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 Post subject: The double-hull Prelude
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:13 pm 
C Maven

Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 9:13 pm
Posts: 1085
Location: Portland, Oregon
Having four cracked Preludes in the garage and finally time, I tried an experiment I've been thinking about for months. These boats are all 2008 vintage orange Esquif Preludes, most with more than one repaired (welded) crack as well as an unwelded crack.

I chose the Prelude with the thinnest bottom and cut out the bottom of the hull with an electric jigsaw. I cut the rest of the boat into welding strips and pieces small enough to go into the garbage can--though I'm going to check out local PE recycling options before trashing them.

I then drilled a lot of holes in the bottom piece to prepare it for gluing onto the inside bottom of a second Prelude. My theory is that the holes will allow some glue to come up and have more area to bond to ... and even create "glue rivets." On the designated "host" Prelude, I welded the one crack it had in the bottom of the hull. I then placed the holey bottom piece inside the host hull and marked its outline to know where to put the glue.

Next I cleaned both the bottom piece and host hull with 99% rubbing alcohol and flame treated them. I then smeared on G/flex epoxy liberally, using 2 pairs of tubes of thickened G/flex (cost was $70 for the epoxy). I laid the bottom piece into the host hull and weighted it with bags of gravel.

After 24 hours, I removed the gravel bags and put the seat back into the host boat. The result is what seems like a bomber hull bottom on the host boat. The boat went from being 45 pounds to 55 pounds.

Whether this will prevent further cracking I don't know, but it was worth trying as I wasn't using the boats. Wish I could talk about performance on the river, but that will have to wait. I have a MF Salmon trip coming up, plus PNW waters are at technical (rocky) levels and I don't want to give it that tough of a test right off. Still, I'm hopeful.

As for the other two hulls, I used my new welding rods on them, along with some wire mesh to strengthen the weld. Time will tell if that was enough to get more life out of them or whether in time I'll end up sacrificing one of these to make the other stronger.

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