Zodiac CZ7 versus Zodiac 733 OB:
THE VERDICT: Hoping for a Hummer-like success, Zodiac releases scarcely modified military boat on the consumer market. Everyone's a winner!
You know the Zodiac 733. It's the hard-charging craft of Navy Seals renown, featured in countless movies ripping across ferocious seas and landing in impossibly frothy surf. Less familiar is the Zodiac CZ7-it was released just this year for the recreational market. Put the pair's spec sheets side by side, though, and you'll discern some interesting facts. Both boats, for instance, have Zodiac's signature inflatable collars for shock absorption. Both have a low center of gravity, a V-shaped fiberglass hull, and a convex bow for hairpin turns and no-flip stormy running. The 733 is 24 feet long, while the consumer CZ7 measures 24 feet; the 733 has 300 horsepower to the CZ7's . . . indeed, they're the exact same boat. As with other recent military-to-civilian product crossovers-HMMWV to Hummer, for example-Zodiac hopes that people will pay a premium (a hefty $195,000) for a product of military heritage, power and durability. Unlike previous products, the 733 makes it across with performance parameters intact. This is a military vessel. You can get air in it. The seats are mounted on shock absorbers. The CZ7 wins on luxuries, though, including extra-plush seats and a Volvo SeaKey satellite communications system. Pay extra, and you can have an infrared night-vision system too. "The logic for buyers is, 'If it's good enough for the Navy, it's good enough for me,' " says Rick Striven of Zodiac.
The Vitals: Zodiac 733 OB and CZ7
Fuel capacity and maximum range: 133 gallons and 580 miles
Carrying capacity: 13 adults and up to 2,160 pounds
Cockpit length: 17 feet
Engines: Twin 150-horsepower, V-6 Evinrudes
Top speed: 50 mph-plus