Originally Posted by flo617
The forward hatch on my Columbia 29 is leaking slightly from the box. The box is wooden and is somehow encased in the deck with caulking all around it (see attached pictures). Apart from the leaks it feels fine and solidly attached.
I don't know how to un-mount it and I'm not sure I really want to do that as the bottom appears to be nailed. Although the nailed part might just be a decorative bottom frame, I'm worried of destroying the whole thing in the process.
What I was thinking of doing was to sand the gelcoat down to fiberglass about 1 inch around the box on the deck, sand the wooden box, fiberglass the box and the 1inch of stripped perimeter with two or three layers of cloth and cover with gelcoat. The wooden hatch lid would stay wooden as it does not appear to have any issue Almost all the boats I see around have a fiberglass(ed) hatch box.
Does that sound like a reasonable thing to do?
Thank you for your inputs, Florent
What you are planning sounds like a quick & dirty patch, not a proper fix.
I would recommend removing the whole thing and properly rebedding it. I am all but certain that the lower "box" is fastened up through the deck from underneath, either by large wood screws or by machine screws and nuts - are there any plugs showing in the wood on the topside of the "box"? If there are, it is probably fastened with machine screws.
On the underside, the strips that make the seam the leak is coming through are decorative trim to cover the large fasteners and the cut edge of the hole in the deck. Remove those strips and you should find the heads of the fasteners that hold the hatch assembly on. Remove the fasteners and the hatch assembly will come off, ready for cleanup and rebedding.
Doing it properly will ensure it is good for another few decades.