Passage to Brisbane – Day 4

30:52:88S
165:14:26E

Wednesday 25th January

Why are we sailing to Brisbane? To visit the Matisse exhibition of course.

Well that is not quite the whole story. Four years ago we were based in Australia and visited the Gold Coast Brisbane boat show. We were looking for a new dinghy. We liked the Swift make as it ticked all the right boxes. Our criteria was that it had to be large enough for 4 people, have a double aluminium floor, the material to be Hypalon, a very strong fabric and constructed with tubes that are separated internally into three separate chambers. An important safety feature as if one chamber should be punctured, the other two would stop you sinking.

We made a deal with the salesman who agreed a reasonable price for the dinghy on the stand at the show.

It was only about 6 months later we noticed that all the chambers went soft after only one of them was badly scratched by some sharp oyster shells on a wharf. We deflated the whole dinghy and after having made good the repair, began to inflate the damaged chamber. The strange thing was that all the chambers were inflated as well instead of just the one. It seemed that there was something wrong with the baffles inside the tubes. It didn’t matter which tube we inflated it affected all three.

We emailed the manufacturer asking for a solution and they denied that anything could be wrong and suggested some more testing. We retested the chambers and then explained that deflating any one of the chambers resulted in both the other chambers deflating as well. Inflating one chamber also affected the other two. Also, as we pumped the dinghy up, we could clearly hear air hissing past the baffles. There was no response from the manufacturer in spite of resending the email several times asking for not only an explanation but also a solution.

There is a dinghy repair guy in Gulf Harbour so we asked him to have a look at the dinghy for us. He cut the tubes next to the baffles and reported that they were leaking and made of an inferior material and defiantly not of Hypalon as they should have been. He said that any repair would be impossible to guarantee. The dinghy is serviceable as long it has no leak but that is not good enough.

We will be visiting Swift in Brisbane, dinghy in hand to see what they have to say about it. Then we will be able to give Matisse our full attention.

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