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Join Date: Oct 2006
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Been there, done that
Replace the hatch, Joe. It's the only sane answer.
I have a 1968 Morgan 30. I just replaced the forward hatch this summer, after experiencing exactly the conditions you describe while on a brisk beat to Block Island. Starting your cruise with a wet bunk the first night out really sets a tone for the rest of the trip, doesn't it?
Don't worry, just start unscrewing. The hinges come out easily and the screw holes in the deck can be plugged with epoxy. Unscrew the bottom fitting of the piston from the frame. The hatch is now loose, and can be removed from the boat. I recommend heading for the nearest dumpster immediately.
The hatch is 17" square, it's a standard opening. I was lucky enough to find a Lewmar hatch at a marine consignment store for $50, in essentially brand new condition. The flange fit the hole perfectly, except at the corners. I used small pieces of teak to fill the corner gaps, screwed into the molded frame. I had to drill about 19 holes through the molded frame, using the new hatch as a template, to allow fastening the hatch down with bolts. One or two of the holes revealed wet core material, so I cleaned them out mechanically, then with alchohol and a shop vac until I was sure they were dry. I bedded the hatch with excessive quantities of 5200 both under the flange and in the bolt holes, and used through bolts with big flat washers and lock washers.
The only tough part was the trim on the interior rim of the hatch. Morgan used a brown epoxy to fill the gaps between the trim and the curved cabin roof, and on my hatch the layer of adhesive broke off in jagged chunks when I removed the trim. I debated how to replace it, since I wanted to be able to remove the trim in the future, so in the end I used paintable silicone. I had to drill through the trim to make room for the nuts, and used 5/8" teak plugs set to the right depth in the hole with wood glue, then sanded flush. Before I reinstalled the trim, I sanded down the area and marked off an area around the hatch with tape, then painted it white. Now that the trim was revarnished an reinstalled, it looks nice, but there was more work with the trim than with replacing the hatch.
The new hatch looks cool from both inside & out, and most importantly- it doesn't leak, come noreaster or breaking wave over the bow!!