Crack in Malecite Kevlar hull

Need advice folks.

Refurbishing a 92 Malecite. While prepping some of the gel coat cracks one of them was dented in ~1/8", when I put slight pressure from the inside the Kevlar cloth cracked and the outside surface of the hull went out - the crack on the gel coat is about 2" long by 1/8" wide. Planning on leveling the outside first, taping the slight opening and then fixing the tear from the inside with Kevlar and the West system 105/207.

I also plan on fixing the rest of the dings the same way- have noticed stress on the inside areas where the gel coat has been damaged. Once all has been fixed and sanded will apply the 105/207 as a clear coat on the hull.

Any comments suggestions will be highly appreciated.

I’m surprised. I try to avoid gelcoated
canoes, but the two I owned did not show inside damage from outside gelcoat cracks.

Is is possible someone did this with a hammer or similar “whack”?

Kevlar is pretty much the most resistant inside cloth to outside damage.

Wish you had pictures.

Probably a full thickness crack
Sometimes the gel coat acts more elastic than the underlying cloth and a small gel coat crack can hide a bigger area of damage beneath.

If you can push the hull out like that I would assume the crack is full-thickness through the entire hull. To the best of my knowledge, I believe that Mad River’s Kevlar Malecite in 1992 was still an all cloth, all Kevlar hull without fiberglass.

If you want to do the repair entirely from the inside, I would restore the structural integrity of the boat with at least 2 and probably 3 layers of Kevlar of concentrically greater sizes, making the smallest big enough to overlap the ends of any visible internal or gel coat damage by at least an inch and a half or so and increasing the size of the patches by about an inch at a time. Orient the fibers of one (of two) or two (of three) of the patches at a bias (45 degree angle) to the fibers that the internal layer of Kevlar on the boat are taking. I would suggest using peel ply to smooth the edges of your patches since you can’t really sand Kevlar to feather the edges.

I have used System Three Clear Coat epoxy to fill in scratches and spidering on two gel-coated boats now. One was a clear gel-coated Bell Black Gold Wildfire and the other a pigmented gel-coated Curtis Dragonfly. I applied multiple coats and wet sanded between them. System Three Clear Coat is a low viscosity epoxy similar to West 105/207. It did help to fill in some of the cracks and improved the appearance of the hulls.

It is fine to apply epoxy over gel coat but I would wet sand and thoroughly clean the hull first, going down to around 320-400 grit or so before applying the epoxy. Be aware that if you ever anticipated re-gel coating the boat, you would have to sand off all the epoxy, since polyester gel coat does not reliably cure over epoxy.

If you do this you might consider covering the epoxy with a couple of coats of marine varnish to protect the epoxy from photo-degradation from UV exposure. It takes some time for this to occur but if you are storing the canoe outside, or frequently car-topping the boat some distance in sunny conditions it could eventually happen.

Any reason not to use glass instead of
Kevlar? As an outside layer, glass has better compression strength. Finishing a glass repair neatly is easier than fininshing a Kevlar repair. He can use Kevlar for the deepest layer and then go over to glass.