I could cry a little bit...

On Saturday, when we returned from a short paddle, it was time to unload the boat from the trailer and my wife had an “I’m too short” moment, the result of which was the aft end of the boat dropping FOUR AND A HALF FEET. Onto concrete.

When my heart started beating again, we took the boat into the back yard for an inspection. Alas, a hairline crack of perhaps two feet in length near the stern of the boat, below the waterline. Argh! However, when I remove the rearmost hatch and peered into “Shaft Alley” back there, I saw no disturbance from within.

I took a digital photo but (a) I don’t think this site supports imagery, (b) have not looked at it but I doubt there’s useful detail.

Anyway, I’m curious (1) is there a useful way to do a better damage analysis, (2) if I got really lucky and what I see is what I have, is there’s a good way to repair this, (3) if it’s worse, again, is there a good way to repair it. I’d rather not hear that I now have a couple of thousand dollars’ worth of scrap plastic.

Sadly, my neighbor’s pool is one of those small kiddie units or I’d ask if I could float the boat in there while peering inside to look for water weeping through. By the way, this is our Perception Caretta Kevlar 21.5’ tandem kayak. We got several compliments on the boat at the “lake” from other kayakers.

First you say “plastic” and then you say

Which is it ?

With that said, they both are repairable.

First why not just take a garden hose and put some water in the hull, and see if any is leaking out.

If not, it probably is a simple fix that either requires epoxy and or gel coat if it is composite, or G-flex if it is plastic.

If the crack is all the way through, it might require a patch.

If you are handy, it is a do it yourself project which can be described here after the inspection shows just how bad it is.

Jack L

2 FEET !
INCROYABLE ! 2’ is a long crack structure wise. Try entering Picasa Web Albums…then post the link here.

Frankly with a 2’ crack in this hull without repair experience maybe a pro repair is best…if you have a reliable repair man.

Or DIY save $$ n buy a hullavator

the new “in thing” is a “link”…

– Last Updated: Aug-10-15 9:02 AM EST –

Copy the code encapsulating(?) the address of the image....and all the user has to do is click on it.
Take JackL's advice....shouldn't be a lost cause to fix....

Anything man makes man can fix…

many instructions on the web
Googling “repair of kevlar boats” yields many sources of instruction on this. Among them:




One thing about fiber based composites: the resin at the surface that sustains the direct impact may crack as yours did, but the fabric substructure remains intact so the crack is not likely to penetrate the whole thickness nor separate. So the crack is essentially superficial and I’m pretty sure all that is needed is to reinforce the matrix resin of the composite. So don’t dismay. This is one of the benefits of glass and kevlar fiber boats.

Though I don’t have experience patching boats, I did work in a polymer chemistry lab testing kevlar back in the 70’s, so I’m familiar with its characteristics.

Chances are
It’s more than likely that it’s just a crack in the gel coat and even if it is into the fabric, it should be a snap to fix. There are a ton of DIY composite repair videos on YouTube.

looking at pix and google
it’s kevlar. Odds are it’s just a gel-coat crack; your larger sail and power boats get these like spider webs in time, and the thicker the coating the worse the appearance. If it was mine, I’d probably spray the crack with krylon or smear some g-flex over it…CUZ I’M A BOAT PIG lol…

seriously though, I’d recommend if so inclined, sanding the area where the hairline crack is, taking a look see every now and again to see if the crack is through the gelcoat or not. Gel coat is sold in small batches at most marine supply stores. I’m doubting the kevlar got compromised, and if that’s correct, applying then sanding the gelcoat will have you shipshape. Polyurethane would be the best brush applied paint to get your color match if you can’t find the proper color gel coat. If your kevlar is cracked, that’s another story, but seeing as there’s really little strain put on a kayak, a layer of g-glex epoxy should be sufficient if needed.

Test for leaks as mentioned above…no leak, I would sand down to the depth of cracked gel, reapply gel or a layer of g-flex, sand, then color match…

I would highly recommend not using the boat until you fix the surface coat. If the crack does extend into the fabric and if it is Kevlar, you do not want to expose that to water, because it can wick the water into the fabric beyond the damaged area. If that occurs, it might require some additional steps to dry it out.

You might as well resolve yourself to learning how to make these repairs, because no matter how careful you are, crap happens. It is a very reassuring feeling to know that you can fix it and make it look like new.

You believe the Kevlar wicking myth??

jackl, you should re-read the original
post- the OP said the neighbor had a plastic kiddie pool, not that his kayak was plastic. Just sayin’.

I did reread it, and the OP said:
“I would rather not hear that now I have a thousand dollars worth of scrap plastic”

Who had the senior moment- You or me ?

Jack L

there’s no fixing
a fallen souffle!

definitely me!
Sorry about that.

Some good input here and much less childish condescending cr*p than I feared.

I’ll take a look at those tutorials, and decide whether this is a self-fix (I’m reasonably handy) or I need professional help.

To repeat, looking inside, I saw no evidence of a crack. However, I don’t want to be in denial on this and just see what I want to see.

Long term, I need a lower trailer or a taller wife – stay turned.

Don’t overthink “plastic”; to me, the resin used in fiberglass and similar construction is “plastic” even if not ABS or poly. If I had to cut it up into small enough pieces for the garbage man to haul away, it wouldn’t matter what the material is, does it.

no, but it sure matters
to people who are trying to help you evaluate repair online whether it’s plastic, fiberglass, or kevlar.

They don’t call tandems "divorce yaks"
for nothing…

inspect and
gel coat…inspect and gelcoat …

I second Grayhawks suggestion,
after it’s been repaired. I’ve had a Hullavator for many years and as a shorty, and senior at that, I highly recommend one.

A bit costly? Yes, but it’s more than paid me back by allowing me to get it off the car, on the water easier, quicker, without a struggle and able to enjoy my outing. IMO, piece of cake compared to the ‘lift up over your head’ style!!

…is on my Possibilties List. I spoke to my wife last night and basically, we cannot stay at status quo; she’s upset, thinks it her fault, when it was me that put her in an impossible situation.

On top of a $$$$ kayak, and right behind that a $$$$ utility trailer (needed for other purposes), and a $$$$ custom-made rack to put the boat ON the trailer, until now the idea of a $$$$ Hullivator put me into “haven’t I spent enough?” mode. Now, it all depends on what it cost to fix the boat. Doh!

Also, looked on-line briefly yesterday at kayak trailers , which would solve other problems, like the (ahem) “lively” ride of the rather stiffly sprung trailer, which cannot be good for the boat. Moreover, it’s unnerving to look up and see the nose of the boat directly above and behind my head while towing (vehicle is a Honda S2000 roaster, top-down you certainly cannot ignore the boat’s presence). Alas, we only have 1/2-acre, plenty of landscaping, would need a place to store yet another trailer. But it would cut the “lift height” by (WAG) half.