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Thinking of Purchasing a Hypalon Dinghy?

By Sue Richards last modified Oct 31, 2011 10:30 PM

Published: 2011-10-31 22:30:55
Topics: Equipment
Countries: Thailand

Cruisers Nick and Gertrud de Graaf of SY Tartufo recently contacted noonsite after purchasing a Hypalon Lodestar Dinghy from their dealers in Thailand: Surapol Chandlery, Phuket. These dinghies are manufactured by Bay Industrial Co., Ltd. located in South Korea and with a production facility in China.

Within 3 months of use, their brand new dinghy started to develop mildew spots (black stains) and more worryingly loosening of the rubber strake, seals and stern – none of which appeared to be glued properly. A number of visits to the dealer where they purchased the dinghy (who attempted to fix the problem) could still not remedy the development of mildew and the rapid degeneration of the fabric.

The manufacturer put the problem down to the climate in Thailand and said “mildew is usually found when the end users do not clean or keep the boat in a good way after using. Fungus/mildew may happen when the boat is being kept continually stored or located in very humid areas. In this case, the boat should be necessarily cleaned/washed quite often or whenever before storage. In the beginning, when users find the marks, they should clean them with fungus cleaner before they are spreading out to be that severe. You can get a fungus cleaner like Tilex in the markets and clean the marks."

Interestingly – Nick has commented that during their cruising in Thailand they have seen “quite a lot of hypalon quicksilver dinghies, without any mildew. So we think there is something wrong with the fabric”. The manufacturer says, “As the fabric supplier does not guarantee the quality issue caused by mildew, we can not accept it as warranty”.

Another thing to be wary of when purchasing any dinghy, is that the warranty stated by the manufacturer, may not be applicable in certain countries, and in certain cases the distributor’s warranty overrides that of the manufacturer.

This was so in Nick and Gerturd’s case where the manufacturer states “We have an official distributor in each region. Each distributor sells Lodestar boats according to its sales policy including respective warranty period based upon regional field condition. Any warranty claims should be raised by end users direct to the distributor. Our official Thai distributor sells the boat under the warranty 1 year for boat and accessory for their Thai market unlike the 5 year limited warranty for European market because the climate in Thailand is very hot and severe compared to the European weather.”

All well and good, however as Nick explains “About the warranty; they give you a brochure with on it a 5 year warranty and they don't tell you that you get only 1 year (which we think is ridiculous for hypalon, that's why we bought a hypalon one). So please let the cruisers know that they should ask the dealer for their warranty policy”.

Nick concludes, “We definitely can't recommend Lodestar dinghies. After 5 months our dinghy looked if it was at least 5 years old, and we hope it will last another year”.

Our thanks to Harris Yoo of Bay Industrial Co. for responding to this complaint and providing comments.