We review 10 inflatable dinghies on the market to see which one would make the ultimate tender

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Zodiac 260AD | The ultimate tender test | Motor Boats Monthly |Zodiac 260AD

Design

Zodiac now owns Avon and Bombard, so you will find all of them on the same stand at boat shows, but Zodiac has kept the individual brands to provide variations in price and features.

The 260 Air Deck has an inflatable floor and keel but only two tube compartments, although the floor would give buoyancy if one tube punctured.

The two-stage foot pump enables you to pump the floor up to a higher pressure than the tubes and keel, and there is a separate gauge to measure this.

The design of the pump means you can only get part of your foot on it, which made inflating the dinghy very tiring.

The drain valve has a lever, which you move over to let the water out, plus a screen and a non-return valve. There is one grab handle and a strap/carrying handle on each side.

The floor rises slightly in the middle when inflated, which means any water runs to the side away from your feet, but the floor valve is vulnerable to being kicked.

The seat is sited too far forward, which meant it rowed bow down with one up, although this left you with more room at the stern for more passengers and gear.

The oars press into the row locks, so you can quickly take them out and use them as paddles. The oars also slide in and out, which means you can adjust their length for different rowers, but the securing clip was very fiddly.

Ride

The 260AD has a maximum power of 4hp. We tested it with our 2.5hp and the boat achieved 5mph with one or two crew.

We also tried it with the 5hp outboard at three-quarters throttle, and it planed with one person.

Vital stats

At 31kg this dinghy is fairly light and its packed dimensions were the smallest in the test.

Price

It is pricey at £1100, but it does come with a five-year warranty for the tube material, and a two-year warranty for the joints and seams.

Contact www.zodiacmarine.co.uk

Rating 4/5

  1. 1. Sunsport AIB265
  2. 2. Honwave T27
  3. 3. Bombard AX3
  4. 4. Excel SD260
  5. 5. Zodiac 260AD
  6. 6. Avon 260AD
  7. 7. Zodiac 260RU
  8. 8. Lodestar NSA260
  9. 9. Zodiac Zoom 260
  10. 10. Wetline 260AD
  11. 11. Conclusion
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