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Old 06-23-2010
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Cutting Access Hatches

A lot of great sailing boats suffer from poor access to critical parts like the engine. The Catalina 27 for example. The typical engine location is right under the cockpit floor with some access from one side and the companion way steps removable for the front.

Would it be feasible to create a hatch in the cockpit floor? Some boats have this design from the factory.

Yes I know it would be at least a two probably three day job but if access to steering and engine was 100 percent better it might be worth it.

Anyone actually do a modification the greatly improved access?

I see the way galley's are built and I visualize some mods being made to make the whole thing pop out with a couple bolts in two or three modules.

A removable galley may be easier and safer than the cockpit hatch.
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Old 06-23-2010
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We actually put a deck plate over the engine in the cockpit to access the engine compression release valve. It also lets sunlight in to check hoses, clamps, etc.

A hatch might be a bit extreme.
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Old 06-24-2010
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One thing you should be aware of. If you're going to cut away a substantial part of the cockpit sole to do this, you probably want to use a metal framed hatch to ensure you don't weaken the cockpit sole structure too much. The cockpit sole is generally a structural stiffener for the boat's aft section, and cutting a large hatch into it will weaken it if you don't use a metal hatch.

The metal hatches aren't cheap... I bought a Bomar one for my cockpit.

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Old 06-24-2010
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My dad had a 33 ft center cockpit sloop with a cockpit hatch over the engine. It did make it easy to get to the top of the engine, but with the hatch open it was hard to find a place to support yourself to work on it.

Any hatch you use would have to be very sturdy. No only are SD's points well taken, but if you get pooped the hatch will have to hold hundreds of pounds of water for a prolonged time and not fail. Even a little leak could disable your motor.
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Old 06-24-2010
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Good Points all
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Old 06-24-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
A lot of great sailing boats suffer from poor access to critical .....
Anyone actually do a modification the greatly improved access?
On our last boat we had a situation where the steering gear and the area in the transom area was only accessible by crawling through under the cockpit.

In prep for a major refit/repaint, we cut a seat hatch into the area behind the wheel (stbd side in the view below) - carved out the core around the edges of the cutout and the hatch, refilled/sealed those edges and molded a drip pan to keep water out. It worked out very well. At the same time we similarly cut a proper anchor locker into the deck at the bow. In the process of painting the deck we designed the non skid pattern around the new parts, they looked factory when we were done.

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