Monday, October 29, 2018
While cruising the web for info on an older Hatteras yacht info I found out Hatteras built a 65′ sail boat (almost a motor sailor less pilothouse.) Reviewing a bit further on the web it looks like they don’t sail all that well, which looking at the underbody makes sense but man that thing has a ton of room down below. Check out the link Here.
Thursday, October 25, 2018
1993 VW Golf the first car to truly test my AAA member ship.
That’s not to say I never used the membership before (broke key off in a plymouth voyager had my girlfriends car towed due to a mysterious wiring problem) but the VW actually required AAA on 3 separate occasions for a tow. But first lets get into why I put up with this mess.
I bought the car when it was about 15 years old and drove it for about 3 years. Once I got rid of an intermittent skip due due to a bad ground I was in love with the car. It flew around corners and it had that very special VW feel that only VW people seem to understand. Jeremy Clarkson would say it was German and did what a German car should. The 2.0 (2.slow) is an odd little 4 cylinder, it the other 4 cylinders I had driven before this car revving was the answer to your power problems, but in the 2.0 this has little effect running past 4,500 rpm seems to do little to increase your velocity. But this engine does have something that is usually lacking torque. The little 2.0 will drag the car filled with you beer swilling buddies with little effort at 2,500 rpm all day and see perfectly content doing so.
Which brings us to the transmission, my car had the 5 speed which had fairly close ratios and a good feel for an economy car. the issue was that the ratios were really mismatched to the engines torque. Around town they gave you good power but requires quite a bit of shifting to keep the engine happy. The real problem is on the highway, where I was constantly wishing for a 6th gear. The engine would be running around 3,200 rpm at 65 which is just annoying when you have a way to go and are used to running at 70.
The interior space was one of the reasons I bought the car. I’m 6’3″ and found the seat with it;s manual height adjustment to be very comfortable for myself even though the car had a sunroof cutting in on the headroom. I could also throw my son in the back with ease and still have space under the hatch for a weeks worth of groceries. With the seats folded I manged to fit my outboard motor test tank made from a 55 gallon drum inside. The little storage nooks and controls were all well laid out for a car of this era.
Then there is AAA the first issue I had was with the car overheating, This was an interesting problem. The car ended up overheating on the highway on my way home one day piercing the upper engine cooling neck with steam in the process since I had no way to patch it on the highway we have call 1 to AAA. It turns out that this was an issue with how my car was optioned (manual trans A/C power steering. ) when ordered in this way the Water pump is driven off a small belt along with the P/S pump instead of off the main ribbed belt, this belt would then slip in the rain as it was located low on the car and the splash shields had long since gone missing.
2nd tow. Engine starts cutting out on the highway take the next exit and got within about a mile of my house when she stopped dead, well in the rain and 30 something degree weather I decided it would just be easier to get her towed home. After some looking and discussing turns out the coil had a small crack and was shorting out in the rain.
3rd tow was for a failed WP nothing surprising here but still tow number 3 did it in for me.
So while none of these were major problems they did cause me a good deal of stress and made me think twice about VW ownership. I still love the feel of a VW but not the headaches. For the sake of accuracy here is a brief run down off my cars issues
§ 96000 miles Bought with bad ground caused engine skipping
§ 98000 miles replaced steering rack with used one old one was getting notchy
§ 100000 miles replaced rear wheel bearings
§ 102000 miles replaced rear brakes and front pads
§ 104000 miles replaced cooling neck
§ 106000 miles replaced thermostat
§ 110000 miles replaced coil
§ 111000 miles replaced water pump
§ 112000 miles sun roof stops working
§ 118000 miles A/C stops working
§ 122000 miles Strut tower rots through
My final thought these are this fun cars as long as you don’t mind doing a fair amount of DIY repairs to your cars.
So there you have it my first car review with luck I will get better as I go.
Monday, October 8, 2018
The Island Packet PY 41 is a unique semi displacement trawler based on the IP SP cruiser . The 41' shares many traits with it's motor sailor cousin including a ballasted keel that should make for a very seaworthy 41'. My favorite features are the excellent fuel economy per this Power and motor yacht article and the kid friendly 2nd stateroom. I also kind of like the forward cockpit as at anchor and dock hang out spot. I;m not sure how many were made but they seem pretty rare on the brokerage market.
I could easily picture this as a coastal cruiser for the family. Coming from a sailing family the odd for a powerboat layout seems pretty good to my eye. This would be awesome for week long adventures along the New England coast with short run times between interesting harbors. It would also make for a really nice Loop boat.
Friday, October 5, 2018
In this article I will try to outline some of the strengths and weakness of the two materials most
commonly used in inflatable boat construction as well as talk about several other materials on the
market. Most of this is based on the time I spent working for one of the largest inflatable boat dealers in the US.
Let’s start with the basics of both materials.
Hypalon- Hypalon is a synthetic rubber made (or made under license) by the Dupont company. Hypalon has been around for more than half a century proving itself to be one of the most durable synthetic rubbers around. Hypalon is actually chlorosulfonated polyethylene meaning it’s a polyethylene with varying amounts of sulfur an chlorine added based on application.
PVC - Is essential a hard plastic converted into a flexible material through additives. PVC is short for poly vinyl chloride. PVC was first discovered in the 1800 but the correct additives to make it into a useful material weren’t developed until the late 1920’s.
Now on to the important parts what that means to those of us who need an inflatable boat.
In this article we will be talking about reinforced or supported fabric boats. Most inflatable boats with
the exception of Sevylor and other extremely low priced semi-toy boats have a layer of supporting fabric sandwiched into their PVC or Hypalon hulls. This fabric creates the extra strength and form holding ability that differentiates a well built inflatable boat from a pool toy. The fabric is rated in either Denier or decitex; Denier is the more common method. Denier is the weight in grams of 9000 meters of single thread of the fabric. (1gram + 1 denier) Decitex is 9/10 Denier (this is the best definition I have found at least.) When you’re looking at inflatable boats you will often see anywhere from 800 to 1200 decitex/ Denier ratings, while these can be useful I wouldn’t go on them being the greatest indication of boat strength. As former co worker with over 20 years inflatable boat experience pointed out these ratings tell you nothing about the quality or density of weave that the thread was put into or the process in which it was bonded to the outer material. This brings us to how the two materials are actually constructed into boats. Hypalon is calendared on to the reinforcing fabric (typically nylon) calendaring is processes where the materials are sent through a series of heated rollers that essential bond the two materials into one. Neoprene is often used as an additional interior layer on hypalon boats to increase their air tightness, this is why hypalon boats are sometime referred to as hypalon/neopreme. PVC is reinforced in the same way, except they typically use PVC for both the outer and inner layer. Hypalon boats are assembled by hand; in fact this is one of their biggest drawbacks. Because Hypalon boats are glued together by hand you will find that two boats of the same model may have small differences (weight for instance is often off by a pound or two) and can even have a slightly different shape when inflated. The hand gluing also lends itself to air leaks over the life of the boat. The hand gluing also reduces the air pressure the tubes can hold. This reduced pressure is of no real concern until you get into air floor models where higher pressures can result in stiffer floors. PVC boats can be constructed with hand gluing methods in much the same way as a hypalon boat, but building in this way doesn’t let you realize PVC’s advantages. PVC can be welded; welding can be done in a number of different ways. The most used method is Thermowelding in which hot air is blasted at the seam as the material is passed through a set of rollers there by melting and bonding the seam together.
There is also a similar method called wedge bonding that uses heated rollers instead of the blast of air.
The other method used primarily by Zodiac is Electro welding. In this process the material is passed
between an anode and a cathode that create a high frequency electric field that again heats and bonds
the seam together. These construction methods allow for PVC’s real advantage- airtight seems and
higher inflation pressures.
Positive and negatives of the materials
Strong material very resilient to damage from external objects
Very stable in UV light the material may fade but it will typically retain its physical strength longer
than other boatbuilding fabrics.
Often backed by a longer warranty due to greater strength and longevity
Hand glued seams are more likely to leak air and need mantinece over the life of the boat.
Cost because of the labor intensive nature of hand gluing hypalon almost always costs 10-25%
more than PVC
Lower air pressure because again of the construction methods Hypalon cannot hold as high
a pressure as PVC this becomes important when a boat uses air keels and air floors as the
additional pressure adds rigidity to these structures.
In expensive, PVC boats because they can be assembled quickly on a production line are often
some of the least expensive inflatables on the market.
Higher pressure, because the bonded seems on PVC boats can withstand higher pressures the
air floors and keels can have a more defined shape for better performance (not all companies use
this feature so it’s worth researching Zodiac for instance bakes excellent air floor boats in PVC
while some of their lower priced competitors do not)
Every boat is the same, because they can be built through an automated process PVC boats can
be built to exacting standards (here again be careful as not all manufactures build PVC boats with
standards in mind)
Better air holding, PVC boats usual need less topping off through a season then hypalon boats
because of better air retention properties.
UV degradation, PVC is effected by UV light much quicker than Hypalon. When exposed to a
large amount of UV light PVC breaks down and can become stick, which I can tell you can be
mighty aggravating on a hot summer day
Cheap, this is not true of all PVC boats but because PVC is typically a cheaper material then
Hypalon many bargain basement brands have entered the market with substandard boats often
built by hand gluing PVC not to say there aren’t poorly built hypalon boats, there are just many
more poorly built PVC ones.
What this means to you.
If you’re in the market for an inflatable what material should you choose? While there are many other
factors that can determine which inflatable is right for you when deciding on materials the biggest
question comes down to Price vs. longevity for most people. A hypalon boat will typically outlast a
PVC boat by many years, when I worked at an inflatable dealership when we saw a boat older than
15 years old come in for repair 80% of the time it was a Hypalon boat. After 15 years many of the
PVC boats were no longer repairable. That’s not to say they can’t last longer, I have also seen some
very well taken care of 20 year old PVC boats but these are typically either used on a limited basis
or were covered and regularly treated with 303 protectant. On the other hand if you’re an average
boater and the inflatble won’t be sitting out in the sun for long periods (weeks not hours) a PVC boat
can provide a lot of bang for the buck. Also certain models with desirable features can only be had in
PVC such as Zodiacs H2P air floors which are some of the best performing soft bottom inflatable’s on the market, in fact the other PVC boat that stands out in my mind id the Zodiac Futura which again provides a large performance gain over just about anything (other the certain military zodiacs) made in Hypalon.
So in the end both materials have their positives and draw backs and which you purchase is largely up to your budget and how you use it.
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