Oh No--Royalex Tear Repair?

Hi guys,

My beloved Explorer has developed two 8-10" tears in the hull. I’ve always been careful to back off the screws in the wood gunwales each fall before winter storage. Except this year. Below two of the screws, tears have gone completely through the material (from the gunwale heading down to the keel line) about 18" back from the bow.

The boat has carried me and mine faithfully down most river trips in Maine. She is old enough to be a “real” Mad River (when that still meant something) but has been very well cared for. I’d hate to lose her, but I need to really trust any repair attempt.

Any suggestions?

Thanks for your help.


Thank you. I was under the impression that epoxy wouldn’t adhere to Royalex. I’m definitely going to try this new stuff. Thanks again.

Epoxy sticks just fine to Royalex.
Most epoxies won’t stick to poly boats, but West claims G-flex will if surface prep is careful.

Epoxy is incredible. Surface prep is important, though. For tears, I have actually cut off some of the surface vinyl so it gets a better bond. I also use a propane torch ever-so-quickly, as I once read (in a skid-plate kit, I believe) that this “polarizes” the plastic. It might be superstition, but when my mad-river had an incident with a tractor, the epoxy put it back together.

drill some holes
I would drill a hole at the end of each of the cracks - I think it would help to keep the crack from tending to tear more; I’d also drill a lot of small holes on both sides of the crack, and lace tightly together with some fine stainless wire - that will make the repair stronger, and add something for the epoxy to grip to. Force the epoxy into the drilled holes after you have added the wire, to plug the holes and increase the bonding. Thast’s what I would do if it were my boat.