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Telstar 28
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43,289 Posts
The Beckson deckplates are pretty solid and great for openings up to about 8" in diameter. They're a lot better than most of the other brands since they use a fairly coarse thread and are easy to seat properly without risk of cross-threading the plate. Also, their design allows them to be watertight even if you lose the o-ring.
 

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8 Posts
just do it

I say go for it. I've installed two large hatches in the cabin top this summer and with a bit of work it's certainly possible to make the resulting structure stronger than the original.

A steel frame was mentioned, though a plywood frame wrapped in and attached with three or four layers of fiberglass mat wetted out with epoxy would work fine also. Some of the aluminum hatches are probably strong enough by themselves to take up the loss of tension and torsion stiffness of the cockpit sole.

I would very strongly recommend to avoid the plastic hatches unless they are meant for use in a vertical surface that does not need any structural support and is virtually never subject to standing water.
 

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Sailor
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923 Posts
This thread is interesting as cutting an access hole would work for me in gaining access to the stuffing box and back of the engine as well as the steering quadrant, etc. My friend had an Island Packet 32 which had a watertight hatch built in to the cockpit sole which provided great engine access. I would want something that is flush to the sole so the metal hatch might be the best for me. If you decide to do this, I'd encourage you to take pictures of the progress and let us know how things are progressing, both the good and bad.

Tod
 

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Sea Slacker
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1,789 Posts
I had that on HR Rasmus. It's extremely convenient. The entire cockpit sole was pretty much an engine cover - so when opened, it was essentially engine compartment size. For service, I could just sit on top of the engine and reach pretty much anywhere.

The cover was not entirely waterproof though - not on my boat and not on any other Rasmus I've seen.

On another boat, I would do that provided I could make sure there is enough strength in the cockpit sole to maintain its integrity.
 

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Old Gaffer
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177 Posts
This is the Anchor aluminum hatch. It's watertight, flush, and plenty stiff... widely used on commercial fishing vessels. Rose Marine in Gloucester had them in stock when I got this one. It dampens the engine noise quite well, but I added an inch of Soundown to the underside to make it quieter yet.

 

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Telstar 28
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43,289 Posts
Fishsticks—

Nice installation. BTW, where is the wheel on your boat, or is it tiller-steered?
 

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old guy :)
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1,061 Posts
This is the access to the engine below the cockpit in our Irwin Citation 34:



We like it. And yes, I can easily climb down beside the engine to change the oil etc.

Rik
 

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895 Posts
My Etap 26 has an engine hatch in the cockpit floor. However the cockpit drains are actually in the gap between the raised inner seal ring and the deck. It also has very good gasketing, and is held closed by a pair of lines that tie off to cleats in the cabin. Access to the engine and saildrive is quite good.

Gary H. Lucas
 
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