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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 03-18-2009
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Protecting PVC Dinghy?

The fit-out of Jendai, our 2008 Beneteau 343 continues. Latest addition...bought a West Marine Compact RIB 310 dink.

Yes, yes...thou shalt never buy a PVC dink. But I couldn't resist. One of those craigslist deals that was too good to pass up. For $1400, I was able to secure a 2005 West Marine Compact RIB *WITH* a 5 HP Mercury. These are the models of West Marine RIBs made by Zodiac, not their current private label made by some cheap sweatshop out of Shenzhen China. That in itself isn't the deal though...

The best part of this whole deal, they had in the past 4 years *NEVER BEEN USED*. Not a once! The guy bought them, had them in his garage for years and never even assembled the two together! The engine still had the protective plastic film on the cowling and the RIB was still in the protective bag!

Anyway, this fits our cruising well, its a RIB...the boat and engine are "light" (48 lbs for outboard, ~100 lbs for the dink), but I've heard that PVC is not the best for UV. Thinking of inflating and using 303 Aerospace protectant for UV protection.

The question is as follows:

  1. Are their better methods of protecting the PVC fabric from UV and other degrading factors
  2. What can we use to hoist the dinghy onto the foredeck. I've realized that with my bum back, even 100 lbs is too much to lift and carry around
  3. What is the best system for towing the dink? I see several bridles on the web, are they worth it to get the floating line or just some spare line is good enough?
  4. Any other general recommendations on care/feeding of a PVC RIB?
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Old 03-18-2009
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A dinghy cover will go a long way to helping protect the dinghy from UV damage. So would Dinghy Chaps..

You can usually use one of the halyards to lift the dinghy. You may need to add a lifting harness to it though.

Just buy a decent length of floating line to make a bridle with. Make sure it is floating line, which reduces the chances of a prop wrap when you accidentally back down on the dinghy.

Rinse the sand out of the dinghy as often as possible. Sand can wear holes in the fabric pretty quickly.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by night0wl View Post
The fit-out of Jendai, our 2008 Beneteau 343 continues. Latest addition...bought a West Marine Compact RIB 310 dink.

Yes, yes...thou shalt never buy a PVC dink. But I couldn't resist. One of those craigslist deals that was too good to pass up. For $1400, I was able to secure a 2005 West Marine Compact RIB *WITH* a 5 HP Mercury. These are the models of West Marine RIBs made by Zodiac, not their current private label made by some cheap sweatshop out of Shenzhen China. That in itself isn't the deal though...

The best part of this whole deal, they had in the past 4 years *NEVER BEEN USED*. Not a once! The guy bought them, had them in his garage for years and never even assembled the two together! The engine still had the protective plastic film on the cowling and the RIB was still in the protective bag!

Anyway, this fits our cruising well, its a RIB...the boat and engine are "light" (48 lbs for outboard, ~100 lbs for the dink), but I've heard that PVC is not the best for UV. Thinking of inflating and using 303 Aerospace protectant for UV protection.

The question is as follows:

  1. Are their better methods of protecting the PVC fabric from UV and other degrading factors
  2. What can we use to hoist the dinghy onto the foredeck. I've realized that with my bum back, even 100 lbs is too much to lift and carry around
  3. What is the best system for towing the dink? I see several bridles on the web, are they worth it to get the floating line or just some spare line is good enough?
  4. Any other general recommendations on care/feeding of a PVC RIB?
I hope you have good luck with it, but my Zodiac PVC roll up is at the inflatateable store to be repaired. Over the winter the starboard tube just stopped holding air. It was fine last year.

Now the scary part is, that while I was dropping the dink off to be checked out, the repair guy asked if the floor was falling out. He said they stopped carrying Zodiac's recreational line, because the glue gave up and the floor fell out after about 5 years, use or no use. My dink is a little used e-bay deal that looks nearly brand new but is at the age the guy mentioned where problems started to appear. As it happens, I had just noticed a section of floor that had come loose, but not completely separated, while packing the boat to take to the shop. The guys comment before ever laying eyes on the boat does not inspire confidence that I will be using this dink far into the future. It seems that Zodiac is apparently is selling an inferior recreational line trading on the name and reputation of their higher end commercial/military stuff, much like John Deere, sells cheesy lawn tractors through Home Depot trading on the reputation of their heavy duty equipment. I won't be buying another Zodiac.

I hope it will be a reasonable repair on the dink I have, but I don't want to throw good money after bad. Defender's warehouse sale is looming, so if the news is bad, I'll probably find myself buying an Achilles Hypalon dink.

I don't know how it would work with a RIB, but I haul my dink up tight against the stern when towing so the bow is lifted and only the rear 2/3rds are in the water. I've found it works fine in fair weather and better in rough. We had the dingy flip once last year but becasue the boat was up close were able to right it from the cockpit with some muscle. I've heard of people having to cut the dink away when it flipped while towing some distance behind the boat.

For lifting, I recommend a trick picked up from an older cruising couple at our marina assuming you have a windlass. They attach a block the spin halyard and lead a line through the block to the windlass. Raise the halyard to position the block about 10-12 feet above deck height and attach the running end to your dink's lift harness, then use the windlass to lift the boat to the deck. Works pretty neat and the two of them get their RIB on the foredeck with little strain to eithers back,

Good Luck.
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Last edited by PalmettoSailor; 03-18-2009 at 08:13 AM.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midlifesailor View Post
For lifting, I recommend a trick picked up from an older cruising couple at our marina assuming you have a windlass. They attach a block the spin halyard and lead a line through the block to the windlass. Raise the halyard to position the block about 10-12 feet above deck height and attach the running end to your dink's lift harness, then use the windlass to lift the boat to the deck. Works pretty neat and the two of them get their RIB on the foredeck with little strain to eithers back,

Good Luck.
Wouldn't have thought about that trick, thats just great! I do have a Windlass, but I leave my anchor chain on it most of the time. What type/strength of block are they using for this purpose?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by night0wl View Post
Wouldn't have thought about that trick, thats just great! I do have a Windlass, but I leave my anchor chain on it most of the time. What type/strength of block are they using for this purpose?
They are using a fair sized snatch block, perhaps from their spinniker tack, but this would not be a high load application. From a SWL perspective a tiny 30mm control block would do, but since you'll want a fair sized line for hand and windlass grip, a bigger block would be needed just to accomodate the line.

You'd only be putting at most a couple of hundred pounds on this setup and those toy looking control blocks have breaking strengths approaching 1000 lbs.

Good Luck!

I got word on my dingy that they found and fixed a leak but there is evidence my floor is coming out. I'll drop the bucks for the patch which they said should be me through this season, but it looks like I'll be shopping for a new dingy.
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What about 303 Aerospace protectant...anyone use it or have experience with it on a PVC dinghy?
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303 will work, to some degree.

I would seriously look at dingy chaps. These are covers, typically made out of sunbrella or other outdoor material. They are designed to cover the tubes almost completely. That will sure cut down on UV!

As for the potential for separation from the RIB floor, if it happens, glue it back together! I've heard 5200 will work great. Of course it will never come off, but...

Are you taking the engine off before lifting to the fordeck? You can get a dingy engine crane mounted on the stern corner that will lift the dink engine, then you secure it to the rail. THEN, you hoist the dink, or tow it.

Whatever you do, try to avoid towing with the engine attached. Even in calm conditions, you could get waked. Flipping the dink is one thing, loosing the engine is a rather bigger deal!
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This might be a solution....

I came across this a few years ago. It's called DinghyTow and, yes, there's a web site. Essentially, it enables one to hoist a dinghy's transom up to stern rail height; sort of a semi-davit system. You end up dragging your dinghy backwards but with only the bow still floating. Advantages: it eliminates the hassles and clutter of putting your dinghy on deck; if your dinghy has an o/b it would be high and dry; it eliminates painters to foul your mother ship's prop; the dinghy remains in position and, thus, under control; finally, if the dinghy ships any water it will only be as much as the bow can hold.

Now, I can't say if this is a good solution for passagemaking. It certainly does permit many coastal cruisers to have a larger dinghy and greater convenience. It probably costs about the same as one appointment with a chiropractor. I'll probably try to make a facsimile rather than buy the actual product but, before I do, I'd like to get other opinions. Obviously, I have no financial interest in the company.

Michael
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Old 03-18-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by night0wl View Post
  1. Are their better methods of protecting the PVC fabric from UV and other degrading factors.

You can glue a hypalon over it.. As others have said a cover is best. I have not seen 303 save or make any PVC rib actually last longer than one without. Not saying it is not a good product, it is, but PVC is PVC and the life span is just shorter..

I had a Zodiac 310 that I bought in 1997. I 303'd the thing weekly and the fabric still only lasted me 4.5 years before the tubes got sticky and I'm only in Maine.

My hypalon AB looks like brand new and it's 7 years old..
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