Smashed Bow, (weld on a new bow?)

I recently received shipment of a beautiful new 17’ fiberglass tourer. To my horror, I unpacked it to find a smashed/spidered/cracked bow. The first 2 feet have nearly separated from the rest of her. (I’ve since been refunded and ordered from a different retailer-with a different shipper)

Rather than spend $1000, I was thinking of making a clean cut, and joining a bow section from a (yet unidentified) discarded yak with similar shape. Thinking the joining could be relatively straightforward if I find the right bow.

Is this ludicrous? Anyone have any experience with something like this?

a picture

It’s not as easy as you may think. You’ll need to separate the hull and the deck so you can glass both sides, won’t be strong enough with a patch only on the outside, then you’ll need to re-glass the hull and deck after removing the bulkheads then re-glass them.

It’s a fair amount of work.

Bill H.

Surf board construction

– Last Updated: Oct-22-16 4:06 PM EST –

I doubt you can find an exact-same kayak bow to frankenstein, and if it is off a little, it's going to be trouble.

If I had to fix that boat, I think I would try to stick foam through the hole where the bow was, shape the foam into a bow like you are building a surf board, then cover the foam with glass and resin, extending glass back onto the remaining boat.

But, I'd only do it if I had to.

What's $1000 got to do with it?


If you have all the pieces…
…and you’re good with FG you can put it back together. Probably mean cutting part of the deck off to get inside and it may be a little bow heavy. If you’re really good you’ll never be able to tell it was damaged.

New bow piece.
My thought would be to have the factory build a new bow piece a bit more than what the damage is on the broken boat. Carefully and accurately cut away the damaged bow, back to undamaged area. Cut the new bow piece as close as possible to match the missing piece, but leave just a little margin for hand fitting. When the fitting and trimming is right, epoxy a strip of 1/16" thick vinylester layup to the inside of the new bow piece that will form an inside lapping strip. The overlap should be enough to provide for a nice bead of epoxy, or plexus. Glue the new piece in and secure it with strong duct tape. After the whole thing cures, the outside of the joint can be carefully sanded to allow an outside multi-layered patch to be applied. More sanding and fairing, then do the gelcoat repair.

"Different Shipper"
This doesn’t have anything to do with your question, but my hunch is that the luck of the draw has more to do with whether your boat gets shipped unscathed than does the company who ships it (with the obvious exception of shippers who specialize in shipping boats). I’ve heard horror stories of boats being destroyed by a number of different trucking companies.

Cut cut
Foam as internal brace at end undamaged area.

Cut foam plate as keel/deck member off internal brace.

Foam plate 2 sides


Be blunt for economy


Glass internal brace n paddle for ward or backwards, use stern as bow.

Try this first.

soooo like,
what if you’re paddling along in your Frankenstein boat and hit an obstacle like a submerged branch or a heavy wave or whatever and the bow of your boat separates… I hope you’re not far from shore. Why not be happy with what you got and recycle the busted kayak?

It should be doable .
the idea of getting foam and shaping a new bow if glassed on carefully will be very strong. Not a cheap fix though, as you will spend a fair amount on glass and resin. Also not a beginners project. In the early 2000s I had several friends who made surf kayaks glassing over a foam blank and then dissolving the foam with acetone. You can use the foam/acetone solution to make a napalm bomb for those hipster multiple maker projects, makes very impressive campfire demonstrations. I’ve made a waveski from a foam blank, it’s not super difficult, but you need some practice before you attempt it.

$ For Repair.
My fault, I wasn’t so clear. The $1000 was a ballpark quote from a local FG repair shop. I anticipate that reselling this item will be very difficult with signs of major repair, making me less willing to go down that road

Very Helpful
Thanks this helps a great deal reminding me all the steps required. I’m still on the fence as what to do with her.

Fair Point
Fair point. Your scenario is a distinct possibility and would lessen the enjoyment of paddling for someone like me who frets about these things. I’ve toyed with the idea of turning into wall art or shelving.

Strong enough
If you do it right it will be as strong as the rest of the boat. In the distant past I’ve done a similar thing with a wildwater racer and later put new holes in the nose by hitting rocks but the repairs never failed.

If you have all the pieces and are just putting them back together it will be time consuming but you can get the shape right. The one I did had a clear coat finish and some people couldn’t see the repair without having the individual joins pointed out to them.

Exactly how do you propose…
…to get “the factory build a new bow piece a bit more than what the damage is on the broken boat”? What do you think the odds are that the manufacturer would even consider doing that? Aside from the fact that they would have to take the molds out of production to produce the part, they would also be setting themselves up for a lawsuit if the repair was done incorrectly with the part they provided and someone got hurt.

As far as the repair goes, if the bow section is separating from the rest of the boat, but it otherwise intact, it could potentially be reattached. If it’s so badly damaged that it cannot be reused, the boat is probably history, as the likelihood of finding the same model donor boat with an intact bow is pretty low.

Doesn’t hurt
If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. If I were in the business of building boats, I would do anything reasonable to service what I sold and that would include providing help with repairs. I know of two manufacturers who have built entire new boats for free to people who wrecked their brand new boats.