Cracked Deck

Several months ago I noticed a crack in the deck of my MC 16.5.  The crack runs from the aft port corner of the coaming outboard about 2/3 of the way to the gun'l.  The crack also ran up the outside of the coaming at the corner.  I believe this resulted from tieing the bow and stern lines to tight when cartopping.  Anyway, after puting up with this for at least a year, I decided it was time for some repair.  I could feel the crack with my hand so I know it was thru the glass.

To effect the repair, I sanded the area down thru the varnish and applied two layers of 4oz glass extending about 3 - 4" fore and aft of the damage.  My hope was that this would not only strengthen the area but would also disguise the crack.  Strength I got, a disguise I did not.  The epoxy seemed to go right to the crack, darkening it so that is stands out even more.  I mixed the first layer of weave filler with wood flour in hopes of covering some of it, but it stayed very visable.  So, I have sanded it out so all is fair and have gone ahead with new varnish.  It is the way it will be for now, but it would be nice to do something better in the future.  Excessive sanding is out as I am on the brink of going thru the surface veneer of the deck.

Any ideas for future repairs would be appreciated.

Thanks, Paul

4 replies:

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RE: Cracked Deck

Hi Paul...  Due to getting old epoxy, I had to remove ALL the fiberglass on the deck of my Wood Duck 12.  In doing so, I DID sand thru the top layer in two areas of the sheer deck AND a few areas at the hull-to-sheer connection.  I got 3/8" wide iron on wood trim to resolve the sheer area and made my own "decal" to hide the sand thru.  I'm suggesting yyou might think about applying a home created decal/overlay to the areas of the crack.  Of course, you will need to apply it to BOTH sides to "balance" the looks.

A woman who contributed on this site, named Kathy, gave me the idea.  I found an approiate design, in my case, I found a head shot of DAFFY DUCK, my kayak's name, on the computer, transfered it via copier to rice paper and presto, a decorative blemish hider!!!! (THANK YOU, Kathy, whom ever you are...).  You could go with a random design or a cartoon as I did.   If I can figure out how to post photos, I'll do so, but do NOT hold your breath.  My address is Tugbruce and my server is G.....mail.  If you send me an email, I CAN port to those!!!   Good luck....   ~BRUCE~

RE: Cracked Deck

As Bruce suggested, the simplest "cover up" is some decorative art added to the location.  Probably more difficult to do at the coaming and surrounding areas, though.  A veneer "inlay" added to the surface of the wood, under the glass layer, would be a possible cover up too.  You could do one on each side to make it less obvious as a "fix" but it will still be difficult at the coaming, I suspect.


RE: Cracked Deck

The hull to deck joint is the weakest link in a boat and the highest stress is the middle third.  This is proven in Finite Elemental Analysis of ships, sailboats & also applies to kayaks.  This part of the deck & hull is subject to both tension and compression and the primary reason a good shear clamp and glassing of the joint is good boat building practice.  If you ever see a damaged boat from waves/overloading or crushed in surf, more than likely more damage will be in the middle of the deck/hull.  Remember when the Americ's Cup boat from Australia broke in half in San Diego?  Stars & Stripes in NZ?  Both broke from wave compression combined with winch and rigging loads.  Kayaks and small boats are no different.

If you are only using your kayak in calm waters w/ no wave, etc., it may never fail, but if you load it up glassing  the shear under the deck is better than trying to repair it after it has cracked or separated in a seaway or from over-stressing it in a tie-down or high wind situation on the highway.

I recently finished a Shearwater 17 Hybrid for an auction and put extra glass around the shear near the cockpit, glassed the joint inside, and placed carbon fiber across (side to side) the underside of the deck in strips fore & aft of the cockpit & around the border of the cockpit. Almost no weight was added, but it was stiff and very firm with full weight on exit sitting on the aft deck in front of the hatch.  Yacht design analysis shows the middle third of a boat's hull to deck joint is the most vulnerable to damage from load..waves, weight, cargo, paddler...get the picture.  This part of the hull & deck goes through both compression and tension stresses.

A good practice would be to glass the inside of the shear clamp as far forward and aft just beyond the hatches.  Any further is not needed as long as your glue joint was good.  Besides, when you pack the boat w/ gear, these areas further forward or aft of the hatch opening are impossible to sand smooth will catch/snag on gear bags.


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