Help for DIY fiberglass hatch cover - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 7 Old 11-01-2012 Thread Starter
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Help for DIY fiberglass hatch cover

The forward hatch cover on my Cal 27 needs replacement. The old hatch is a hinged wooden frame with a glass inset that fits over the combings. I am considering trying to make a fiberglass hatch 24' x 24"-- basically a box lid. I have some experience with fiberglass, but am looking for any tips, suggestions, or articles on this type of project. Thanks, Mike
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post #2 of 7 Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Help for DIY fiberglass hatch cover

Is the existing hatch adequate to use as a form or mold (or to create a form or a mold?) That's probably the surest way to get the right shape and camber, if that's part of the original shape.


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post #3 of 7 Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Help for DIY fiberglass hatch cover

If Fasters idea won't work, get some foam core and make a duplicate of the existing hatch. You can stick the pieces of foam together with hot melt glue. Once you have it shaped the way you want, start laying on glass. Ordinary polyester resin is fine for this application.

Personally, I'd find a commercial aluminium & plexi hatch that would fit the curbs with a little tailoring, but that's just me.

I, myself, personally intend to continue being outspoken and opinionated, intolerant of all fanatics, fools and ignoramuses, deeply suspicious of all those who have "found the answer" and on my bad days, downright rude.
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post #4 of 7 Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Help for DIY fiberglass hatch cover

If you bail on the idea of DIY, Roger at Specialist Boat Company - About Us made me a great custom fiberglass hatch for a new access hole I cut in the cockpit of my 85 Pearson 34. I sent a template & he made a very professional looking hatch for somewhere $3-400.
I'd upload a photo but have no luck doing that on Sailnet
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post #5 of 7 Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Help for DIY fiberglass hatch cover

I'm planning to make a mold and copy my lazerette lid. I need one for another project and i know someone that needs one as well.
If you check out YouTube you can learn allot about making a mold etc.
If you have some experience it isn't very hard. Just takes time.
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post #6 of 7 Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Help for DIY fiberglass hatch cover

Your post hits close to home. Last year I made a new fiberglass hatch for my 1985 Cal 27 from scratch. The old hatch was torn out of the deck by a wayword jib sheet and sunk in the bay.

I'd never done fiberglass before so I thought this would be a good excuse to learn...and after searching and calling and searching and callling, I couldn't find anyone that would take the project on or find a replacement.

The original was 1/2" plexi with a curve in it about like a fingernail. I made a cardboard cut out of the contours and traced on some scrap wood and made a frame...a male mold.

I layed layer after layer of glass chopped strand and woven roving over a few weeks until I was satisfied it was strong enough. I then painted with topside paint and sprinkled stuff on it to make it non-skid. I found the proper hardware for the latches after about a week of searching on line.

The finished product is actually very strong and watertight. Except it is a little wavy. It took a lot of cutting and grinding to get the edges smooth but I give myself a solid "B" on it for looks. For strenghth I give it an "A"

I think I layed about 15 layers of mat and roving on it. Not too expensive. You could easliy cut that down to 6 if you used some coring.

PM me if you want more details
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mold1.jpg   mold2.jpg   installedhatch.jpg   paintedhatch1.jpg  
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post #7 of 7 Old 11-09-2012
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Re: Help for DIY fiberglass hatch cover

I found a Lewmar hatch for my Cal 29 that was a close fit at a West marine surplus outlet in Oakland at about a quarter of the list price. a consignment store will likely be a good source. Took a bit of fiberglass work to strengthen the deck area and I built a SS adaptor plate but the result works well and was low cost.
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Walt Elliott
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Puget Sound
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fiberglass , gear & maintenance

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