Fixing leak in a FG kayak you can't see

Hello, I have a 18’ fiberglass Impex Force 4 that leaks in the stern hatch. Doing tests, I’ve found water slowly dripping through the hull when I fill the hatch with water.

The leak is coming from a somewhat innocuous looking crack in the gelcoat that begins from just inside the skeg box (the aftmost part, where it transitions to the hull) and thins out on the hull. From what I can see the crack is less than 1-2 inches in length, but the problem is I can’t see the extent of the damage from INSIDE the hull as the skeg box is so far back in the hatch that it obscures everything.

I’ve been told the only way to fix something like this is to cut a small hole in the deck to get inside. Is there another alternative to this? Would a new gelcoat on the outside with some sealant to cover the area from the inside be sufficient as a stop gap measure or this is a bad idea? The area appears to be structurally sound.

…in itself is not structural enough to repair a crack in the hull or skeg box. I would remove the gelcoat enough to see where the damage is as it may be in the skeg box and just leaking out the crack in the gel.

Is it Just Me?
I tend to read “FG kayak” as “F*****g kayak”.

No, I clicked on it to see
how the kayak leak had pissed him off !

Different ambiguity for me
The FG kayak that he cannot see!

one solution
mix up some resin, pour it around the skeg box, and tilt the kayak so the resin covers the crack.

Sorry ran out of characters in the title

– Last Updated: Jun-20-15 10:32 PM EST –

...I just might be calling it a !@#*$ kayak if I don't get it fixed. This was bought specifically for multi-day trips and long crossings and I was assured it didn't leak but I get a good +1 inch of water in the hatch after 2 hours of paddling.

Thanks for the input, but this is my first glass boat and some of these repairs are beyond me at this stage. Most likely bring it in to a shop but it was a couple hundred dollars if they had to drill a hole through the deck.

EDIT: I just found a product called G/Flex® Epoxy. Considering sanding the gelcoat and apply it to the outside for a quick fix...and leaving the fiberglass repairs inside for another day. There's simply no easy way to reach in there behind the skeg box.

Also uploaded a picture of where I believe the damage is....

One possible trick that might help…
I’ve done this many times and it makes internal repairs much easier.

Hang the boat upside down at a height that you can get your head and hands inside the hatch. You have a better view and much greater reach. Toss a light in there first.

Good luck, GH

When I built a S&G kayak, turning the kayak upside down on stands and reaching up from under the cockpit made accessing the insides easier, with better reach.

A pic of how to get in there

That’s a nasty complex crack…
…I would remove the skeg and repair from the outside with thickened epoxy , or 3m 5200 or 4200.

Why not work in from the accessible side where the water comes in?

the image shows stress
The image that you took seems to show stress on the junction of skeg box and hull. So many manufacturers fail to create a good solid joint there but it is not impossible to fix.

Working inside a kayak that is hung upside down (ropes from rafters in a garage) where you can stand and have a decent reach without having to crawl on the floor is way more appealing than without suspending the kayak.

Then again if you have a Dremel you could grind away the thick gel coat (usually very thick around the skeg box) and go down to the fibres. As suggested, mix up some epoxy glue with microfiber and seal those cracks. If you want to make a really nice job leave a bit of room for a final coat/layer of matched color gel coat, otherwise you can just simply finish the thing with epoxy glue (usually whitish in color); it might be a bit ghetto looking but fully functional). If however the whole thing is over your head, leave it to a professional that has done these things before :slight_smile:

Take it to a fiberglass shop

– Last Updated: Jun-22-15 7:11 AM EST –

that fixes fiberglass boats and it won't leak and you won't be able to tell where the crack was when they are done with it. It will cost you several hundred bucks but that is a $2,000.00+ kayak. If you cut a hole in the deck to get at the back of it, or do a half ass DIY repair job on it with 5200 or G-Flex or even fiberglass you will DESTROY its value.

has anyone seen the invisible tape?
I read it the same way you did.