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Old 06-02-2020, 05:55   #1
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PVC vs Hypalon in the Tropics?

Its new dinghy time for me. One of the options Im considering is a Highfield CL 310. The PVC version is substantially less expensive, 10lbs lighter, and has welded seams.

The common mantra is that Hypalon is the way to go in the tropics. I only have experience with Hypalon inflatables and it is incredible material, but what are your real world experiences with Valmex PVC (the brand used by Highfield)?

https://www.highfieldboats.com/classic-310/
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Old 06-02-2020, 06:10   #2
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Re: PVC vs Hypalon in the Tropics?

Hard to say

The service life of all my hypalon tenders were cut short by a variety of reasons , but not UV burn

PVC is more sensitive to UV

Neither fabric survives a coral reef, rock crashes , barnacle chafe , steel pillings .......

Up to you
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Old 06-02-2020, 06:13   #3
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Re: PVC vs Hypalon in the Tropics?

I think if you put chaps on it from day one it will last much longer, but then I put chaps on our AB Hypalon from day one too.
I have no idea if brand matters on PVC, thickness maybe?
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Old 06-02-2020, 06:25   #4
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Re: PVC vs Hypalon in the Tropics?

I'm also interested. West Marine occasionally has a sale on their PVC 310 RIB series that drops the price down to about $1,000.
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Old 06-02-2020, 07:17   #5
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Re: PVC vs Hypalon in the Tropics?

I have a 3.1m SWIFT Tender with Hypalon tube, it's now 6+ years old and spent it's whole life in subtropical/tropical climes without any protection and the tube is still in great condition.

Highfields are a direct descendant of the Australian Swift range and i looked into them when buying mine, when i mentioned that it would be living in the tropics it was strongly suggested that if buying with the PVC (Valmex) tube that i also have the tube fitted with chaps to extend the life of the tube.

https://swiftmarine.com.au/

Swift state the Hypalon tube will typically outlive the PVC tube by double or even more.

https://swiftmarine.com.au/re-tubes-repairs/
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Old 06-02-2020, 07:19   #6
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Re: PVC vs Hypalon in the Tropics?

Brand of PVC will mater as it will have a different make up and coatings. Also the construction maters, with welded seams meaning there is less glue to fail (which usually fails first).

Some cheap PVC dinghies will get sticky as the plasticiser comes out, in less than 18 months (happened to mine), Better ones will be fine for many years.

Covered from day one though, I imagine a PVC dinghy would last as long as a hypalon one and give better performance, since PVC looses less air, can be pumped firmer, and is lighter.
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Old 06-02-2020, 07:56   #7
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Re: PVC vs Hypalon in the Tropics?

Hypalon is always the way to go, tropics or not.
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Old 06-02-2020, 09:55   #8
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Re: PVC vs Hypalon in the Tropics?

Our PVC inflateable is now 30 years old but, after the first 5 years we had to send it back to the manufacturer to have it re-coated, since the fabric had been deteriorated by the sun here in Italy. Since then we don't leave it in the sun for longer periods.
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Old 06-02-2020, 10:36   #9
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Re: PVC vs Hypalon in the Tropics?

The manufacturer of my rib adviced to go pvc. This because hypalon tends to fail
On the glued seams long before the material itself is gone. The welded seams on pvc are much better.
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Old 06-02-2020, 10:45   #10
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Re: PVC vs Hypalon in the Tropics?

I have the same questions on a Highfield 340UL I will get this summer. My boat will be kept in the tropics. I have looked at the Highfield owner’s manual and it wants owners to apply a regular coating of UV protectant. Also the PVC warranty is 5 years vs. 10 years for Hypalon. Does anyone know who makes chaps for the Highfield?
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Old 06-02-2020, 11:28   #11
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Re: PVC vs Hypalon in the Tropics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Its new dinghy time for me. One of the options Im considering is a Highfield CL 310. The PVC version is substantially less expensive, 10lbs lighter, and has welded seams.

The common mantra is that Hypalon is the way to go in the tropics. I only have experience with Hypalon inflatables and it is incredible material, but what are your real world experiences with Valmex PVC (the brand used by Highfield)?

https://www.highfieldboats.com/classic-310/
For the long run, the O.C. Tenders seem to be the best. They cost twice as much as a Highfield but will probably outlast several of them making them far cheaper over time. Note: they're made in NZ and weigh in the range of a hundred pounds (plus engine) but they'll take pretty much however big a motor you'd want. This is a composite boat so no inflatable tubes to go bad.
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Old 06-02-2020, 11:56   #12
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Re: PVC vs Hypalon in the Tropics?

if you must buy a blow up dinghy get hypalon. PVC is about 3-4 years in the tropics constantly, even with chaps. hypalon about 6-7. i have lived aboard in fiji for 15 years now and have gone to hard dinghy. the coral on the beaches and sand etc cause leaks even in the best of dinghys and trying to find the leaks can drive a man to drink excessively
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Old 06-02-2020, 14:58   #13
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Re: PVC vs Hypalon in the Tropics?

Are you going to be using it every day or just weekends?
Will you deflate and store below decks after use?
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Old 06-02-2020, 15:12   #14
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Re: PVC vs Hypalon in the Tropics?

Hypalon for the tropics without doubt. The new stuff isn't a patch on the genuine old stuff but it won't turn into the gooey mess that PVC eventually will under the hot sun. Chaps are certainly the way to go in either case, but with hypalon you can get by without them.
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Old 06-02-2020, 15:38   #15
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Re: PVC vs Hypalon in the Tropics?

Florida and the Bahamas, 2 years, before the problems begin.
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