My worst nightmare happened a few hours ago. Not long after I got on the road, something in my roof rack failed, shifted, and along with my bow line put enough tension on my kayak to fully crack the hull in several places, including near the bow and further down on both sides of the cockpit. Not only are the cracks visible from inside the hull, but much of the surrounding area feels very soft now.
Honestly, the damage is so bad and so extensive, I wonder if it’s even worth asking, but it’s such a special boat. It’s a CD Rumour. It was lucky to find it back then, and it may be impossible to replace nowadays.
I’ll be taking it to a professional tomorrow. I assume they usually work on sailboats and other large craft.
I’m just wondering if anyone here has had such extensive repairs done and how they held up.
I’ll post some pictures today. I was struggling to figure out how it happened exactly, but I think you’re right. When the rack came loose and slid forward, I saw the bow line go slack, and it must have gotten caught under my front tire. Until recently, I only used a stern line. I changed my system to let me carry multiple boats, and the bow line seemed prudent…I don’t see myself using one from now on.
Ouch, sorry about a crummy situation. It may be worth paying the fiberglass shop for a full evaluation to make sure all of the damage is identified. If you’re anywhere near Turning Point Boatworks I’d just take it there
Bow lines are safe if they run to a hood loop rather than to the bumper. The ones to the bumper are generally not long enough to end up in a wheel. Jim and l tried it once and close to home one of them came loose. Pulled over immediately. But it could have been a huge issue if on a highway rather than a city street.
That risk is why l don’t use stern lines. Going down the highway watching one that got loose bouncing on the road on a car in front of me… Decided that if l didsi stern lines it would be to under the rear hatch. Same as hood loops up front, can’t get caught in a wheel.
I double strap at the two main points with the bow lines to a hood loop. Had a fender bender and boats never budged.
If it were my Rumour (I like that rarely available kayak!), I definitely would go for a repair. I second Turning Point Boatworks. If I were ever going to need a repair for my Sterling Progression… (knock on wood to NOT have that need).
I have a friend who forgot to tie her bowline to the car after tying it to the boat, and it got wound up in the wheel, and totally imploded the hull where the rack bars were when she drove away. She had it repaired, and it was fine. Not sure of the price of the repair, but composites can be repaired in most cases.
I’ve always tied my bow line to hood loops, and they saved my a$$ once when my rack came loose on the highway. Held both boats until I gently coasted to a stop, and re-mounted the rack.
Everyone, thank you so much for your thoughtful replies. Joey with TPB saw my post on Facebook. Maybe I’ll be able to share my own pictures of it all fixed up in the future. This is some of the damage.
I have no doubt that the boat can be made seaworthy. Cosmetically, it will never be the same, but I expect you know that.
I would start by repairing all damage from the interior of the boat whenever possible. That will be hard for the damage that occurred way up near the bow, but it is possible to roll resin-saturated strips of fabric onto the interior working through the cockpit opening.
If you have not done any repairs of composite boats in the past, I think you are taking the right approach by seeking professional advice. Get an estimate and then determine whether the boat is worth the cost of the repair.
An acquaintance of mine backed over his CD Solstice Titan and the kayak suffered more serious damage than what I see in the pictures. I thought the kayak would have to go out with the trash on garbage collection day but he took to a guy that makes canoes and he was able to repair it almost to the point that the repairs were not noticeable, a few places the repair was quite thick and could be seen in the final gelcoat, but otherwise and amazing repair of the boat.
This is, unfortunately, not an uncommon occurrence. It is almost always caused by the use of bow and/or stern tiedowns with open hooks.
There’s no good reason to stop using tiedowns. Just do not use open hooks. These open hooks can easily come loose when transporting a kayak, especially longer kayaks where the kayak can bounce a bit when the car hits a bump. We’ve had a number of people have this happen in our Club over the years. In our introductory course on sea kayaking that covers transporting your boat, we strongly discourage the use of these open hooks. Some people have lost windshields at the same time.
In the photo below where are two examples of Thule tiedowns. The top one is a newer carabiner style while the bottom on in an older style that used to be an open hook. I used a heavy duty bench vice to close the open hook and then a stainless quick link to attach a brass snap hook.
Unfortunately, the Thule tiedown system still comes with an open hook. Immediately recycle this open hook or relegate it to a noncritical use. Replace with something more secure. Thule and most other manufacturers now generally include front and rear tiedowns with their saddles, rollers, and J-bars. Most also require them to be used if you make a warranty claim, especially if you are alleging damage to the car or boat due to a rack failure.
In my experience, most people who have had kayaks damaged in this way end up getting a new kayak. Unless willing to do it yourself the labor and material cost is too high and it ends up in adding a significant amount of weight to the kayak. Repairing it correctly is fairly difficult and time consuming. More so if it’s Kevlar. Most of the estimates that people got were well over half the price of a new boat.
If your rack is not attached to factory rails both tiedowns can be important. In the event of a rack failure they can help keep your rack and boat on the car and in the event of a significant accident keep your kayak and boat from being slung off of the car and into whatever you hit.
TPBW will add nearly no weight if any. Your wallet will be lighter. It’s a lot of work for perfection.
Cost will be way more than the hull is worth on the market. Depends how much you personally value the hull.
Now would be the perfect time to learn to work with fiberglass.
Your boat is wrecked but you are attached to it. Hiring a pro is going to cost you.
You can do the work yourself. Find someone to get you started if you can.
Buy some quality materials. Start on the easy cracks and build your confidence.