Water-proofing hatches

Water-proofing hatches

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RE: Water-proofing hatches

Hello.  My father and I have  been tinkering with the Chesapeake 17 trying to seal the hatches and I thought I would share this with you.  The hatches originally leaked like a sieve which most of us know makes the boat un-seaworthy.  The hatch covers needed stiffening so the new epoxy would not break off if it was twisted or flexed.  It turned out to be a big job and done over several days.  I have put into points below.  The result looks good so far but is still unfinished at the moment.  I shall make another post to this when we have finished and put the boat to a hose-test.

1.        Cut out a new hatch rim from ply for retro-fit onto the hatch covers rim.  We did it in four sections, two sides and two ends.

2.       We decided to pre-shape the ends which go cross-way over the deck and follow its radius.  Soak new rim ends in bucket of hot water and clamped them to the outside of a metal drum we had which was a radius tighter than the radius of the deck.  Allow to dry in place and the ends are now pre-bent so they won’t spring back easily when placed on the deck of the boat.

3.       Nail the new rim in place on the deck around the opening with small panel pins so the new rim can be later levered off through the heads of the pins with a chisel end (those with perfect 11-coat varnish finishes are probably cringing at this stage) (the panel pins have very narrow heads).  Make sure there is baking paper under the new rim before nailing down so that epoxy won’t stick to the deck.  The new rim should now be perfectly flush with the deck.

4.       Mix thickened epoxy to the peanut butter consistency and ‘butter’ the edge of the hatch cover.  Make sure thickened epoxy is thicker over the higher parts.  (I mixed 120ml of unthickened epoxy for the rear hatch as it was such a bad fit.)

5.       Place hatch over the new rim.

6.       Epoxy needs to fill all the high parts of the hatch cover.  Fill in the high parts with epoxy that has squeezed out of the low parts.

7.       Place a bungy cord around the boat and put over a block of wood placed in the middle of the hatch cover.  This should place a small amount of force on the centre of the hatch cover – not too much force or the hatch cover will flex and deform.

8.       Allow epoxy to set over night.

9.       Next day lever off the new rim with the hatch glued to it using a chisel. 

10.   Trim the new rim and excess epoxy from the hatch cover while the epoxy is still ‘green’.  That is, when my brand of epoxy (Bote Coat) is only 24 hours or less old and can still be deformed with your finger-nail.  This makes it easier than when the epoxy is rock-hard.

11.   Mix some new epoxy and wet the raw timber on the new hatch cover rim.  Thicken epoxy and fill the holes in the deck and any where else on the hatch rim where the first batch of epoxy has not filled under the new hatch rim, if needed.

12.   Re-varnish  and re-finish as necessary.

13.   Fit a foam seal on the rim.  We are using one from Clarke Rubber who sell a pre-sticky-backed foam seal.

RE: Water-proofing hatches

Long ago, when I owned an Isuzu Trooper, it needed new head gaskets.  The mechanic said they weren't made--that the gaskets would be a form-in-place gasket, i.e., squeezed out of a tube.  seems it had to be redone, but that involved high heat environment--could that be a simple fix for us?

RE: Water-proofing hatches

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RE: Water-proofing hatches

My father and I have finished the job.  The hose test went well with only a few drops of water getting into the hatches, as expected.  The hatches are now much better than original fit.  I am satisfied that in rough weather I will not sink!  Bye for now.  David.

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