Hypalon Raft + Cold Temps
Just wanted some thoughts about the perils or advantages to leaving my raft inflated for next winter and just covering it up real well. Rolling it up and storing it inside was kind of a pain this year and if there are not any major benefits to be gained, I would be just as happy leaving it down on the Kenai Peninsula outside.
The couple things I have thought about are making sure it is completely dry, removing the floor (should or shouldn't I remove the aluminum floor?-17' Achilles), and possibly creating a housing like a couple 4'x8' sheets of plywood that would sit on the oar frame so snow just doesn't fill up the raft and suck in the tarp.
Any thoughts or suggestions are appreciated.
Tear it down and clean it really good and cover it and you'll be okay. You want to make sure that little critters can't get to it and chew it up. I would personally leave the floor in it (after you clean it up under there real good). You DEFINATELY need to make sure that the transom is DRY. You don't want water freezing and thawing in the wood...it will ruin it and cost you a happy $1200.00 to fix it.
You'll need to make some kind of A frame to let the snow slide off of it.
Best solution by far if you have the indoor space is to take your time for winter storage & not be too lazy... clean the boat, dry everything thoroughly, 303 protection, vacuum out all the air and condensation, and keep it in a boat bag where animals, water sources, chemicals, and vehicles or tooling are not going to bother it. This is time and care well spent to protect a nice boat during the off-season. One of the surest ways to meet with comprehensive repair work is to go ahead and leave it outside.
You have a very well made quality inflatable. Achilles are excellent! However, I see many in the shop because of neglect and leaving them to the harsh treatment of outside winter storage issues --- that could have been prevented by disassembling and indoor care.
Well said Brian!! I concur!!
I'm sure the advice u got from the above members is sound. But in case you want to know, I bought a 15.5 ft Achilles in 95 that was 2 yrs old. I've never stored it indoors in the winter that I can rmmbr. (I do have a heated garage these last 12 yrs and its possible it was in there one or 2 winters-but dont think so). At any rate, I did cut 3/8 inch plywood that fit in the top just inside the frame flap. It took 3 seperate pieces to close it off, I believe. They were not waterproof or snow proof by any means. I kept the boat on the trailer, tipped back so the melt could come out the boats rear holes. I put objects in the boats floor under the plywood to keep it from collapsing from snowload-like firewood logs. My boat also has aluminum flooring. (I've only had the floor out once about 6 yrs ago.) This was done for about 6-7 yrs. Since then, I built a lean-to (miniture car port) that the boat just fits in, height wise. I also have a canvas cover for it that I had built in Anch. about 13 yrs ago. No more plywood pieces. So even tho it stays out all winter it has a good roof. The only thing I worry about is that the back foot or so of the pontoon sticks out and gets more sun than I like to see on it. The only problem I've ever had with the Achilles is that occasionally one of the valves will leak slowly.(I think I solved those with a silicone spray.) I had to change one out once. The cold winter weather will reduce the normal summer pressure to keep my boat just 'shapely' during winter. I'm sure I've had some water (freeze) under my floorbds at times. No problem as of yet. I'm not telling this story to dispute the advice given. Just letting u know my experience that I've had w. mine. I wish I WOULD have had a nice place to put it. Its been a great boat for me. By the way, my 35 horse Tahatsu has been on it ever since I bought the boat and it has gotten no better treatment. Still runs flawlessly. Generally about this time of yr, the boat comes out of its cubby so that is ready to go. It stays in the garage at the ready all summer- out of the sun.
Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!
I would take Brian's advice - he is right and that is by and far the best way for storage.