Serious boat repairs – advice please^

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Mark Gawler
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Serious boat repairs – advice please^

Post by Mark Gawler » Wed Apr 19, 2006 8:02 am

Over the Easter I holed my boat (Kaspian SK18) while side surfing the stern a long a rock ledge (not advised). The damage is an 8-10 inch section of stern behind the skeg box, which will make access to the damaged section difficult, but not imposible.

From my initial inspection of the damage it looks like the repair will involve cutting away the section round the damage and rebuilding the section. I quite like the idea of doing my own repair as I have Successfully done minor repairs and patching before following Jims advice in the Almanac section, but I’m thinking with this kind of the damage it may be better left to a professional.

Does any one have any advice on this kind of repair?

Does any one know any repairers on the South coast (near Portsmouth)?

Image

Thanks in advance,

Mark G

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Wed Apr 19, 2006 8:25 am

Don't go there, Mark!


Speak to B'mouth Canoes who will pass you on to the fellow who did my keel strip, excellent fibreglass repair man.
Mark Rainsley
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OwenBurson
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Post by OwenBurson » Wed Apr 19, 2006 10:43 am

Oh mate! That looks worse than my truck-V-boat incident! See previous post.

Yep, going with Mark, professional rebuild job.

Owen

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Zoe Newsam
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Post by Zoe Newsam » Wed Apr 19, 2006 10:53 am

Yep, it's a major job alright- when Mark emerged (upright, thankfully) from the rocky hole his boat was almost underwater at the stern, and looked as though some gruesome sea monster had taken a bite out of it.

We limped home with the aid of half a roll of duck tape, and an inflated dry bag.

:0(

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CCL
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Post by CCL » Wed Apr 19, 2006 12:59 pm

Ouch!!!

Guess it's a good test for your repair kit though! Apart from a bit of duck tape, I've never had to USE my emergency repair kit in anger.......yet!

Any top tips on what worked well/what didn't work so well when you were patching up to limp home?

Was there anything that you wished you had but didn't?

Claire

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Zoe Newsam
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Post by Zoe Newsam » Wed Apr 19, 2006 1:18 pm

CCL wrote:
Was there anything that you wished you had but didn't?

Claire
Something to dry the broken bit with: Duck tape doesn't stick to wet gelcoat...

Z

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NickB
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Post by NickB » Wed Apr 19, 2006 2:17 pm

A devout composite man myself, but you can see a reason for having a tupperware boat some times!
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Nick Benny

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Ouch!

Post by boggled_iam » Wed Apr 19, 2006 2:41 pm

That makes some of the repairs I've done on our centre's Wayfarers look easy!

Boggled???

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Post by greensurfer » Wed Apr 19, 2006 4:28 pm

The fibres look a bit light and fluffy, is that normal? Looks like a little more resin might have helped?

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Broken glass

Post by Chris Bolton » Thu Apr 20, 2006 7:52 am

Mark G, very sad; hope you get it fixed. I think it's possible, but it will end up heavier and probably weaker. Fortunately, it's unlikely to get clobbered again in the same place, so it should be OK.
greensurfer wrote:The fibres look a bit light and fluffy, is that normal? Looks like a little more resin might have helped?

That is normal for badly impacted fibreglass. The flexing of the composite cracks the resin off the glass fibres. More resin would have just been more brittle and probably made it worse; the best laminates have just enough resin to fill all the spaces between the fibres and bond them together.

Chris

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Post by Bertie.. » Thu Apr 20, 2006 8:25 am

Mark, a mate of mine, based in Bournemouth (and I think who Zoe also knows), might be able to help.

He's ex-RNLI and used to repairing glassfibre surfboards, and racing ski's. His shift pattern, courtesy of Dorset Ambulance, also gives him time to undertake these sort of things.

If you're stuck, pm me and I'll put you guys in touch.

I normally carry silglass strips for major impacts like these. I generally have two or three on me at any time, which are about 12 inches x 4 inches in size. Combined I can cover a hole just under a foot square. The advantage is that it will stick to wet gelcoat, unlike duct tape.

Rockpool
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Fix

Post by Rockpool » Thu Apr 20, 2006 10:19 am

Mark,
It can be done, chop away all (ALL!) the broken bits and taper the edges over at least 2 inches, cover the void with masking tape from the inside of the boat creating a temporary skin, build glass on this, smooth off and then gelcoat, wet'n'dry, polish. You may need to use a bit of cardboard / foam / timber etc to hold the tape skin to the right curve of the keel. This temp frame should be strong enough to laminate on and take a rollering.

The final fix should only be a couple of hundred grams heavier than the original at most, ideally be the same weight. The tricky part is getting to the back to fix the masking tape in place, long arms required! If it can't be reached, pour expanding foam into the back, shape this and glass it. Leave the foam in as a momento of a good day out!

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capsized8
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Repair

Post by capsized8 » Thu Apr 20, 2006 10:48 am

I agree with the star fish, they are experts in this pool. However I would suggest you try the following before you commit to foam.

Find a plastic container that when cut open will give you a sufficient area to more than cover your new feature (the hole). Find a slim bouyancy bag/beach toy/or! place the plastic sheet behind the hole and inflate the bag to support it. Put the bouyancy bag into a polythene bag before inflating to keep it clean.

Star fish are known to have superior healing powers, a very colourful fish that was injured and left lying seriously wounded in a rockpool is now able to swim again.
peace and good padlin.

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serious damage, how we would do it!

Post by surfkayaks.com » Thu Apr 20, 2006 1:29 pm

if it was one of our boats, we would mold a new section from the hull mold, cut out all the damaged section and then set in the new piece glassed in from the inside. Suggest you contact the manufacturer and see if they will mold you the new section, alternatively, rebuild the damaged area will body filler,filler pimer etc, wip off a quick mold, cut out the old section used to make the new mold, mold your own section and glass in as above, or if its accessable, strap your mold to the hull and rebuild the whole section from the inside, probably a days work.
Malcolm

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Sat Apr 22, 2006 4:23 pm

If you cut away the fluff how rigid is whats left? I'm guessing you have a hole, in which case try one of the moulding options already covered (I would try and avoid expanding foam unless it's some kind you can dissove and remove afterwared).

Without seeing what you did and looking close up it's hard to say if that is a normal amount of fluffiness, it could be that not enough resin was used, however most builders, especially on a budget, will tend to wet out too much too quickly instead of aiming for the minimum possible amount of resin, you probably don't have a guarantee claim. It may be worth speaking to Shoreham anyway, since if they can get a section moulded to splice in as Malcolm describes, it will be the easiest solution to implement, and they can probably colour match it too!

Thanks for showing us your damage - I think I came close to ripping the port chine off my Sea King in a similar way on Sunday when the swell I timed my passage through a gap with decided to break and throw me sideways towards the rock instead, the backwash arrived with about a millimetre to go before impact!

In the end I discovered a nice serious crack in my keel (well a couple really) that I don't recall from last year - I was suspicious that the boats seemed loose on the roof when we unloaded, and loading up again last night I had an argument with dad because the way he put mine on left it loose and pivoting on the uprights (I put it flat as it should go). I'm also wondering if he crashed the car on the way up and kept it a secret? It could simply have been done by me on one of the nasty rocky launchings/landings we had on parts of the trip.
Anyway, epoxy putty effected a temporary repair, except more rocky landings ripped half of it back off before we were finished - I'll be doing a keel strip for it soon, and I need to work out how to reinforce under the seat.....

Epoxy putty will sort of stick when wet (you can apply it under water) but you need to keep your hands wet or it will keep on sticking to them in preferance to the wet boat. It's also something you need to stop for a while to let cure so best done at a campsite or during a rest day.

JIM

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Mark Gawler
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It's Fixed!!!!

Post by Mark Gawler » Mon May 22, 2006 7:52 pm

I have finally got the boat boat fixed. I opted to get a professional to do the work although there is still a bit of me that would have liked to have done it myself... may be next time. In my search (assisted by Zoe*) we came up with and got quotes from three repairers in the south.

Rio Marine - http://www.rio-marine.com/
Located near Dorchester
Rio came highly recommended, but were incredibly difficult to get hold of. Their quote was also incredibly expensive, quoting £155.00 for the keel strip alone.

Marine Composites - http://www.marine-grp.co.uk/repairs.asp
Located near Southampton
Gave a mid price quote and was very helpful offering to collect and deliver the boat.

Branfiber - http://www.branfibre.co.uk/
Located near Banbury
Gave the cheapest quote, quoting just £55 for the keel strip. Les (Mr Bran) was very helpful and openly admitted that he had never fixed a Sea Kayak before, but having previously worked for the Laser Centre (sailing dinghy) body shop knew a thing or two about fixing small boats.

In the end Branfiber did the repair. The quality of the work is excellent, it is virtually impossible to find the repair. Les came up with an innovative way to get round the access problem. The repair was done in two stages. Firstly he repaired one side through the hole in the other side of the boat. The make a patch for the remaining whole he had been working through. Even with this two stage approach the work was done in three days. I would definitely recommend Branfiber for sea kayak repairs.


Thanks to all who offered help particularly John Cameron for the loan of his boat while mine was out of action, and thanks to Pete from Shoreham sea kayaks for the offer of a demo boat and the option of taking a mold off his boat.

Mark G

PS If any manufactures would like some destructive testing of their boats I'm sure I can offer assistance in this area.


* OK Zoe did all the searching as she has far to much free time.

[Edited to add locations]
Last edited by Mark Gawler on Tue May 23, 2006 6:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Mon May 22, 2006 7:57 pm

Nice! Could you do an "after" pic??

I'll add these to the Alamanc.

Mike.

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Mon May 22, 2006 8:00 pm

I must have one somewhere (I took pics of the bottom of Mark's boat at the weekend, he kept capsizing), I will take a look.
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Jim
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Post by Jim » Mon May 22, 2006 10:41 pm

Glad to hear it has turned out OK.

My own boat is repaired now (think I may have described part of the process in a thread somewhere already), and I think the photos are waiting for me to collect them from the post office, once I get them I'll try and put something together in an article style. I know Chris B has already written a good article but I suspect another with photos will aid different people. It will probably be after the weekend now, by which time I will have tested the keel strip!

Basically I had a long split under the seat, and then found 2 more. The main one is repaired and the keel strip is on and when I left it the pigment looked reasonably close to the hull colour.... I need to reinforce internally in way of the smaller splits but that is a trivial job and I should be able to use the boat this weekend before I get round to it.

I know pigmenting my resin will reduce it's mechanical properties, but I have no idea how much - If I lose the keel strip first time out I'll be redoing it without pigment, but I'm sure the epoxy I used was far stronger than the original polyester so I really don't expect that!

JIM

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NickB
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Post by NickB » Tue May 23, 2006 7:01 am

Jim, out of interest how much time and money do you reckon it cost you to fit your keel strip? how does this compare with Mark's £55?
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Jim
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Post by Jim » Tue May 23, 2006 2:01 pm

You almost drew me into a long one there!

So much depends on whether or not you have the materials.

Bottom lines:
(Based on epoxy, polyester would be cheaper)

I reckon a single keel strip uses about £9 of materials. I would allow 6 hours to do a good job.

I reckon my actual repair (considerable internal build up under my seat) cost about £25.50 in materials. I did it in 2 sessions of about 12 hours total I think. I could have been a bit quicker if I had a hoover in the workshop and didn't have to try and sweep the dust up :)

I reckon that to do a keel strip if you didn't have any of the gear (pots, brushes, barrier cream, gloves, etc. etc. etc.) buying all you would need from scratch (remember that resin doesn't come in the exact quantity you require) would cost you about £75, but still only take 6 hours, unless you are a dummy.

I misread Mark's post at first and thought the whole repair had cost £55 in the end - I was really struggling to fit 3 days of labour into that! I have looked at Branfibre's website, and never mind the cheap nasty lasers, those fellers also repair some absolute top of the range boats that I used to build! I would say that for £55 for a keel strip you probably can't go wrong, although I have no idea how much the likes of Valley and P&H charge to do their own boats.

The bottom line is, that if you are practical and enjoy the challenge of repairing your own gear you can save a few quid in the long run. If you own no tools and get tradesmen to do everything else in life, you will save money getting the job done by a boatyard etc. especially if it's a one off. Most people will fall somewhere in between and it's up to them to decide ifthey really wantto tool up and mess around with resin, at least 50% should have no qualms about paying someone else to do a good job.

JIM

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Tue May 23, 2006 2:24 pm

Jim wrote:I would say that for £55 for a keel strip you probably can't go wrong, although I have no idea how much the likes of Valley and P&H charge to do their own boats.
Slightly more I think, and thats at time of order. Mike.

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Mike Marshall
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Keel Strip prices

Post by Mike Marshall » Tue May 23, 2006 4:23 pm

I had a keel strip fitted on my new Quest, and my paddling colleague also had one, both by P&H. Couldnt be more helpful. I actually returned a boat to Pyranha at Warrington and they transported it both ways to Derby for that price as well.
Cost £78. Not bad at all, however this was on a new boat in both cases.
I also purchased a keel strip kit off them (Cost £28) and, when the summer finally arrives????, I will apply this to my Sirius HF, then sell it!!!!
Definitely recommend a Keel strip, another classic piece of advice from DW!!
Oh by the way, in all cases the cloth is Carbon Kevlar.


MikeM

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Mark Gawler
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Post by Mark Gawler » Tue May 23, 2006 7:11 pm

Some before and after photos

Before:

Image
After:
Image
Image

Mark G

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Mark Gawler
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Post by Mark Gawler » Tue May 23, 2006 7:23 pm

MikeB wrote:I'll add these to the Almanac.
I've edited the information to include the location, as Branfiber are not exactly on the south coast as the Almanac suggests.

NickB wrote:how does this compare with Mark's £55?
The cost of the repair was considerably more than £55, that was just the extra for the keel strip.

Mark G

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Jim
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Re: Keel Strip prices

Post by Jim » Tue May 23, 2006 8:11 pm

Mike Marshall wrote:Oh by the way, in all cases the cloth is Carbon Kevlar.
That would be OTT for my boat :)

JIM

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Chris C
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Post by Chris C » Thu Apr 26, 2007 11:44 am

They have done a very good job! glad your boat is floating again.

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