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Old 12 May 2014, 17:05   #1
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Inflation/Deflation - Elevation (Norcal)

Hello. So, I'm hoping to get some feedback from anyone in CA that takes their ribs up into the Sierra Nevada mountains. Or, anyone that might be able to shed some light.

I'll be traveling mainly from the East Bay area up to Tahoe on occasion along with a lot of the lakes in desolate wilderness. I know it's important that I pay attention to the pressure and make sure to let pressure out before going up in elevation and then stop and put some in on the way back. What I'm not sure about is how much to let out (and for you CA folk) where the best place to do it would be. Someone told me its bad to have the boat under pressurized so I want to make sure I do this right. Is there perhaps some sort of elevation/pressure guide I could refer to?

Thanks for any help.
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Old 12 May 2014, 17:16   #2
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I'll assume this is a RIB on a trailer...
Just leave it under pressurized on the trailer. The fabric is way too thick to flap around. The risk of bursting it is very significant driving up to someplace like Tahoe.

Its bad to use it under pressurized, storage doesn't matter and it could be completely deflated for months or years with no issues (except mice).
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Old 12 May 2014, 22:04   #3
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Is your transom supported by the trailer? Do you have an extra motor support? Which motor do you have? I would assume since you said Tahoe it is a heavier 4 stroke (I wish I had a 4 stroke "most" of the time).

Also how do you strap the boat to the trailer? These all come into play with running very low pressures on the hull as you start up thru Auburn. You could pull over somewhere around 4,500ft and check your pressures quickly. A pressure gauge is critical to the boats performance, and it only takes a minute. Although I would probably just squeeze the tubes and guess for a 1/2 pound or so.

Now that your boat is running have you toured the SF Bay?
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Old 12 May 2014, 23:12   #4
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I did it last year and it's not so bad. I think I let air out the first time at auburn. I let air out two more times I think. If i do it again I'll bring a pressure gauge and figure out altitudes and pressures. I'm ridiculously conservative/scared about anything going wrong. There are a couple on/off ramps that don't get used much that you can pull off and on the highway in a straight shot.

Also it's not as big an impact but it gets hot out there.

Same coming down, that's not so bad as it just gets to the point the fabric is flapping around a lot or reaching down towards tires. There was a convenient rest stop going down.

Your boat has to be inspected at an inspection station and it's not a quick rubber stamp. They are thorough but that's ok with me. It's such an amazing lake I'd even support banning all outside boats but I'm getting off track. The wait times can be long if they are busy.

There are surprisingly few launch ramps up north. We go up for the Trans-Tahoe swim and that starts at sand harbor just below incline village. That's the best ramp up north. South lake probably has a bunch but I haven't spent a lot if time there

Jason
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Old 13 May 2014, 01:23   #5
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I have a 40hp mercury, trailered, with a motor support (I assume you mean that bracket that holds it up while towing). The transom is fully supported by the trailer.

Jason, thanks for the tips towing up there, that's what I was hoping for in regard to spots on the way you've found works well to stop. I just ordered a pressure gauge. Lots to learn!
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Old 13 May 2014, 01:24   #6
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Thanks too Peter
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Old 13 May 2014, 02:53   #7
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No issues towing it with low tube pressures since the heavy part, the motor, is fully supported.

Tahoe does require the mussel inspection and they will want a DRY bilge, or a thorough cleaning. I believe there was a $50 or more fee associated with bringing a boat to Tahoe. Most likely you will have to remove your floor to show them underneath. An easy way to re-inflate might be in order.

Fallen Leaf lake cleaned our kayaks with a steam cleaner for free, and they hadn't been in the water for months (Totally dry).
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Old 13 May 2014, 10:32   #8
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Wow, I didn't realize Tahoe was such a long story. But, obviously in good reason. I'm likely going to stick more to the other lakes up north from me near the base of the Sierra's. Heading to Bullards Bar for a boat in memorial weekend camp trip. Hoping water level is OK(ish)...
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Old 13 May 2014, 11:25   #9
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Funny thing about those mussel inspections, if the last waterbody you had the boat in was marine they look at you funny and have no idea how that could be. It felt like I was the only person to ever take a boat from Seattle to Yellowstone. IIRC I had to stop 3 times, once in eastern WA, once in ID and again in Yellowstone itself.

Lots of inflating and deflating on this trip (sea level to 6500 ft back down to 1500 then up to 8800ft again, then reverse). So much that inflating and deflating that I put in transom U bolts to avoid having a strap over the tubes ever again. The fabric never flapped but the tie-down strap would get loose on descents.
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Old 13 May 2014, 11:46   #10
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In regard to monitoring the pressure, I've been considering buying a screw on gauge but the only one I can find is online here: Screw Cap Pressure Gage

Problem is it's going to cost me like $60+ which seems expensive. I'm sure its [well] worth it but can anyone recommend anything else?

Also, captnjack, I'd be curious to see photos of what you did with those Ubolts.
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