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Old 22 June 2005, 08:26   #1
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Retubing in Ireland - Experiences/Tips?

My first post here after lurking for a long time.....

Although I have a 16' dory with a Mariner 70hp I've always wanted a rib since I used to train dive-cox'ns (for my sins!) back in my diving days. So I recently bought a Griffin 5m which is in need of new tubes or of someone who could fabricate and fit replacement end-cones in PU/PVC.

I'd really appreciate any of you posting any information you could offer to the questions below with special reference to Irish suppliers.

1) What length and make you've had retubed
2) How much it cost
3) Hypalon or PU/PVC
4) Was it a standard tube or a custom fab
5) Who did it for you
6) What lead time were you quoted
7) How long did it actually take
8) Would you use them again

and of course any other comments you might care to add - especially anyone out there who has any history on Griffins.

For anyone interested in this I dug out some helpful quotes from these forums related to UK Stg prices:
"Olmec quoted me just over 1600 for my 5.4m Searider.
Olmec did my 7m humber for around 2k
Tornado 5.3 is being re tubed now its about 2K
South East Marine Services in Basildon. Tel no 01268 534427. They are currently retubing my 5.0mtr Tornado in heavy duty Hypalon. Cost is just over 2k
6m ish Chinook RIB A re-tube should be about 2.5k"
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Old 23 June 2005, 08:08   #2
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Try

Ronan Keys in Sligo.

Best tube repair specialist in Ireland.

087 8295088
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Old 23 June 2005, 09:27   #3
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I've never had it done - but Lencraft would do it - do know how competitive they are with Ronana Keys - but they're quite a bit closer to Cork
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Old 23 June 2005, 12:24   #4
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Lencraft actually have the boat but........

Quote:
Originally Posted by lc0021
I've never had it done - but Lencraft would do it - do know how competitive they are with Ronan Keys - but they're quite a bit closer to Cork
Interestingly a friend had his Delta 5.5 done June last year for 3,580 including VAT and 200 of work on his inflatable tender. That boat needed custom made tubes - mine appears to be standard fit. Furnished with a copy of that receipt the best price Lencraft will do my 5metre for is 4,500 (which inlcudes VAT at the higher rate as it's a repair). Jerry of Lencraft explained that although costs like labour etc had gone up some the main increaase is becasue they had been underpricing based on old material stock.

All I can say is that based on these sorts of costs, used RIB buyers should pay a lot of attention to the tubes and it's kinda making me question the long term economics of owning a RIB. Admittedly Hypalon is warranted for 5 years but I could be looking at worst case of a grand a year amortisation of my new tubes or more realistically about 500 per year assuming new tubes every 10 years (and that prices don't escalate 30+% every year!). Hard boats don't incur this sort of expense!

I'm about to trade my trusty dory http://sportboats.apolloduck.ie/display.phtml?aid=28112
against the cost of the retube and getting allowed a lot less than it stands me but want done with it as I'm off for a week to the Scillies tomorrow (the hard way at about 4knots - not rowing actually - sailing!) . After I sell my Suzuki 750 then I'll have paid for the retube. I have to admit my wife has a point about the economics of selling a bike and a boat with engine.........<GRIN>

Thanks Ezgoing for Ronan Keys in Sligo - I had been looking for that number although 087 8295088 seems to be permanently engaged. Last weekend I had a real close look at an Osprey that he'd done a couple of years ago and have to say it was still looking very good.

My thanks also to the other people who emailed and even rang with help and advice. I tried contacting the guys making Excalibur RIBs in Cork to see if they'd undertake a retube ,as one of you helpfully suggested, but without success. Anyone else wanting a try, the reference I have is for Gael Force Ventures - owners Joe Mc Collam and James Beecher.

I'll post how this goes although I have no qualms about the quality and service I'll get from Lencraft.
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Old 08 August 2005, 10:28   #5
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Where to go and approximately how much......

So I got my boat back from Lencraft and it's a nice workmanlike job and was turned around within about three weeks. It did come back with an unrequested apex nose where it originally had a blunt nose but my daughter liked the sleeker look so we'll say no more. Lencraft make their own tubes which gives a lot of flexibility. Price was 4,500 and it was ready for collection when it was supposed to be right in the middle of the Summer. Nice friendly family run business and your contact there is Jerry Lenane at 058 68220 http://www.lencraft.com/ and to answer one of my own questions, yes I would happily use them again.

I also got in contact with Joe Mc Collam of Excalibur who's happy to quuote for retubing on any size of RIB. For my 5m he quoted 3,950 with a lead time of about a month as he has to order the tubes from Henshaws in the UK accounting for about three weeks. You can contact the Excalibur guys here:

www.excaliburribs.com or info@galeforceventures.com

Mobile Nos. 087 2198651 or 087 2196500.

I also spoke to the Irish Ribcraft agents at :
Ribcraft Ireland
South Coast Marine
Ballyorban
Monkstown
Co. Cork

http://www.ribcraft.ie/

Jerry Lynch at 087 259 7855 explained that they get their tubes from Ribcraft UK and they can turn around Ribcraft boat in 2-3 weeks as the tubes are 'off-the-shelf'. They'll happily quote for other makes too. The closest recent job to my 'refence standard' 5m was a 4.8 ribcraft which had quite a few extras like wear patches and extra handles done in under three weeks for 4,300.

Thanks again to those people who contacted me with helpful information and contact details and I hope some of the Irish RIB gang might find this summary helpful.
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Old 08 August 2005, 12:23   #6
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Glad you got it all sorted

Thanks for coming back to us with the result!

John
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Old 27 July 2006, 08:21   #7
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An update.....

A year later I'm in a position to offer the sort of practical experience I was asking for when I started this thread. In fact I owe it to the board to update this thread.

As I said I paid for the retube last July but didn't get to use the boat much last year. However it did seem to need to be pumped quite a bit on the few occasions I did get to launch. I put this down to sunny days, a dark colour tube and pressure-release valves meaning it needed pumping on a cool morning. The nagging feeling there was a problem was compounded by a steady transfer from the bow chamber to the adjacent starboard chamber when pumping.

During the Winter with the boat laid up under cover it became clear there was a problem as all five compartments went completely flat. So I emailed Lencraft and they asked me to bring it in to them whenever I could. As this was going to entail round trips of hundreds of miles I enquired whether as all 5 compartments were going down could this be something that might be fixed by attention to the valves or pressure release valves. Nope - it had to come in but 'we'd only need it for a few days'. So I went to land it in toward the end of May but because of a full work-load it didn't suit them to take it until the start of June. No problem I thought - it's just for a few days - I'll only miss the one weekend.

About 4 weeks later I get the boat back - clearly had I known this time scale they'd have had it for the Winter. This is after I agree to leave it for yet another weekend to ensure it passes pressure testing. It seems a number of leaks were found at the bow joint and elsewhere requiring the removal of the rubbing strake. So I'd lost the month of June but still had July and August to look forward to so I brought it the 130 miles back to the end of West Cork - trust me this is not like main road towing what with potholes, narrow roads and silage harvesters! While it's being fitted out with the full electronics package - DSC VHF, Chart plotter and lights, it became apparent the tubes are not quite firm. I explain this away by two cold nights- literally refusing to believe the tubes could be leaking before even 48 hours have passed since collecting it from the factory and it's not even been off the trailer.

Now let me mention that Lencraft obliged me by allowing me deliver it and collect it from the factory after business hours and also that after I complained about the extended repair period and having to do all the running around the spark plugs and gearbox oil were changed on my engine.

Dj vu! By the weekend it's clear we're losing air faster than ever just days after collecting it after the weekend long pressure test. The good news was it was now only on 3 out of 5 chambers, the bad news now noticeable within hours of pumping.

After making my feelings known about the failed repairs and being unwilling to be without my boat for a further unspecified repair period with no certainty of success we eventually agree a replacement collar is in order and I propose to use my boat as best I can until the new collar is ready for fitting. Lencraft proposed a loaner boat for 4-5 weeks except they want to swap my Mariner 75 to the loaner. I decline and a week later they deliver the loaner - a 4.9 Valiant with VHF and a 70hp Johnson a reasonable if slightly plodding replacement and it deprives me of the use of my new DSC VHF and Chartplotter and auxiliary backup. Although I'll make do I really want to know when I can have my freshly outfitted Griffin back for my holidays however cannot get a commitment. But at least I'm finally going to be on the water albeit past mid-July.

So I take the Valiant out for a shakedown trip in Cork Harbour as it's safe and sheltered with plenty of traffic - ideal for checking out a new boat before using it around Mizzen Head. Sadly the Valiant is completely temperamental with the battery going flat trying to restart it after it cuts out going into gear just off the trailer. After jump-starting it cuts again a number of times but worst is sudden death at cruise and refuses to start creating a Pan-Pan situation as we drift on to a rocky lee-shore. As we're arranging recovery it starts with the last gasp of the battery and gets us home but continues to cut frequently when selecting gear. None of the obvious stuff was at play - e.g. low petrol, kill cord, breather, kinked hose, etc.

I call Lencraft the next day who were surprised as they'd tested the boat on the water for an hour with no problems. The only option offered was for them to take the Valiant away and transfer my Mariner to it for the next four weeks or so. I declined as I feel this is a recipe for complications so I just ask them to take the Valiant away as it's no use to me in its present form and to get my Griffin back to me as soon as possible. Lencraft will not make a commitment to even the nearest week on returning it as they claimed that's what caused problems with being hurried about repairing it last time.

So in summary Lencraft are a nice bunch of people to deal with if difficult to get on the phone and appear to be doing their best to sort me out with a new collar after having problems with the first set and then being unable to repair them. This problem set of tubes I'm sure is a first for them. However July is just about over with no boat for the whole season thus far and no prospect of when I'll actually get it back. I suppose I'm wondering what the collective wisdom here is on what my expectations should have been or indeed what I should have done or be doing to avoid being without a boat for most of the season? I will of course update with how this eventually works out.
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Old 27 July 2006, 14:52   #8
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Jeez, I was getting frustrated just reading your post.

What a nonsense. It'll be interesting to see whether it is, indeed, a one off problem.
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Old 29 July 2006, 07:50   #9
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Thanks for all those posts. Unfortunately there is very little choice in Ireland. I'm currently an ex-Ribber. I sold my lencraft 5.75m about 8 weeks ago and bought a sports cuddy.

I would not buy a Lencraft for the following reasons.
* Eventhough Lencraft stated the boat could take upto a 90HP, with a Yam 75HP 2Stroke, it was too light at the bow (It would bounce even when engine was trimmed fully down) and the torque steer was unreal - The hull was simply too light

* Cracks appeared at the transom in 2003 (Boat built in 1999, didnt get use until 2001)

* Cracks appeared at the bow (Looking at the bow, like an upside down V where the port and starboard side join up to the nose) in 2004

* The colour layer of the tubes started to wear away in 2004. This didnt bother me too much, but it made selling it a hassle as people thought that the tubes were going to leak (Eventhough it was only cosmetic)

* The mounting of the console/jockey seats were dire. They were just screwed down on the outside with self tappers. They started to crack etc

* The floor's top layer started to peel away in 2004, leaving exposed fibreglass resin

* The general bailing engineering was awful. There were, what I would call 'transom supports' each side of the transom. There was only 1 elephant trunk, so water got caught in the middle, and far side of the 'supports'

I really hope that Lencraft have improved their engineering of boats in the past few years, I wouldn't buy a Lencraft again. Just my experience
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Old 29 July 2006, 15:34   #10
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Hope this is helpful. Used to be a manufacturing Enginer in the inflatables defense industry. Lifejackets, parachutes, airbags etc. Neoprene based raw fabric( Hypalon, on the roll) has a shelf life of 2 years. After that the surface hardens and needs different priming procedures to get a good joint. We had to condem old stuff and use it only for prototyping not production. So ask your supplier for the lot number/shipping date of the material. Last, but not least: there is no excuse for leakage on a new set of tubes. They should have been tested after assembly and before delivery. and a test report available for each chamber. Typical procedure is to inflate to working pressure + 30% with a calibrated pressure gauge T-ed off the valve, supply shut off, and left in place for 24hours. Pressure change should not be noticable providing constant temp. was maintained. This is so easy to do and costs nothing. Always ask for a pressure test report for each chamber, signed by the QA guy. If they won't supply a test report then go somewhere else. I am sure Paul Tilley knows all this.

Regards, Tony
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