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Old 04-12-2019 Thread Starter
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Enlarge hatch opening?

So the PO of my boat gave me an extra, larger hatch with the boat. Current one is 16", and he had an extra bowmar 20-21" (or so) hatch. He had thought about enlarging the hole and installing it, but never got around to it. I wasn't going to worry about it for now, but noticed part of the frame/hinge on the current hatch is badly cracked, so need to replaced soon. I'm sure it's possible, somehow, but not convinced this is a good idea.. Has anyone done this; cut out the hatch opening by 2-3" all the way around and installed larger hatch? I worry about the shape of the deck there and think it'd would be very hard to make it flat so the hatch will seal (without building up with epoxy). Also making the cut accurate enough to ensure a snug fit?

Just curious to hear experiences. I'll probably buy a 16" hatch and slap it on. So I'll have a very nice 20" bowmar for sale soon
This is a seaward 23. Only photo of the current hatch i have is this. There is some room aft of it, but also getting close to the mast..

Last edited by Scandium; 04-12-2019 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 04-12-2019
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Re: Enlarge hatch opening?

What would be the advantage of a bigger hatch?
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Re: Enlarge hatch opening?

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Originally Posted by paulinnanaimo View Post
What would be the advantage of a bigger hatch?
a) I have a nice one already, don't have to spend ~$300 on another
b) more light
c) per PO: would be large enough to climb out of. Current one is pretty tiny. I havne't tried, but could probably get out with some contortion. I'm young (by sailing standards) so not a big deal to me.

Larger "back door" would be neat I guess, but yeah no huge advantage IMO. Another reason I don't want to hack up a bigger hole.. Just hate to waste a $500+ hatch
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Re: Enlarge hatch opening?

sell the extra one you have. Use the proceeds to fix or replace the one installed on your boat with the correct size.
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Re: Enlarge hatch opening?

Done that, got the t-shirt.
IF the deck is not completely flat (trace a template for the new hatch if it doesn't come with one) then you have to build it up to be flat. That can mean making a wooden frame, or using fiberglass or thickened epoxy, whichever suits your skills. You also need to see how the inner trim will capture the headliner, which may just be stapled up to the hole in the deck before the hatch trim was installed.
Cutting the hole itself is easy work with a jig/sabre saw, a little slower by hand. No big deal, compared to building up the fairing to make the deck "flat" under the hatch.
IIRC Bomar used to sell the Pompanette(?) brand online as clearance, so if you're just looking for one hatch, that's a good way to keep the cost down. Clearance, returns, the hard part is finding them outside of the regular retail price channel.
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Old 04-12-2019
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Re: Enlarge hatch opening?

What helosailor said. Just from the pictures you are going to have fabricate a new base. Not that big a deal if you have some tools and woodworking or fiberglass skills but not painless.
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Re: Enlarge hatch opening?

More than 20 years with our boat; I can't recall climbing in or out of the forward hatch.
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Re: Enlarge hatch opening?

You should have the ability to get out of the boat other than the companionway. Most fires seem to start in the engine room or galley. Those locations would easily block egress aft for anyone trapped below. Without another way to get out, anyone trapped would go down with the ship. Do the creatures in the ocean like crispy long pig?? A 16" x 16" hatch would be barely large enough for a fit person to squeeze through and hopeless for anyone who is not. Can see why'd you want a larger hatch.
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Re: Enlarge hatch opening?

Looks big enough to get through if you need to. We use our forward hatch for entry and exit often and even the salon hatch at times. Re-doing the cabin top so that it looks presentable is not a ten-minute job. Simply replacing an existing hatch (done that) so it doesn't leak is already a hassle. Herlihy has the right idea. K.I.S.S.!
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Re: Enlarge hatch opening?

I appreciate the idea of an escape hatch but in a 23' boat I think the possibility of being blocked from exiting the main hatch is pretty slim...by the time you get the hatch dawgs undone you could be long gone through the main door.
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