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Kayak in 3 pieces - repair by Joe Greenley


Dec 7, 2011
Victoria, BC
Not much info on the incident (which must have been terrifying) that caused this, but an interesting repair of a Pygmy 'Freya' S&G kayak.

Joe Greenley (Redfish Kayaks) posted on the Facebook kayak building page:
Here is an update on the repair of the kayak that was involved in an accident on Sequim Bay, WA.
A commercial crabbing boat sheared it into three pieces, narrowly missing the cockpit area and it's paddler.
Fortunately, the paddler wasn't injured but she figured that her beloved Pygmy "Freya" kayak was done for.
I agreed to attempt the repair and this episode covers the first three hours that I have put into it.
Here's a link to the video - using alignment sticks is a good technique which I've used to align hull and deck sections.
Joe Greenley puts together a broken kayak
More details from an earlier FB post:
I received an inquiry today from a gal asking if I could repair her Pygmy Freya. Apparently she was paddling across Sequim Bay in western Washington when a motor boat cut it in half. The story has it that the driver was blinded by the glare of the sun off the water and didn’t see her until the very last moment, just missing the cockpit area - she most certainly could have died or in the least been severely injured. As it turned out she escaped, wet but unscathed - without a scratch!
Another pic showing missing stern:
That looks like it will be a great repair. However, I think I would have done the small end one first where one would have some access in also . . . and then done the big one thru the hatch. But I have zero doubt that Joe Greenley will do an unparalleled job beyond anything I could dream of doing and I can't wait to see the finished kayak.
[I remember Ian Cohen putting together the guitar he brings in his kayak that a tree fell on and smashed. He performed an amazing resurrection as I'm sure Joe's will be as well.]
Something was bothering me about the alignment method:


Altho it worked, he was fighting it a bit - it occurred to me that a boat towards its ends is not cylindrical but has some conicality [if that's a word, heh heh] and that the alignment sticks on the larger portion narrowing down could impede the smaller portion right at the point that the chamfers start - as they form a smaller perimeter at that extension distance.
So it might make some sense to have aligners coming from the outside of the smaller portion and aligners coming from the inside of the larger portion. [the inners could knocked off from inside the hatch]. Then everything self aligns as they get closer.

And since I am not the greatest aesthetic repairer, I think I'd only use the inner aligners from the large side, aggressively remove all splinters and hangers from the inner layers and maybe remove any annoying inner laminations of the wood in order to try and get the outer veneer to meet as exactly as possible that way . . . and then just slam a pile of glass around the inner perimeter that wouldn't be seen. But that's because I'm a hacker.
I understand your point about the alignment sitcks.
Shorter sticks would probably have done the job as well, but Joe did put a decent taper on the ones he used.
If I were doing the repair, I'd have done more grinding and 'clean up' on the inside of the boat pieces, so there wouldn't have been a flat surface for the alignment sticks to attach to. Also, I really don't like hot melt glue, and cleaning it from the inside would be a 'pain'. On the outside of the boat it's pretty easy to clean away alignment sticks and hot glue with a scraper.

It took me a minute of thought to realize that if all the edges were close together, the overall alignment of the boat would be as-built - no need to worry about a bend in the keel line, for example.

I don't know if all the outer veneer survived to be re-joined? The glass and the veneer may have been torn up? It's hard to tell if it was prop damage or just straight impact that broke the boat. If it was a prop (or dual props?) chewing at the kayak, it's amazing that the edges of the break remain to be joined.
I wouldn't be surprised if either graphics or just paint is in that boat's future. :)
Perhaps a large graphic of a zipper along the fracture lines?
Or just a big can of flat black paint - isn't that pretty much 'de rigeur' for rolling boats like the Freya? :)
I think your implication is correct: it's just not fair if all he has to do is match the edges . . . so we need to alert him that he has to smash one edge all around with a sledge hammer and throw away all the little bits so there at least is a reasonable challenge! I mean it's hardly any difficulty at all!

anyway, it'll be so cool to see it all together again. Robert Pruden did a similar repair- waterfall I think.
Having had to repair kayaks that are severed, I think he did nice job in aligning them. I have not seen Joe for many years. Would not have recognized him with a full beard and straw hat.
Man, for someone like me, for whom fixing scrapes in gelcoat is like prepping to do open heart surgery, that's an amazing level of skill and dedication. A real labour of love.
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I am also concerned about Joe's foot. I migh need his talents to build me a new Kayak seat for my
It could be:
Blue toe syndrome is characterised by tissue ischaemia secondary to cholesterol crystal or atherothrombotic embolisation. It leads to the occlusion of small vessels. Cyanosis of the digits may have several etiologies ranging from trauma to connective tissue disease.