Esquif Zephyr

I own an Esquif Zephyr, wonderful boat HOWEVER, the first one I had delaminated and I had sparkles all over my clothing which hurt and irritated my skin. Esquif replaced the boat and now it’s happening again. I love this boat but can’t use it. I looked up Twintex and it said it is a skin irritant and is it ever. Anyone have this problem?

Suggest you ask on
There aren’t many Zephyr owners on pnet.

But the issue is the fiberglass cloth in the Twintex laminate. In any boat where some of the cloth reinforcement is glass cloth, and the laminate is worn outside by rocks and gravel, or inside by the paddler’s scuffling around, little glass fibers will come off and become an irritant. I have seen that occur on several non-Twintex hulls. It is not a special problem with Twintex.

Perhaps Esquif or someone on this board can suggest a spray or varnish that can be put over wearing areas to keep glass fibers from becoming a problem. You can try to clean the wearing surfaces with a disposable cloth so that there will not be as many irritating fibers. And when you handle the boat, try to avoid wiping your arms or body against the hull.

I would have thought delamination meant some of the cloth layers were separating from each other. Wildernesswebb had an Esquif boat which delaminated pretty badly, and I believe in checking things out he discovered that, at least at that time (the problem may have been corrected since then), this was a chronic problem with that material. He would be able to fill in the details better than I. In any case, if this is the same “delamination” that happened to Wildy’s boat, it wasn’t as benign as simple wear and tear causing the fibers to be exposed, but at the same time I also have to wonder if delamination naturally would expose surface fibers. It would seem to me that these would be two separate problems, not necessarily related (but I’m not claiming to understand this completely).


– Last Updated: Mar-17-14 10:41 AM EST –

I've had delamination but not noticed this nor any irritation? I'll have to watch for that. What g2d says makes sense, it has to be fiberglass particles by the way it sounds?

Esquif sent me a new Mistral, but I still have and use the old, delaminated one since they never picked it up. Delam aside, I really like the layup. If they could just fix this issue?

Actually Terry,
you were pretty sparkly last December on the Current. I didn’t want to say anything in case it was 'cause you were one a dem vampires. Pete told me later you just liked sparkles.

…I guess the Esquif DID look “Sparkly” that day (LOL)?

Twin-tex repair

– Last Updated: Mar-17-14 5:29 PM EST –

In the case of Terry's boat, the Twin-tex laminate is coming loose from an underlying balsa wood core in the hull bottom. Twin-tex consists of fiberglass cloth imbedded in a polyethylene matrix.

I made an inquiry to Blue Mountain Outfitters in Marysville, PA (which is apparently the only repair shop in the US authorized by Esquif to repair Twin-tex hulls) about the delamination issue. They told me that while they have repaired cracks, they have never dealt with delamination issues.

If I understand correctly, the approved repair process for cracked Twin-tex hulls involves melting a Twin-tex patch in place using heat and vacuum bagging. I have been told that Eli Helbert has done a few such repairs in the southeast.

I'm sure g2d is right and in your case abrasive wear of the polyethylene matrix is releasing small fragments of fiberglass fibers which is a skin irritant for nearly everyone. A surface coating of some type might mitigate against this. I am not sure how well marine varnish bonds to polyethylene, but it seems reasonable to try. Any such surface coating would be prone to abrasion as well, so the fix would likely be temporary at best.

Some type of epoxy or adhesive applied over the areas of abrasion might have more staying power. The problem is getting anything to bond reliably to polyethylene. I have been told by "Red" Ashton at Endless River Adventures that he has successfully repaired cracks in his Zephyr using WEST Systems G Flex epoxy, so that might be a possibility. Flame oxidation pretreatment would be a must if using G Flex, and the epoxy does not cure clear so it would show.

Last week I saw a Zephyr in the southeast that Shawn Alexander was selling. This boat had been cracked at the stern and a large plate of ABS (I believe) had been bonded in place using something other than epoxy. I can't recall what Shawn told me he used. If you are on Facebook you could send him a message and ask.

That was a fun trip.
Just flipped through the pics again and can’t believe we got that beast all the way down to the takeout LOL. Pete is SUCH a good sport. Look forward to seeing you guys again in May. Looie, please accept my apology for the hijack. Back to your original programming.

Good, but there are two cloths.

– Last Updated: Mar-18-14 12:30 AM EST –

Glass for stiffness and polypropylene for toughness. The pp cloth bonds tenaciously with the polypropylene resin, and that resin bonds better to glass than it would to Kevlar.

They probably put a glass layer on the outside of the hull, because of its compression strength and its tendency to wear smooth. If they put the pp cloth outside, it would fuzz, though I think the resin would reduce the fuzzing, the same way CAP in vinylester fuzzes less than nylon in vinylester.

" Twintex® products are made of co-mingled glass and thermoplastic filaments. Direct, single-end roving is the base material for the whole
Twintex® reinforcement product line, and can be provided with a polypropylene matrix (PP) or co-polyester resin (PET).

"Consolidation is achieved by heating the roving above melting temperature of the matrix (180°C–230°C/360°F-450°F for PP) and applying a pressure before cooling step under pressure"

If we could only get Kevlar to bond to some resin the way polypropylene cloth bonds to polypropylene resin, or polyester cloth bonds to vinylester resin.

Fibrous itchies
I coated mine with black plastic soapstone (krylon fusion or similar) - that was after trying to get polypropylene film to bond(heat) and just use a heat gun. The paint has worked for over a year.

Shawn Alexander’s repair, I believe, was attached with weldwood (red can, of course)