Repair help needed - Carbon layup

-- Last Updated: Feb-19-04 8:00 AM EST --

Well, not a great topic for my first post here (been lurking for a good while).

I'd taken about 8 weeks off from my normal routine of a daily morning paddle on the Tennessee River. During this time I had to move into a new house, and my prized 2 year old Savage River Otegan spent at least a week sitting upside down on the ground outside the new house. It then lived for about a week on the front porch, and has since been carefully stored in the crawl space. When I'm paddling daily, the boat's home is atop my truck (good rack system, nice wide spread on the bars, and a cover for the boat). So, given that the boat has had its cover on all this time, I never expected what I found today.

Got down to the river before work, it was still dark outside. Got all ready to go, and went to pull the cover off. It kind of "stuck" on the front of the boat, something it had never done before. I ran my hand over the hull, and just about cried when I discovered a "U" shaped crack running clear across the bottom of the boat and a couple of inches up either side. It is just about perfectly symetrical, and is maybe 10" back from the bow. It goes all the way through the hull. My only thought is that perhaps one of the kids had been playing in the boat when it was on the ground. My little guys know better, but there's no telling whether one of their little buddies might have hopped in for a nice imaginary paddle trip one day after school.

So, now I've got a 2 year old rather expensive boat that is useless. I'm in Chattanooga, the fellow that built it is in Maryland, too far to get it to him for repair. I have zero experience working with glass or carbon. My boat is a carbon / kevlar layup, and was built with a vacuum bag process. Is there any hope? Should I attempt the repair myself, and if so, how do I start? Should I try to find a local builder to work on it (don't know of any around here any more)? What about an auto body shop (sounds crazy, but at least they know how to work with these materials)?

Give me some advice if you can. I'm pretty torn up about this.



Rock Creek outfitters
may be able to direct you. Nice place in north Chattnooga arts district. Try them.

good luck!

Additional info
Thanks for the input so far. One helpful individual emailed and asked whether or not actual carbon fibers are cracked. They are - the crack (darn) goes all the way through. Sure do wish I knew what happened.

Oh, and yep, I’ll be dropping in on Jim at Rock Creek at lunch today - no doubt about that.

Road to Recovery
Well, good news at this point. Jim at Rock Creek got me in touch with a fellow building carbon / kevlar race boats (slalom & wildwater) right here in town. He’s got the boat at his shop now, should be repaired by next week. Thanks for the emails and posts, really appreciate the responses.

It is hopeless
Your boat is trashed. I will take it off your hands…

Seriously the Otegan is a fine boat and it is probobly worth the effort to send it up to John Diller at Savage river. A bunch of us will be seeing him on memorial day at the Clinton. We could give him the boat or pick it up for you if you already have it up there.

Hope you have talked to Savage River.
They would certainly want to know about such an unusual failure, no matter who does the repair.

repair person
see if the repair shop will let you watch as they do your repair, it amazing what you can learn from watching someone else. If you have the time try building a kit boat, you be amazed all that you can learn from building your own.

I agree. It’s not easy to put
a crack like that in carbon/kevlar. The description makes me wonder if the boat was on the truck and struck a wall or something. Can’t imagine that kids could do it.