Inflatable boat restoration...

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by Hard Rock, Nov 10, 2003.

  1. JJ

    JJ Guest

    P.S. and I don't mean to doubt you Windy and I do appreciate seeing the examples... it runs counter to my expectations though.
     
  2. Windy
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    Windy Junior Member

    glassing a soft bottom

    When you go with this procedure the bottom is ( in the time it takes to deflate the tubes and pull the engine ) removable. You can do additional mods as you see fit such as; rework the fibreglass shell for increased performance, glue the inflatable bottom directly to the shell or add hypalon strips along the sides to secure the shell to the tubes. The 2 most important aspects are, a strong hypalon pocket in the nose to secure the front portion of the shell to the boat, plus the vertical section of the shell that connects to the transom. The later should be constructed with a fair amount of strength because this is what really makes the whole thing work. Start simple, if problems arise, fix them. This is a boat not an aircraft, you do get a second, third and fourth chance to get it just right. Half the fun is in trying something a little different, as long as it is safe and not too expensive. Give it a try with a 9 to 15 footer, enjoy!!!
     
  3. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    How do you get second and third chances if the bottom shell cuts the tubes? I don't understand how the hard shell stays in place. What happens when you pound at 25 knots? Also, you say you can add Hypalon strips. How and where do you attach them to? Do you have photos of a finished job?
     
  4. Windy
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    Windy Junior Member

    A hard time for old softy

    Why would the shell cut the tubes? Won't happen. The shell is firmly secured at the bow and transom.
    Pound at 25 knots? I would slow down, this is not a deep V hull. Every boat has its comfort level.
    Actually I said I wouldn't seal the shell edge to the tube by gluing an overlapping strip but you could if you are worried about a little water between the shell and hypalon bottom. You create a lot more problems than solved by doing this. Plus you've gone from only having to glue one nose pocket for the shell to having to prep, cut and glue hypalon along the entire shell edge. This procedure would be too difficult for a first timer with inflatables. I promise to take lots of photos next time!!! Will see if I can find some type of pics to help explain though.
     
  5. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    What's the advantage of a hard bottom at slower speeds? I can think of a lot of drawbacks. For example, it can't be rolled up and stowed away. Another disadvantage would be that it would hit hard when beaching it in the surf, the intended use of the boat.
     
  6. Windy
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    Windy Junior Member

    Adding a glass shell to an old soft bottom inflatable gives it new life and will actually prolong the life of the boat. Many of these old boats are on their last leg and end up spending more time being repaired than on the water. "That's why most are for sale to begin with!" If you can pick one up for a few hundred bucks, retro fit it with a shell and get it on the water you are on your way discovering the satisfaction that comes from building something that never was and many believe should never be.The glass bottom goes along way towards protecting the soft bottom against debris in the water or hard beaching. The boat is faster with the shell than without and as far as pounding goes it is a matter of crew tolerance not boat strength. It will not break but if fractures appear in the shell it is a fast easy fix. The inflatable boat can still be rolled and stowed but yes you would be stuck with a shell that won't exactly fit in your locker! To transport the boat over land you will need a trailer. As far as I'm concerned a 20' soft bottom boat with a 30 or 40hp. motor is not easily handled on land by one person, you are dealing with about 300 lbs. When you look at it from this point the shell and trailer option makes the boat more manageable in many situations. Personally I would never buy a soft bottom inflatable with a LOA that exceeds 15 feet. 15 feet or less can be handled in any situation by one person.

    If you stay with a smaller soft bottom, under 15 feet you can actually add running plates under the tube sides for much improved performance. This is easier to do and cheaper than the shell plus the boat can still be stowed or hauled around in a pickup or car. The inflatable has to be in good overall condition to begin with. :idea: :idea: :idea:
     
  7. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    How does it prolong the life of the boat? If the tubes are falling apart at the seams the bottom wouldn't make any difference.
     
  8. Brandon
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    Brandon Junior Member

    Windy, what exactly do you mean by "running plates"? I have a small 10ft inflatable that I just want to mess with and make faster...I have been thinking about getting a large block of closed cell foam and using that under the floor to give rigidity and strength...kind of like Zodiac's new system whereby they retrofit the inflatable collar with closed cell foam and then a small inflatable tube in the center to expand the foam just enough to make everything really tight and rigid.

    Gonzo, is there something you might suggest to HardRock (other than throw the boat away) to still have a bit of fun with his new(old) toy?

    I do agree with you though Gonzo that when you start making things rigid that were not meant to be you start causing the "standard" stress paths to take alternate routes thereby causing things to fail that one might not originally expect. As well it seems as though by simply making an unreinfoced shell attached to a transom on is in essence constructing a simply supported cantilever (composite-and probably non-uniform) beam with a significant bending moment applied in a very "impact" oriented manner thereby causing a significant fatigue loading situation which in the case of composites can cause catastrophic failures at very unpredictable/inoportune times.
    So I guess my point is Hardrock, be careful...in the old time motorsports days guys just did what they did and paid the price for mistakes or underdesigning...but they still had their fun.

    Cheers, Brandon.
     
  9. Hard Rock
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    Hard Rock New Member

    Thanks guys...

    I've been away for a while and just got back to reading this...

    the tubes are in good shape. I've got a rubberized paint on the way that is highly recommended for adding durability to the boat like I want. Now, if I understand this right, I don't have to pull the inflation panels in the floor. The problem I have is that one of the ribs in the floor seperated leaving a large raised area along one side of the floor area.

    I have a trailer for this boat and it will remain inflated once I get the floor issue solved. I hope to have some pics on my site in the near future.

    Mike
     
  10. wet-foot
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    wet-foot Senior Member

    Bulge in floor

    I wonder if you could open up the floor and install a piece of drop stich hypalon and glue it all back up to fix the problem area?
     
  11. Hard Rock
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    Hard Rock New Member

    Thought about that and I may end up doing that.

    Mike
     
  12. wet-foot
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    wet-foot Senior Member

    Good Luck!!!!!!!
     
  13. Juan Ja
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    Juan Ja New Member

    How to joint the tube with the floor

    Hi:

    I have a Zodiac model 0310 of 1991. I need to know where I can get the part necesaries for joint tha tube with the fiberglass floor? How to joint it? Can I use tilex for cleaning the tube?

    Thank
    Juan Ja
     
  14. wet-foot
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    wet-foot Senior Member

    inflatable boat repair

    use this link to connect with a top notch inflatable repair company ...... they specialize in Zodiac.
     

  15. wet-foot
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    wet-foot Senior Member

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