Over-eager tie-down damage advice

This is my first post and I’d like to thank everyone in advance for their contributions to this site. I’ve already learned a ton from the forum archives and the reviews of boats.

My wife is petite and we were able to take a beginners lesson with a great instructor who also was able to put her into an Impex Mystic, which she loved. We then happened to find a smoking deal on a Mystic but had yet to buy a good cartop carrier so I picked up some foam and straps.

The Mystic was well loved (lots of little gelcoat scratches… I’m in the process of learning how much I need to do to remove them) but otherwise in pretty good condition. As we were loading the seller suggested I might press down on the deck to compress the foam a little and, as I did so, I heard that crinkling sound you don’t want to hear.

Indeed, when we got home I saw the spider cracks in the gelcoat but I also noticed, looking inside the boat, that the fiberglass is rough (broken?) in one small spot at the center of the spider-web cracks and there are light rings in the FG extending a couple inches from it.

This is all right up next to the coaming, just in front of the cockpit. When I apply pressure from the outside I’m not feeling any flexing.

So here are my questions:

1- Is there any reason to assume it would be unsafe to paddle this boat at the moment?

2- Can I reinforce the fiberglass without cutting a hole in the hull? I’ve looked at tutorials for reinforcing glass, but that bit of rough glass would complicate things. Can I grind it down without going through the hull?

We don’t have a lot of spare cash and this boat was a steal so a professional job is not a possibility. I’m not terribly worried about aesthetics, although I may try patching the gelcoat down the road. I just want to make sure the boat will stay safe for a good many years.

Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. I’ve just acquired the funds and am shopping for my boat and a proper roof rack so that I won’t over-torque down any hulls again. Promise!!!

If I’m understanding
your description correctly, I wouldn’t worry about this at all. Especially since it’s above the waterline.

It is above the waterline, almost at the highest peak of the deck. Thanks for your input!

You could sand the rough spot
If you felt it needed it use a small brush and cover the area you sanded with epoxy. I don’t worry about spider cracks in the gel coat or scratches either.

don’t sweat it
Congrats on your new kayak. I’d agree with Fred. Up above the waterline, especially topside on the deck, I wouldn’t worry about.

For little scratches on the gel coat that are superficial, fixing them would be purely for aesthetics. They wouldn’t cause problems. From my experience with most gelcoat cracks, scrapes, and chips that don’t extend to the underlying fabric or leave the fabric exposed, they can pretty much be left alone until little pieces start to get loose or come free. Just keep an eye on it.

When I first got into paddling and got my first boat, I fretted over every little bump and scratch. Now, many years and boats later, I’ve come to learn that they are way more durable than they get credit for, and it takes a pretty severe impact to cause any real damage. It’s a little like kids. The first one you worry about everything. By the third one, they can eat dirt and you don’t even sweat it.

You say you’re shopping for yours now. What model(s) do you have your eye on? We love to hear about everyone’s fleet.

I like the idea…

– Last Updated: May-24-16 12:27 AM EST –

...of sanding down the rough spot and giving it a coat of epoxy. Thanks for the advice.

As far as babying vs. using the boat, I"m hoping to use the boats so much that we'll be in the "third child dirt eating" territory before we know it ;-)

I'm shooting to buy something used so I'm a little at the mercy of the marketplace (but I will request a test paddle for any boat I haven't tried yet). I'm 6' 1" 165 and I took a class in an Impex Currituck and really enjoyed it. The current used boats available near here in my price range are a composite P&H Capella 173, a Currituck and a Current Designs Soltice GTS. There's also a recent Valley Nordkapp, but I don't know if that would be in the same ballpark size-wise. I also had my eyes on a Wildness Systems Tempest 170 Pro at a grrreat price, but it sold before my funds came through.

Any other boats you'd suggest I keep an eye out for? I'm a rookie, but I grew up virtually living in canoes and felt very comfortable in the Currituck. I'd like a relatively low volume boat so I'm not swimming in it but I also am tall enough that I want room for my legs. All advice is greatly appreciated.

We're in North Florida and really looking forward to lots of 72 degree spring water all summer!

which one

– Last Updated: May-24-16 12:58 AM EST –

I like Current Designs kayaks top quality and comfortable for me. The others you mentioned are good also. I guess it is down to comfort, looks, and pricing. Sand and epoxy or you can add a bit of glass to reinforce easily. Look on you tube. What are the years, price, and condition of the used kayaks?

planning a sequel ?

– Last Updated: May-24-16 3:29 AM EST –

yes, there are at least 2 choices. Sell it or hire a exorcist does fiberglass repair.

CD may release a factory second with a weak deck.

Or the previous owner's goat stood on it.

Read fiberglass repair, buy a couple yards of glass, West system repair kit, and a broom handle...n fix it.

Use thin cardboard templates for sizing the glass sheet. As side to side. Be generous.

Upside down of course. Doahn breathe fumes.

The deck is a structural member and 2, the area may weaken further caws it is broken.

Just patch the gel coat

– Last Updated: May-24-16 9:49 AM EST –

More time consuming if you go for the perfect sanding or a perfect color match. Less so if you just want to use the boat. The fiberglass layer should not be a allowed to stay wet too long. The gel coat is meant to be sacrificed to protect the glass layers.

So get to your nearest marine store or equivalent and buy gel coat patch stuff, and some spider crack repair stuff. They are next to each other in West Marine. The more you lift up the gel coat thru the radiating cracks, rather than slop a couple of rounds on the spider crack repair stuff on them, the easier you can get away with the smaller container of gel coat repair stuff.

You have about 15 minutes to get it on once you mix in the hardener, and don't do it in an enclosed space.

Gel coat patch is ridiculously easy if you aren't worried about perfection. I am good at not worrying about that.

Best advice on the tightening down part is to make sure you use bow lines at least, which will allow you to mark if things are moving before any boat flies off the roof. Love the Mystic, but you cannot push the weight bearing on the older Impex decks as hard as the Brit boats of the same era.

gel coat
is often a polyester cosmetic layer over structural epoxy or vinylesters and glass cloth.

Gel coat is not structural, in that does not prevent water infiltration into the composite.

Thanks for the advice Celia
It sounds like a gelcoat patch is the way to go with some re-inforcement of the glass under the area of interest. I’ve been reading a lot about gelcoat repair and it sounds a lot more straight ahead than lots of things in life. I’ll look forward to getting it all patched up!

Do not use straps that can be torqued
down with a handle. Yakima makes great straps that do the job when tightened by hand.

Run the strap thru the buckle so pulling the loose end tightens them.

But String
If I used those ratchet straps that torque with a handle I’d be able to crush my kayak so much more efficiently :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: (thanks for the advice)

I got one minor thing backwards

– Last Updated: May-25-16 8:19 AM EST –

More areas fixed by spider crack stuff means less gel spider crack l coat, that came out backwards above.

Actually I have just about the same problem wight now in one of my boats. I usually manage to keep my damages to cosmetic, but at some point I must have dinged the deck of my Vela on the corner of a concrete pier when I was getting out out from its spot hanging under the porch. I have one maybe two spots that are to the fabric layer near each other and a fairly impressive set of radiating cracks, right near where the rear strap runs when I cartop it.

I picked up the bigger container of gel coat goop at West Marine last week, along with some red coloring, already have the spider crack stuff. Assuming my usual inattention to detail, by a week from now I will likely have a couple of inches square of rough finished kinda pink patch siting alongside pretty faded red. And the patched area will have fewer scratches than on the rest of the boat. But with that and a fresh set of bungie cord she'll be ready for the water. Given the age and wear on this boat, that matters more than shiny.

So many kayaks are crushed by those
Ratchet straps used to tie down non compressible loads like lumber.

" do you have rope or cam straps?"

" yeah, I’ve got bungies and ratchet straps"