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Blue Steel Layup Inspection / Repair Advice

@sailsman63 @Alan Gage @memaquay

If you were to add a full piece of cloth to the inside of the hull, aside from any patching, would you use s-glass or aramid? What weight? Would it be worth using epoxy over vinylester?
Like @Alan Gage said, Epoxy sticks to pretty much anything except Polyethylene. It's also easily available in smaller quantities if you don't already have vinyl ester resin around.

I also would use basic 6oz E-glass. Don't see a reason to spring for the S-glass in this context.

Also would probably use 2-3 layers, but unlike Alan, I would put the smaller layers on first. Probably start with an 8" by whatever it takes to go about 3" past the ends of the big ouch, then 16" by and maybe finally 24" by on top of that. Definitely peel-ply, or as I never tire of advocating, check local fabric stores and get a couple yards of their cheapest, junkiest lightweight polyester satin. (suit jacket lining)

I would do this interior structural patch before messing with trying to fill in the cracking/working on the outside of the hull. If there are any loose bits/hanging by a thread, pick them out before laying the patch. Maybe lay some thin cardboard (cereal box) on the outside to keep the existing hull segments aligned and fair. Once the interior patch is cured, you can fill in any voids and maybe do an exterior layer for abrasion resistance and a fair surface. Also peel-ply, whether or not you add a cloth layer here.
Sad to hear this unfortunate turn of events.

During the drive, the tag end of one of my tie-down straps came untied and was loose in the wind.

That won't happen to you again.

the damage appears on the inside of the hull as well

Do you have a picture of that you can show?

I will probably take the time to remove and refinish the gunnels

You can do that if you want, but if the gunwales are undamaged, removing them doesn't seem necessary for hull repairs.

fix ALL the gel coat, add a full layer of s-glass or aramid to the interior

Not sure you need to fix all the gel coat or even that you can, unless re-coating the entire hull, which will add weight. S glass patches on the exterior and interior of the creased area may be all you need unless the creasing is so bad you have to cut it out as Alan has addressed.

I put it on a tension scale today and she sits at 41.8 lbs.

@Glenn MacGrady

Heh. No, I don't reckon that will happen again. Those lessons have a way of sticking around.

Here are some more photos. If other angles help, just let me know. It's not going anywhere anytime soon...

This... actually doesn't look as bad as I'd thought.

  • Most of the more visible bits of the damage seem to be to the gel-coat
  • Weave on the structural cloth seems to be mostly intact - not torn through. Aramid is tough.
  • I seems to be laying fair, so no need to splint it in place while reinforcing.
I'd say that my original estimates on (inside) patch size were probably a bit large.

I no longer think that I'd use any sort of large patch on the outside. I'm torn between saying get some clear gelcoat to fill in the missing stuff, or cut some glass to exactly the missing shape of the gelcoat and epoxy it in to build up the surface and restore the water-impermeable layer over that structural cloth blend.

I wouldn't cut or remove any of the aramid layer. While there are probably some torn fibers, the cloth is mostly intact. Those bits of gelcoat that are peeling up and look like shards of a windowpane probably need to come off, however.
Agreed, it doesn’t look as devastating as I feared. Is it just the one busted rib? Two breaks? Or two ribs/1break @? I’d think they will need patches. Maybe drill a hole in the breaks big enough for a syringe tip to inject epoxy.
Agreed, it doesn’t look as devastating as I feared. Is it just the one busted rib? Two breaks? Or two ribs/1break @? I’d think they will need patches. Maybe drill a hole in the breaks big enough for a syringe tip to inject epoxy.
Two ribs, one break each, with one rib having additional spidering/fracturing up the chine area.
It is a significant relief to hear experienced paddlers say its "not as bad as..."

I am now more confident that I can bring it back to factory strength.

I assume most aramid composite repairs are similar, in that some poking around here for past threads about the repair process should translate to my project?

I had an old fiberglass hull that needed about 6 patches once, but it was a colored gel coat and easy to paint to match. Plus it was a $100 canoe, not a $1k canoe. 😄