A few years ago I had a raft that was severely damaged on the big log jam on the Chili river out of twin lakes. It had a tear that almost had the tube ripped in two. I took the boat up to Tracy at Alaska raft and had him look at it. He told me it was not sure if he could save it, but he would try.
It was the busy season for him, so I suggested he just wait til things slowed down and I was not in a hurry.
Well He called me when it was done. I was actually surprised he could repair it as it had several uneven tears.
He had it pumped up and waiting when I got there.
I used that raft for a couple of more years before I sold it off.
I wanted all of you to know that Tracy Harmon is a genuine and sincere person, that cares about people and is a true professional.
I suggest to anyone that needs repairs to contact Tracy.
I stopped by the other day to visit and ask some questions. Its too bad they keep him trapped in the back room of that repair shop so much. He is a wealth of knowledge and fun to talk to .
I've floated the chili before and had some close calls myself. What did you do in the field to repair the raft? Did you have enough patching supplies? I am going on the chili again in two weeks and I am terrified of doing more damage than I can fix.
ditto on Tracy
A great Human being even if he is an Okie! I enjoy all the folks down at Alaska Raft and Kayak. If you want to do it chances are they have done it before you!
On that trip I had a second raft with us. It was an early Moose/ Caribou combo. I put everything I could in the other raft and floated out on the other 3 chambers. I left that raft at Maribou landing on the Mulchatna for pickup, and had Glen Alsworth from Port Alsworth bring me in a fresh boat so I could continue down to the Koctuli.
I now have a 7 foot bladder I took out of one of those worthless cheaply built one man pontoon boats.( don't get me wrong, there are some great Pontoon boats out there) I deflate it and keep it in a bag with my repair stuff. If I ever have an event like that big rip and tear again, I will shove that bladder in the opening and sew it in with fishing line or Floss and inflate it enough to help at least a little.
The Chili river is fun to float, but those big up-rooted trees and root wads, are danger. There is one spot on the Chili that always has that big log jam area. some years the first folks down have to cut an opening so they can get through. The year we got hung up was one of those years that it was tough getting through. we saw parts of other rafts still hanging on the knarly root wads and sweepers. I was using clips on my oars back then and I hit a log popping the clip out and then I could not get it back on in time to make the next hard turn a few seconds later. I was the first of our two boats thru the log jam. I hit that 4 foot spear shaped limb, and I heard and felt the air rush out. My boat hung on it for a moment and then the current pushed me sideways and loose. My brother was in the next raft behind me and rammed into the same mess. He rammed the same stick that punctured my raft, but bounced off instead of tearing a hole. When we looked at the damage later, I couldn't tell where he had hit that sharp limb.
The other boat was anouther brand, and had heavier material. After talking to the Manufacture, I learned a little more about inflatable materials and have since purchased boats that are better quality.
I never thought about it but I guess that I could do the same thing with dry bags. Thanks for the info.
Alaskacanoe, i'm curious as to what brand of raft you had punctured and the brand of the better built raft.
The raft that was torn almost in two was a Momentum. The one my brother was in was an Alaska series. I had bought the boat just a few weeks before Gary Kings sports center shut its doors in Anchorage. That must have been about 7 years ago or so.
The tensil strength of the PVC material in the Alaska series is over three times as strong, so it resists punctures and tears. I like it better than Hypalon, due to Hypalon is not as slick going over rocks and gravel bars.
They have great materials now, and lots of good boat manufactures.
peal and stick field repairs
There is a new product on the market called Tear-Aid http://www.tear-aid.com/ it’s the very best field repair material in the market. It's peel and stick. They make 2 types of kits. "Type A" for Rubber and canvas (Hypalon) and "type B" for PVC (vinyl based fabric)
Tear aid is Peel and stick. The tear aid glue holds about 6 years. Field repairs don't get much easier!
The small tear-aid kit comes with a couple small patches and a strip 3"x12" long with some 80# mono to stitch a large tear before using the longer patch. The actual fabric is urethane so it's very stretchy and can be used to patch over tough to seal places such as seams and along rub strakes
Alaska Series Inflatable Boats,
Commercial quality at Wholesale prices
River Rafts, Catarafts, Inflatable Kayaks, Inflatable Canoes, Inflatable
Sport Boats, Inflatable Jet Boats, Tenders and Dinghies.
Last edited by Michael Strahan; 07-30-2006 at 22:29.
One trick I learned was to take along a couple extra inflatable thwarts. Just deflate & pack them in someplace, and when you need to fix a real disaster, poke them in the ripped tube and sew them up.