Main hatch renovation

The main sliding hatch over the companionway receives quite a beating over the years, what with UV, heat, rain and general wear. Eventually the outer ply(s) can start to crack up as the varnish gives up the ghost. The capture piece which fits under the coaming rail to hold the hatch on has been known to rot- after all, rain can run down the hatch sides and run underneath. And I know (from bitter experience) that the rail itself can be broken by a stray shroud as a lowered mast is raised.

Sanding the hatch. The top surface on this one will be good enough to re-use

Hatch with varnish removed

Rot in the capture piece









The piece of side-to-side coaming which stops the hatch from sliding too far forward or back is fixed by several screws. It may also be held on by previous applications of adhesives or mastic, in which case Persuasion will be required. Once removed, the hatch can be slid off.

Stop piece in position

The stop piece

Stop piece removed- note the small upstand piece that stops water draining off the roof into the companionway

A temporary hatch can be made if working outdoors

A temporary hatch can be fabricated to keep the weather out if the repair work is done outside.

After removing all old varnish, any damage can be filled with a wood filler. If the finish is too unsightly, consider ‘over-plating’ with a sheet of 5mm or 6mm marine ply- Robbins in Bristol can supply very high quality ply (Robbins Elite) at these thicknesses with 5 plys and in 1/4 sheets. This can be epoxied onto the original top surface and nailed (or screwed) down along the top outer edges.

When the coaming piece is reinstalled, make a seal with the small upstanding water stop on the deck and at the ends of the piece; using too much sealant on too many surfaces will make future disassembly very hard.

Finally, a rub of candle wax on the coaming rails will help the hatch to slide easily.



Thanks to Nick Ardley for these pictures from F24 ‘Whimbrel’.

Coaming rail and capture piece

Bad wood cut out and replaced

Capture piece glued back on

Internal iroko parts re-varnished

Choose your favourite way to finish wood. This is 9 coats of Le Tonkinois No 1

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