Repairing cracks


I’ve been a bit stupid and used ratchet straps to fasten my kayak to my roof bars and cracked the fibreglass hull (see photo below). I think it’s just cosmetic rather than structural damage. I knew ratchet straps shouldn’t be used but it’s all I had available at the time and thought it might be Ok if I didn’t over-tighten them (it turns out I did).

Can this be repaired or covered up? I did think about buying vehicle touch-up paint but it’s difficult to colour match when looking online.

From what I’ve read, it looks like I would need to remove and re-apply the gel coat which looks like it might be more trouble than it’s worth (plus the expense). Hopefully it is just cosmetic and won’t cause leaks.

There is so many cracks I would bet the area is soft and structural damage has occurred. Width of damaged to me means it was pulled down a significant amount.

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It all feels firm so I’m hoping all the damage is just on the surface. I think I’m just going to have to see how I get on with it and consider it a lesson learned. Luckily the kayak was 2nd hand and not very expensive.

I agree that there is likely structural damage. Glassing the entire area and an inch or two beyond it on the inside with a decent weight glass, and lightly sanding and sealing the outside with some clear gelcoat (To He(*LL with matching the color - too difficult) will fix the issue. Not expensive at all to do at home - done it enough times to know.

Thank you, I’ve already got a fibreglass repair kit I can use for the inside as I needed it to support the seat as that also cracked slightly. I’ll have a look into sanding the outside applying some clear gel coat.

It all looks Ok on the inside of the kayak (no cracks) but probably worth applying the fibreglass anyway to help support it.

Some people on this site have successfully used Capt. Tolley’s to repair hairline cracks in gelcoat.

It will seal the gelcoat but will not hide the surface damage, although it might look better than applying new gelcoat over the damaged area due to color matching issues. I agree with others that strengthening the interior with glass and epoxy in the event that there is any hidden structural damage.

Thanks for the advice. I actually ordered that stuff earlier after reading about it on here.

Those are not hairline cracks. Definitely structural damage.

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I’ve applied new fibreglass and resin inside the kayak below where the external damage has occurred that I’m hoping will reinforce the hull to counteract any structural damage.

The Captain Tolley glue is just to (hopefully) prevent the cracking of the gelcoat getting any worse and save me having to remove and re-apply it (I don’t think it would look good without having it colour matched).

I’m hoping to take it to a lake this week to find out if it’s still water tight.

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Fill cracks sand smooth and apply wrap in that area. It doesn’t have to match.

Just to add an update. I took the kayak out for the first time today (and yes, I’ve learnt my lesson and tied it to the roof rack with the correct straps this time) and it was fine in the water, completely water tight.

Well, apart from the large hole in the top that let a load of water in when I managed to capsize it but that’s more down to the operator than the kayak.

Quality cam buckle straps will not stretch or slip when used as intended. They need only be snug, not overly tight. The hull shouldn’t flex. The shape of the boat will keep the boat from going anywhere.

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It was cam straps I used today, attached using the method shown here:

I did keep stopping on the way to the lake though to make sure they were still secure just in case they did come loose.

If you have roof rails, I would add carry the kayak on one side or the other and put the straps not only around the boat and crossbars, but also around one of the roof rails as well. This will insure that if there is some kind of rack failure the rack and boat will stay on the car.

Also always use and stern tiedowns. Most rack manufacturers require this for warranty and liability coverage that may include the boat and vehicle as well as the rack.

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That’s a good idea, thanks.

I did consider bow and stern tie downs but the roof bars I’m using are attached to the top of my trailer (attached to the rails) rather than my car so I can space the bars fairly far apart which I thought would be enough to secure the bow and stern (the kayak is 4 metres long and the bed of the trailer is 2 metres so it hangs over a metre either end). I am considering a car roof rack though.

I did also run a rope from the two carry straps on the kayak (wrapped around the bars) just in case a strap did fail. It wouldn’t be pretty if a strap failed but at least it would stay attached.

Use rope. It won’t slip and won’t break anything. Then add lines from the ends of your boat to the bumpers. This is not a new concept.