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Provision a large quantity of patches for the inflatable dinghy

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What is the issue?
A dinghy that will be used for an extended cruise will have a hard life. If it’s an inflatable, a large amount of glue and patches will be required to sustain the expedition. The meagre supplied patch kit is not enough and beguiles you into overlooking this provisioning. In remote places it is very difficult to acquire the correct materials. Varying materials are used in the construction of dinghies and they all require specific glues and patches for a sustainable repair. Worse, some glues have controlled substances in them. This means they may or may not be obtainable depending upon the regulation of the countries visited.

Why address this?
Without a tender you are quiet simply lost whilst cruising. The dinghy has to be kept serviceable. Without it a vessel and crew are forced to go into a marina or alongside a port wall which is far from always being available in each location.

How to address this?
Contact the manufacturer of your particular dinghy and provision a large amount of patching material and glue from the outset.

Make certain to explore the shelf life of the glue and the conditions of storage. If it has a short shelf life you will need to list the outlets en route where it can be obtained. If this is limited make special provisions with the manufacturer so that a friend coming out to join you may purchase and restock or mail it to you.

When repairing dinghies I found a patch was only going to be a long-term success if:
(i) I had the correct glue and material, and the glue is within its usability date.
(ii) I follow the instructions to the exact details
(ii) I clamped it down, and
(iii) left it clamped for at least a day.

See figure 1, repairing and clamping whilst on passage giving it time to adhere successfully. Using the wrong glues I found resulted in the patches lifting and finally pealing off. Stripping this off to repair it once again is a real chore.

Finally, do not place a heavy weight in the floor of a dinghy. We placed an anchor chain in ours and sadly that pulled the floor out. That was impossible to successfully repair and it was a wet foot experience from there on in during the last days of our circumnavigation.

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.

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