Shearwater sport hatch not flush with deck

I made a mistake in cutting rear hatch on my Shearwater Sport and now I am not able to get hatch flush with the deck. I have fliberglassed the hull and was about to proceed with fiberglassing of the deck. Any suggestions on how to fix this? See the attached picture for reference on how the rear hatch leaves the space on either side of the deck.

Unable to add picture so posting the URL of image here



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RE: Shearwater sport hatch not flush with deck

Hi yogi, 

i looked at the picture and i am confident, that with some more information, you will be able to address this.

the key question to start with is what is causing it to not sit properly?:

1) is the hatch bent/not flat?

2) is the deck bent/not flat?

3) is there some mechanical interference that is not letting the hatch sit properly?

in most cases it is typically some combination of 1 and 2.  if that's the case, then you try to think forward and ask - what are the things to bring it into flat and, if i can't get it perfect without pressure (and you rarely do) if i apply the pressure to the hatch that it would have with toggles holding it down (which are not installed yet), could it provide enough force to hold the hatch flush to the deck.

so if you could give us your perspective on 1-3 above.  and then if 1-2, could you try pushing the hatch into position and let us know if you can do that, that would be a great first step prior to some more specific suggestions on how to address the issue.




RE: Shearwater sport hatch not flush with deck

The reason it's not flush is because deck is bent slightly. However when I apply pressure on sides it does get flush eventually. So should I fiberglass it with toggles kn place do it tss as led the form? Or does it not matter?



RE: Shearwater sport hatch not flush with deck

   The problem appears to be that your hatch does not bend like the deck does. Likely because it was cut before the deck was glassed.  Since you  say that pushing down causes it to become flush it sounds like there is some flexibility. 

Your picture shows an unglassed deck not attached to the hull. Is the inside glassed? When does the deck get attached to the hull? 

I have not built a Shearwater. But I have joined decks to hulls......and they don't ever fit well. 

  I would go ahead and glass the deck. Attach it to the hull and glass it. Thus making it a fixed position thing. Then work on the hatch to mate it to the deck. Otherwise you may fix it now only to find the deck changes when attached to hull. 

At that point after installing and glassing the hatch lip/frame allowing for the seals I'd install two cleats where the edges need to bend down.  Then strap them down till the hatch fits right, (allowing for seals) and glass the hatch.  Note use tape and wax paper for limiting the mess and providing bond breaker to the frame and deck.  When epoxy/glass is tacky, hard but not cured trim the glass from the parting line but leave the hatch in the straps. Once cured I'd remove from straps, scribe and glass in a couple of ribs on the inside. The wood may have a memory and want to straighten out. Glass the inside of the hatch if you haven't. 

Slats can be removed and glass patched afterward. ....OR ....slats used with straps to hold hatch down. .....Or..... planed down if you epoxyed or glued them down. 


RE: Shearwater sport hatch not flush with deck


Thanks for the info.

So just to confirm, the hatch is flat but the deck has a slight bow to it.

I have built a shearwater 17 and recall the same thing.  If you have not attached the spacer and shelf on the bottom of the hatch yet, this is your opportunity to ‘straighten’ it and I remember doing this.

What I did was I used clamps to clamp a straight piece of wood to the deck (not attached and used saran wrap between the deck and the straight piece of wood to ensure I did not accidently glue it to the deck).  Then when I glued up the spacer and shelf, I used the spring clamps to pull it up tight against the straight piece so that it all cured up nice and straight.  If you have the three layers (deck, spacer, shelf) all glued straight….the deck will stay pretty much straight.

If everything is already glued up, I would glass it after I have a way to hold it in the right shape.  It will still have flex in it, but if you glass it in the shape it needs to be in….it will be easier for the toggles to secure it down.

The shearwater 17 is a really pretty boat....and i really like how it you are going to have a great time.

Hope that helps



RE: Shearwater sport hatch not flush with deck

just to clarify, when i said "If you have not attached the spacer and shelf on the bottom of the hatch yet"...i meant the deck around the hatch opening and not the hatch itself.

the hatch itself also has a doubler....and i did make sure before i glued it up that i was able to compress it against a flat surface....and that was important too...a flat hatch cover and flat deck is what you want :)


RE: Shearwater sport hatch not flush with deck


I knew there'd be another more simple answer. I just couldn't keep quiet. 

RE: Shearwater sport hatch not flush with deck

Thanks for the replies folks. I will go with fiberglassing after getting it in shape and holding it that way.


P.S. h, your boat looks stunning.

RE: Shearwater sport hatch not flush with deck

  Related question -- after finishing everything and installing the hatches, I had to sand all around the hatch cover to get it to fit flush with the deck, exposing some wood on the edges.  Any advice on the best way to apply enough epoxy to seal the wood, without adding depth that I'll have to sand again?  Or should I sand off some extra all the way around to give space for the seal coat?

RE: Shearwater sport hatch not flush with deck

My memory tells me that epoxy (even multiple coats) does not add measurable depth to the surface. Water can raise the grain a bit, but I don't think epoxy does so. So, yes, there will clearly be a very slight increase in the depth, but not enough to make any difference. Sealing the wood is what matters.   

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