Crack in my yak!

I will post a trip update later. I left VA and drove to upper Quebec and spent 8 days or so on Manicouagan. (Great trip, btw…)

Well, the trip almost stopped before it started. In Vermont, I swerved to miss a deer. Short story long, I had to retrieve my kayak from the trees 8’ up. My rack was sheered from my pickup; back passenger side window busted out, etc etc.

The strap holding the kayak pushed in, and left me with a 3-4" crack in the hull that didn’t seem to quite go all the way through. Since I was in a hurry, I simply put some marine glue on the crack, and slapped a duct tape on it. The real miracle is that the damage was so slight (I now have work to do on my Tacoma too) to the kayak.

I have a few other dings. On the deck, a branch pushed in a pencil sized hole (again, not all the way through). My hull’s bow has some damage from the rocks (not accident related, IMHO)

Now I’m home, and would like to repair. I’ve never done this sort of thing before, but I’m relatively comfortable around the tool shed with other handy-DIY projects, so why not?

I’ve seen some here with quite an expertise (I’m looking at you, PBlanc) in composite repairs.

This is my boat:
(Golly, she’s fast and I’ve come to love her)

My boat is made of something they (Italy’s CSCanoe) called “Dyolen” which sounds like a polyester styled fiberglass.

Additionally, I now have a TON of scratches on my black hull. The fella I bought this from had Vivianne in perfect shape (kept indoors, etc). I bought it “like new” IMHO. Seller was a US Military Academy West Point grad. He had her neat & tight! I’d like to clean her up w/r/t scratches, too.

Where do I start? What do I do? Summarizing:

1- Hull damage/crack
…a- from accident
…b- minor hull/bow damage
2- pencil-sized deck puncture
3- hull scratches

Would West Marine’s offerings of “West” products ( be the right call? There’s a West Marine 2 mi from my house. This will be my project the rest of the summer.

I’m guessing I’ll need to either Dremel or sand (or both) the glue off the crack. I may have made the problem worse, but the quick temporary repair put me back on track to do my trip. (I think the crack was enough that it would have leaked a bit, or at minimum, gotten in to the layers of glass composite).

Hull crack:

Minor bow damage:


deck poke (also w/ marine glue put in):

Thanks, everyone, for your help!

Diolen is a polyester based fiber. Diolen is often used as a somewhat cheaper alternative to aramids like Kevlar. It does not have the tensile strength of Kevlar but has good impact strength and abrasion resistance so it is a good choice for paddle boats.

Diolen is always (to my knowledge) used in conjunction with another type of fabric, usually fiberglass, sometimes aramid.

I don’t know what type of resin was used to construct your boat, polyester, vinyl-ester, or epoxy. But regardless of what it was epoxy will bind to it, as it will to Diolen, aramid, and fiberglass. It is what I would use for repairs.

I can’t really tell how I would go about repairing the boat without seeing it. You will need to remove the marine glue you used to ensure a good bond to the structural fabric. If you can access the areas of damage from the interior of the kayak, I would do most of the repairs internally. Cracks usually need to be guttered out to increase the bonding surface for your epoxy, then filled. For filling cracks it is best to moderately thicken the mixed epoxy with something like silica power. Applying a patch of one or more layers internally, if possible, may then be sufficient to back up the repair.

I have used epoxies from multiple different manufacturers but West System’s products have long been my favorite. I would use their 105 resin. Unless you are forced to work in very cold ambient temperatures, I would recommend their 205 “slow” hardener to increase your working time and pot life.

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Thanks, PBlanc.

I may be on the right track, then. You’ve confirmed some of my thoughts. Your suggestion to do a little work from the inside sounds like a good’un. Thanks again!

p.s.- Oh. And for the surface scratches… would I be using a “gel coat” deal, or just paint?

I haven’t found any way to hide surface scratches in gel coat. Unfortunately, they always tend to show up worse on a dark hull like yours because scratches through the gel coat to the structural fabric always tend to be light in color.

Some surface scratches that are not deep might be cosmetically improved by wet sanding the hull with progressively finer sandpaper down to 1500 to 2000 grit. Then buffing the hull using a finishing glaze and a low speed automotive buffer with a soft bonnet.

My advice would be to live with the scratches if you can, and paint if you cant. Paint will add some weight. I have used one part polyurethane paints and my favorites have been Interlux Brightsides and Pettit EasyPoxy. These paints can be applied with a foam roller, then immediately tipping out any surface imperfections with a disposable foam brush. But any paint is susceptible to scratching.

The two part polyurethane paints like Interlux Perfection are said to be the toughest, but I have never used them.

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Patch inside of hull first to retain the shape. Then move to the outside and cut and grind what you need to get to undamaged glass. West Systems is great. So many scratches will never be repaired unless you shoot gelcoat on deck. Easier to paint with Interlux paint. Two part is very tough stuff. I did one Extreme with it 12 years ago. It faded if you look below deck lines slightly. It all remains very shiny. Great stuff :blush:

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