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Old 15-10-2017, 04:20   #1
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Urgent - Welded PVC or Glued Hypalon

I'm in a bit of a pickle - I already ordered my dinghy and have a couple hours left for me to change the order. So, I urgently call on your advice and guidance....

Years ago, we had an inflatable PVC dinghy and typically the glued joints pulled apart after a couple of years. I then swore that I will never buy an inflatable tender again. So we build a marine ply dinghy - but the dinghy is hard on the yacht, dings and scratches easily. With the latest PVC welded joints, my mind shifted back to inflatables. In fact, this is the dinghy I have just ordered - a Highfield CL 340 PVC with welded joints. Since ordering, my stomach is churning with uncertainty.

Which inflatable dinghy would you buy;

1. PVC tubes with welded joints (no clued joints to pull apart),
2. Hypalon tubes with glued joints (in time, the glued joints will pull apart).

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Old 15-10-2017, 04:27   #2
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Re: Urgent - Welded PVC or Glued Hypalon

hypalon it is easy to repair and the material is much more sturdy than pvc
pvc is hard to repair,and chances are your transom will be glued on,which will fail if exposed to too much heat,like in the med.
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Old 15-10-2017, 04:55   #3
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Re: Urgent - Welded PVC or Glued Hypalon

My 1996 Achilles hypalon is still in service so I donít know where this pull apart thing comes from.
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Old 15-10-2017, 05:20   #4
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Re: Urgent - Welded PVC or Glued Hypalon

My first aluminum RIB was an Aquapro with welded seams. It was kept uncovered, outside for 15yrs between Toronto and Bahamas before it died.

My 3yr. old Highfield with welded seams is still in great shape. I lost an oar in Bahamas last year. The owner of the company sent a new one within days, no charge.

My experience suggests the huge price difference for hypalon is not justifiable.
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Old 15-10-2017, 08:13   #5
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Re: Urgent - Welded PVC or Glued Hypalon

I've had both, my experience is that PVC turns to goo after 3-4 years of exposure to sunlight. Just bought a new Highfield last year, it's a hypalon/aluminum. We use it in New England in the summer and the Carib in the winter- wouldn't even consider PVC for our needs.
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Old 15-10-2017, 08:25   #6
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Re: Urgent - Welded PVC or Glued Hypalon

PVC is crap. Don't cheap out. Get Hypalon.
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Old 15-10-2017, 09:15   #7
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Re: Urgent - Welded PVC or Glued Hypalon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tetepare View Post
My 1996 Achilles hypalon is still in service so I donít know where this pull apart thing comes from.
Ditto... my Achilles was, I think, 1994 or so.

I retired it about a year ago... gave it to a friend.. he is still using it.

Have bought another the same.

Only problem with the old one was chafe where the ends of the wooden seat met the hull... grew tired of patching those bits... no issue with any of the seams.
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Old 15-10-2017, 09:45   #8
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Re: Urgent - Welded PVC or Glued Hypalon

I have owned 9 yacht tenders over the years since 1975. Seven of them were/are
de-flatables. LOL Two were PVC and 5 were Hypalon. Only 3 survive in
my care. Some were sold with various boats. The survivors that I still own
are 2 Avons and an Achilles.

I loved my Hypalon Metzeller with inflatable floor the best. I finally died
after being used for months at a time as a toy, with 15 hp, for abuse by
teenagers. Used it for years the 1000 Islands summers and the Bahama sun in the winter.
The stitching in the floor, non removable, began coming apart first.

The NZ aluminium rib in PVC I liked very much but transom got unglued and finally was no longer economically repairable. It was used exclusively in The Bahamas for 6 months during many winters. Fishing almost every day. Tubes got sticky in the end.

The survivors, over a dozen+ years old, are the Avons and the Achilles. Two have wooden floors the other an Avon Redcrest. As well as one in fiberglass and one in varnished cedar strip.

AB is great or Avon both hypalon would be today's choice. Ribs that must be covered if left in Florida for storage in the summer. The main advantage of an inflatable floor is storage inside of boat when not in use for months at a time.
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Old 15-10-2017, 09:45   #9
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Re: Urgent - Welded PVC or Glued Hypalon

I am still using my 1995 AB Hypalon Aluminum bottom RIB.
I live in Florida and travel to the Bahamas and Caribbean for at least 6 months out of the year.
People who I know have had PVC that the seams all fell apart after about two years.
PVC is cheaper and seems to work up north.
If you are in the south, buy Hypalon.
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Old 15-10-2017, 10:33   #10
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Re: Urgent - Welded PVC or Glued Hypalon

We had the same question last year. After 16 years service with our hypalon Caribe 9 lite she was showing some wear. After extensive reading we purchased the Highfield PVC rib....for the tropics! New information on the changes in these fabric's manufacture and the inflatable lay-up procedures convinced us the thousand dollars saved purchasing PVC was entirely justified. We have only used the Highfield Classic one year so evaluation is limited. No fabric issues to date, but we use dinghy protectant regularly. One thought: since we deck our dink for travel we have found the high end Highfield with it's wonderful handles and strakes apt to catch on shrouds coming aboard and wonder if the light version would have been a better choice?
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Old 15-10-2017, 12:28   #11
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Re: Urgent - Welded PVC or Glued Hypalon

Back in 1985 while in singapore i purchased a Zodiac, as i had had one before, and it served me well over many year's [it was hypolong], i used the new boat for about one month, and packed it up after cleaning, powdering, ect., a year later, upon unpacking her in the states, i found all the PVC component's had become unglued from the Hypolong bottom[ the first ones, i.e., still had the Hypolong bottom], after talking to the local agent, i discovered many of these boat's had the delamination problem, but was covered by Zodiac America, unfortunately i was not, having purchased her out of country,i had a friend write Zodiac in France stating the problem with no joy, the cost to re glue was prohibitive, and indeed i could not find anyone willing to do it,in the end i threw the boat in a dumpster, throwing away about $3,000, i will never purchase another Zodiac product, in ending, i was not told the newer model was PVC and Hypolong, I have a Hypolong tender and would not have a PVC in the Tropics, even a Hypolong boat needs chaps if used full time again in the tropics.
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Old 15-10-2017, 12:43   #12
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Re: Urgent - Welded PVC or Glued Hypalon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tetepare View Post
My 1996 Achilles hypalon is still in service so I donít know where this pull apart thing comes from.
It probably started with the infamous Zodiac failures about 30 years ago. They had switched to welding and had many failures even when new. Initially they honored the warranties in the US and were replacing them, but it got too expensive and they quit. A class action suit followed, with a settlement for $12M IIRC. In the early 1990's the Caribbean had a lot of them in great shape but with the transoms coming off, and no way to repair them with adequate strength.

My 1995 AB (Hypalon) is having some glue failure but the fabric is holding up. It just depends how long I am willing to repair the seams (getting close to the end).

Greg
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Old 15-10-2017, 13:21   #13
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Re: Urgent - Welded PVC or Glued Hypalon

No serious issues with my zodiac bombard pvc rib patches just as easily as hypalon. Just needs the right glue. ( Same deal with hypalon). Just clean with mek just before patching.
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Old 15-10-2017, 15:00   #14
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Re: Urgent - Welded PVC or Glued Hypalon

I would never own another PVC inflatable. I have had two of them--both crap. One was a Zodiac, the other I forget.

Now I use a moulded polythene type--does not scratch the vesel, is lighter than an inflatabl;e, qualifies a a life-raft for SOLAS purposes and is virtually unsinkable since it is foam-filled. Cost about the same as a PVC job. It trailers nicely too.

Having said all that--I would in your case cancel that order and get the Hypalon version instead. Usually Hypalon has a ten year guarantee. PVC is lucky to last anything like as long as that.

One of my PVC death-traps came apart during cyclone preparations in a crocodile infested mangrove lined creek. The seams just decided to come apart--and the boat had been stored in the cool below decks. It was not the sun that damaged it. I was lucky.

PVC? Don't even think about it. Get Hypalon, or better still, get a Polycraft.
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Old 15-10-2017, 15:14   #15
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Re: Urgent - Welded PVC or Glued Hypalon

Hi, Revelations,

Don't know if you're coming back to look at this any more. We used to be hypalon fanatics. Have worn out hypalon dinghies, but none failed at the seams; with all of them it was the cloth got thin, and the UV destroyed the inner scrim.

Our most recent RIB was a Gemini, a Swift hull, and South African hypalon. The hypalon used was lighter weight than previous hypalon dinghies we'd had, and those tubes failed young. The hull is on its 3rd set of tubes. The first were set afire by vandals; the second wore out; and the third set is of the dreaded PVC.

We had long conversations with the inflatable repair business owners (who are cruisers). What they told us is simply that it is difficult to source high quality hypalon, and at present, it costs twice as much as pvc. So, making a long story short, the new tubes are made of German PVC of the highest quality, in China, and installed here in Oz. The new tubes are about 3 yrs. old, now. The dinghy is generally in daily use, and so far, they seem to be in good condition. This is a experiment for us, and the experiment is still in progress. We made chaps for it, so it is protected by the fabric from some of the UV, and has been, since it's 2nd week with us.

Ann
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