I just bought myself a Blackhawk Zephyr and have had it in the water a few times. In a class we were asked to work on our braces to the point of failing… and then practiced self-rescues, of course. What I learned is that my bow floatation tank leaks and fills with water. My question for the group is this. Does anyone know if the end is air or foam in these boats? My instructor seems to think it’s ok if they are filled with foam, but if the boat relies on air only in those tanks, then the fact that they fill with some water could be something I should repair. thoughts?
look under the deck plate
I believe the Zephyr used sealed flotation chambers but I could be wrong. Sealed chambers are generally filled with air only as the foam would only add unnecessary weight.
Open topped chambers need foam or some material to displace water.
If you look under the deck plate you will be able to see if there is an opening at the top of the tank.
If there is not, look for a small hole near the top of the tank under the deck plate. Sealed tanks generally have a small vinyl stopper with a tiny hole in it, or sometimes a screw, to allow equalization of pressure so that the tank does not blow out and wreck the canoe when the air inside expands in hot weather. If the stopper or screw is missing water can get in.
When WeNoNah dropped foam flotation for air tanks they realized ~6 lbs in weight savings compared to Moore's, Sawyer's and Mad Rivers foam flotation, about 10% of hull weight back then. The industry followed that lead. Your BlackHawk has air behind those inserts.
Pre molded tank panels reduce keeping the hull i it's mold by a day and can enhance interior cosmetics, buy improper sealant application can cause leaks. Of note, laminated in float tanks can also leak, generally due to inadequate fabric/resin application. Clean around the edges with acetone, seal with clear silicon, epoxy or Methacrylate as you prefer.
for your help. It is much appreciated. So… how important is it, in your opinion, to seal those chambers? I suspect the breach is far up under the deck based upon where the water comes from when I turn the boat upside down. (I am thinking about a cupful of water at most). It seems I’d have to remove the gunnel to remove the decks to get to the floatation chambers beneath them in order to seal and/or plug.
Seal it if you
paddle far from shore. Might try a spray sealant like Flex Seal if you cannot reach the spot with a small brush (tape something to the handle to extend it) with epoxy. I would use the brush as anything you spray cannot be controlled and could be a real mess.
In a capsize if the tanks fill up the boat can actually sink.