Kicking It With The Zodiac

Brrr it’s cold outside! Time to go kick some air into my Zodiac Bombard Commando and while I’m at it mention it to you too.

This one is hard to understand for a lot of people because there is so much bad info on the web regarding inflatable boats and proper air pressure. In simplest terms when things get cold they contract, air is a thing. Boyle’s Law comes to mind, Gay-Lussac’s Law, Charles’ Law, and probably a bunch more but the long and short of it means when air heats up it expands and pressure increases, when it’s chilled it contracts and pressure drops.

When that boat you kicked air into during the summer months gets cold Mr. Floppy shows up to take it’s place. Mr. Floppy is no one’s friend, he strains the transom attachment points and seams trying to make your outboard hit the deck. Mr. Floppy doesn’t like fun, fuel economy or performance, he wants you to have a bad time. Mr. Floppy loves rodents so if you have a Mr. Floppy in your garage don’t be surprised if rodents become his room mates when you go out there in the Spring.

Worrying about your inflatable boat popping in the Sun’s heat is why you are running it soft? Huh? That’s an old trick by Mr. Floppy, remember Mr. Floppy hates fun over all else. Running your boat soft only benefits the repair shop, it actually shortens an inflatable boat’s lifetime or duty cycle. As a rule you should always have about 3.5 P.S.I. in the main tubes and keel unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer. Airfloors can have 5, 6, 8, even 11 P.S.I. in them to make them perform and give a stable platform. Airfloor types vary by manufacturer so consult your make and model inflation information and keep it tight when it’s inflated.

One of the things I’ve always appreciated about inflatable boats is the ability to roll them up and stow them until needed. When you get to a place where you need a stable boat that doesn’t sink you just unroll, inflate and go. All those awesome documentaries I used to watch on T.V. wouldn’t have been possible without inflatable boats so my interest in them began early. When I asked my mom how come they didn’t sink if they got a hole in them, or if Jaws came and took a bite she calmly replied, “Zodiac boats have chambers to prevent all the air from coming out.”. Mom was pretty smart back in the early 70’s and she didn’t have the luxury of consulting the internet to give me those correct answers either. Mom would never have let me get into an underinflated boat, you shouldn’t either.

Yes the whole air/temperature thing will generate a lot of calls to the service center this time of year in mainland America. Most of them stem from the user inflating one chamber to pressure, then the next and so on. When Mr. Floppy shows up he makes it look like there’s a leak in one chamber that the user can’t find. What’s occurred is the baffle (the chamber thingy inside) has pushed into the adjacent chamber and taken up part of it’s volume. Things cool off outside and Mr. Floppy presents a chamber that appears to be flat when you go to inspect it. When inflating your boat you should inflate each chamber to shape, then go back and top them off to pressure. This technique ensures that the baffles aren’t pushed into the other chambers and it also helps keep Mr. Floppy from showing up as frequently.

If during your winter lay up or inspection process you find a hole that needs patching, fix it, then stow your boat. You’ll really have a bad day when Mr. Floppy shows up the first time you want to use your boat and you can’t because he’s there. Remember Mr. Floppy hates fun! That’s all for now, I have to go kick Mr. Floppy off some RIBs I see him getting aboard. If you have questions we probably have answers, give us a call (503)235-2628 and ask for Mike.

To shop our online shop you can go here if you are having problems call and ask for Mike (503)235-2628 it’s probably his fault anyway.

It Won’t Snow Forever

This far into March and we’re waiting on freight delayed by snow still, what gives? Parts of the country are getting another dusting while other parts are getting out on the water one day and shoveling snow the next. In this topsy turvy weather it’s really easy to neglect getting the necessary spring maintenance done on your outboard or boat. We’re always staying busy here at the shop, and we are definitely seeing guides and other private owners getting their service done but, some of you will wait until summer is in full swing before you decide to get it sorted. The easy answer is don’t wait until summer!

When summer rolls into the great NW it’s a mad dash to cram as much Vitamin-D in as you can before the nine months of rain starts again. In the height of summer we’ll be several weeks out on repairs because people just didn’t prepare like they should have.

Getting patching materials, cleaners, and conditioners is as easy as stopping by IBC’s store or ordering supplies online. Don’t let air and opportunity stand in the way of your boating, spend some of that income tax return and set yourself up for success in the summer.

If that old boat that grandpa gave you back in 1976 is starting to look ugly sell it for $500 bucks on Craigslist like the one pictured in Sausalito above and get your new one ordered  for the season opener. If you’re like us at all you’ve already had several boating adventures this year already and are just marking time until the sun comes and shows it’s face.

 

 

C-3 Commandos Save The Day At The Bottom Of The World

The internet is filled with good and bad, and every once in awhile good seamanship stories leak out. In the Yachting World news we came across a story about Skip Novak and a recent Antarctic expedition turned beach recovery utilizing the trusty Bombard C3 Commando and some good seamanship.

Check the link below for Yachting World’s full text on what went on at the bottom of the world.

http://www.yachtingworld.com/voyages/real-life-rescue-skip-novak-aids-lone-yachtsman-recovering-yacht-beach-109399

If the Bombard C3 Commando sounds like a boat you’d be interested in give us a call (503)235-2628 or order online with our secure shopping cart.

www.inflatableboats.com

Adding State Registration Numbers To Inflatable Boats

When a first time inflatable boat owner goes to register his boat with the state of their residence they will often experience some trepidation on selecting the proper system. The registration agent will undoubtedly send the nonplussed boater in the wrong direction naturally assuming that simple office store stickers will suffice for an inflatable tube. They will not! The other wrong direction most times suggested from the would be helpful registration agent is to affix said stickers to “boards” and “hang them over”. While this might have been acceptable in the past prior to the 911 attacks, it is no longer acceptable and now illegal.

The Dept. Of Homeland Security/USCG now states that the numbers must be fixed permanently to the port and starboard bow. To accomplish this task IBC recommends the boat number plate system. This system is a made to order/bespoke option that adheres to the inflatable portion of inflatable boats and ribs. It is provisioned for hypalon or pvc and it comes in many different colors to choose from. The boat number plate system meets all U.S. state and territory requirements and also includes an area for the registration stickers. They are manufactured with a port and starboard side thereby eliminating the often misunderstood placement issue.

IBC sells a coupon that is redeemed online, manufactured, and mailed directly to you. All you have to do is glue them on and place your state stickers in the provided areas. The boat number plate system allows for rolling and unrolling on boats where it is a necessity and where it’s not, + they look great for years. Remember glues or adhesives are not included with the boat number plate system so please plan accordingly.

If you have any questions at all we’ll get you sorted by calling (503)235-2628  ask for Adam.

 

Beard Growth 101

When March rolls around people in the Pacific NW start to see days where the sun comes out and it doesn’t rain. This signal of the seasons means it’s time to start thinking about boating again. Where things get sticky is when boaters who at the end of last season were tired or complacent walk down to where their dingy was left in the water.

There it sits (or floats) dirty , floppy, full of stagnant water and wearing a beard of growth that would make a modern day hipster proud. Of course this beard could have been avoided by proper maintenance and storage.

Some boaters don’t have the choice of pulling their inflatable boat or rib when it’s not in use. For these boaters a simple two part process can help to prevent or eliminate the dreaded beard. Aurora Marine makes products that are simple to use cheap and effective.

Steps To A Clean Boat.

First if the boat  has substantial growth Aurora makes Inflatable Bottom Spray that removes algae, barnacles, zebra mussles etc. from hypalon, pvc, and fiberglass. Just wet the hull, shake the bottle and spray it on. Let the spray work for about 20-30 minutes then rinse and repeat if necessary.

Step Two: Prep the boat for Aurora Poly Guard by using Aurora Speed Clean

Speed Clean is a cleaner/restorer and is suitable for use all over your inflatable boat or rib. It is the secret sauce IBC uses when people bring in old dirty floppy for repairs. The customer would always ask us what we used to clean the area of interest and invariably it was Speed Clean.

Step Three: Application of Aurora Poly Guard UV Protector.

Aurora Poly Guard UV Protectant and Polish is suitable to use all over your inflatable boat or rib, hypalon, pvc, fiberglass, nylon etc. It is non greasy, non slippery, doesn’t get on your clothes or person and lasts for a whole season. Apply two coats of Aurora Poly Guard to the bottom of your inflatable boat or rib in preparation for the anti fouling product Repelin.

Step Four: Application of Repelin Foul Release Coating.

The Aurora Repelin Foul Release Coating speaks for it’s self by eliminating or greatly reducing marine growth. Two coats is all you need to apply after the Poly Guard. It’s one of the most stolen items from boat houses because it works! If you have any algae on the bottom of your boat it just wipes off and leaves a slick fast surface.

By following the simple steps above you won’t be faced with the woes of inattention when you go to use your dinghy. As always keep your boat tight and look for adventure at the horizon.

If you have any questions about Aurora products or anything in general give us a call (503)235-2628!

For more cleaners and conditioners visit our Cleaners And Conditioners section online.

How Much Air Do I Put In My Zodiac?

While having a look at some recent searches on our blog here I see a common search term, “How much air do I put in my Zodiac?”.

To answer this question I’d always refer to your boat’s manual but a good rule of thumb is 3.48 P.S.I.

This pressure would be the same for hypalon or pvc material. If you are using the supplied foot pump that came with your boat you won’t be able to over pressurize your Zodiac as the pumps are designed to only pump up to the rated pressure. Even if I was standing on the foot pump and had a friend helping it would only pump to it’s rated pressure.

When we are talking about a Zodiac Fastroller air floor the pressure would be 11.2 P.S.I. and would be in it’s second stage of it’s two stage pump.

Air floor pressure on the Zodiac Aero series of boats have a pressure of 8.5 P.S.I.

Remember that pressure is dependent on temperature and after launching your boat it’s a good idea to kick a few more pumps into the tubes, keel and floors of your boat to accommodate for the cooling effect of the water. The inverse is true if your boat is left on the hard and it gets very hot outside. you may need to vent out some excess pressure to keep it in the right operating pressure.

One way to remove all ambiguity is to buy a 12V inflator pump with gauge and auto shut off like this one here.

If you have questions we have answers, just give us a call (503)235-2628 (ask for Adam)

Let There Be Light (waiting for the Zodiac MK2 Heritage)

Sitting here waiting anxiously for my shipment of  two Zodiac MK2 Heritage Classics to arrive my mind began to wander to the upcoming total solar eclipse.

If you know me at all you know that a wondering mind is definitely par for the course, but you also know my mind wanders to things of merit. People often ask me what do they need on a boat and the usual suspects are a whistle, paddles etc. Of the ready items available people seem to always forget one crucial item, the flashlight. In a pinch a good flashlight will allow you to signal for help, see what you are doing in the dark, help with a MOB situation, or reach for your camera during a time of total solar eclipse!

A good flashlight will be focusable, water resistant, have a lanyard and clip, and if available a magnetic base. Every “Go Bag” should have one, there are multitudes available online and at check outs for impulse buys everywhere.

The one I often carry with me for tactical missions on the water is the NEBO Redline OC. This model ticks off the boxes for what I feel are minimums for any activity on the water or ashore. It clips to my PFD and has a lanyard so if I’m working over the side and it falls it’s still attached. Being able to focus the spot means swimming the bilges for that missing washer and nut I just dropped is a whole lot easier. The magnetic base makes it easy to deploy for a hasty work light giving me the use of both hands which any of us know is a plus when working aloft or below.

The NEBO Redline OC (Optimized Clarity) is impact resistant and mine has survived a fall from the top of the dry dock to the basin with nary a scratch and all for a cost that everyone can live with. If you are lacking in the flashlight department and need one for your “Go Bag”, everyday carry or your tool box you can pick one up here at the shop or by checking our website.

Don’t be left in the dark wondering, get a quality flashlight before you head out on the water and be spot on when the time arises.

 

LIGHT
• High-power 600 LUX LED

LIGHT MODES
• High: 600 LUX – 2 Hours / 92 Meters
• Strobe – 4.5 Hours / 92 Meters

DESIGN
• Anodized aircraft-grade aluminum; water and impact-resistant
• OC Technology
• Convex lens
• Tactical edge
• 6x adjustable beam
• Dual-direction belt/pocket clip
• Magnetic base

OPERATION
• Rear-positioned, glow-in-the-dark ON/OFF button with Soft Touch Technology

ACCESSORIES
• Lanyard included

BATTERIES
• Powered by 1 AA battery (included)

SPECS
• Length: 4.5”
• Diameter: 1” (Barrel)     1.25” (Head)
• 0.25 lbs.

U.S. PATENT
• D 659,869 S

Spring Cleaning

So yesterday IBC received its first non rainy day in about 9 months and as this signals spring for us here in Portland I thought it was a good time to talk about inspections and maintenance. Spring and sunny days mean getting ole floppy out of storage for the first time in a long while, and for some this will be a trying day. Mice, spiders, bugs and that science experiment you’re unknowingly conducting because you forgot to rinse and clean your boat properly before rolling it up for the winter. These are but a few of the common issues we see here at the shop when the sun shows it’s face for the first time.

First thing first let’s get your boat pumped up and inspected. Does it keep air? If the answer is no then kick some more air in and spray it down with soapy water to try to determine where the air is leaking out from. Leaks will manifest as bubbles or white creamy streaks or spots. Mark the leaks with a sharpie pen and find anymore issues that need addressing. For mouse holes you’ll need adhesive and fabric, and typically you need to do an inside /outside patch over any hole big enough to fit a mammal in. First get the patch on the inside by prepping the patch and area the same way you would for any other patch. Roll the patch on its self adhesive to non-adhesive side and carefully insert the patch. Tack and unroll to bone or burnish the patch down fully. We like to do this in a dry run prior to applying any adhesive so the actions are committed to muscle memory almost. You’ll have better success if you practice this prior to gluing trust us. Once you’ve waited at least 24 hours for the adhesive to start curing kick in some air to shape and then pressure and soap it down again. If you did your job right it shouldn’t be leaking, or leaking very little. Now we’re ready to put on the outside patch, the same prep steps and adhesive applications applies here just like before. Make sure you have the patch boned down correctly and wait at least 24 hours to use the boat with a recommended time of 72 hours being best.

Plan your trips accordingly, if you waited until the last minute chances are if your boat has damage you won’t be taking it. If you are one of the hundreds of people we see every summer with a 40 year old mouse boat looking for an instant fix you will be disappointed. We will have a back log of weeks to months in the peak of the season so don’t wait too long to do your initial inspection.

Sometimes you will have some simple pin holes from that whopper of a fish you carelessly flopped into the boat. In most of these cases a quick and permanent fix is the use of a sealant that goes in the tube chamber its self. There are a great many products on the market that offer awesome sauce at a discount but beware. Try to get a reputable name or formulation such as the type we use here at IBC. Since we have to adhere to MILSPEC on many of our services we only use the good stuff and recommend you do the same. Just visit our web shop if you live outside of the Portland Oregon area for awesome sauce www.inflatableboats.com and click on the repair materials category. The way the sealant works is the air leaking out thru the hole will pull the sealant thu with it as it escapes and it will seal it off. This usually requires the user to roll the boat over side to side and end to end to ensure a conformal coating is applied to the interior of the tube chamber. Call a friend and swap sea tales while you do this, you might actually find you have more than one pin hole so don’t do this on the new carpet.

For the science experiment we use many cleaners and conditioners located in yup you guessed it our cleaners and conditioners section of the web shop. Keeping ole floppy aired up to the correct pressure and clean will extend the life of your boat greatly and prevent problems further down the road that could’ve been avoided. If you have questions give us a call here at the shop (503)235-2628 chances are we’ve seen what you are looking at and have a fix for it already.

If all of this sounds too daunting give us a call and we’ll do it for you, but don’t wait until the last minute or your trip will suffer. We have people send us their boats from all around the world to get genuine IBC service and repairs done and we’re a small crew focused on quality so it will take as long as it does.

Full Steam Ahead For 2017

It’s full steam ahead at IBC right now as we rig and receive boats daily for the upcoming season. The 2017 NW Sportsman’s Show is right around the corner and we’ll be there showcasing models that fit the mission of hunting and fishing. Tubesets are coming and going every time I blink it seems and new sport boats and Avon tenders seem to be all the buzz.

We are open despite the weather so give us a call (503) 235-2628 or stop by the Portland Showroom on 2041 SE Powell Blvd. and talk face to face with one of our pros.

Now is the time to be thinking about your new tender, your old boat that needs repair, that motor service you put off, basically anything that needs doing or buying so you’ll be ready when the weather turns nice again.

Remember Oregon doesn’t have a sales tax so our prices are even better than you thought! Find out why more boaters come to IBC than anywhere else (503)235-2628

 

Deadrise & “Deep V”

When comparing boats these days you get a lot of information about “deadrise” or “deep V” but no explanations. Some of the calls we get here at IBC regarding those topics warrant a look and explanation for our inflatable boat customers.

Deadrise is explained as such: the angle of the horizontal plane to the hulls surface. What this means is how much of a V shape there is at any given position from the centerline or keel on a horizontal line to the angle or line of the hulls surface which is expressed in degrees.

bombard-commando-deadrise-angle

Boats generally have a varying amount of deadrise fore to aft as a result of their design and intended purpose. Most deadrise is measured and expressed at the transom due to when the boat is on plane this angle or measurement determines how stable a boat will be. Boat manufacturer statements that use “deep v or deep vee” are usually talking about the forward section of the craft as this dictates how well a boat will perform in cutting thru blue water and chop. Don’t be confused this is still a function of deadrise, but marketing has put forward “deep v” as a selling point to the uninformed user.

When negotiating heavy seas the crafts deadrise forward or “V” will dictate how softly it comes down between the swells and chop (expressed as frequency) and generally a “deeper V” means it cuts thru and dissipates the forces by using a broader surface area and reflection of energy away from the boat which in part translates to the water breaking and turning into spray. Basically the energy is partially transferred into the destruction and deflection of the water it’s self, while a portion of that same energy is transferred into the shock we as passengers feel.

Most inflatable boats have an inflatable keel that is a bit more rounded at the centerline that pushes down against the fabric to form the “V”, in the case of the Bombard Commando series it’s a more pronounced sectional wooden keel that better reproduces the traditional fiberglass or metal boats keel/hull design. That is to say the Bombard Commandos are often preferred by more professional users due to it’s more traditional boat hull shape and design attributes.

Zodiac developed and patented the inflatable keel in 1960 as Pierre Debroutelle made improvements to simplicity of assembly and storage. The inflatable keel was largely developed due to the “Leisure Society” movement occurring at the time and the desire to cut down on parts and bags to put them in. Zodiac inflatable boats were largely commercial and military items until then but a growing number of ex-military and maritime professionals had come to adopt and use the technology in various disciplines such as racing and fun with the family.

All inflatable boats featuring a keel have varying degrees of deadrise and different performance levels for the areas of interest they were designed for. It’s worth mention that all of IBC’s boats feature a “V” in their hull with the exception of bucket boats and alongside tenders that aren’t designed with rowing or planning in mind for their day to day use.

I hope this has made the topic a bit clearer for those of you that were confused between the two terms of “deadrise ” and “deep V”. We’ve attached some more pics below of a Bombard Commando C5 to help you on your way. As always feel free to give us a call here at the IBC shop (503)235-2628 when shopping for your next or first inflatable boat and make sure you get the right boat for the job at the right price.