Thursday, April 17, 2008

RIB Inflatable dinghy tube repair - ClamSeal

I've been wanting to mention this wonderful product since last November but with this and that, I never got around to it. The ClamSeal is a two-piece thingy that clamps together. One part goes inside the tube and the other part goes on the outside. You screw down the nut and you have a tight seal. For pictures, visit Bob's Boat Bits blog to see the installation of our second ClamSeal repair [CLICK HERE].

Back in November, the day before we were leaving to sail over to the Virgin Islands to attend the to charter yacht shows in St. Thomas USVI and Tortola BVI, our Caribe 9L got a small puncture. It was in a difficult place to repair and the first patch we did, didn't take. The puncture was in the bow very close to the seam with the strip with the grommets in it. There was not enough room to get enough patching material to make a good seal. It was time to go so we stowed it on our foredeck with a very slow leak.

Our first boat show was in Tortola so we just made do by pumping up the dinghy a bit each time we used it. When we arrived in St. Thomas, our first stop was to see Harold at Offshore Marine, the Caribe dealer, to see if we could have someone patch our dinghy. Yes they could, but the guy was on vacation and would not be back for another 10 days. So, it was back to pumping up the dinghy before each use.

We went to Island Water World over by Yacht Haven Grande to see if they had a ClamSeal because they had them at the St. Maarten store. No luck there, so we bought a replacement valve but we were a bit nervous about installing it as we couldn't find instructions, plus we'd be back in St. Maarten soon and we're doing OK...

When we got back to St. Maarten we bought a ClamSeal at Island Water World. What a wonderful piece of gear. It's kind of frightening to make a 2-inch slice in your tube to install but Hey Presto it works and was EASY. Some people probably wouldn't like the look or perhaps not like that it is not flush but it makes our little boat distinguishable :)

Last week we admitted that we had another puncture. We were saying that the tube was a bit soft because it was cold last night... We found the little pinprick hole and tried a bit of crazy glue first but the next morning the tube was a bit soft again... So off to Island Water World. They only had two ClamSeals so we bought both of them.

Visit Bob's Boat Bits blog to see the installation of our second ClamSeal repair [CLICK HERE].

I think that anyone who has an inflatable life raft should take a couple of these along. I don't remember the book (was it "Adrift"?) but it was a guy in a leaky life raft and the instructions on the repair kit was to apply to a dry surface. Duh! How are you going to keep a leaky life raft dry when you are using it.

So, thank you Barton Marine Equipment Ltd for a great and reasonably priced ($30) product.

You can buy a ClamSeal through Sea Eagle ClamSeal Instant Repair kit