While sailing alone on my 14' Cotuit Skiff on a windy day last week I was close-hauled on the starboard tack and hiking out when I heard a crack and immediately thought "mast" as it was only the third sail of the season and the mast wedges were still getting settled in.

Out of caution and for fear of stressing the rig, I tacked over and headed for the mooring. Furled the sails, put the boat to bed, and started bailing and sponging.

And bailing and sponging until I realized the boat was leaking badly. I looked under the thwart and there was water bubbling in through a crack about an inch or two above the chine. I filled a bucket with water, stuck it on the port side of the boat to get the crack above the water, hopped in the dinghy and took a look.

The lower strake had a jagged crack about three feet long amidships, roughly one to three inches above the chine.

Background on the boat:
My grandfather, Henry Chatfield Churbuck, built it as part of a fleet of 12 Cotuit Skiffs he built in the late 1940s with one of the Crosby brothers. Cotuit has had a renaissance in the Stanley Butler design, with a lot of the original Butler, Crosby, Bigelow, Churbuck, Boden, and Peck boats still sailing. And a new generation of recent boats built by Conrad Geyser, Art Paine, Ned Crosby, and Dan DelVecchio.

This boat -- #19 -- was the former Hayai and was bound for the dump in the late 1990s when its owner asked me if I was interested in it given that my grandfather built it. So I accepted the gift and gave it to Ned Crosby at E.M. Crosby Boatworks to restore. The boat was iron sick, especially on the chine where it was cross planked with white cedar. Most of the iron - but not all -- was removed, a plywood bottom put on, and the boat was given a new deck, new centerboard trunk, combing, rudder, spars, etc. She gleamed when she was finished and has been a joy to sail.
I have been doing selective rot surgery along the chine with a Dremel, filling the voids with WEST thickened with microballoons. She has been out of the water for 12 years, stored in a shed with a dirt floor.

She's out of the water on horses now. Here's some pictures of the crack. My next move is to get the paint off and inspect the bare wood.

What are my options? I'm thinking. (but have no experience performing):

1. Drills holes at the ends of the crack to try to stop it from spreading; take a router to the crack, open it up, and fit in a white cedar spline set in epoxy
2. Drill through the plywood up through the strake and reinforce it with bronze rods, inject the crack with epoxy and clamp
3. Remove the plywood bottom, and try to scarf in a new cedar plank to the good wood remaining.
4. Install a chine log and seal the crack from the inside of the hull (adding weight is not a concern as I don't race anymore).


Any and all advice appreciated.
David Churbuck