m taking the deal! To answer this rather emotional question correctly lets look at the typical logistical model for Chinese inflatable boats. What this means is you are getting a much cheaper boat than you think. The shipping companies still get paid by someone to drop it off to your door, there are no shipping elves working tirelessly while you sleep. The entity that sold the inflatable boat to you is getting paid 30% to 50% even after he imported it and paid the shipping elves to drop it at your door. Doing the math on a $1000.00 imitation Zodiac™ reveals that even at a 30% mark on that same boat means it now costs only $700.00. Now lets take out $200.00 for shipping because to be fair it’s much lighter than a real Zodiac that leaves a boat cost of $500.00.Because your seller bought a container full of these boats he got the shipping costs and import duties down to $250.00 per unit. This picture gets even clearer with a boat that now only costs $250.00, are you still following? Hopefully the buyer’s remorse and tears from knowing you got screwed aren’t preventing you from reading any further.

  • Why is it expensive to repair Chinese inflatable boats?

This answer hurts the most to the bargain shopper and results in angry calls to dealers and repair centers, not to mention this customer tends to leave Yelp reviews anytime they feel slighted. Let’s not forget that the person they are screaming at doesn’t even sell their type or model of boat. They are simply calling them to rain fire and brimstone on someone and since it said Zodiac on their shingle it might as well be them. Unfortunately the no name bad man who sold you your environmental disaster labeled as a boat doesn’t actually exist, he’s a figment of intelligent marketing to ignorant buyers. Now go read the part above again, understand the Zodiac brand and the knock off are cut from different cloth. At around $30.00 a sq ft Zodiac Strongan seems pretty expensive, and it is when you compare it to Qingdao special #1 PVC that the other boat is made from. Forget about comparing glues, most Zodiac boats are thermo-bonded in France the same way as was originally developed for the space program. What? Space program? You read it right Zodiac started out as and has always maintained an advanced materials and aerospace division ever since it’s beginning in 1886. Yes, some of the three Zodiac models produced in China use glue in their construction but it’s money thing remember? That money thing is no joke as the purpose built machines behind Zodiac’s patented process are stupid expensive, stupid complicated and super secret. What the tech savvy buyer needs to understand is there is no support, no parts, and not very much love for brand “X” from the People’s Republic anywhere in the world. Most everyone else in the world doesn’t buy inflatable boats made in China with free shipping, they tend to be a lot smarter with their money than us fat Americans. At least with a Zodiac you get accountability in the form of a warranty and a world wide dealer network where you can get parts and repairs done no matter how salty you are. Most of us will even fix your brand “X” but don’t act surprised when we tell you the cost of the repairs, we use the real stuff here.

Above I mentioned that Zodiac™ is moving all it’s boat manufacturing back to France,(except for the Oceana market), the smart guys over there figured out they could make the best possible boat in France out of real Strongan and ship it to the USA while still making money. Because we have such a big dealer network here in America we put all of our buying power together and save on shipping from Zodiac France to Zodiac USA. It makes fiduciary sense and it makes environmental sense!

To sum all of this non-sense up if it doesn’t say Zodiac™, Bombard™, Avon™, or MILPRO™ you are likely not getting the boat you thought you were. If you have to go off reservation at least get a boat from a reputable dealer who carries the real stuff as well as an inexpensive brand that fits into your budget. This way you have some sort of support, parts, and a person to call if things get weird. Try to get a brand that has been around for more than 1 year or internet buying cycle as it has come to be known. Questions? Call us (503) 235-2628 we are Inflatable Boat Center, this is what we do.

 

What Makes A Bombard Special

L’ Angeviniere was formed in 1937 and specialized in equipment for the Navy. After an encounter with Dr. Alain Bombard in 1953 (this is after he crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a Zodiac MK3 prototype) the company went in a new direction, lifeboats.

Dr. Alain Bombard is credited with development of the liferaft and the definitive guide to surviving at sea. Dr. Bombard’s own journey of over 65 days at sea with no food or water was in fact an experiment to prove that a castaway could survive at sea with only what the ocean could provide. Based on this successful experiment and his unique designs for boats Dr. Bombard joined the company and that’s where one legend led to the development of another.

The world would see the introduction of the first class IV line of inflatable boats in 1964, and the Commando series of inflatable boats (another Bombard innovation) in 1972.
The Commando line has been in service continuously ever since it’s introduction and remains as one of the most capable boats afloat today for professionals.

Being the world leaders in lifesaving, lifeboats, and of course the Commando series of inflatable boats doesn’t go unnoticed for long. In 1980 Zodiac came forward and purchased the rights to the Bombard line and name outright to capitalize on the vast knowlege and manufacturing techniques used by Bombard.

The Zodiac offering grew with the addition of Avon and Bombard from it’s roots in 1886 as an aerospace company to the world leader in inflatable boats and advanced materials to what the world calls all inflatable boats, “Zodiacs”.

This heritage and support world wide ensures that any Zodiac/Bombard inflatable boat dealer can supply parts and service for any Bombard or Zodiac boat anywhere in the world on any water.

The introduction of the Bombard Typhoon series is aimed at the recreational user who demands a first quality boat at a bargain price, and is supported at every level by over 120 years of experience and a vast dealer network. Compare that to any other inflatable boat manufacturer and understand why Bombard ranks as #1 for first time buyers and seasoned professionals alike.

The Zodiac/Bombard Typhoon series of inflatable boats represents the best quality for the money in a world of ever changing cheap internet knockoffs. Demand the lineage and quality of a Zodiac/Bombard and get the very best boat for the money.

For the more professional users IBC still offers the Bombard Commando series as well as the easy to love and use Typhoon series under one roof.
Order your first boat online thru our website or come in and talk to people who use these very same boats themselves everyday.
Ask about a boat and motor package and find your own little slice of Heaven in a Bombard.

Bombard Commando C5 TLDI 2Stroke 50Hp Package with Bimini Top

Another Bombard Commando application came thru the tech area recently with a request for a high performance two stoke outboard. Taking a page out of Mike’s operational manual IBC went with the Tohatsu TLDI 50Hp 2 stroke outboard with multi-function tiller option. IBC added a custom camo bimini top a 12 gallon forward mounted fuel tank and various rigging components to offer the customer a setup like Mike runs for blistering performance when it counts. Of course Mike won’t run a bimini top on his Bombard Commando, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. With the IBC removable bimini system you can do what you want in fair weather or foul.

The Tohatsu TLDI (Two Stroke Direct Injection) motor offers a broadened power band and ultra low emission 3 star CARB rating in a package that is very eco-friendly and fuel efficient. The 2 stroke Tohatsu outboards are being used by some of the very best operators in the military as well as the professional front for their high performance and ultra-reliability in conditions that kill lesser motors dead. (note these special forces variants aren’t available to the public at this time) Much of the boat to boat footage and other marine based operations IBC conducts throughout the year are powered by this work horse of a motor that is rarely seen on camera.

Forget about mixing gas the TLDI does all the math and heavy lifting for you so all the operator has to do is twist the throttle and point the bow. With it’s sophisticated ignition timing and fuel air mixture control the Tohatsu works well at most altitudes and environments whether salt, fresh or brackish waters. The Tohatsu TLDI doesn’t ask for fanfare it simply accomplishes the mission and goes home like a true silent professional.

By using Zodiac’s Bombard Commando as a platform operators experience greater mission capabilities due to it’s Strongan Duotex fabric that is “thermo-bonded” in Zodiac’s state of the art French facility. Usually when someone is talking about their “Zodiac” they aren’t actually talking about a real French Zodiac like the Bombard Commando series. Often times they are talking about some other brand “X” inflatable boat that people like to call a Zodiac. Insist on the boat the legend is based on, insist on a real Zodiac inflatable boat like the Bombard Commando, Zodiac Futura, or Zodiac Classic and never compromise your safety or performance again.

The Bombard Commando C5 in this article is yet another we have to move out of the shop to make way for the next Bombard Commando C5 that is getting rigged for yet another customer wanting the best his money will buy. Enjoy the pictures below and remember when you are ready to go Commando give IBC a call first (503)235-2628 and see why we are rated #1 for Bombard Commando applications anywhere there is water.

 

Bombard Commando C5 Sport

We were sending another Bombard Commando C5 out the door to make room to rig yet another Bombard Commando C5 for a customer and thought to ourselves “Why not take a couple of pics?”.

This particular boat was replacing an old Zodiac Futura that had a short shaft transom. The Bombard Commando’s transom had to be notched to accept the short shaft Tohatsu 50hp four stroke the customer had already. IBC tech did a good job of fitting the motor and rigging the steering and control cables into the new notch. (see the pics below)

One of the IBC lessons from using these boats over the years was to rig and fit a 12 gallon fuel tank forward to balance the boat and increase performance across the spectrum. Easier to plane, better terminal speeds, chop management, and brain smashing G turns are the end result.

Since the customer wanted seats and a steering wheel helm for his dive excursion and fun boat, but didn’t want to sacrifice usable deck space, IBC rigged a crossbar steering helm and bench on rail seat system. Zodiac has been in the inflatable boat business for a minute and has come up with elegant solutions like the HD Aluminum Floorboard and accessory rail system across the sport boat lineup. Utilizing Zodiac’s Z1255 bench on rail IBC easily fit the adjustable seats within minutes to the Bombard Commando C5 floorboards. (Zodiac has owned Bombard for a good many of years and manufactures the Bombard as well as the Avon lines)

All of the Bombard Commando series of inflatable boats come stock with rigging options to build your own version of what we call the Commando Sport out of the box. Mix and match accessories to get your own custom sport boat in the configuration of your dreams with the HD line of Zodiac Sport Boats from the venerable Zodiac Classic, Zodiac Futura, and Bombard Commando lines.

Available in North America at:

The Inflatable Boat Center.

2041 SE Powell Blvd.

Portland, Oregon 97202

(503)235-2628

 

http://www.inflatableboats.com

20,000 Nautical Miles And A Zodiac

So what do you do after sailing 20,000 nautical miles to your destination?

Why break out the Zodiac of course! People often malign the inflatable boat, talking down about it in lieu of their big dollar yacht. Let’s face it you need a good dinghy or those dollars are wasted and all talk. Without a good dinghy a sailor isn’t worth his salt.

One thing to consider is that once you get to where you want to be you can’t do anything without a proper Zodiac to take you the “Miracle Mile”. Our friends Riley and Elayna traveled over 20,000 nautical miles to get to where they wanted and then got out the Zodiac to actually go have fun.

If you have been following their adventures from Istanbul to Panama, to the Tuamotus, and Tahiti you know the fun starts with the Zodiac. Simple things like getting fresh water , doing laundry, or getting stores wouldn’t be possible without a proper Zodiac like the Zodiac 300 Compact folding RIB.

Riley and Elayna deploy their Zodiac after a reach or crossing, and tow it for the little jaunts from anchorage to anchorage. The Zodiac is the perfect all around fun toy / Griswald family truxter. It’s all about getting the job done and having fun both of which the Zodiac does in spades. Catch up with Riley and Elayna as they achieve yet another one of their goals with their Zodiac 300 Compact RIB. *available at the Inflatable Boat Center