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Old 29-06-2017, 05:01   #1
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Expectations on a PVC Inflatable And UV

Hi - I've read a lot about the benefits of hypalon over pvc, but not much about pvc...Would we be making a mistake to get one?

Some background - We have narrowed down our search for a dingy with the following criteria:

- small and lightweight (we have a 27 ft pocket trawler so need to store easily when not towing during our upcoming 5 month ICW / Keys / Bahamas trip)

- stable enough for fishing, snorkeling and hopefully diving

- fast enough to reliably plane with a 6 hp engine and 300 lbs in most conditions (safety when traveling in more remote areas but also needed for fishing)

- not looking for lifetime investment - will most likely need to trade up to larger RIB when we trade up to a larger boat in the future (assuming we will like cruising as much as we think we will)

Based on feedback from this group on an earlier post and further research, the two we were considering were a light 8 or 9 ft RIB (Walker Bay 270 SLR or one of the lite AB or Highfield RIBs around 9ft / under 100 lbs) OR the Takacat Lite

Of course, hypalon would be a better choice, and if we go with a RIB, will most likely get one for the resale value. However, takacat doesn't really make a full hypalon boat, so with their design, pvc would be the way to go.

We plan to tow as much as we can since we plan to use it daily so it will be exposed to the SE sun. I have irrational visions of the pvc melting in the heat when we need the boat the most, given some of the extreme comments online, so thought I'd get a reality check from the group. Will it safely last a year? What issues should I expect to have?

Sorry for the long post but thought it important to not have yet another "what dinghy should I get" thread. Thanks!
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Old 29-06-2017, 05:30   #2
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Re: Expectations on a PVC Inflatable And UV

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What issues should I expect to have?
You can expert it to have "sun burn". How long it lasts depends on how well you take care of it by cleaning and applying protectant to it. Mine is almost a year old and it has some discoloration already. But I expect it will last at least another year in which case if I replace it it works out to to be the same price as hypalon.
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Old 29-06-2017, 09:18   #3
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Expectations on a PVC Inflatable And UV

You should easily get 2-3 years out of an average quality pvc dinghy. I've had several over the years with the pvc tubes still intact, no leaking but the glued on bits such as rub rails and hand holds got sticky from uv degradation. Once the tubes themselves get sticky you've got very little life left in the dinghy. With care and if you cover it you could get 5 years from it. At lest than half the cost of hypalon pvc may be an option for your use.
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Old 29-06-2017, 11:30   #4
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Re: Expectations on a PVC Inflatable And UV

You can always make chaps for it... should help to significantly extend the lifespan of the material.
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Old 30-06-2017, 14:31   #5
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Re: Expectations on a PVC Inflatable And UV

Ok well there's good news and bad. I'm on my 3rd PVC dinghy in 4 years. That's the bad news, the good news is that it has a 5 year warranty so it's covered for UV damage. As mentioned they get sticky and well that's it their done. I bought mine from West Marine and they have been very very good about standing behind the product. So if you don't mind the inconvenience and extra work I say you'll be ok with one even though they have an incredibly short life span. You'll need a 9 HP motor to plane with 300 lbs and they weigh in at 80+ pounds and that's ok on land but not ok trying to secure to your boat while your rolling and tossing.hope this is helpful
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Old 01-07-2017, 17:22   #6
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Re: Expectations on a PVC Inflatable And UV

I am in Australia where the sun is particularly hot .
One remedy given to me by an old sailor was to paint the rib with good quality water based house paint .I have done this and the rib lasted 4.5 years .
Australian house paint is very elastic so no problems even is the rib is deflated.
I also found it easier to keep clean.
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Old 03-07-2017, 09:43   #7
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Re: Expectations on a PVC Inflatable And UV

PVC facts:
It naturally gets sticky. Plasticizing oils in the material that make it flexible leach to the surface over time. It is vital to wash the boat regularly with soap / water to remove those oils.

Plasticizing oils are not compatible with the adhesive, so over time, this natural aging mechanism will destroy the adhesive.

Not all PVC and PVC adhesive is created equally. Some PVC materials are better / more stable than others, some PVC adhesives are more resistant to oils/hydrocarbons than others. Currently, Zodiac's "Strongan" PVC is the best PVC on the market with Mehler Valmex in 2nd place.

UV accelerates the leaching process of the plasticizers.

Darker materials are more resistant to UV than lighter colors. Carbon black is the best UV-neutralizer on the planet, but, black inflatable boats are no fun (~165F surface temp in the sun). Plus, the heat will destroy the adhesive in the tropics. You need to find a middle ground, which is why grey is a popular choice for inflatables.

Heat / oxidization will kill the adhesive over time, no matter what you do (Hypalon/CSM/CR is not immune to this either).

Welded PVC > Glued PVC...welded PVC will last as long as the material does.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have about inflatable boat construction, I'll be glad to help.
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Old 03-07-2017, 12:32   #8
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Re: Expectations on a PVC Inflatable And UV

You can have a RIB retubed, but I do not know by whom, or how much.
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Old 03-07-2017, 13:22   #9
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Re: Expectations on a PVC Inflatable And UV

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Originally Posted by bearkeley View Post
...PVC Inflatable...What issues should I expect to have?...
A sticky, deteriorating dinghy heading towards an early death.
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Old 03-07-2017, 13:55   #10
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Re: Expectations on a PVC Inflatable And UV

Some makes are better than others. Our old Bombard was good for nearly 10 years. Our friend got a new Plastimo about 4 years ago and returned it within a year under the warranty (extensive UV damage, Med sun). He did not accept a replacement.

So probably much depends on what quality material the manufacturer used.

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Old 03-07-2017, 20:01   #11
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Re: Expectations on a PVC Inflatable And UV

Quote:
Originally Posted by bearkeley View Post
Hi - I've read a lot about the benefits of hypalon over pvc, but not much about pvc...Would we be making a mistake to get one?

Some background - We have narrowed down our search for a dingy with the following criteria:

- small and lightweight (we have a 27 ft pocket trawler so need to store easily when not towing during our upcoming 5 month ICW / Keys / Bahamas trip)

- stable enough for fishing, snorkeling and hopefully diving

- fast enough to reliably plane with a 6 hp engine and 300 lbs in most conditions (safety when traveling in more remote areas but also needed for fishing)

- not looking for lifetime investment - will most likely need to trade up to larger RIB when we trade up to a larger boat in the future (assuming we will like cruising as much as we think we will)

Based on feedback from this group on an earlier post and further research, the two we were considering were a light 8 or 9 ft RIB (Walker Bay 270 SLR or one of the lite AB or Highfield RIBs around 9ft / under 100 lbs) OR the Takacat Lite

Of course, hypalon would be a better choice, and if we go with a RIB, will most likely get one for the resale value. However, takacat doesn't really make a full hypalon boat, so with their design, pvc would be the way to go.

We plan to tow as much as we can since we plan to use it daily so it will be exposed to the SE sun. I have irrational visions of the pvc melting in the heat when we need the boat the most, given some of the extreme comments online, so thought I'd get a reality check from the group. Will it safely last a year? What issues should I expect to have?

Sorry for the long post but thought it important to not have yet another "what dinghy should I get" thread. Thanks!
Okay, an 8 or 9 foot dinghy is very small. For stability, the inflatable will do you best. PVC depends entirely on the quality how well it will last. Contact some repair shops and talk with the owners and the guys who do the repairs, they will be able to tell you what qualities of PVC are available. I'm not saying what NK8NPB is wrong, but some of what he wrote is at odds with our informants. In particular, we have had hypalon dinghies that have had no gluing failures whatsoever, and good patching glue is readily available aftermarket.

We re-tubed our Gemini RIB with PVC (it had come with light weight hypalon). It was a mistake, we should have spent more money and bought the Swift, made from heavier hypalon, because the lifetime of the lighter weight is much shorter--but, being a sailboat, we have halyards to take the weight. We used the German PVC on the advice of our dinghy repair shop owner friends, and it was because they could source tubes made of that fabric, but made in China. We have two years on them now, so too soon to tell about longevity, but we did make WeatherMax 80 chaps for it about 2 weeks after we took delivery. SailRite has instructions on their website. You do not need a SailRite machine, any heavy duty machine can sew chaps. You'll get better results if it has a walking foot.

What I think you need to do is measure where you will keep it. If it is on top the deckhouse, that is one option, or on the foredeck. Once you know the size of its passagemaking home, then buy the largest one you can find, with a hard transom that you and your partner can handle, and it will fit the space. That will determine what size engine.

I don't know if you're going to be able to do it, but I am not in the US either, the great shopping center. If you could give up the planing speed for 300 lbs option, I'd say go with a rollup floor, and go hypalon, because it will last, and be the good 2nd dinghy when you get a bigger boat--or sell it on. However, it is wonderful to have 2 dinghies, you have freedom, even if you have to use the oars!

Ann
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Old 04-07-2017, 20:44   #12
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I tried various PVC glues but the sun and heat here in Florida melt them!

I have a 1990 Zodiac Cadet 2.6 made of PVC which was fine in Maine until I brought it to Florida where the floor parted from the tubes! I have tried regluing but sun and heat melts the glue. A dealer told me Zodiacs are infamous for having PVC problems in hot climates. Someone said to try 5200 as a last resort! Anyone tried 5200?? The tubes are fine and dont leak at all.
My old halpalon Achilles from 1990 is fine here in Florida.
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Old 04-07-2017, 20:51   #13
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Re: Expectations on a PVC Inflatable And UV

dneve,

We did use 5200 years ago to bond a Herculon [heavy weight pvc with a dacron scrim] bottom onto a torn hypalon bottom. The only problem was that it took a week to reach full strength, during which time, it lived, protected in some friends' living room. You need somewhere sheltered to do the job.

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Old 05-07-2017, 08:54   #14
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Re: I tried various PVC glues but the sun and heat here in Florida melt them!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
A sticky, deteriorating dinghy heading towards an early death.
This is only a problem if you never wash your dinghy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dneve View Post
I have a 1990 Zodiac Cadet 2.6 made of PVC which was fine in Maine until I brought it to Florida where the floor parted from the tubes! I have tried regluing but sun and heat melts the glue. A dealer told me Zodiacs are infamous for having PVC problems in hot climates. Someone said to try 5200 as a last resort! Anyone tried 5200?? The tubes are fine and dont leak at all.
My old halpalon Achilles from 1990 is fine here in Florida.
Lifespan of glue is only about 10-15 years.

5200 is unacceptable for use on plasticized materials.

If you reglue it with the proper glue in a climate controlled area, with a minimum 3 day cure, you'll get another many years of service. If you're going to ignore the manufacturer's instructions on the glue, it will fail pretty quickly.

CSM/CR holds up a lot better in the long run, but it's laborious, environmentally toxic, and expensive to produce. Hence why Achilles has moved all production to China now...

The tubes don't leak on your Zodiac, because they're 100% thermobonded. Welds don't have a lifespan, glue does.

After 2003, Zodiac started welding the floors on thanks to technological improvements.

Quote:
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Okay, an 8 or 9 foot dinghy is very small. For stability, the inflatable will do you best. PVC depends entirely on the quality how well it will last. Contact some repair shops and talk with the owners and the guys who do the repairs, they will be able to tell you what qualities of PVC are available. I'm not saying what NK8NPB is wrong, but some of what he wrote is at odds with our informants. In particular, we have had hypalon dinghies that have had no gluing failures whatsoever, and good patching glue is readily available aftermarket.
CSM/CR boats last a long time, but they do have a lifespan.

My Avon 5.6m RIB has MANY patches and repairs due to UV degradation and overall neglect. I scrapped my 1990 FC470 (Navy Seal boat) because the baffles unglued internally.

They're not indestructible, and if you talk to Bostik, they'll tell you that the final cured product does have a lifespan.
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Old 05-07-2017, 15:57   #15
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Re: Expectations on a PVC Inflatable And UV

^^^^^You know, you may be right about that. The only dinghy we had for 15 years was an old hypalon Zodiac from the days when French grannies glued them up! The hypalon wore through to the scrim, and UV damaged the scrim, and it quit holding air, but must have been within the 15 yr lifespan for the internal glue.

The bottom of the Hypalon Zodiac that we put the Herculon over with the 5200 lasted well for the rest of its time with us, from 1983 to 1990, in almost daily use, except for passages. It was 8 yrs. old when we inherited it with our first Insatiable. Its prior life was mostly in Mexico.

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