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16' Pegaso with terrible Osmosis, how to fix?

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Hello all,

New member and new to canoeing as well. Ever since I was small I loved Canadian canoes and very recently I found one I could afford (I'm dutch and they're pretty rare in the Netherlands, if you find one they're usually very expensive), mine cost 400 euro. All I could find under "Pegaso" is that it was probably built in the 90's in Germany. It was very dirty and black and after buying a good underwater boat cleaner it looked pretty much new.. Until I found the bottom was full of little round bumps. After asking around and breaking one open (cue the vinegar-y smell so dreaded by boatsmen, i learned) it sadly is riddled by Osmosis There's literally hundreds of them, most less than half an inch across.

I know on the hull of a boat you can use a scraper, remove the paint and gelcoat and redo them but the bottom is very flexible and I would hate damaging it further. My question to experienced people here: can it be saved? Or is this a very expensive lesson (the previous owner refuses to response and it's bought privately so no money back) and should I take my loss and dump it? I can't spend hundreds more euros on repairs, sadly, but I'm pretty handy so if it's doable I'll learn how.

If it can be repaired, is it necessary to strip the entire bottom or can I just pop/sand open all blisters, clean them (how?), let dry thouroughly and fill with (marine) epoxy or something? I'd love to go canoeing trough our beautiful nature reserves but I want to be sure I won't sink anywhere quiet..

Thanks for any help and comments!
Alwin
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Alwin, welcome to site membership! It is always interesting to get members from outside the USA and Canada. Feel free to pursue any questions and to post any messages, photos and videos on our many canoe-related forums.

In fact, posting some photos of that rare (to me) canoe and the problem "osmosis bumps" would probably help our repair experts give advice. It's easy to post photos by uploading them from your computer or phone, or by linking to a photo site.
 
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Thank you, I took some pictures, I hope they came out ok, it's getting dark here (nine o'clock at night), and if you're wondering, yes this is a balcony.. A second storey (third in America) balcony. I wanted it close by for cleaning :D
 

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What is the canoe made from? To me, it just looks like a bad paint job. The spiderweb cracking is fairly common on gel coats, but I've never seen the bubbles.
 
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It's polyester, looks like it was made in a mold (top and bottom apart) and put together with a strip of fiberglass and epoxy. The bubbles are definitely osmotic, when punctured there's a liquid inside that smells strongly of vinegar. It's a problem commonly seen (or so I've learned) in older polyester boats:


My guess is it happened because the canoe wasn't taken out of the water after summer (the inside suggests it's been partially submerged for some time as well, the wooden benches are new and obviously recently replaced) so water seeped trough small damages in the bottom.
 
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Well, the old adage about learning something new every day certainly applies here. I've never seen anything like that, is it associated mostly with salt water, or does it also occur with fresh water? After reading the description for the fix, well, it sounds quite involved. Maybe Mike McCrea might have something to add.
 

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I don't believe I've ever heard of osmotically filled water blisters on a canoe, and I'm not one of this site's laminate repair experts, but a few things make common sense to me.

First, if those blisters are filled with liquid, they will all have to be punctured or scraped off, or else the corrosive damage to the poly/glass laminate will just get worse at each blister.

Second, the hull and formerly blistered areas should be completely dried.

Third, once dry, I would poke at the formerly blistered areas to see if the laminate is soft, spongy, brittle, crumbly, or otherwise seemingly damaged.

Fourth, any damaged laminate material should be carefully sanded or scraped away.

Fifth, all the damaged areas and formerly blistered areas should be filled and protected with something. Here, I have no personal experience. Maybe it could all be done with just with epoxy. Or, if the damage is deep into the laminate, maybe some fabric (fiberglass or polyester, I'm not sure) may need to be applied as for the usual cracks and holes in canoes.

Finally, I suppose you could use white paint or white gel coat (whichever it is) to try to color match the patched areas to the current white color. Or just live with the patches like most of us live with scratches.
 
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That’s a canoe repair difficulty I have never seen before, and I’m hesitant to make any “I’ve never done this, but . . . .” recommendations.

Deleted all previous. Looking more closely at the photos I'm guessing this is actually a composite hull with gel coat, not a plastic canoe. I'd go with what Boatman 53 said.

The recurved stems look a lot like some of the German made Bavaria Boote Company hulls

Whatever you do, or don’t do, please keep us posted.
 
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Well, the old adage about learning something new every day certainly applies here. I've never seen anything like that, is it associated mostly with salt water, or does it also occur with fresh water? After reading the description for the fix, well, it sounds quite involved. Maybe Mike McCrea might have something to add.
Me too , Osmosis usually meant something else for me.

Does this help? It seems you have to scrape and sandblast the entire affected area. Then let it dry for... Two Months? Wow.. That is a big investment of time and money

Knowing nothing about the problem I relied on Mr Google
 
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I’ve seen it many times on 5e big boats I’ve worked on but never a canoe. It must have sat in the water a long time. That is the process, grind them off, probably the whole gelcoat layer and then let it dry for a long time. I wouldn’t gelcoat it again, just use epoxy and paint it. It will be a lot of work that is for sure.
Jim
 
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I’ve never seen a boat with this problem. You spoke of paint and gel coat. Is the boat made from fiber glass?

I can’t see any fiberglass fabric in the photos of the blisters you opened up. I’d scrape an area and try to evaluate the hull under the blisters. Possibly the problem is all in the outer layer. If it’s dry and solid underneath, then you could remove the outer layer, clean it well and apply a new finish coat.

I hope others will post with better advice. I think it will help them to know the material from which your boat is made.
 
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Unusual problem. If there are hundreds of the bubbles, I assume it is all over the bottom and at or below the waterline. Repairing them one at a time just doesn’t seem practical.

Others will likely have better solutions, and I take Mike’s point about giving advice in the absence of experience (I have none with this problem), but if you have or can borrow a power sander with coarse paper (like 40 grit) I would first delineate a repair area from bow to stern that includes all the bubbles, tape off that line to separate it from the rest of the hull, and then grind off the gel coat of the repair area down to the bare hull.

Assuming the abscesses underneath all the bubbles would then be exposed, you would need to dry them out, per the article you linked to (a heat gun might speed it up a lot). Glen’s point about digging into the holes to remove any gunk or deep damage is good.

To put it all back together once dried, use thickened epoxy smoothed into the abscesses and very thinly covering the rest of the exposed bottom, followed by more sanding once cured to get everything smooth and blended with the rest of the hull. Then paint the taped off area (hopefully to match the rest of the hull but probably not critical).

If you are worried about the strength of the bottom after sanding, a layer of 6 ounce (203 gsm) fibreglass before painting should provide sufficient support.

This will be a messy repair with all the sanding involved - you could get the initial sanding done on your balcony if you have tolerant neighbours (should be doable in under 2 hours or so), but a sheltered workplace would be best, especially for the drying and epoxy work. If you haven’t worked with epoxy and fibreglass before it isn’t really that hard for a repair like this.
 
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At first glance I was sure that was a plastic canoe. The exaggerated stem recurve and keel are identical to a very early plastic canoe we owned, a “Whitewater” (actually manufacturer name, maybe the least WW canoe ever).

On further viewing the photos the stem recurve looks very much like some of the composite models made in Germany by Bavaria Boote, maybe the “Mustang”

https://www.google.com/search?q=Bav...YlWoFHaWBCrwQ9QF6BAgeEAE#imgrc=8sXV-xmYz4vwLM

Those were composite boats with the same longitudinal seam and, often, the same crude black seats. Bavaria Boote sometimes sold identical hulls with different outfitting under different model names. The Amazonas II and Missouri II were the same semi-decked hulls with different trim.

I do not know if German/European made boats have a Hull Identification Number (HIN) on the hull somewhere. On North American made canoes that HIN is usually stamped on the hull or on an attached plate, usually on the right stern, sometimes on the stern deck.

The first three letters of the HIN, if present and legible, might identify the manufacturer.

but if you have or can borrow a power sander with coarse paper (like 40 grit) I would first delineate a repair area from bow to stern that includes all the bubbles, tape off that line to separate it from the rest of the hull, and then grind off the gel coat of the repair area down to the bare hull.

This will be a messy repair with all the sanding involved - you could get the initial sanding done on your balcony if you have tolerant neighbours (should be doable in under 2 hours or so), but a sheltered workplace would be best, especially for the drying and epoxy work. If you haven’t worked with epoxy and fibreglass before it isn’t really that hard for a repair like this


“Messy” is an understatement. Noisy too; it would require very tolerant neighbors, amenable to white gel coat dust coating their balconies.

If you go that route either a sheltered workspace, which you will need in any case for epoxy/painting work, with a good dust extractor (wear a respirator). Or, for the sanding work, outside (wear a respirator).
 
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“Messy” is an understatement. Noisy too; it would require very tolerant neighbors, amenable to white gel coat dust coating their balconies.

If you go that route either a sheltered workspace, which you will need in any case for epoxy/painting work, with a good dust extractor (wear a respirator). Or, for the sanding work, outside (wear a respirator).
Absolutely - I didn’t mean to understate the noise and mess that would be involved. And for sure wear a respirator.
 
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Alwin, a tangent: How did you get the canoe up onto your balcony?

I fabricated two poles with pulleys, then put ropes around the canoe with pulleys to distrubute the weight. Took some walking back and forth (I was alone so had to pull both sides a bit at the time) then lifted it over the edge. I think getting down is harder..

At this time I'm thinking of reselling the canoe as is (and take a loss if necessary) because the work will involve over 300 euro worth of materials and take me weeks, a few hours at a time. Alternatively I might just use it as it is now, fill in the broken blisters with 2-component epoxy and see how long it lasts. Or perhaps find a storage space where I can work on it in the cold months.
 
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“I fabricated two poles with pulleys, then put ropes around the canoe with pulleys to distrubute the weight. Took some walking back and forth (I was alone so had to pull both sides a bit at the time) then lifted it over the edge. I think getting down is harder”

No pun intended, but that sounds like a boat load of work. One truism with canoes is that, given a choice, a lighter (or at least easier to move) canoe will be used more often than a heavier one, and I imaging Pegaso is no strawweight. Or maybe it is, flyweight class doesn’t start until 105lbs.

Hoists and pulleys seem like a lot of time and effort getting it on and off the balcony, which might quickly reduce your desire to paddle

“At this time I'm thinking of reselling the canoe as is (and take a loss if necessary) because the work will involve over 300 euro worth of materials and take me weeks, a few hours at a time. Alternatively I might just use it as it is now, fill in the broken blisters with 2-component epoxy and see how long it lasts. Or perhaps find a storage space where I can work on it in the cold months”

Any of those options may be a good plan, the latter plans especially if you can find somewhere more ground-level to store it.

If you opt to drain and fill the blisters - maybe slice open, syringe flush with alcohol, let dry, use the syringe to inject epoxy into the void, cover with wax paper, lay a sand bag on top to keep things pressed together - even done on the balcony that shouldn’t annoy the neighbors, and would keep the cost, time and effort down. It might be fine, or at least seaworthy.

If you do drain and epoxy the blisters, and don’t mind the bottom of the canoe looking like it has measles, maybe circle the repaired (and even a few unrepaired) blisters with a Sharpie and check to see how they are holding up post-repair, or if new blisters are forming outside the Sharpie circles.

I don’t know if you plan to paddle solo or tandem with a partner. If solo, and you do sell Pegaso, maybe keep an eye out for a shorter/lighter canoe. Perhaps even something that would go up the stairs. I understand that there isn’t much in the way of used canoes in the Netherlands, and hesitate to suggest this on a canoe forum, but what is the availability of used rec kayaks where you live?

Anything that gets you out on the water and paddling, and doesn’t require a crane to lift into storage, is better than nothing. A short rec kayak or used “Pack” style canoe might fit up the stairs, a used folder certainly would. I have no experience with inflatibles; I know there are sucky cheap ones and awesome pricey ones.

I am curious if Pegaso is in fact a Bavaria Boote canoe. The Bavaria “Mustang” model seems to have been available in a variety of outfitting variations, from 2 to 4 seater versions, including some with dry storage hatches in the float tanks or even hatches on the decks.

Different model names appear to have used for different Mustang variations, much like the identical-hulled Bavaria Boote Amazonas II and Missouri II, the Missouri being available outfitted with different seats, dry storage hatches and rudder.

If (when) Pegaso meet comes off the balcony please take more photos. I am curious about all things canoe, especially oddities. And please look for a Hull Identification Number, if there is one the letter code prefix might at least ID the manufacturer.

Got a bathroom scale? I’d love to know what Pegaso weighs. I’m gonna go with. . . . .hmmmm. . . . .74lbs. Germans build solid tanks.
 
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