How long will a polyethylene boat last ? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-10-2007 Thread Starter
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How long will a polyethylene boat last ?

Hello,

I'm thinking about perhaps purchasing an 8 yr old polyethylene Windrider 16 (just thinking, because I like multihulls but it's not exactly cartoppable - a snark might be more practical in that sense).

Beyond having a trailer sitting in my yard killing the lawn, my other concern is that they're made of polyethylene. What's the expected lifetime of a polyethylene hull? What do you check for to see if it's still in good shape?

Thanks,

Pat
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post #2 of 12 Old 12-10-2007
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I think sunlight makes it fade and become brittle. I'd ck for deformation on any points of support on the trailer.

Denise, Bristol PA, Oday 30. On Tidal Delaware River, Anchor Yacht Club.
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post #3 of 12 Old 12-10-2007
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I wss in the watersports business int the islands for about 5 years,
stay away from the Snark...........very vulnerable to breakage.
Poly will last for long time, look for brittle topsides, give some thought to
a catamaran. Hobie make a great polyprop one. More fun for sailing, car topable just possible, or small trailer would be better.
we had 4 on the beach and everyone loved them
regards
Chris
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post #4 of 12 Old 12-10-2007 Thread Starter
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Do you mean the Hobie Bravo ?

I rented one of those this past summer for a few hours, it was fun. I definitely wouldn't try to put it on top of my car, too heavy for that.

Or is there a smaller lighter Hobie ?

Last edited by LookingForCruiser; 12-10-2007 at 07:29 PM.
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post #5 of 12 Old 12-11-2007
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No I ment the Hobie Wave, I can't post the web site yetbut it's still made, it's polyprop, and very big now in the watersport of the world, so much better than the old Sunfish
Yours Aye
Chris
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post #6 of 12 Old 12-11-2007
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Here's the link Chris could not post yet
http://www.hobiecat.com/sailing/models_wave.html

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post #7 of 12 Old 12-11-2007
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If it is the WindRider Rave (Hydrofoil) and you can get a good price I'd say snap it up! Before someone else does!
I have seen videos on it that make me wish. I believe it came onto market @ 10K new and could beat a speed boat in a good wind. A wet wild ride that is for certain, but it sure looks like fun. As for sun damage, they do not appear to be the type of boat one would leave out in the elements year around but rather garage kept and only used seasonally at least in northern climes. Depends on who the owner is and how much it was used and how well it was kept, ask some questions.
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post #8 of 12 Old 01-23-2009
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Windrider uses super-linear polyethylene for its products. The result is improvements in impact, stiffness, hardness and heat distortion temperature. Together with a special UV pigment system, the material will not suffer much , if at all, from the radiation of the sun. They also recommend applying 303 Aerospace Protectant (made by 303 Industries, Inc.) to all exterior polyethylene surfaces about every 6 months. The 303 stuff makes the hull shiny and slick. I have a Windrider, and I keep it out of the sun when not in use, but a lot of people kept theirs out in the sun year round and I haven't heard of any issues of hull damage from the sun.
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post #9 of 12 Old 01-23-2009
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My first sailboat was an Escape. It had a rotomolded hull (thinner than that on the hobie cats). It was a fun little boat, but eventually cracked at one of the seams. I had it plastic welded several times, but it kept cracking. I would be careful with any plastic hull. While they can be repaired, it is just not the same as a fiberglass repair. Generally they are very durable, but once broken they generally are never the same again.
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-23-2009
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A good friend of mine had a poly kayak, lasted a while. He always kept it covered.
another friend had the same exact kayak fall apart after a few years, but he pretty much left it on the beach all summer.

I bought that kayak for $20usd, then spent three years experimenting to find a satisfactory method of fixing it, NEVER found a way that lasted more than a single 6 hour trip down the Muskegon river

Maybe uv treatments have improved since then, but it's something I'd personally stay away from.

Poly gas tanks on dirt bikes are pretty common, but if they start leaking they are trashed because it is extremely hard to repair them. Nothing seems to stick. Glues fail,(it's made to be slick after all) and since many of the volatiles have been baked out even a scrap from the original material won't 'weld' perfectly to it

Sunshine kills poly, and poly is very hard to repair, so basically, if it's supposed to be a bright color and instead it's a pastel, walk away quickly because everything that makes poly nice has been baked out.

A milk jug will last at most about 2 years in the sun before it crumbles with a touch.

Maybe a paint applied at time of manufacture would increase it's life span.


Ken.

edit: Honesty compels me to say, I do NOT like plastic, (kayak experience, along with a few others) so interpret the preceding with that in mind

Last edited by merc2dogs; 01-23-2009 at 01:41 AM.
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