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Roplene Repair

Roplene® is a marine-formulated rotational-molded polymer. To build a boat, material is pumped into a mold. From bow to stern - including storage boxes, gunwales, transom, hull and deck cap - everything is molded into a single, seamless piece. Each mold is then mounted inside a massive rotating oven. The molding process is monitored continuously to ensure every boat turns out uniformly. As the mold cools, the hull continues to rotate for an even, consistent thickness. After cooling the hull is removed from the mold and hardware and accessories are added.

All Triumph® boats are made utilizing the patented Roplene® technology. Any Triumph® dealer should have a copy of the recommended repair procedures. Some repairs can be completed using solvent and filler techniques but structural cracks need to be welded. This process is sort of the same process as welding steel except the rod is the same type plastic as the original molding and the heat is a gas torch. Most larger RV service shops have the equipment and personnel to do this as they frequently have to repair water and waste tanks from the motor homes they service.

The Triumph® boats website provides the following "Owner's Resources" information:

Q. How do I get my registration numbers to stick to my boat?

A. 3M makes a product called 94 Primer that should be wiped onto the area where decals will be applied and allowed to evaporate before applying the decal.

Q. How can anti-fouling paint be applied to the bottom of a Roplene® boat?

A. Sand the bottom with a random orbit sander and 80-grit paper (just like a fiberglass boat). Then, using a propane torch, oxidize the surface by quickly sweeping the blue part of the flame across the bottom of the boat. Do not linger in one area. (One three foot pass should take less than one second.) Similar to spray painting.

Q. What if the bottom is not painted?

A. Grass, green algae and barnacles can attach to the surface. Any growth that does attach to the bottom can be removed with a stiff brush or pressure washer. If barnacles attach, allow them to completely dry with the boat out of the water; they can then be scrapped off with a piece of wood or with a pressure washer.

Q. What are the white plugs or discs visible on the transom and other locations on the boat?

A. These plugs or discs cover vents used in the molding process. After the boat is molded, these holes are then used as injection points for the injection of foam into the inner liner of the hull. The plugs that are welded over the holes and are called "spin welds".

Q. How are the hull and deck joined?

A. The entire boat is molded in one piece, therefore, there is not a joint seam that can leak below the rub rail. There is a parting line where the two parts of the mold come together and separate.

Q. What happens if I hit a dock or a rock with the boat?

A. The boat will flex and absorb the impact instead of cracking, splitting or denting like an aluminum or fiberglass hull. (A test ride is a good time to demonstrate this and as well as how the boat absorbs the impact of beating into waves or bouncing off of docks.)

Q. What if the boat gets scratched?

A. Since there is no gelcoat, the color is solid all the way through, much like a Corian® countertop. For a small scratch, simply sand the scratch out, starting with 400 grit sand paper and then finish sanding with 800 grit. This will leave the surface dull. Bringing the shine back to the boat can be done in two ways. (See below.)

Q. Can the sheen be restored after sanding?

A. Yes. Try one of these methods:

  1. Polish with a dry, clean buffing pad and an electric buffer. Buffing action will create heat that will bring the sheen back to the surface.

  2. If you don't have a buffer you can use a heat gun. Simply warm the surface until you see it "gloss" and take on a slightly wet look. Do not heat too much to cause it to discolor.

Q. What if it is a large gouge or hole?

A. Large abrasions or holes can be easily filled with a plastic welder and some replacement material supplied by your Triumph dealer. Once the area has been filled you can then sand it smooth using the same method as above.

Q. Can I rig anything on the boat (e.g., cup holders, rod holders, antennae)?

A. Yes. In fact, it is similar to adding accessories to FRP. Most items should be fastened to the material using self-tapping screws. Make sure to "bed" all fasteners with Rule (Sudbury) Elastomeric Sealant. If it is an item that will see large loads, you can fasten to the hull using a Toggler toggle bolt, a stainless steel anchor that is permanently fastened in the hull. Many marine suppliers carry these. If the item needs further support, you can cut a hole for an access plate and back up the installation with a backing plate. We recommend you call the factory to make sure you are not in an area of structural concern. (Toggler's have a pull-out force of about 400 lbs.)

Q. How are cleats, bow eye and stern eyes attached?

A. Hardware is mounted using molded-in inserts. These inserts are chromeplated stainless steel, have a backing flange and are molded right into the boat. (The pull-out force for each insert is up to 1,200 lbs.)

Q. What happens when water gets inside the hollow hull?

A. The hull is almost completely filled with closed cell-foam so there is not much space for water, but there are drain plugs on the boats to check for and drain water.

Q. Since nothing sticks to this material, what can be used to bed any fittings to prevent leakage into the hull?

A. Rule Elastomeric Sealant works the best at providing adhesion, as well as sealing. It is available at many marine supply stores and at Wal-Mart. Silicone, 5200, polyurethane or polysulfide sealants should not be used.

Q. Is a warranty available?

A. Triumph has a Lifetime Hull Limited Warranty that covers structural problems.

Q. What are the environmental benefits to this boat?

A. The boat is produced using a zero-emissions manufacturing process. The hull is also 100 percent recyclable. It can be reground and made into another PE product. Of course, Triumph uses only 100 percent virgin material for strength.

Q. If a screw pulls out of the material, how do I fix it?

A. With a Roplene®-constructed boat, the repair is easy. Simply heat the screw over a torch flame while holding it with pliers, dip it in polyethylene powder (supplied by Triumph or a Triumph dealer) and insert it back into the hole. Hold the screw in for a few minutes while it cools; the heat from the screw will weld the screw into place.

Q. What happens if the hull deflects?

A. A small dent or deflection will not cause permanent damage unless stored for a long period of time. The material has memory and will return to its original shape when properly stored. This usually takes about a week, depending on the degree of the distortion. Large dents and deflection can be a problem if the yield point of the material has been exceeded. Prevention is the best cure.