Sailing vessel or Rigid-hulled inflatable boat for pelagic trips?
There are many doubts around this matter, and each sea trip operator will defend its type of boat over the other.
Wind Birds started its real pelagic trips in 2008, by then renting different sailing vessels to research for seabirds at sea. Once we are in the North Atlantic Ocean where the swell is high and as seabirds like windy conditions we had to deal with the wind and waves and consequently the heeling of the boat (when a ship leans over to one side). Although both Catarina and Hugo are sailors for more than 20 years, these were very tough sea trips.
After two years of such difficult oceanic experiences, though fantastic in what concerns to seabirds, and after trying several types of sailing boats, in 2010 we invested on a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) which was named Oceanodroma - ‘runner of the ocean’ in Latin.
RHIB vessels are highly stable due to its low centre of gravity and can carry high loads while operating in rough seas, with fewer pendulum movements and less chance of capsizing than conventional keel and mast vessels. The Oceanodroma’s hull structure (V-shaped) easily cuts through the water making the ride smoother and less bumpy even in rough conditions, and now with the shock mitigation seats, it is even smoother!
Some customers who said to get seasick on boats normally, have ridden Oceanodroma for 2 hours, on a Bird, dolphin & whale watching trip and did not get any dizziness or nausea. A boat with no mast and low on the water does not swing as much as a sailing vessel and, it is also much better concerning birdwatching as seabirds fly much closer or even above us which does not happen when there is a mast standing over us.
In conclusion, Oceanodroma, our 11 meters (36 feet) long rigid-hulled inflatable boat is not only the best and safest boat in Madeira as it is a perfect boat for pelagic trips!