“The passion for the sea lead me to see how people moved back in times.

The curiosity brought me to study those systems.

Admiration lead to a deeper connection with old sailing techniques.”

D

As any sailors feel like when they look at a latin rig sailing, on the summer of 2021, lead to the curiosity and will to earn higher manufacturing skills I got VEGA, a latin sail gozzo made in Italy.

The italian who went to Malta… A story already heard 🙂

This vessel is a 6,4m traditional gozzo, built on 1953 by Cantiere Navale Carrano Mario.

She had two owners only, friends, with a special value with them. And this is how VEGA project was born.

VEGA project aims to restore the old latin rig to the traditional wooden boats.

Last year has been dedicated to the restoration of VEGA.

The vessel is totally in mahogany and has been designed with the typical Spanish rig. Mast at 3/8th of the hull and under sailed in order to be able to face the strong maestrale wind of Bocca di Bonifacio.

One of the first thing has been a new sail plan and the restoration of the hull.

This vessel is today the only proud traditional vessel afloat with all canapa rigging, all wooden pulleys, and still with a 3,000 years old discipline: THE LATIN RIG.

Back in times in Malta the latin rig and Tarkija were the leading sailing rigs.

Vessels were arriving from the whole old world and in Malta different boat builder begun their production.

A Maltese Heritage risking to be destroyed

Daniele Baraggioli, owner of Big D®, is today a proud supporter of the Maltese Traditional Boat Association which aims to save and preserve this heritage.

With the precious cooperation of

MMH Malta Maritime Hub – Marsa,

Bottega del Gozzo di Vincenzo Aprea – Sorrento

Big D®

Maltese Traditional Boat Association

We are happy to share a project which aims to extend the knowledge between professionals and artisans.

And learning and sharing this tradition is the highest goal I can achieve in my working life.

Since I moved to Malta, I always wanted to be a reference in the marine industry.

D

In the last 7years Big D® grew in terms of quality, service and experience.

Thanks to what has been acquired on the field, we are proud to introduce on the market D-FEND and 4-FEND: the first fenders RINA CERTIFIED.

D-FEND is a Hypalon© fender, totally handmade in Malta using only Orca Pennel et Flipò fabric, completely customisable and available in different colors.

  • Yacht & SuperYacht inflatable fenders

Protect your yacht on berthing operations and side collisions.

  • Fendering systems for pontoons & berths 

System designed for stern manoeuvres and alongside berths.

  • Bathing platforms and transom fenders

Protect your boat from water taxi, tender and water toys collisions.

What are the advantages of using an Hypalon© fender instead a PVC one?

  • Gelcoat friendly – the Hypalon© fabric is neoprene, not plastic, therefore there is no rubbing surface able to scratch gelcoat on the vessel

  • 20% lighter – one of biggest advantages is that (always the same thickness) the specific weight is between 20/25% lighter accordingly to other component’s weight (such as shackles and lines) this because we care all the crew members (including women and elder people) can handle safely these devices even if alone

  • Long performance glue – typically a PVC fender glue lasts up to maximum 5ys even by keeping the device in good condition, then because of thermal gap, straight sun heat and overpressure, leaks occur and despite it is possible to fix, it is totally not worthed

  • 10ys FULL WARRANTY – our fenders are done good: the glue used is certified for 10ys by Big D® and the material is 5ys directly from the producer ORCA Pennel et Flipò. As we say in Big D®, we provide the best or nothing.

Big D® begun the production of 4-FEND on 2019, a definitive fendering solution for bathing platforms, yacht transoms and hi-end pontoons from hit of tenders, water taxis and water toys.

Today we are proud to have systems installed which are bringing Big D® and Maltese flag sailing around the world.

THE FORECAST

Our R&D dept is constantly updated on the matter, we won’t give just the quotation, we’ll make a complete forecast:

  • Measurements – we verify the provided dimensions and speak with who is in charge about the possible solutions, leaving nothing behind and getting full responsability in regards. Producing hi-end product is mainly communication, and our goal must be the same: the best or nothing.

  • Visual Render on your vessel – once understood the idea, we render it and see the visual impact, we can change colors and shape for a better project plan

  • Production and Delivery – You call Big D® because trust our skills, but what makes the final product PERFECT is that we listen to your NEED. For this reason we don’t stock any fender. Everything is hand made by artisans, people which cannot be replaced by machine, knowledge which cannot be installed into someone else. Accordingly to load of work it might take more or less time, but once we give a delivery, that promise is always kept.

Our winning policy? We respect all the above.

THE DESIGN

We aim to design the most efficient fender, caring for all their users, from the crew to the guests.

The growing experience in this matter convinced us to optimise certain procedures and embellish the walking surfaces both with anti-skid surfaces or teak.

Our prices are balanced, but the outcome of our production is unique.

Design is even taking care of:

  • Preventing structural breaking points

  • Choosing the proper anti skid surfaces

  • Using only ORCA Pennel et Flipò Hypalon© fabric colors instead of PVC

THE PRODUCTION

We take care and follow up the entire process, from 3D design, the cut and all handmade installation, updating our clients at every step.

The Maltese office is small but totally up-to-date and provides the 3D cut and the visualisation.

The closed cell sfoams  (high impact absorber) is cut by specific machine.

THE DELIVERY

As said we consider that respecting the delivery is an important stage of the work itself.

It is about respect of timings, and we know that a vessel must be doing like a clock and timings is essential.

With Big D® you don’t find a supplier, you find a new gear.

Big D®, the best or nothing.

Can buying a boat be a profitable investment?
Absolutely yes!

Thanks to the Big D® Charter Management Program you will be able to buy a boat that will generate profits thanks to the day charter. With and without skipper.

RHIB charters

Boat charters in Malta is one of the best investment on the island as combines the FREE USE of your boat.

Imagine to have a boat where

  • boat insurance
  • pontoon
  • mechanic and tube emergency in full summer

are totally FREE OF CHARGE.

How? It’s very simple: we rent them with you.

Big D® acquired a 8ys experience at maltese sea, servicing as captain and managing third parties vessels.

Despite the yacht charter is for recreational purposes, nowadays a real revolution took place in the world of boat rental and this activity is no longer considered a private affair between two parties.

Transport Malta is in fact delegated by the State to verify a series of obligations so that security, certainty and transparency are guaranteed.

Our fleet actually counts 7 rhibs fully certified for commercial purposes.

We do believe in SAFETY AT SEA as rule n.1 and for this reason (since legally we could rent up to 100hp to people without any qualifications) we decided to rent only to people with a valid nautical license.

We believe in our business so much we do it with you, you are not alone in this, we provide:

  • tracking device
  • booking management system
  • emergency assistance at sea
  • 24/7 repair

Let’s break down some costs.

Investing on a rhib with us is:

  • SAFE, our boats are provided with CVC (Commercial Vessel Certificate) with Transport Malta
  • PROPERLY MANAGED, we provide a booking tool which works bulletproof
  • FUN, let’s not forget this aspect: you have a boat for yourself AND you make money

This brief analysis shows us that the charter market is constantly growing and still far from saturating the real estate market. Furthermore, investing in a boat involves a higher return on invested capital and great flexibility.

Generally our customers obtain an annual income of 5% to 25% of the invested capital based on the model chosen or the period of its use.

THE REAL LIFE EXAMPLE

A second hand rhib 10,000.00€ rhib, 4,8m for 5 guests, 75hp with canope and shower.

On the year of the lockdown, this rhib has been rented 29 times, without wanting to fight on price, at 250€ +vat a day making a NET income of 7,250.00€.

But we had expenses, so out of this deduct:

  • pontoon (1,600€+vat per summer)
  • insurance (400€+vat per year)
  • commercial equipment (400€+vat una tantum)
  • engine service (250€+vat per year)
  • 600€+vat various (new canope, tube fix, gps tracker, all extras)

This makes 3,250.00€+vat of expenses.

7,250.00€ – 23,250.00€ = 4,000.00€

NET REVENUE of 40% considering ALL expenses

With an investment of 10,000.00€ we gained 4,000€ in just 3 months, using our boat free of charge the whole summer, maintaing full property of the capital.

We will follow all the commercial iter, join the big family of Big D®: +35677326435

Outboard motors have a lot of benefits among which a higher top speed. Of course, this is a fact that only superficially interests us, for the simple fact that the time we spend on the boat at the maximum possible speed is actually marginal, especially if we look at cruises…

Yet the increase in power of outboard engines in recent years has been such that their supremacy over their sterndrive colleagues in terms of performance is quite clear. Yes, because alongside the increased speed there is also the greater acceleration, which in some more driven outboards is really burning.

Certainly we cannot forget the fact that the sterndrive engine requires a greater number of interventions, and yes, in general it also undergoes faster wear.

The outboard motor, on its side, has in fact the possibility of being raised whenever it is not used, so as to get out of the water even when the boat is soaking. Those who have to maintain the outboard would like to thank.

The lower unit of the sterndrive engine, on the other hand, always remains underwater, requiring antifouling and facing greater corrosion – and more. Furthermore, the outboard motor gives the possibility to fully exploit the space inside the boat, without having to sacrifice lockers for the engine. Therefore, there are several reasons to install an outboard motor.

However, the most important thing is to install it correctly.

And this is where doubts usually begin: what aspects must be considered to properly install an outboard motor? Each manufacturer obviously accompanies their engines with a detailed guide on how to mount and the parameters to follow; each boat, moreover, has particularities that redefine the operations to be completed from time to time.

Regardless of all this, however, browsing through the forums, we realized that there are two main questions that are the most popular when it comes to installing the outboard motor: a great doubt is that relating to the correct height of the outboard moto; the second question – extremely widespread – concerns the number of engines to be fitted.

So let’s begin: How high does an engine have to be to be really effective, and above all not to do any damage?

OUTBOARD S, L or XL SHAFT?

Let’s start with topic number one, which lenght should i get?

To understand at what height to install the engine, it is necessary to start from the assumption that not all engines are the same: not only the type of power supply, the displacement and the power change, but also the height of the shaft. Before seeing when an outboard motor has a short shaft and when, instead, it has a long or extra-long shaft, it is necessary to understand how to measure its actual height, so as to solve the problem at the origin.

Let’s start with the anatomy of the outboard: looking at it from the outside, we have the grille in the upper part, inside which is the actual engine, and therefore ignition, pistons, cylinder heads and so on.

Today, however, we are not interested in all this: what we are interested in is immediately below, under the transport socket and under the fixing bracket. In fact, there begins the stem of the outboard motor, which ends where the anti-cavitation plate begins, placed above the propeller.

Now that we have identified these basic elements, we can understand how to measure the height of an outboard motor stem: to do this you have to start from the support on the transom and go down, up to the lower edge of the anti-cavitation fin.

In case you do not know how to “catalog” the shaft of your outboard motor, then, all you have to do is measure the distance between these two elements.

There is no mention, it must be said, of absolutely precise measurements: there is a certain variability between one manufacturer and another, as between the different models. However, there is talk of outboard motors with a short shaft when this, following what has been seen above, measures between 38 and 42 centimeters.

The long shaft, on the other hand, measures between 48 and 55 centimeters, with on average a good ten centimeters more than the short-shaft colleague.

Then there is the extra-long shaft: here it reaches about 60 centimeters.

  • SHORT SHAFT 38/42cm
  • LONG SHAFT 48/55cm
  • EXTRA LONG SHAFT 58/64cm

Now we already know what the next question will be in your head: when to choose a short stem, and when a long stem instead?

In fact, there is no answer.

In fact, it is not the boat owner who chooses the height of the shaft, but the boat builder, who designed the boat in a certain way, with different transom heights and suggests it accordingly to buoyancy and number of engines installed.

As we will see shortly, getting the height wrong is a mistake that can lead to important negative consequences.

The correct height installation

Before understanding the correct height of the outboard motor, it is good to understand why it is important to mount the propeller in the exact position.

There are two main reasons:

  1. the propeller must be properly submerged below the surface of the water, without being neither too deep nor too high
  2. the motor shaft must be wet for a correct section, in order to better manage the cooling process

That said, we can proceed. The right height of the outboard motor is found – in a standard configuration – when the anti-cavitation plate is in line with the hull of the boat, when the propeller shaft is in parallel aligned.

This is why there are engines with more or less long shaft, as we have seen above: when the transom varies, which goes from 38cm to over 60cm, motors with short, long or extra-long shafts will be used. So far, in fact, there are no major problems.


Sometimes, however, there is a tendency to slightly vary the installation height of the motor.

There are models of small displacement outboard motors, for example, which by their very nature – on the advice of the manufacturer, therefore – must be installed slightly below the hull of the boat, moving downwards by 2-4 centimeters.

But what happens when an engine is moved too low?

First of all, as you can guess, the stem is more likely to touch the bottom where the draft is low, or to collide with objects of another nature.

In the case of high-powered engines, the performance can decrease, while the splashes can change and increase in volume.
But you certainly cannot “go wrong” only in depth. It is also possible to make a mistake in the opposite direction, by installing the outboard motor too high, a rather common mistake.

But why do someone “take risks” by mounting the engine at an heigher standard? Simple: by bringing the propeller a few centimeters higher it is possible to acquire higher speed. Especially on two strokes.

Precisely for this reason, following the manufacturers’ instructions – but not always – the outboard is often installed 3 to 8 centimeters above the standard position. Doing so decreases the resistance of the water. Furthermore, the probability of hitting submerged obstacles is reduced, maneuverability is improved, and sometimes, in certain cases, even gliding can be improved.

However, even here, by exaggerating, problems can occur.

The first and best known is obviously that of the cavitation of the propeller, which we will return to shortly. That’s not all, mind you: raising the engine too much on the transom runs the risk of not being able to ensure good circulation of fresh water inside the cooling system. This because the hull limits water access.

Engine overheating, therefore, is just around the corner. Raising the engine also risks nullifying the trim flap.

Going even further into detail, an excessive height of the propeller can in some cases negatively affect the glide and even increase vibrations (with all the negative consequences on the comfort and wear of the boat itself).

Propeller cavitation

We have seen that an excessive height of the outboard motor can lead, among other things, to cavitation of the propeller.

Cavitation is not actually a problem… it is what moves us ahead! It is like the movement of a screw entering the wood, n The issue which can occur, is called cavitation but is technically OVER-cavitation.

It is something that is often talked about, but in the end most people only know that it is a “bad thing”.

But what actually happens to the helix when it cavits? And for what reason?

The concept, in words, is simple.

A propeller is in cavitation when around it, instead of being water, there is a vacuum. When this happens, the resistance encountered by the blades is obviously reduced to a minimum: consequently the propeller starts spinning faster, better, too fast, exceeding the rpm threshold and putting the transmission under stress.

In the long run, cavitation ruins the propeller, with damage that can be confused with that of corrosion.

The problem, in this case, lies in the fact that the “air bubbles” that form around the sail collide violently on the blades, damaging them a little at a time, due to the increases in pressure and even in temperature.

In addition to all this, cavitation causes greater noises and greater vibrations (just think that, in the field of military boating, the search for propellers that cannot under any circumstances enter cavitation is continuous, starting from the assumption that a cavitation propeller is easier to detect by the “enemy”).

Number of outboards

We come to the second big doubt that often circulates when it comes to installing the outboard motor.

What changes when you decide to install more than one? And how should multiple outboards be chosen? And again, why should you opt for more engines?

Well, as standard rule we use more engines when we need more power than a single outboard can give us.

If my boat, due to its characteristics, needs 600 horsepower (assuming that the most powerful outboards on the market rarely and exceptionally touch 450 horsepower) I will be forced to mount 2 outboards of 300hp, or 3 outboards of 20hp.

Rhibs that mount two outboard motors should tend to install them 2/3 cm lower taking into account that, when turning, the engine that is outside it is automatically higher.

2 ENGINES CONFIGURATION
When choosing the outboard motors that will be mounted on the boat, it is essential to choose the same engines:

  • same horsepower
  • same displacement
  • same model

Why? Simple: combining a 30 horsepower engine with a 70 horsepower one does not mean having 100 horsepower in the boat. No sir, indeed, it will mean having the power of 70 horsepower, or maybe even less.

Yes, because the stronger engine will not be helped at all by the weaker one, and indeed, it could even be disturbed by it, in the face of greater expense and consumption.

IMPORTANT: on a 2 engines configuration the propellers MUST TURN OPPOSITE. One clockwise, the other anticlockwise, so the lower unit must be changed accordingly.

MORE THAN 2 ENGINES CONFIGURATION
These configurations must be evaluated by a technician, since the wrong heigh of the central engine could bring to very bad ventilation effects on the other props.

Generally speaking for multi-engines configurations the boat builder will give advice to follow.

Triple engine configuration on a rhib


Is it always better to install two, three or four motors instead of just one outboard motor?

Not really: if we can only buy one propeller that has enough power for our boat, we should.

Vibrations, noises and consumption will be lower. If not, it’s best to keep the number of outboards as low as possible: if two are enough, let’s stop at two.

It must also be said that those who try a boat with two outboard motors tend to fall in love with it, due to the maneuverability ensured by the pair of propellers which can be connected to an electronic management, so as to side movements.

Nor can we forget, it is true, that having two engines automatically means having a spare engine when the other one breaks down. But if this is the only question, we might as well have on board an auxiliary engine of reduced displacement and weight, the one to be used, so to speak, also for the tender.

THE PLANING HULL

Changing the dynamic behavior of a dinghy is possible thanks to the hull appendages (flaps, brackets, jack plates, trim tabs, etc.), many common in competitive competitions, a little less in pleasure craft. 

But are they really useful or are they just a palliative? 

It depends on what you want to achieve by carefully evaluating the contraindications (starting with the costs!)

That, inevitably, every choice entails.  In the automotive field, in recent years there has been the development of modular design platforms that can be adapted to several models, even of different types and brands: this synergy is used to create vehicles that, with few sacrifices in road behaviour, are able to adapt to fairly suitable uses.

Here’s one of last invention in the nautical field:

THE NAUTICAL FIELD

In the nautical field, things do not work exactly in the same way since the marine vessel and the inflatable boat in particular have a much more variable displacement due to the greater quantity of cargo that can be carried (passengers, luggage, fuel, water, equipment, food and so on), as well as for the variability of the propulsion with consequent oscillations of the static and dynamic centres of gravity (which does not happen on the road, since the car does not glide). 

It follows that a well-designed hull must already withstand an extreme diversity of loads in different weather conditions;  if this were transplanted into a completely different medium, the results would certainly not be the same. 

The infamous “design deck”, imaginable as the set of all the requirements that the dinghy must meet, is always too “short” and no marine vessel can excel “in every aspect, load and condition”: the compromise requires that it the hull must go well in all conditions, can excel in certain aspects which are those that the requirement framework imposes, to the detriment of others. 

One of most efficient hull (actually effective over 23ft rhibs) is a step hull:

To give an example, a racing hull will have to excel in speed and perhaps in stability at high speeds, while it may leave something to be desired in stability at anchor because this is not a required prerogative.

A recreational hull will certainly be fast and keep the sea well, but it will not exhibit an exaggerated pitch and roll when the boat is stationary. 

Once you reach the limit of balance then there are some tricks to extend a hull to improve its performance towards a further variability of conditions or to optimize it towards some specific needs: these are the appendages that can be installed on an existing hull.

STEP 1: HOW TO BALANCE THE RHIB

Before proceeding in any alteration of the hull, it is important that the following rules are followed:

  1. PUT WATER TANK AHEAD, lots of rhibs have the issue that all the weight is astern, well if you are sailing alone a good thing would be to have the water tank on the bow, just behind the anchor.
  2. PLACE PEOPLE IN A BALANCED WAY, the smallest the vessel, more the passengers can modify its balance. Place them in a safe but balanced way
  3. PUT BAGS UNDER THE CONSOLLE AND AHEAD, this will help the planing and stabilise the vessel
  4. FIND THE PROPER SPEED, once all above is done, finding the proper planing speed is important to maintain low fuel consumption and be more reliable at sea
  5. TRIM THE ENGINE, a good setup is what is needed, find then the most safe and fuel efficient speed

STEP 2: PLANING DEVICES

LOWER UNIT HYDROFOILS

These devices are very useful on small vessels which tend to “wheelie”.

They improve the planing timing and makes the engine cavitate less. This product is produced by many manifacturer, in EU and abroad.

Features

  • Lower fuel consumption
  • Straight tracking
  • Excellent steering at low speeds
  • Smoother ride
  • Maximum lift
  • Reduced planing time
  • Increased stability

FLAPS AND TRIM TABS

On bigger vessels you might need to correct stability at sea, especially

These devices accordingly to my experience are more reliable on boats rather than on rhibs, because of two factors:

  • higher draught, boats have a deeper hull therefore (and especially single propelled ones) they need stability corrections
  • tubes, they are permanent flaps themselves

JACKPLATES

Let’s start saying there is no ideal engine, all transoms are different, and while a L shaft fits perfectly on a boat, on a rhib with same heigh, same lenght, the same shaft could not be as good.

The jackplate is an oleo-pneumatic system which allows the captain to decide the heigh of the engine. And here are the benefit you can encounter in installing this system:

  • towing in&out
  • adjust to any sea condition
  • improvement of prop efficiency
  • control the ride attitude
  • Better fuel efficiency and lighter handling

HULL HYDROFOILS

This system allows the hull to come completely out of the water level.

KEYWORD: EFFICIENCY

The biggest issue any hull need to face is planing. And especially on rhibs for above mentioned reasons the planing requires lot of power and fuel consumption, as the “wheelie” effect, creating significant hydrodynamic drag and affects the planing speed.

But once the hull is lifted you work on foils only and the immerged surface is down to 20%!

PROS

  • reduce the disturbance of waves
  • smoothest ride, but only up to a top speed
  • when not lifted improve stability or handling and in some circumstances

CONS

  • high expense for fixing if cracked
  • high speed limit due to structural manifacturing
  • longer shaft or (ideally) jackplate needed

Winter season is the best moment of the year to evaluate a purchase of a Rhib.

It’s the moment where to study new design, fix what needs to be done, test the engine, make everything to be ready to go on first day of good weather and enjoy the sea at its best with nobody around…

No purchase must be done sight unseen.

Experience teaches us that nobody is prepared enough on everything, so better ask a professionist, but here you have some good tips…

The parts of a Rhib are really a lot, but is a quite fast schedule to check:

HULL

Check for any scratch, deep or light.

A difference in tone of the color can lead to a previous fix which needs to be checked.

Better a hull without antifouling cause it can hide bad surprises..

DECK

Bad damages on the deck are really unusual.

What can be found are so-called SPIDER CRACKS which are just estethic issues. What you need to dig into are areas where you feel “going down” with your feet. That usually lead to a delamination and is quite an expense.. 

These issues can be checked opening the lockers and trying to see if the fiberglass splits.

EYEBOLTS

Rust running down from them can be a sign of untied eyebolts and let water through.

This means the wood on the transom must have been soaked in water.

Same goes for the eyebolt ahead, which most of the time rust because of water standing in the front locker. 

HINGES AND CLOSURES

Disallignment and rivets can lead to not proper closure of the hinges/locks of the lids/seats.

If rivets are present they must be changed to screws and locknuts. Ideallu use a sealant while puttingt he plate back in place.

Rust around keyholes and hinges is just a careless aspect. A good clean and maintenance will fix all.

LOCKERS AND STRAKES

Check the drainage system as first thing.

Delamination on strakes, water presence, dirt clogging the pipes..

Spidercracks here might lead to a possible problem.

Today’s strakes are made of polyurethane foam covered by resin, it’s much lighter but can crack easier.

Ask an expert to check for possible cracks on corners with separators and strakes.

ELECTRIC CIRCUIT

A Rhib will never sink, but it can flood.

In order to avoid any issue it is important that all the connections are ABOVE water level.

A battery too aft, close to the transom for instance and connection made on wires are NOT a good sign, something cheap to be done, but which needs attention.

TUBES

The fabric of the tubes can last forever, or go very soon accordingly to the maintenance done.. A 4/5 years old Rhib can look brand new or ugly just if a standard maintenace has been previously done or not.

THE FABRIC

If the tube is not shiny it means that the wax layer is poor and needs to be restored. If the fabric is shown then let a professionst check it as it might lead to micro air leaks. Or worst.. Nothing that cannot be repaired though.

Before Image After Image

MILDEW

Mildew is very hard to be taken away, but a good treatment restores it at a very high standard. The process not complicated, but can bring to damages to the fabric.

At Big D® we do use specific chemicals which are granting the following result:

Before Image After Image

STERN RINGS

Another important point is the outern ring which unglues due to the straigh flow of the water. Nowadays new techniques are being followed in order to delete this proble, but if present check its condition and in case it needs to be patched with a planing triangle (see HERE what it is and how can be fixed).

Before Image After Image

HYPALON REFIT

If it is Hypalon most of the time everything can be fixed without changing the whole tube but (if it’s the case), we do produce brand new tubes providing 5ys warranty.

Before Image After Image

Do you want to restore your rhib? Contact Big D® on +356 77326435

What is the best material?

The Rhib industry is literally split in two.

Who works out inflatable done in PVC and who does them in Hypalon©.

Let’s make clear what are pro and cons of both materials once and for all.

What is PVC

PVC stands for Poly Vynil Chloride, and it is a plastic compound synthetized 150 years ago in Germany.

Originally it was a rigid material which has been modified in the early 20s in order to commercialised by Goodrich company.

Today around 50% of worldwide production is shared between China and Taiwan.

The material used modern inflatable devices is made of 3 layers: pvc, nylon structure, pvc.

Usually one side is smooth (the outern one), another shiny (which is the inner one, where the glue acts), it is mild resistant to UV and chemicals.

In order to resist to high temp (>90°) an inner net is present for tubes on bigger vessels.

There are two different techniques to seal PVC tubes: PVC GLUE and THERMO WELDING TECHNIQUE

GLUE is a very effective and cheap way to close PVC seams, but it is weaker.

PVC glue is very sensitive to heat, with high environmental temps or straight sun the glue softens and let air leaks occur.

Another weak point is the storage. Usually tenders and small rhibs are kept totally deinflated. Unfortunately this makes things worst, since glue dries in a specific position and once is inflated, it cracks.

Chinese manufacturers are usually producing Rhibs and dinghies with glued seams, you can recognize them by the typical “seam-bump”, an inner bend which helps holding air (see below picture).

ATTENTION: many SUPs and INFLATABLE BOARDS have glued seams and need a specific attention, please read here how NOT to store your SUP.

THERMO WELDING TECHNIQUE is the safest seam and is possible on PVC manufacturing only. Zodiac and Bombard are two of the major brands which are using this technique (the hull is anyway glued in the standard way).

There is a specific category using thermo welding and are devices which need HIGH PRESSURE.

Thermo weldic can hold up to 15PSI against the 2 of the glue.

These devices are SUPs, windsurf boards, and racing catamarans (such as Topcats).

PVC PRO 

  • cheap fabric
  • high number of producers
  • cheaper fixings

PVC CONS 

  • low glue life expectation
  • high attention needed
  • thermo welding in certain time is impossible to fix with same fabric performance

For the above reasons, glued tubes are not installed above 20ft vessels.

What is HYPALON©

Hypalon© is the nickname for a more complicated chemical.

It is a base of PE with synthetic rubber, it’s very resistant to chemicals, extreme temperatures and UV.

Originally developed by DuPont, today the leading hypalon producer is ORCA by Pennel et Flipò, which added two layers of neoprene allowing an impressive color chart and fabric textures.

Hypalon is formed by 5 layers: treated rubber coat, neoprene, nylon fabric, neoprene, rubber.

The only way to close Hypalon© tubes is HYPALON© GLUE.

It can be used even normal neoprene glue, but it is not designed for high resistance use.

Today, as said, the most important supplier in terms of quality and design is ORCA by Pennel et Flipò Belgium, which is the only one producing military standard but there are Chinese manufacturers which are making lower but good standard products.

BIG D® is a certified ORCA Hypalon© repairer.


PRO HYPALON©

  • original hypalon if treated good stands forever, you can still find 30/40years old Rhib
  • high variety of color/textures
  • can be used on big Rhibs (even over 40 feet)

CON HYPALON©

  • material much more expensive than PVC
  • takes longer to fix
  • on final product, price is much more expensive related to PVC

HOW TO RECOGNISE IF A RHIB IS PVC OR HYPALON©?

If you are buying a Rhib (or want to repair it with a patch) you need to know what is the material you are working on and get patch and glue accordingly, otherwise won’t work in the proper way.

PVC

  • at touch feels like PLASTIC
  • it looks with a DIAMOND TEXTURE
  • it DOES NOT leave DUST when grinded
  • the material has SAME COLOR inside and outside

HYPALON©

  • at touch feels like RUBBER
  • it looks with a DOTS TEXTURE, barely visible
  • it MAKES DUST when grinded
  • the material inside is BLACK rubber

If you need any help, contact Big D® on +356 77326435

sup repair

One of most common mistake while storing a sup is the roll up process.

Well rolling it up is not the wrong thing, what’s wrong is keeping it rolled up and de-inflated for long period, especially in summer.

The bended parts create corners, where the tension of the fabric is working while the heat melts the glue.

The result of this storage is the opening of the seam, and once is open is really REALLY hard to fix.

Most of the time it is enough closing the side properly but sometimes other parts are damaged as well.. so now that we know what damages it, HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR SUP:

  • avoid bending, try to keep a 2Pa pressure and keep straight
  • avoid sun exposure for long periods outside water
  • clean always with fresh water and dinghy soap (the material is PVC)
  • when you go out, inflate it at around noon, when the sun is at its top
  • always inflate to the indicated pressure then DE-INFLATE IT
  • if you cannot store it straight, remember to inflate it from time to time

The important thing is to keep the paddle board steady in order to keep the shape but if warmed up (so subject to a raise of the air pressure) it has to have enough pressure clearance in order to not explode.

Now go, and enjoy your sup!

Photo Credit Henry Copperstone – Malta SUP Sea Tracks

 

The most common device for side to side berth between boats or on pontoon (technically called STS, STQ and STB operations) is the Yokohama rubber fender.

This device is the most versatile because can be used even on inclined berth, is lighter than foam or solid rubber and offer a wide range of models.

The story of Yokohama Rubber Fenders

The most known producer is Yokohama, which begun 60years ago, but later the same design became so popular that several companies begun the production and today is spotted in every commercial hub and offshore.

These devices have to support very high stress , it is composed by a 1inch thick rubber with an inner tyre cord layer.

Externally might present a cage with tyres.

STS, STQ and STB operation fenders

These fenders use air to absorb the impact of the ships with very low reaction force and can be modulated to grant a wider and safer contact. This makes the rubber inflatable fenders the best option for STS (shipi-to-ship), STQ (ship-to-quay) and STB (ship-to-berthing) operations.

What do we do if a Yokohama fender leaks air?

Very simple… call Big D®!

Here‘s everything you need to know.

What is Nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology is the set of methods and techniques for the manipulation of matter on an atom-molecular scale, it has the aim of creating radically new products and processes, allowing us to face problems that were previously unsolvable.

The Lotus Effect

In 1982 a German botanist discovered why the leaves of the lotus plant are self-cleaning: the surface of the leaves of this plant were not smooth, as supposed, but nano-rough. 

The invisible and tiny reliefs of the structure of the leaves unprotected from liquids and dirt to adhere to the surface of the leaf. 

Following this discovery, nanobionic engineering started.

From lotus leaves to hypalon

Nanotechnology plans to create nano applications that transform atoms and molecules of hypalon and PVC surfaces, which acquire amazing new features and properties. For each type of substrate and application, atom-molecular molecules, called “nanoparticles”, must be programmed and programmed.

The hydrophobicity of a surface is defined by the contact angle. The higher the contact angle the greater the hydrophobicity of a surface.

Nanotechnological engineering transforms the contact angle making the surface repellent to water adhesion. The water flows away in the form of pearls, dragging the impurity with it.

Conclusions

By adopting the lotus flower principle, the surfaces are always shiny and clean.

The R&D office of Pennel et Flipo used these new technolgy, and has been able to grant the following effects:

  • water repellency
  • oil repellency
  • waterproofing
  • dirt repellency
  • limescale repellency
  • anti-corrosion
  • anti oxidation

And these are the reasons why is better to NOT use antifouling on tubes.

Read also: https://bigd.mt/do-i-use-antifouling-on-tubes/https://bigd.mt/do-i-use-antifouling-on-tubes/

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