Stern came apart -- what now?

I hope this is a fixable disaster.

I am working on a Skerry, and just moved it into a warmer area so that I could work on it this winter. I've finished wiring and gluing, have removed the wires, and my next step is fiberglass.

I dropped the stern, from probably 3 ft. off the ground, while moving the boat, and the stem popped apart (see photos). For now, I've put in a few wires to keep things together.


1) I do understand that stems are weak points, but I am concerned that that this drop caused the stem to come apart.  I'm wondering if the other stem is another disaster waiting to happen Was my construction faulty? How can I strengthen up the stems?

2) What do I do now? My first thought was to sand off the epoxy, and then wire and epoxy again. Some of that sanding, though, is difficult due to the narrow gap between the two parts of the stem.

4 replies:

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RE: Stern came apart -- what now?

   No worries geophile,

You are right, sand the epoxy to rough it up. You do not have to remove it. Just make it rough so the new epoxy will make a good bond. Use 80 grit. Rewire and epoxy. 

The epoxy work you have done so far is 'tacking" the parts together. Not much strength yet.

As far as strength, you have not filleted, nor fiberglassed, both of which add huge strength to areas like the stem (and all other seams...). Also the breasthook, thwarts, gunwales... and other features of your yacht add huge strength to the structure. You have just begun.

Smile and keep building, this is a very small set back.


RE: Stern came apart -- what now?

Joel: Encouraging to hear, thank you!

RE: Stern came apart -- what now?

hi geophile,

i took a look at your pictures and just wanted to echo Joel's comments that this is totally repairable.

and also, per Joel's point, as the project comes along, there should be a generous fillet and glass which will make it signficantly stronger.

i did also, want to say, however, that while three feet does not sound that high, dropping the end of any fibreglass boat onto concrete or other hard surface can cause damage....though when the boat is built up properly it would probaly result  in more like a crack or crush/dent vs a seam splitting open.

i recently had a friend  drop the end of one of my kayaks from about three feet up onto a concrete boat ramp...not a lot of damage but it split the outside glass and crushed the end just a bit.   i spent several hours over three elapsed days sanding out the crack and reglassing, a day applying fill coats and a final day of sanding and varnish touch up (it was during the summer so everything cured quickly).

these boats are  very strong and hold up just as well as any production glass/composite boat.   but there is a lot of force on a drop like that particularly when applied to a pointy end. if a boat like this is dropped like you described, it should be inspected carefully to assess any damage.  any damage you do find can almost always be easily repaired.   but i would not think that dropping one end  from three feet up would be totally without damage even if properly constructed.

the last point i would make is dropping from three feet up (total freefall) is way more force than anything you would encounter on the water..short of being pounded into a i never have worried a bit about strength of these boats while in actual use.


RE: Stern came apart -- what now?

Thank you, hspira. Good to have more insight on this sort of accident and the subsequent damage. I *did* drop the boat onto concrete, the floor of my basement.

I just wired it up, and applied epoxy, so I'll check in on it on my next visit. (I live in an apartment, and I'm doing the build two hours from home.)


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