installing a new hatch in 33 year old boat - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 01-19-2007
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installing a new hatch in 33 year old boat

Hello- Should I relieve the rig tension, before installing a new hatch on the foredeck of my 33 year old boat. The PO had a mushroom vent installed there, and it has gotten compromised over the years. The deck is a little soft in the local area. I plan on cutting out around the 4" hole and installing a 12"x12" hatch. During the process I also plan on digging out any rotted core and reparing the area. She's a Ranger 26. Thanks in advance for any knowledge or experience you have.

Matt
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Old 01-19-2007
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I don't see any real need to relieve the tension on the rig to install the new hatch. It is probably worth exploring how far the damage to the core extends, and doing as thorough a repair as possible, while you're tackling the hatch installation.
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Old 01-20-2007
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I would think about laying in additional glass around the new opening in any event. You are opening an area of deck that was probably solid at one time and, in any structure, that calls for reinforcement even if it was in good condition. As a noted author says, "think inverted". It's a good philosophy when contemplating deck openings. Let us know how it goes.
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Old 01-20-2007
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Matt, I'd hope the tension isn't enough to bend the deck in any case. But FWIW, hatches are normally installed at the factory before there is any rig, so the "normal" installation is to an untensioned deck.
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Old 01-20-2007
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Sailaway's suggestion of reinforcing the deck in the area the hatch in being installed in is probably a wise one to take... since you're planning on fixing the core in that area, might as well add some glass to reinforce it too.
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Old 01-20-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
Sailaway's suggestion of reinforcing the deck in the area the hatch in being installed in is probably a wise one to take... since you're planning on fixing the core in that area, might as well add some glass to reinforce it too.
You could cut away the bottom glass layer, remove the core, seal the core edge with epoxy, and glass in an encapsulated marine plywood frame (square, rectangle, whatever) of the desired thickness. Replace the bottom glass layer, glass over the (enlarged) seam with tape and fill, smooth and finish. Drill new hatch bolts entirely through, but drill OVERSIZED, and then tape off the holes and fill all with epoxy. When hard, drill through the epoxy (the hole in the waterproof donut), and bolt down with decent fender washers on the bottom.

This, to my knowledge, is the best way to approach this job without compromising the deck structurally or in terms of fresh water intrusion.

If you think making a hatch hole is too weakening of the deck structure, you'll have to consider glassing in light knees at the hull/deck join and then glassing in an encapsulated "beam" of marine ply. But for a 12 x 12 hatch, this is probably overkill.

Good luck.
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Old 01-20-2007
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Valiente's suggestion is excellent, but may be a bit overkill.
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Old 01-21-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
Valiente's suggestion is excellent, but may be a bit overkill.
I admitted as much. I was a far more radical sailor until I went club racing on newer boats and saw some of the compromises of weight and construction for the sake of speed.

That's fine for club racing, I suppose, inshore. But I aspire to passagemaking, and so will sacrifice speed and weight to beefy endurance.

Now, if I could afford a Saga 48 or a J/160, I could have the best of both worlds...but not likely in this lifetime.
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