Originally Posted by gh
If you hold an h3 235 and a diesel 75 side by side they are almost identical except the 75 has more volume. The 245 is absurdly large.
I think gh is one size off. I'm not sure of the volume of the 235, but 245 is 67 gallons...less than the Diesel 75, which is 75 gallons. The 255 IS very large by comparison to the 245, 80 gallons, but not so large compared to the Diesel 75.
Back to the original question...what's the best all-around boat for river running, play, and creeking? I actually opted for the H3, precisely because I wanted edges so that the handling would be more similar to my playboat, which I paddle 95% of the time. However, given your experience with displacement-hulled boats, that edginess wouldn't be an assett, so the Diesel would probably be a good choice.
I'm not sure that's really a fair question, though. No one boat will do everything you ask, at least not very well. Typically, you can get a boat that will play and run rivers well (e.g., EZ/BigEZ, EZG series, I4, etc.) or run rivers and creek a little (e.g., Diesel, H3, Mamba, etc.). But creeking and play are at opposite ends of the boat design spectrum.
Think about what you really plan to paddle. If you're out of practice and have to re-learn a lot, you may not be creeking any time soon...most Colorado creeking is in the IV+ to V range. In my opinion, a river-running playboat will give you the most mileage. However, if you're serious about creeking, you should get a boat designed for it, and forget about a boat with much playability.