I hadn't long had my Old Town Top Water after getting it for my birthday in 2019. My wife called it my "forever boat" because it wasn't cheap and she said "that's the only one you're getting so look after it" (little did she know!)
I treated this thing like a baby. Soft launches on sand, scuff pads on hard ground, and I smoothed out every little scratch after every little trip. I know now I went overboard but at the time I thought I had better look after my forever boat like it was the only one I was getting, because I thought that it was. Coming in from a trip into a ramp with a steep drop off, a well meaning fellow yakker said "I've got you mate!" and grabbed the bow handle raking my whole yak up and across the jagged stones. My stomach turned and I said "it's ok mate I've got it!". But it was too late. The grinding noise still rings in my ears and my stomach still turns a little. I'd taken such good care of my yak and now all I could picture was the scrapes and gouges across the bottom.
When I got home I bought a small gas torch and a scraper and set about checking out the damage. I flipped the yak on its side and lost control of it and it landed top down. I heard an audible CRACK! Panicking I checked her over but couldn't find any damage. Musn't have been anything major. I set about repairing the scracthes that were much smaller in reality than they were in my mind. Satisified I flipped her upright and put her away ready to head out the next day.
I got on the water and deployed the pedal drive and the rudder from the handle to the right side of my seat. I gave the pedals a few good cranks to get the water churning over the rudder to give me some bite. Reaching down with my left hand I gave the steering knob a right turn and CRACK! The "trucker's knob" came free in my hand. Looking down I saw a jagged tear in the plastic at a 45 degree angle and now knew exactly what the crack from the previous day was. The trucker's knob hit the ground and with the weight of the yak on top, the 10mm clearance between the gunwhale and the ground was the only place to flex, and flex it did!
I searched around for a replacement and contacted Old Town in the USA who said I had to go through the importer who said such a small part wasn't worth importing. All the companies I found who sold them in the USA wouldn't ship to Australia and I was stuck to get a replacement. I went into the "fab lab" at work who I knew had a 3D printer and they offered to print me one up. Evenutally they did but the size was never quite right. In the meantime they used some industrial superglue to hold it together which it did for a time until I decided to refit the knob part to the handle. The added vertical flex was obviously too much for the glue and it gave way again.
As luck would have it I found myself in Brisbane and gave David Swindly from Cusfab a call. He said to drop the part around and he would fix it up for me. The bream comp was coming up and having this back to its former glory would certainly make a huge difference in the sometimes unforgiving Brisbane River.
In between times my rudder lift cable had stretched a little and jumped out of the cam rotor causing some burring along one surface also decommissioning the rudder lift. I dropped both parts off and was blown away by not only the turnaround time but also the quality of the repair.