Boat Damage

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Had an unfortunate incident this last week and my Swift was damaged.

It was my fault actually. I had the boat up on a rack in my back alley/yard and I didn't tie it down. We had a heck of a wind storm; it blew off and now has quite a few large spider web cracks on the bottom and sides.

The real kicker is I wasn't planning on keeping this boat any longer than I had to. The plan was for my wife to get a solo boat this spring and to sell the Swifty once we no longer need a lightweight tandem. It's not looking very saleable at the moment.

Any idea how hard it is to repair spider web cracks in clear gel coat? It definitely weakens the boat (I pushed on it where it was cracked and where it wasn't) and I assume the cloth will take on water if not at least sealed (most of it is below the water line) so I think it is more than a cosmetic issue.

It's a real shame because it was a real good shape and I tried to take good care of it. One little incident and a bit of carelessness can really wipe you clean...
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2013
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427
Location
Long Island, NY
Wow, sorry to hear that. I don't know how to help repair the canoe, I can only offer my condolences.

Maybe call Swift and ask?
 
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I’m sorry to hear of your misfortune. Don’t beat yourself up about it and blame yourself. It wasn’t inevitable that a gust of wind would cause this at that moment. You can take every precaution and still get stood up by lady luck. Parking lot traffic, hidden rocks and lurking logs can all sneak up on you. When good things happen we feel blessed, and when bad things happen we feel cursed. Both happen to good people like you. I truly wish you well, and hope you can make things work out in the end. I wish I could offer more than good wishes.
Brad
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
3,457
Those spider web cracks might just be a cosmetic problem. Can you show us a pic? Not to be opportunistic, but how much do you want for it.
 
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It may be covered under your home owner's insurance, since this was not normal wear and tear. Otherwise repair with EPOXY and several layers of woven fiberglass from the inside. Clean the inside first and don't worry about the cosmetics. Sand off the gel coat several inches past the cracked area, adding a single layer of EPOXY-fg on the outside should prevent freezing water damage within the composite structure. After repairs used the boat as much as possible to prove to all interested parties that you really need more boats. Personally I'm not a fan of gel coat, it adds weight, is sticky on rocks and does nothing, as you have found out, to protect the canoe structure. Used looks better than new with all outdoor equipment. Every time I see the biggest gouge on my, can hardly find a unscratched square inch on the bottom, canoe, I smile with the memory of that "big drop" on a great canoe trip. Who would you want to go tripping with the guy with the new looking boat or the very "experienced" looking boat?
 
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The reason I tried to keep it nice, especially in the last year, was that I planned to sell it hoping to go to solo boats. I have my solo boat but it won't be for sale until my wife settles on a boat... that may be never, I don't know?

Thanks for the tip about the insurance. I'll contact them. Hemlock is my closest repair facility. Bill Swift does deliver boats to Bay Creek periodically, so possibly he could pick it up for a factory repair.

It is mostly cosmetic. The composite and core are not damaged. I would paddle it but I'd put duct tape over it to keep the water out. I'd imagine it will need to be sealed at minimum.
 
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Looks like I may end up having to keep the boat. Insurance will only cover $1000, so giving it up as a total loss is a major hit.

Not sure what it will cost to repair just to make it seaworthy again - going to find out. If it does come out to be costly, then I will offer it up to anyone for the same as what the insurance co. would offer me, $1000 USD.

If you can DIY fix it you might be able to end up with a cheap UL boat. I'm pretty sure it will need to be glass reinforced on the sides where it has cracked - it is soft there - not much compressive stiffness left. The bottom may be OK because of the core and extra layers.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,386
Location
Raymond, ME
You said the gel was spidered and soft.

My RapidFire had a similar mishap. It was on a rock and I fell on it with pack. The gel spidered but the spot was squooshy. I took it to Joe at Placid and the repair was super easy.

Here is how it is done

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljlghfoDwyA

This is truly an easy DIY project. Next time this happens I have no fear of doing it myself.

Your boat is hardly a total loss. Materials are under a hundred. The rest is your time.
 
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Heh. Not so bad for that little ding. Now imagine that along the whole bottom and side of the boat!

That is what I am dealing with. I don't know that I'm going to DIY. Lots of work!

What I do wonder though is if Swift would sell a good match for the clear gel coat. LDC told me that is tough to match.

Also on the + side, mine is not visibly damaged from the inside like that one, so it may not need to be reinforced. It might be able to be repaired to look good again.
 
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Joined
Sep 2, 2011
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My Rapid Fire was not fractured on the inside but the key is there was a soft spot that felt different from the rest of the hull around it. If it feels different, it is prudent to reinforce it.

My Merlin II had substantial damage from a wrap. The foam core was not affected. It was not a little are. It was most of one side of the boat. The process the same except the alu gunwales had to be replaced too. Sure it takes more time. Its a personal decision whether or not to fix it yourself.

Gel coat is not the issue. Its not structural You wrote that you had a soft area. That means some of the Kevlar fibers are cracked whether or not you can see them. BTW Kevlar is not hydrophilic.

Perhaps LDC could mentor you if you decide to repair. You can get the clear gel from Placid..LDC is correct in that it is tough to match colored gels, but I think clear is easier. Unless its tinted! I don't remember what your boat looks like, sorry.

Here was my mess pre repair on the Merlin II

 
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Well on the side it is soft. It pops back but I don't think there is fiber failure... looks to be resin only. Again I may not be able to see. I think all the areas where the spider cracks are are generally weaker/softer than the rest. I'm going to have Dave look at it. He'll know better than I will.

The cracks go all over the whole boat. It will be quite a bit of tedious work to get them all.

If I decide I should keep the boat and not worry about aesthetics then I won't much worry about the match. Even if I can get it looking good again I don't know that I'll be any better than $1000 net on this boat when it is all said and done.

PS I think mine has tint. It isn't exactly natural Kevlar colored. It is slightly more vibrant.
 
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