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Discussion Starter #1
just sold my 14' Sotar boat, and am looking to get a larger boat for my growing family.
If you have an AIRE R series (esp. a 156) or a Maravia Williwaw II, Cyclone, or Mistral will you let me know what you like/don't like about them??

Thanks in advance.
 

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I have a 156R, very well built, very stable boat. The main difference is the floor and of course virtually everything else about the construction. Aire's floors effectively have a ballast due to the floor filling with water. I've never owned a Maravia but I have been behind the oars on several. They have a more sporty feel.

For pure family truckster purposes I like the Aire. It's a really safe 3000 lbs capacity boat. If you ever consider adding the fishing frame, I personally would go with a Maravia for more versatility. It will handle the family thing in high style.
 

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Maravias track better than any boat I've ever seen. You don't even have to buy oars, you just tell it where to go.

Aire has a 10 year, awesome warranty and great boats. I don't think you can go wrong with either of these. Unless... do you plan to store them inflated. If not; if you have to roll it a lot, consider Hypalon.
 

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I have a 156R, very well built, very stable boat. The main difference is the floor and of course virtually everything else about the construction. Aire's floors effectively have a ballast due to the floor filling with water..
Why do the aire floors fill up with water? I helped at a putout with an aire 156 D last year at Westwater, and the boat had gallons and gallons of water coming out of it when we pulled it out of the water. Is this a good thing somehow?
 

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Why do the aire floors fill up with water? I helped at a putout with an aire 156 D last year at Westwater, and the boat had gallons and gallons of water coming out of it when we pulled it out of the water. Is this a good thing somehow?
Good question. When I bought mine I didn't realize that they were designed this way. I don't disagree with Randaddy that Maravia's track well... but Aire's track like they are attached to an underwater cable.

Several of my boating friends have noted that I seem to work less than them on windy days as long as I keep that mass of water(the bottom of the floor) right in the current. I personally think you work harder to get back in the current if you get pushed out.

That's why I say I prefer the Maravia floor on tighter fishing floats where you are looking to surf on the edge of an eddy. You work a lot harder with the Aire to stay put.
 

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Why do the aire floors fill up with water? I helped at a putout with an aire 156 D last year at Westwater, and the boat had gallons and gallons of water coming out of it when we pulled it out of the water. Is this a good thing somehow?
The floor is essentially an air mattress in side a sausage casing. The space below the mattress between the baffles, but inside the casing fils with water. It is below the the waterline, so it doesn't truly add to the wight you are trying to float, but if the boat tries to flip, then that weight comes into play in your favor. It is clearly weight that you have to move to ferry, so it is not without drawbacks.

They tout it as a design feature, but I think it is more just inherent in the whole air cell and casing scheme. The boat is all zippered together and the zippers are not water tight.
 

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Copied from Aire page
Two different types of floor pockets are available for all AIRE brand rafts. The Regular Floor Pocket comes standard with all AIRE rafts while the Sealed Floor Pocket is optional ($400).

The Regular Floor Pocket (RFP) is constructed by sewing the PVC floor top and bottom to a zipper along the perimeter edge of the floor pocket. An air floor AIREcell is placed inside the pocket which keeps the floor rigid and buoyant while in use. There are drains built into the bottom of the floor pocket, which allows water to drain out of it. While on the river, water can enter the floor drains which adds ballast to the boat. This extra ballast creates a low center of gravity, helping the raft ‘stick’ to the water and can sometimes help prevent a flip.

The Sealed Floor Pocket (SFP) is constructed by welding the PVC floor top and bottom together along the perimeter to form a waterproof pocket. Two watertight zippers are installed on the floor top so the air floor AIREcell can be accessed. The Sealed Floor Pocket cannot take on water as ballast, which will make the boat slightly faster and more responsive than one with a Regular Floor Pocket.

I Love my 156D
 

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I have the 156R for my family of four. I had Aire tubes for my cataraft for 8 years and was impressed with the durability, the ease of repair, the warranty, and the performance. It's a heavy mother, especially when you haul it out of the water and the floor drains, but I trailer it so the weight is not a big deal for me. I also like that they're US-made in Boise, and that warranty repairs can be made right here in Denver. As it's mostly seen use as a family truckster, I haven't really tested it too much on the flip-reducing function of the floor - but the boat sure feels like it would take a lot to flip it.
 

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The water in the Aire floor kind of makes it like a self bailing bucket boat. Weight to help in a flip situation, but no bailing.

I like mine.
 

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I like to load my 156R (SFP) with heavy gear, then at the Take-out the empty boat is light and easy to load. My older 143R (RFP) tends to carry quite a bit of mud or sand in the floor, needs opened and cleaned after every San Juan trip.
 

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I've got the 16' AIRE 156R, and I love the boat. The floor ballast does seem to work - I hit the big wave in Specter in the Grand Canyon completely sideways(oops), and i was fairly shocked that I didn't flip. It feels really stable in big water.
 

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I'm with Randaddy on the Maravia tracking and quickness. I have the 16' Mistral and it's a great multi-day family gear hauler. I just got off the Main Salmon a couple of weeks ago, and everyone on the trip commented on how effort-lessly I appearred to be lining up for runs that other boats had to work hard to get to. Maravia's are also American made in Idaho.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I like to load my 156R (SFP) with heavy gear, then at the Take-out the empty boat is light and easy to load. My older 143R (RFP) tends to carry quite a bit of mud or sand in the floor, needs opened and cleaned after every San Juan trip.
sounds like the ballust is a benefit in terms of keeping the boat right-side up, but how difficult is it to clean as you mentioned?? most of my floats are desert river trips, and so i assume it'd have to be cleaned every trip.
 

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Our rafting club bought an Aire raft (don't remember the model) a few years ago, and quickly traded it in on a Hypalon raft. If you float desert rivers, the zippers are a huge pain. They let in the fine sand particles which wears little holes in the bladders. It was like having fine grain sandpaper constantly working on the bladders. Plus the zippers themselves get dry and jammed up with the silt, and are next to impossible to unzip. The maintenance issues with this boat became a nightmare after one season. Working on this boat produced lots of profanity!!!!!!
I'm strictly a Cat boater, but love the quality of my Maravia tubes. Made in Boise, excellent customer service, easy to maintain, and a 10 year warranty.
I have a friend who has had a Willy 2 for 11 years and loves it to death. He carries a ton of gear, plus passengers & a dog and can still weave his way down the Middle Fork at 1.5ft. with ease. After 11 years we finally had to put the first patch on his floor on our Middle Fork trip last month. It was a quick & easy job. No zippers, no bladder to remove, patch, & re-install, no cussing & swearing.
KJ
 

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Maravia offers a couple of their ~16' models with diminishing tubes (Typhoon, Zephyr, etc.) Claims of more interior space and less frontal area = less wind resistance make sense, but what are the performance pros/cons of diminished tubes when the boat is being used as a family oarboat?

Just started researching for a larger boat purchase next year.
 

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I just purchased Typhoon, they are making it and will be here in a few weeks. I will post a full review of it. I have been rowing Riken Nez Perce boat (16 foot diminishing from 22 to 16 inches on bow/stern) and I love it.

You do get wetter, but that's what my family loves when they go. You do get much more space on the front and back. It has the same capacity as regular tubes since the diminishing tubes are out of the water anyways, so there is no contact with the water to keep the buoyancy up. I also noticed by riding in regular tubes that the ride in my boat is smoother. When I go into the wave/hole, my boat seems to not bump as much as the regular tubes do. The diminishing tubes tend to puncture the wave and glide over it. Also, my wife loves the extra space on the bow to have for the kids.

Typhoon/Zephyr is a new design for 2009.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Looking at the Maravia site, that Typhoon looks like a really nice boa- and I've been a bit concerned about what was mentioned in an earlier post re: sand/silt getting into the zippers. I'll be looking into the Typhoon as well!
 

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Thanks for the info Kazak, sounds like a great boat. Very interested in seeing some pics and reading your review when it arrives.....I bet you can't wait!
 

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What base material are Maravias made from? Their web site and literature says "Thermofused Class VI base fabric with seamless urethane encapsulation" with no mention of what the base material actually is.

Are they welded PVC with a urethane coating?
 
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