Technical Article: #008

Title: Cockpit Hatch Replacement
Date Added: 10th June 2012
Article Author: Phillip
Boat:
Hustler 30 – Saltire Of Clyde

Saltire Of Clydes Cockpit Hatch Replacement

One of the many things on my to-do list is the cockpit hatch. The old wooden one had de-laminated, was unsecured and was allowing rain water to pour in, it must have been worse when sailing in heavy weather.

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Over the winter I searched for a suitable accessory hatch as a replacement and purchased what I hoped would be a straight replacement being the same dimensions as the old hatch…… Wrong.

On removing the old hatch I noticed that the old hatch was recessed into the cockpit floor and the new one could not be fitted due to the contoured floor as it needed to be secured to a flat surface.

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Time for a Hatch Replacement

I contacted a local chap David who works with fibreglass (repairs and fabrication) to see if the hatch I had sourced could be altered in any way only to be told that it would be easier to fabricate a new one rather than alter the hatch due to its construction/seal, etc. I asked him to look and price a replacement and having inspected Saltire, his ideas were that it must continue to seal all sides evenly, compensate for wear by the tension being adjustable and easy and quick to remove for inspection in case of emergency etc

As he had a small workshop in the same boatyard as Saltire was in I arranged to meet with him the next time I was over. I found that he already had a good idea of what he thought would be suitable and had ruled out a typical hinged lid and concentric cam locking. He had all the component parts (hinges, locks, etc) required but in his opinion this would allow water in within a short period of time as they apparently loose their tension pretty quickly.

He suggested that because of the location of the hatch, the possibility of it being heavily exposed to both rain and sea water and the amount of water the hatch could potentially let in should the cockpit be swamped.  I should consider the hatch that was eventually fabricated and fitted.

Hatch Specification

The hatch specification I have had fabricated and fitted is as follows.

A raised fibreglass bed containing two rubber seals is secured and sealed into the recessed cockpit floor. Next, a substantial fibreglass cross brace is created….

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This is removed from the aperture by sliding it from its two retaining brackets (as per the image below).

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The retaining brackets are purely to hold the brace in place whilst the lid is off (see below) with an encapsulated stainless steel bolt to secure the lid whilst tensioning all sides evenly.

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The only down side that we identified was that the small recess with the securing handle would fill with water. However,  I was reasonably happy with that because as long as the water remained in it I knew it was fully sealed. A regular clean as part of my general maintenance and the application of a small amount of Vaseline periodically and it would be ok.

And here is the finished article….

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For any additional information please feel free to contact me.

HOA NOTE: The article above is related to works that the author has carried out to their own boat at their own risk. This article is intended to share the authors experience with other readers only. It is not intended to be a comprehensive step by step instruction guide. Anyone choosing to do any work as a result of reading this article do so at their own risk. If there is any doubt about whether to conduct work on your own boat call a professional to assist.