Very old surfski repair - please advise!

2 months 20 hours ago #36786 by NaturalBornTripper
I bought a very old surfski online for $50. Needless to say, it's in poor shape. 
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Because this is a long post, I have summarized my questions at the bottom. I appreciate all help. 

*I apologize for my lack of knowledge/terminology - I used italics when describing something I do not know the name for. 

I know it would be for the best to buy a new kayak/take it to a professional; but my current resources include a surplus of time and ~$500, so I want to try to fix it myself. 

1. Support
When I picked it up, there was a rattling noise coming from the hull... Eek. As an older ski, my only access was through the drain hole, so I cut a larger hole (planning to add a deck plate when finished). 
Looking inside, one of the supports had come loose, and a lot of twigs under the seat. 
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I vacuumed out the debris & pulled the loose styrofoam column out. 

2. Rudder
The lines on the boat were broken-I replaced those with shark leader cable. I realize now that I should have waited? 

The rudder is bent, so I want to remove it to fix/replace it. 
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However, there is no access to the rudder: 
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I removed the nut, but I cannot remove the 'swiveling bar to which the cables are attached' .  
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3. Hull
There are some dings, but the ski floats...
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And damage around the rudder area:
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I have gel coat, the 'stuff you mix with gel coat to make sure it cures without being tacky', catalyst, MEGUIARS polish, & 'orbital buffing tool'. 
My current plan of action is: 
1. sand the hull (complete); 
2. clean; 
3. Apply gel coat mixture; 
4. Sand after cured; 
5. Polish. 

4. Seam
Upon sanding the bottom, I found that the 'tape' along the seam is reeeeally old and flakey in some parts. 

5. Deck
The deck is matte, and has old stickers that are flaking off. I would like to remove the stickers & polish it... 

Advice needed please:
1. Support
  • What type of styrofoam should I use to replace the support in the stern? 
  • What "glue" do I use/how should I attach the styrofoam support?
2. Rudder
  • How do I remove the rudder? 
3. Hull
  • Will this work? 
4. Seam
  • What do I need to fix this? 
  • Can I just sand the surface of the 'tape' and wrap it with more? 
5. Deck
  • Would it be OK to sand the stickers off before polishing? 
6. Order
  • In what order should I do any suggested repairs? 
Goals:
Have a boat that can be paddled without compromising it's integrity [too] much. 

The boat:
18' long
19" at widest point
VERY OLD
probably made by Bob Twogood? 

Me:
5'3", 135#. 
Raced on a Robello hydroski for years (2km & 5km). Stopped ~7 years ago when I move to Seattle. Back in Hawaii again. 
Surfski plans:
Paddle around ke'ehi lagoon/ala Wai canal (relatively flat/no swells or waves). I've never paddled a kayak (only a one-man canoe/6man) in open ocean, and don't plan on starting (especially by myself). 

Mahalo nui! 

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2 months 8 hours ago - 2 months 8 hours ago #36789 by waverider
Your pics dont show so cant give detailed answers. 

Some general pointers, rudders can often be straightened without removing.
Applying large areas "flow coat' (air dry gelcoat), is no where near as easy as it sounds

Skis will survive without interior bracing, especially if you are learning and not exactly paddling big waves.

Most people dont stick with their first ski for long as they either give it up as not for them, or decide it is and start to learn what will suit them better. With that in mind dont try turning a pigs ear into a silk purse and save your coin.  Just straighten the rudder and if its not leaking use as is and learn to paddle it, then further down the track put that $500 towards a better ski. 
Odds are you are going to bend the rudder and put dings in your first ski when manhandling it anyway. I know I did.

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1 month 4 weeks ago #36795 by NaturalBornTripper
Second attempt to add photos. 

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1 month 4 weeks ago #36796 by NaturalBornTripper
Thank you for your input, waverider.

How does one straighten a rudder without removing it?

I (obviously) have no experience with boat repairs, so my first instinct was to just sand the rudder at the top where it is rubbing the hull because it's been bent. *


I've already sanded the hull, so the work will commence. Tips on the best way to proceed are appreciated. I am capable and, more importantly, tenacious; I want to make this boat something I can use.

I am confident in my ability and skill.
I have paddled in many different boats (including well-known boats, like Fenn, epic v10-14, stellar), and I don't think anything will match the boat I used to use for races; a Robello hydroski; but I just want to get back in a kayak. 
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1 month 4 weeks ago #36797 by MCImes
Hey Tripper,
It doesn't specifically address the foam and rudder lines, but for any general composite work my home made composite guide is a decent place to start

Currently - Swordfish S in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10 g0, Stellar SR g1, Fenn XT g1
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"
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1 month 4 weeks ago #36799 by waverider
Without stating the obvious have you tested it for leaks yet.? The rudder shaft tube joints at the top and bottom sometimes separate causiing leaks when the rudders gets a big wack. I hit a rock and ripped my first rudder off, punched a hole in the hull and ripped the bottom tube joint away

Often rudders can be eased back while in place on the boat. Most sound tubes can withstand a constant pressure rather than impact pressure.

How is the tiller bar attached to the threaded shaft, is there a flat side threaded nut/collar/spacer between tiller and shaft? The whole lot being stuck together due to corrosion? My ski has a square slot tiller and it can take a bit of a nudge to prise it up and loosen off the rudder shaft, and its not old.

Make sure you have checked all over for suspect soft spots, thats the sign of a ding breaking the outer skin of a sandwich construction, depending on how its made.

I would still recommend you first get it functional and see if it suits you first before throwing coin at cosmetics. Many of these early skis have minimal or no leg adjustment and are made to measure for original owner and so ergonomics can be way off optimum for subsequent users.

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1 month 4 weeks ago #36800 by waverider
Have you already sanded all the gelcoat off the complete hull?  My boat has no gelcoat but is just finished with rattlecan auto paint. Advantage of this is its lighter than gelcoat and you can retouch it or change the colour design at will. Down side is it does chip easily so needs regular touch ups if you want to keep it looking sharp. Though for a quick easy cheap finish for a low value boat it works well and easy to do.

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1 month 4 weeks ago #36803 by NaturalBornTripper
Waverider, 

How does one check the rudder shaft tube for leaks? 

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1 month 4 weeks ago #36804 by waverider

NaturalBornTripper wrote: Waverider, 

How does one check the rudder shaft tube for leaks? 


Put enough water in the hull so that when you tip it to the end it floods that area and check if any water comes out from anywhere..  Likewise any suspect side seams or cracks you may have. Before you do any work on a hull you have to be sure you have located any potential leaks

If that tiller bar is just a slip on but corroded on and you have tried soaking in corrosion lubricant to no avail then you can rig up a puller, such as a stiff bar or angle with three holes drilled in it corresponding to the line attachment holes and the shaft. Put the top nut back on the rudder, slip the puller over it and attach end holes with bolts to the line holes. Then back off the rudder nut until it starts to pull on this bar. Thereby exerting an even force on the tiller bar which stands a better chance of getting it off than just tugging and prising it. Hopefully it hasnt been epoxied on due to missing a top nut??

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1 month 4 weeks ago #36811 by NaturalBornTripper
I got the rudder out- I didn't realize it wasn't a twist off. 

Is my rudder bent? Or is it supposed to look like that? (see photo) 

Is there a way I can order a replacement rudder for a boat of unknown make/origin? 

Mahalo! 
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1 month 4 weeks ago #36812 by kwolfe
Yeah it's bent for sure right at the base.  It shouldn't be hard to bend back.  I've done it before.  Use a vice or a large set of vice grips and some good old man strength.  Then slap some epoxy to covers the chips and clean up the threads on the top with a wire brush.

I wouldn't spent alot on a nice rudder at this point.

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1 month 4 weeks ago - 1 month 4 weeks ago #36813 by NaturalBornTripper
Thank you kwolfe! 

I was just thinking it may be easier to just buy a new rudder because I don't have a lot of "man strength," hahaha but maybe my friends can help. 

Do I vice the shaft or the blade part of the rudder? 

If I can't straighten it, will it mess up the boat if I just use it as is? 

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1 month 4 weeks ago #36814 by kwolfe
Ha! Forgot about that one when I typed it.  It really shouldn't be that hard to bend.  Especially if it's aluminum.  Give it a shot.  If it doesn't work no big deal.  If it still works as is then it's ok but might not work quite like it should.

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1 month 4 weeks ago #36815 by waverider
Shaft in the vice you dont want to introduce any bending up length of shaft or it wont go back in, and could bind in tube. Without a vice a sturdy steel tube slipped over the shaft and lever on that.
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