Two Hoots Sailing

Mark & Penny’s sailing adventures aboard S/V Two Hoots

The Case of the Exploding Rib!

When we bought “Two Hoots”, she came with a 2009 3.1m Rib of dubious Chinese origin and a Yamaha 9.9hp 4 Stroke outboard. Usually, the PVC on a rib will last 6 or 7 years before it starts to degrade, but in the sun of the Med, this life expectancy is much shorter.

There are two things you can do to help protect the PVC, either get dinghy “chaps” made (these are fabric covers that protect it from the sun) or you can paint the PVC with UV protection paint.

We chose to do the latter as we really hoped to get a few more years use out of it before having to replace it. So, before we launched in April, we cleaned, prepped, and painted “One Hoot” (for that was her name) with grey UV protection paint. She looked very smart as you can see form the picture.

About three or four days later, we were anchored in Tranquillity Bay in Nydri (on Lefkada) having been ashore for the morning. We were having lunch in the cockpit enjoying the lovely hot sunshine.

Suddenly, there was an almighty bang then for a few seconds, a noise that sounded like a bull elephant farting.

To our horror, we saw both rear tubes on “One Hoot” deflate almost instantly. Fortunately, being an aluminium bottomed Rib, she did not sink so we were able to very gingerly get her to shore to see if we could find some help.

After much investigation, we concluded that “One Hoot” was toast as there was nobody able to help repair her for about 8 weeks. We also inspected the damage and realised that the seams on the tubes had given way in spectacular fashion. The holes were so big, I could put my hand through them.

On reflection, we think that the UV protection paint, rather than protecting the PVC, had actually eaten the glue that held it together. There were many areas that once were glued that were no longer glued. I guess that the 13-year-old glue just lost the will to hang on.

Being without a Rib on a cat like “Two Hoots” is bad news as the only way ashore it to moor in marinas or town quays. Neither of these are popular with us as marinas cost arms and legs and town quays are noisy and prone to accidents. They are often used by charter boats who either don’t know what they are doing or don’t care what they are doing. Only this week, we have watched twice as boats on town quays, pull out the anchors of other boats on town quays causing mayhem. Fun to watch whilst having a Freddo Espresso or a Beer, but not fun if the plucked anchor is yours!!

Either way, we like to anchor and dinghy ashore so replacing “One Hoot” was essential. Fortunately, we got lucky and managed to source the only Highfield 3.1m Rib in Greece. It was a Highfield Ultralight with “Orca Hypalon” (which is much more durable than PVC). It is much lighter than “One Hoot” and therefore faster that “One Hoot”.

So, we bought it and had it couriered to Preveza from Athens; a 350-mile journey which cost us 70 euro. I mean how, what, where, when. That is so cheap. (Unlike the Rib!!)

Two days later, we took delivery of our new rib, and “One Hoot” was taken away. She was a good boat but the new one has one redeeming feature that we really like. It stays inflated!!

So, “Two Hoots” has a new tender, who has been christened “Cahoots”!!