Heading to Newport

Suzie Too - Western Caribbean
David & Suzanne Chappell
Fri 29 Jul 2011 17:12
Today we are sailing to Newport, Rhode Island, (about 25M from Cuttyhunk) home of the New York Yacht Club and of course the Newport Bucket in late August, which is why so many Mega and Super Yachts are up here, well and like us to escape the hurricane season in the Caribbean.
We have a couple of boats to meet up with, Aurelius and Alice, then we will start down Long Island Sound, back to Derecktors to collect our new RIB, then down the East River leaving New York and heading south for Chesapeake.
It has been surprisingly difficult to buy a new RIB, no dealers carry any stock. It seems because we are foreigners they probably think we are time wasters, most dealers don’t call back. I have to say that Customer Service in the US has gone to the dogs, one guy, Art at McMichaels in NY was good, he sorted out a spec with AB, but then wouldn’t take our Credit Card as payment, so that fell through and in the end we asked Derecktors to order it for us.
After moaning about our Avon for a couple of years, cos it was heavy and leaked water through the drain plug between the two hulls, we have actually tried to buy another Avon (but they only make a 3,4m). Once we got offshore into the Atlantic and up the Amazon we realised how solid and stable it was – we definitely had the best RIB on the RIDS, but under powered with a 15hp, especially with 4 adults. So after much searching we have come up with an AB (www.abinflatables.com), made in Colombia!!!, but grey hypalon, 3,65m long with a steering console and double seat and a 40hp Yamaha long shaft, rated for 6 adults, all weighing in around 225kg, our current RIB is about 140kg, but the davits are rated at 300kg. We think we got a good price and without 20% VAT, plus if we sign to say we are taking it out of NY State in 30 days we don’t have to pay the NY Sales Tax, OK there are some good things about America.
We were going for the Lammina model with the double aluminium floor, but AB said it is not rated for the 40hp engine and the weight on the Navigo is the same at 100kg. So we are sticking with what we know as the Southern Pacific RIBs on the RIDS were single floor and very light and skittish. I’m also not sure about the hull to tube bonding with aluminium as the coefficients of expansion in the Caribbean will give it a serious test. Allegedly it’s better at taking the ground accidently, but having spent a year with aluminium boats, you still don’t want sea water getting under the paint finish.
I have spoken to the AB factory and they have been great, the recommended max engine is a 30hp, but as we are having a modular system (console and seats, electric start etc) it is rated to allow a 40hp and they are changing the Manufacturing Plate to say max 40hp. The 30hp and 40hp are the same engine from Yamaha, just a different carburettor, so the weight is the same and we expect this extra power to extend our exploring range significantly and very safely – just got to come up with a very secure locking system when we leave it in the Caribbean.