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Old 10 May 2010, 19:01   #1
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Country: Canada
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Boat name: Ouisey
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New Futura MK III Owner - Transom Cracks/Chips

Hi All,

Long time listener, first time caller here.

Been lurking around this forum for a few months reading as many posts as I could while trying to decide what type of boat to get. Finally decided on a SIB in large part because of all the happy owners here. I am now the proud new owner of a Zodiac Futura S Mark III.

The boat is a 1998 4.7m Futura with a 1998 Mercury 40HP engine. The previous owner had not used it much in the last few years and wanted to get rid of it. It seems to be in great shape as it was stored inside and in a cooler climate (Minnesota). The only thing that I am concerned about is there appears to be some cracking or chipping in the transom coating. I don't believe it is actually the transom that is cracking but wanted to get some opinions from the experts.

Any thoughts on if I can just cover over these cracks/chips with a sealant or an epoxy?

Cheers,

Manitoban
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Old 10 May 2010, 20:12   #2
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I can imagine that those cracks in the coating might actually be from separations in the transom itself, particularly considering the unusual A frame attachment. It appears that the front A frame bars attach to the transom in just one spot at the top of the transom with one bolt. Even with the rear bent tube lower support you will get some serious torque and flex at that top attachment point under load. I wouldn't personally install an A frame like that. Even if those leading downtubes extended farther and spread the stress I would be skeptical of such an install on a Futura without reinforcement. If the cracking isn't too severe I would see if I could flex the cracks open a little by pulling on the A frame, try to work epoxy resin into the openings and then seal off the top. Remove the A frame altogether and then run some bolts through the damaged transom section to pull tight and hold the layers together. If I added an A frame it would have to be bolted to the aluminum floor inside the boat (but thats just my opinion). If you really want to leave the A frame installed like that then those attachment points should have aluminum plates that run all the way down to the lower bolts to keep the transom from being flexed unevenly.

Those PVC futuras definitely hold together longer when living in colder climates. Considering the age of the zodiac it might be worth doing a bathtub test (fill it with a couple of inches of water) to see if there are any leaks.
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Old 10 May 2010, 20:48   #3
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Country: Canada
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Hi Kelson,

Thanks for your reply. I have enjoyed reading your various posts and look forward to using some of your modifications on my boat, mainly the tractor seats and smart tabs.

It is only using one bolt at the top and the bottom. The A frame is actually a light bar that the previous owner had installed. Apparently his kids saw the local police zodiac with a light bar and pressured him into getting it. They did not use it for any kind of skiing or towing, there are seperate bolts for that. It was installed by Great American Marine of Minneapolis which is the local dealer he purchased from. It looks like they did a proper job as I can see the sealant trail from the bolts.

I rocked the bar and was not able to get the cracks to flex so I picked off paint (?) or whatever it is and there is no crack. However I am worried that the coating is likely failing all over the transom as it came off very easily. I want to make sure the wood is protected properly so this thing doesn't start to rot (assuming it is currently ok).

Should I pick it all off where it easily comes off and then cover with epoxy resin? What should I seal it with?

Thanks.
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Old 11 May 2010, 00:03   #4
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Hi & welcome, (fellow) Manitoban!

While it is possible that the weight of the A frame & light bar may have damaged the structure of the transom, the futuras do have a pretty substantial transom, and it probably is ok. Just the same, the A frame is probably not doing the transom any favours with the way it is mounted. Once we get some dryer weather, I'll be re-coating my floorboards and the top of my transom with a 2 part sealant that I had picked up at Cargo East Marine on Marion Street. I think the sealant might work well for you transom as well. Feel free to send me a PM if you'd like me to give you a hand with anything.
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Old 11 May 2010, 10:20   #5
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Country: Canada
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Thanks for that offer Prairie Tuber! Nice to meet another prairie person that enjoys inflatables. I grew up on the West Coast in Victoria/Vancouver where RIBS and SIBS are very popular. I took a lot of abuse from my prairie friends who couldn't understand the logic in buying a Zodiac!

That sealant sounds like a good solution as I also need to re-coat my floorboards. What is the product called? I will try to pick some up today.
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Old 11 May 2010, 11:33   #6
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That there is no cracking or separation in the transom layers is great. I still wonder if the transom isn't flexing with the stress and that this is leading to the cracking and delamination of the coating. I'm still leary of the long light bar and the leverage it applies to the transom, but I'm sure you will keep an eye on it.

That plastic transom coating is pretty tough and durable. I don't know of a similar product that you can easily apply by hand. But I have used One Part Polyurethane Enamel (along with the proper primer) to seal and protect exposed transom surfaces, custom bench seats and my front floor boards. Enamels like this are intended for above the water line use, but I have had no problem with using it on my transom (the boat does not reside in the water continuously). Polyurethane enamels dry to a very hard and tough finish. Two part enamels are even more durable. They are highly resistant to solvents and chemicals. Two coats are recommended. The result is very scuff and abrasion resistant. I'm not sure that I would remove all of the transom coating if possible. My transom was bare wood underneath most of the glued fabric areas (I've had it off completely), but the glued fabric did extend just over the lower edges of the coated transom surfaces. If you try to remove the coating all of the way you may need to reglue the edges of the fabric to the transom. If the coating isn't all delaminating off I would try to just remove the sections that are not adhered well and seal them. One part polyurethane enamel is expensive! One quart from West Marine ran me $35. Good luck. Hopefully you will find that most of the coating is still well bonded.
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Old 11 May 2010, 11:46   #7
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My Bombard had a similar cracking/delamination issue. I suspect the transom material is the same - plywood. I dried mine out in the garage. Then I injected some epoxy into the cracks with a syringe to halt further delamination and the boat last 10 more years until I sold it. Epoxy is not very UV resistant, but since I stored mine inside here in Seattle I didn't worry about that.
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Old 11 May 2010, 18:02   #8
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Hi Manitoban

Great to see another SIBber join in, the fact that he's a Futura-man....even better! ;-)

To add to the comments you've already received, I wouldn't be too worried about the chips in the transom coating.

My boat has similar chips, in exactly the same place as yours, and I haven't got an A frame fitted......yet. Still working on building my fibreglass version. There's no delamination of the ply on mine either.


Like you, I plan to address the chips this season. I'm already settled on lightly glassing the chipped bits, a fine DA'ing of the whole thing for a good key, and doing a 2k respray in semi matt. It's certainly not a big job.......probably why I haven't got around to actually doing it. :-)


I think that the original coating on the transom goes ever so slightly brittle after time, and being the top of the transom is prone to taking the odd knock or two.


Wayne
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Old 11 May 2010, 21:57   #9
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Country: Canada
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Thanks for all the responses guys. I bought some epoxy resin as well as some polyurethane enamel!

Not sure what I am going to use yet but I know I will need it all eventually as the floorboards and the benches need work. Spraying a semi matte sounds like a nice way to blend it in if going the epoxy route.
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