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Old 07-06-2015   #21
I'm wrong 50% of the time
brendodendo's Avatar
RFV, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 857
I'd say Scott knows what he is talking about. He also experienced this same issue last year, had the boat professionally fixed, and sold it cheap with full disclosure. As for the Star, you could probably fix it yourself with a lot of time to research the best glue and materials and learning how to properly prep the material and then doing a few practice patches on some spare material before you finally jump in and try the real fix. By then, you probably have a multitude of hours into the project and at that point, assuming the seam repair and or baffle repair hold up, you may not trust the boat in white water. Totally understand you emotional attachment to your boat. The buzz is a great place, but it is not a hand holding, warm fuzzy feeling type of site. You can and will get your feeling hurt here as people with a vastly larger knowledge base than you have post up or the jack dick chimes in. As for the BMW comment, you can keep a Geo Metro on the road for many years, just don't tell me that it is a as good as a Mercedes.

Claimer: Someone that makes a claim that they have been there and done that, can do anything you can do better than you. I hate "claimers"
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Old 07-06-2015   #22
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,906

Welcome to the Buzz. I understand that it's not what you want to hear, however, lots of folks are taking time out of their day to give you lot of accurate information and advice. You're probably drawing on over a century of combined experience dealing with rafts on this thread alone. If you want to learn about rafting and perfect your terminology, call up the good folks at 4 Corners there in Durango and see if they've got a copy of Jeff Bennett's "The Complete Whitewater Rafter" in stock. There's a chapter about raft anatomy that'll be a great help as well as tons of other stuff you'll need to know for getting on the water. There's also lots of good info on buying a used raft in the Buzz archives that you can search for.

Here's a MountainBuzz search on the topic.

I've heard of a professional raft repair man taking your boat and turning the panels inside out, and re-glueing all the panels, baffles & seam tape to get more life out of your boat. If you've got way more time than money then go for it - you'll certainly learn alot about how your boat's made and how to repair it with a project like that.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do,


Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 07-06-2015   #23
Durango, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 10
I am thankful for the advice! I am sorry I have been as clear as mud! I agree I know very little, so I thought it would be fun to see what kind of help this site, which I am new to as well, might be. It is interesting the ego, it always gets in my way! Sorry!
So I talked with the very nice and helpful people at Star, Brian helped me get things a little more clear! I thought I should have a inner tube inside the chamber, no I do not. What I do have is a boat that got too hot and blew at the seem. Sorry to lead you all astray! I also talked with Dennis Schell (a local repair expert) he seem to think there was a lot of life left in the boat. I have done some repairs on boats with success, I know this is a tricky one. Scott I want you to know I have glued miles of PVC, ok not that much, it is not as hard as you make it out to be. For the record I put 400+ miles on the boat last year! I will take before and after pictures to post my repair that I will be doing myself! I will take all the good luck I have been given on this thread, thank you very much! And thanks for the advice!
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Old 07-06-2015   #24
north little rock, Arkansas
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 340
Good luck with it, Kiki.
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Old 07-06-2015   #25
zbaird's Avatar
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 884
A little late to the show here, the Ark was good this weekend!!!

Thanks for the support everyone.

Kiki, The advice, concern and confusion from replies you have gotten are fairly valid.

Fifteen year old Stars that are starting to have glue failure can certainly be money pits. If you brought the boat to my shop I would want to look it over. I would look to see if there was mass glue failure starting to happen. Typically it will be d rings,seam tape, seams, chafers, etc that are starting to peel or will easily peel. If everything but the seam in question seems totally solid, and sometimes they are, I would give you a quote to fix the seam. If there was evidence of other failure I would likely try and talk you out of spending the money. A good way to test it yourself if you are so inclined is to try and peel the seam apart a little more. If it is solid you will notice the material wanting to give up before the glue when you pull on it sharply, if that is the case it may be worth it. If the seam keeps on peeling apart with not much effort the boat is likely on its last leg.

In either case, I would likely try and talk you out of fixing the baffle, professionally at least. You couldn't sell the boat for the cost of a full baffle install and when that is the case I usually try and steer my customers down a different path even though it costs me the job. The boat has been getting you down with 3 main chambers, a floor and presumably thwarts. Plenty of boats come new from the factory as 2 or 3 chamber boats plus floor and thwarts. If the boat does fully inflate through one valve then all of your baffles are blown out. In this case I would consider trashing it and starting anew.

All this aside, I do have one customer who loves his Star and Ive had it in the shop every year for 5-6 years now repairing seams and whatever else. I advised against it 5 years ago and advise against it every time. He loves his raft and has spent a new RMR worth in repairs but it keeps him floating and he doesnt have to buy new frame,etc. For him its worth it, so Im happy to do the work after I have given him the disclaimer, again, for the fifth time.

Repairing boats is not rocket science, but it is science, mixed with a little art. The baffle needs to be completely sealed to be of any use. It is not the same as putting on a d ring or even closing up a seam that came unglued. Good luck in whatever you choose to do.
zach baird
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Old 07-08-2015   #26
Star Inflatables's Avatar
Banner Elk, North Carolina
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 32
Hi Kiki, you need thick skin around here as I've been flamed by the Buzzards too. I can only imagine the response this may receive.
We have a full service repair shop here in SC. that can fix most any issue (I'd use Zach in CO, he's good people). If the boat has had extreme U/V and heat exposure then the material may have off-gassed the phallates to the point that the boat will have systemic seam failure. Save your money for another boat. If it's just a blown seam from over-inflation, that is repairable and can happen to any boat no matter how many bladders and zippers it may have.
Star Inflatables has an image issue more than a quality issue. Zach will get this but I doubt others not in the manufacturing side of the industry would understand. Where has Sotar sourced drop-stitch, Star. Where does Creature Craft source their material, Star. Who did Star source hypalon from in 2010 for a series of boats, Hyside. The factory that makes and owns Star Inflatables is also the manufacturer of SUP's for NRS, Naish, Boardworks, Badfish, BIC, and Hobie. Just because a boat is labeled with a certain brand, it doesn't mean that's who produced it. In the inflatable boat industry I have leaned the difference between made in America and assembled in America. I'm not here to change anyone's mind as I buy American when ever I can, Star Inflatables is an American Company just like RMR, Aire, or Hyside. However, Aire assembles their boats in America.
I understand the image issue as I had never used a Star in 20 years of commercial guiding in the SE, and Star is located 30 minutes from Asheville, NC. I have made several modifications to the existing line-up of Star Inflatables and have introduced new designs that are starting to change that image. I sell boats by telling the truth. A Star should be depreciated within 8 years for commercial use, expect 10 years of use and everything else is gravy. Can you pay twice as much for a raft, yes. It won't last twice as long in a commercial environment and your needs may change in that time. Outfitters are beginning to realize that paying half for a solid boat with a 5 year commercial warranty (7 year retail) which includes shipping both ways, is a great value and a great way to maintain a sharp looking fleet.
Just my "2 cents" on this thread.
Happy Paddling.......and Flame away Buzzards!
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Old 07-08-2015   #27
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,906

Thanks for weighing in on the topic and educating folks some about the raft manufacturing business.

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 07-08-2015   #28
shredder-scott's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 257
Hi Star

Wow...very cool to hear directly from the manufacturer on this issue.

I found your response to be balanced, informative, and hopefully reflective of a very customer first business strategy.

Low retail cost + good design + strong warranty / customer service = a company on the path to success.

Good luck

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Old 07-08-2015   #29
Moon's Avatar
Silt, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 193
My ex-girlfriend always wanted to row my boat, which is fine, unless I never get to row.... so I found a used 14' Star self bailer for $400. This was a 100 years ago when dinosaurs still roamed the earth. I re-laced the floor and fixed several pin hole leaks and the boat is still going strong....may not be the prettiest on the water, certainly not the ugliest... I always get a kick out of reading "PVC boat" threads and how they will fall apart 6 months after you buy them... I have no idea how old the Star is, it looked old when I bought it, but my Vanguard is knocking on 9 years old, looks good and still going strong.

Very cool to hear from Star. I enjoyed reading what they had to say.
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Old 07-08-2015   #30
Star Inflatables's Avatar
Banner Elk, North Carolina
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 32
Hey Moon, I appreciate your response as well as all the input from the experience represented here on mtn buzz. I try to pay attention to this forum, but rarely post. The last two digits of your serial # will tell the year of manufacture if you wanted to know. This is a great place to get information about the local scene and the industry whether it's private, commercial, or manufactures. I enjoy sharing the knowledge I've gained in the industry because there is so much I never realized about the manufacturing end after 20 years of commercial guiding and opererting my own outfitter for 5 years.
Happy Paddling!

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