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Old 11 May 2005, 10:50   #1
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Seeking your expert advice...

Hi! This is my first visit to these forums and I come in search of your accumulated wisdom and experience... My husband and I live aboard a schooner, currently in Spain, and have a rigid-bottomed inflatable dinghy made by A&B in Venezuela (an Italian-owned company) that has some fairly serious cuts to the hypalon fabric of the underside to the rear of both its' pontoons.

We have been loaned another dinghy, so all is temporarily well, but we can't afford to replace the existing dinghy this year, having just bought and installed a second-hand Neco windlass and invested in a brand new generator. The cruising kitty is somewhat depleted, as you can imagine!

The question we wanted to ask is whether anyone has ever successfully repaired a hypalon dinghy and, if so, how? We don't ever need to deflate the pontoons, in fact would prefer not to have to keep inflating them, so if your solution involves making the pontoons permanently full, don't be afraid to suggest it.

We were going to try filling the pontoons with the sort of foam that is used to insulate walls/lorry tyres in emergencies etc., but a friend tried it with disastrous results so we've rather given up on that idea...

Any advice would be very well received! Thanks for taking the time to read this and thanks, in advance, for any advice you can share. Linnet Woods, Schooner Leopard Normand III
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Old 11 May 2005, 11:46   #2
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Any minute now and you will be bombarded by 54,000 proper experts who will tell you exactly how to repair your rib.
You do not need a new one.
This one needs a little bit of TLC thats all.
By the time you finish the repair it will be better than new.
Nil desparandum !
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Old 11 May 2005, 12:11   #3
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Here's a link that provides an overview of the repair process. http://www.allinflatables.com/support/repairs.html. As you will see, the process can be simple and straightforward, usually requiring only glue and frabric. If you post pictures of the damage on the forum you may get some specific recommendations for the step-by-step repair process for your problem. good luck.....
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Old 11 May 2005, 16:55   #4
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As to experts - over to you Mr Tilley..............

As to "not having a clue" - I once read an article in an old PBO magazine where they filled the tubes with the expanding foam - can't remember exactly how it was done but involved some tricks with a vacuum cleaner blowing out!!!

End result was quite good though!!!
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Old 12 May 2005, 05:54   #5
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Hypalon repairs

See the following link for how to repair cuts in Hypalon


http://www.henshaw.co.uk/default.cfm/loadindex.125
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Old 12 May 2005, 13:37   #6
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But Remember Its Always Better To Patch On The Inside Followed By A Patch On The Outside
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Old 12 May 2005, 14:14   #7
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Treating cuts

Make sure it is hypalon first as some manufacturers use other materials. You have to get the correct glue for the material and apply three coates to each surface after keying with sandpaper.
Even long slashes can be successfully sewn - use a heavy needle and twine- then whilst someones keeping enough air in the tube slap a patch over the whole lot alowing plenty of room aound the rip. Make sure you apply pressure to the patch for a few hours (I've found that an old window blind under tension can be successfully wrapped around.)
Use a pencil line around the patch to keep glue in exactly the correct place.
Its as easy as that! Even whole panels can be replaced.

Best of luck in the sun you lucky dogs!

ROBRIB
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Old 13 May 2005, 06:50   #8
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Any chance of seeing some snaps of the offending area?
I am sure more exact advice will be forthcoming if that were possible.
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Old 13 May 2005, 07:39   #9
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Wow!

You guys are incredible! You've cheered me up no end! I will try and organise a photograph and post it tomorrow morning. A guy from Seattle who was the only person to answer my plea on the only other forum I posted to a motor-boating one (before I discovered RIBnet) has promised to nip in to his local A & B today and ask them which glue and what sort of hypalon to use (assuming there is more than one kind) and let me know what they say, although I bet their advice will be to buy a new one!

I will come back, with or without a photo, tomorrow. Thanks so much for taking the time to consider the problem and post your input. This is a great forum!
Best regards, Linnet
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Old 14 May 2005, 06:45   #10
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Hi again...

Rip Torn in Seattle was as good as his word and supplied me with heaps of information directly from A & B's local dealer and the URL of their website, too - abinflatables.com, where there is more info. I have to sort through it all and, once I have condensed it into the bare essentials, I will be very happy to come back and post it here in case anyone else could use it at any point.

The dealer said that he has heard of attempts to fill the pontoons with various substances but none have worked in the long run - as he put it, "...if anything worked better than air, they would be putting it in there."

A photo of our wounded rib was unobtainable but my husband says that the main problem now isn't the actual patching, since you all gave him enough pointers to ensure that he made a good job of it. What troubles him still is that areas of the pontoon seem to have become porous and, although he has tried painting a waterproof latex paint into the worn areas, air still seems to gradually dissipate through them. He wonders if the glue for patching would be the best thing to apply or whether anyone has had success with any other substance?

I'll leave you to enjoy your weekend and will come back early next week with the upshot of the information from A & B and updates on Robbie's (my husband's) effforts and to see if anyone has come up with a suggestion for something to paint over the porous areas. Incidentally, one thing that I did pick up on, as I was downloading the pages of information to take back to the boat, was that the right glue is, apparently, manufactured in England, so it shouldn't be too hard to get some, what with all the flights in and out at this time of year. Perhaps we'll be able to persuade someone to fly out with a bucket of glue and a bundle of patching material in exchange for a holiday aboard 'Scruff Hall' as we laughingly call our boat at the moment (repairing the rib is amongst the least of our problems!!!).

Anyway, I'll stop rambling and thank everyone again. Happy weekend! Cheers! Linnet
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