Gelcoat coming off cockpit coaming

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mikkelkg
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Gelcoat coming off cockpit coaming

Post by mikkelkg » Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:48 pm

Hi there,

Just discovered that a small piece of gelcoat has come off my cockpit coaming. Probably not a major issue, but I'd still like to fix it somehow. Any ideas for what to do? Can I apply gelcoat or some other material somehow? The boat is carbon/kevlar btw., don't know if that's relevant.

A few pics have been attached:
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Chris Bolton
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Re: Gelcoat coming off cockpit coaming

Post by Chris Bolton » Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:50 pm

My guess is that there was a small bubble under the gelcoat at that point (almost impossible to avoid) and the thin skin of gelcoat has burst. Sandpaper the surface of the gap, fill with resin, tape over it and then sand it flat when the resin has cured. Use progressively finer grades to get a good finish. If you want to match the colour, buy resin with white colouring, or buy white colour and add it in. If not, you could just mix up a little Araldite. There's no reason to use gelcoat - it's designed for using as the first layer in a female mould so isn't relevant to this.

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Re: Gelcoat coming off cockpit coaming

Post by mikkelkg » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:24 pm

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the input. I've never dabbled much with sea kayak materials so bear with my newbie questions: when you say resin do you mean epoxy resin?

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Re: Gelcoat coming off cockpit coaming

Post by Chris Bolton » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:30 pm

It doesn't have to be epoxy, polyester would be OK in that context, and (I think) it takes colour better than epoxy. Do you know whether the boat is epoxy or polyester? Also how old is the boat - it looks quite new from I can see, if so the maker might assist (I wouldn't ship it back to them for that).

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Re: Gelcoat coming off cockpit coaming

Post by mikkelkg » Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:32 pm

I don't know if it is epoxy or polyester, but it's a Tiderace Xcite Harcore (Kevlar/carbon) and I bought about 2 months so it's quite new. I might send an email to Tiderace as you suggested.

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Jim
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Re: Gelcoat coming off cockpit coaming

Post by Jim » Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:45 pm

Racing boat cockpits have a cut edge there and you are expected to wrap a couple of layers of insulation tape around them to make sure it doesn't wear holes in your spraydeck - I have never seen anyone concerned about water absorption through the cut edge (which will expose a few fibre ends), so I can't think of any reason it would be essential to do a gel repair here and not just cover it with insulation tape to make sure there is no sharp edge to cut your spraydeck?

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Re: Gelcoat coming off cockpit coaming

Post by Jim » Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:50 pm

mikkelkg wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:32 pm
I don't know if it is epoxy or polyester, but it's a Tiderace Xcite Harcore (Kevlar/carbon) and I bought about 2 months so it's quite new. I might send an email to Tiderace as you suggested.
It won't be polyester with carbon/kevlar reinforcement. May be Vinylester or epoxy, not sure if tiderace use vinylester, it seems to have been relatively slow to catch on as an option for kayaks in the UK (mid-price, mid performance, but closer to epoxy performacnce than polyester performance), but I seem to recall someone is using it, and tiderace are the sort of pioneers who might be.
Most gelcoat is polyester based whatever the main construction is, although epoxy based gelcoats are available. I would use polyester gel if you do go down the repair route.

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Re: Gelcoat coming off cockpit coaming

Post by Aled » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:01 pm

Hi mikkelkg,
If you're in North Wales, pop in to my house, we'll have it fixed over a cup of tea...
Or, contact Tiderace and have it fixed as a warranty repair...
Or, fix it using some polyester gelcoat (the boat's made with an Epoxy Compatible Polyester Gelcoat on an epoxy composite laminate, but normal polyester gelcoat will be fine for a repair). With a small round file, file away the loose gelcoat but take away as little of the composite fibre as possible to retain the strength. Just make sure that the composite surface that you're revealing is thoroughly scratched for good adhesion. Mix and apply a suitable blob of white gelcoat, and immediately cover it with some masking, sellotape or packing tape (working outwards towards the edge of the rim, keeping the tape in tension, flatten the gelcoat and leave the tape edge overhanging). The tape will flatten the blob to be level with the surrounding gelcoat (saving any rubbing down later). Allow to harden, sand off the edge to make smooth.
Best, Aled

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Re: Gelcoat coming off cockpit coaming

Post by mikkelkg » Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:17 pm

Hi Aled,

While the first option definitely sounds like the optimal solution it is probably also the most time-consuming one since I live in Denmark ;-) I think I will go the repair route. While I'm not much of a handyman your instructions make it sound manageable. Will a tube of gelcoat filler + hardener be enough to cover my needs?

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Re: Gelcoat coming off cockpit coaming

Post by Aled » Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:30 pm

mikkelkg wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:17 pm
Will a tube of gelcoat filler + hardener be enough to cover my needs?
Yes, it would be plenty, you only need half a teaspoon full at the most - with a couple of drops of hardner added to it - most of it would go to waste.

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Re: Gelcoat coming off cockpit coaming

Post by SJD » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:33 pm

I would repair as Aled describes but would probably wait until other gelcoat repairs are needed. That is such a small area it is not worth the trouble by itself. In the interim I would apply a small piece of clear 3M or similar packing tape.

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