WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS!!
Two weekends ago, Jerry and I put our camping gear together, loaded our two AI's onto our double Hobie Trailex Trailer, and took off to start our Puget Water Challenge destination, to Blake Island, WA. http://olympickayakclub.com/ThePugetSoundChallenge
Had a great sail from our launch site to the island. Jerry clocked us going 7.3mph! When we pulled our boats up, Jerry's AI was very heavy. Looking inside it was about 1/3 filled with water. Dang! Was one of his hatches open? Looking closely we saw this. The dimensions of the hole are 1 1/8" long. If you include the white streak just below the hole, which looks like damaged plastic, then the length is 1 5/8". The width is 1/2" wide, not including a stretch in the plastic creating a bulge facing inward on the right side of the width of the hole.
Before launching we, loaded up our boats with our camping gear, Jerry's boat had 43lbs of gear and mine 44lbs. There were two logs about 6" high we had to go over before we could get to the water. We think that's where the damage happened. Jerry's AI is a very mildly-used 2010, mine is a well used 2008. He has the new wheel cart which has the two black caps on top with a bungee connected to one of them. We were always curious as to why the bungee was connected and figured it was Hobie's way of keeping the black tops on the cart stems.
We have since found out the real use for it. When installed on the boat, the top of the wheel stems ended with the black caps above the top of the scupper holes. My wheel cart is one of the old ones. The black caps which used to be on it, disappeared somewhere in the Broken Group Is.,Canada, on our 5 day trip there last Autumn. When installed on my boat, the hollow, metal cart stem tops come just up to the top of the scupper holes. There was no damage to my scupper holes.
We were a bit concerned about our sail back to the launch site the next day. But Jerry being the genius he is, took some black plastic from a bag we had, stuffed it in the hole, found a small branch the size of the scupper hole and pushed it in on top. Amazingly, there was only about 1/2 cup of water in his boat when we returned to the launch. Needless to say, we didn't finish our Water Challenge trip around Blake Is., just wanted to get safely back to the launch site without sinking. I don't know if we could keep up with our water pumps, if Jerry's momentary fix didn't hold.
I contacted Dan at Seattle Hobie the next day and sent him photos and measurements. He said he'd send them on to Hobie and see what they say. I spoke with Kevin, from Seattle Hobie on Wed., and he said we could try patching it with a piece of AI boat material he gave me and a soldering iron which we had already. After melting the patch on, Jerry and I thought it did the trick, but when we tested it was leaking bad, the melted material hadn't stuck to the boat.
The Olympic Kayak Club was having an overnight Water Challenge trip to Hope Is, the coming weekend and Jerry and I had signed up for it. Jerry felt comfortable his makeshift fix would hold until we heard from Hobie what our next step should be for a fix, so we decided to go on the trip.
In the meantime, I noticed I was having small amounts of water in my boat after every outing, about three sails before our Blake Is. trip. It was small enough I could just sponge the water out. On the way back from Blake Is., there was a couple of gallons in the hull and it put me on alert. Blake Is. was very sandy and my thinking was one of the hatches had sand built up and leaked quite a bit, even though it was fairly calm water. So I cleaned my hatch covers real well when we got home.
That weekend we trailered our boats to a launch site near Shelton, WA and met the 5 Olympic Kayak Club members there. Jerry and I mostly peddled our way down Hammersley Inlet. A good workout. For about 1/2 hr. of that trip we had a great sail. We landed at the Water Trails campsite on Hope Is. and I noticed a lot of water in my hull. I pumped it out. What a great group of kayakers the Olympic group is. It was a real nice social time and they didn't mind Jerry and I were slower peddling, when they were paddling. The next day on the way back, again it was calm as glass, Jerry and I peddled all the way back, not much of a breeze to help. When we all stopped for lunch, I pumped lots water out of my hull, and again when we landed. It was an 18 mile round trip, great water people we were with and beautiful weather, but I have to say, I always felt a bit apprehensive. "Would Jerry's fix hold?, and would my AI make it back with out becoming waterlogged?
Thinking of my water in the hull problem, knowing it wasn't a sandy hatch or water coming in through the rudder lines since it was mostly calm water, it could only be a leak. When I got home I tipped my AI on it's side and there it was, a crack in the hull.
So last Mon., I contacted Dan again from Seattle Hobie and sent him photos of the crack. He said he would send it on to Hobie and we would take it from there.
Since then Kevin has said Hobie is looking for a blemished hull for me. He said it would be a 2011 hull, to replace my cracked 2008 hull. I will need to move my metal parts over to that hull. I was concerned my mirage drive wouldn't fit, but he said it would. Since my boat is 1 year and 2 months older than my warranty, I will need to pay freight and $150. Not bad at all. Thank you so much Hobie.
Since then Jerry thought he'd try another fix. We used a heat gun and some of the left over material Kevin gave us. We first heated the material until is was bendable, and then very carefully we heated around the hole in the boat. We then used a screwdriver and pressed, and heated, until we thought it was stuck together. We placed some tape under boat and added water. I think we fixed it!! There is no leak. And we're hoping it will hold.
Has anyone else tried this? Do we have to worry about it being weaker because it's a fix? We are thinking we will try putting a tube, similar to what Yakass did one of the other threads, in the scupper hole to protect the boat lining. Kevin said Hobie would replace the hull to Jerry's boat, with some $$ out of our pocket since we didn't have the bungee through the cart stem. But if this fix will work, that will save everyone a hassel and $$.
We knew from the forum how great Hobie was in replacing damaged hulls, but when it actually happens to you, it's such a great relief. For a couple of years my AI has given me such fun, enjoyment and helped out with life's problems. And Jerry is just starting to really get into sailing especially since it takes us places where we can camp. Both Jerry and I really apprieciate your help with our hulls, Hobie. Thank you. Wanda and Jerry