adding hatches to an already completed Chessy LT16

Buillt my yak about 10 years ago without hatches. I have recently sold my Wenonah canoe and want to use my kayak as a weekend tripper. Is it possible to retro fit hatches ? I would like to use the exsisiting deck pieces and make them flush with invisble hold downs. I am not too worried about the aft deck since I built it flat but the will the radius of the forward deck stay when I cut out the hatch. Also I used no glass on the deck as to keep the boat as light as possible. Should I even attempt this ? Any suggestions would be appreciated.  Tried to post a pic but could not figure out how.

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RE: adding hatches to an already completed Chessy LT16

I am going to try to add a URL for the picture.

RE: adding hatches to an already completed Chessy LT16

For what it's worth.   Rear hatch - should give no problems: proceed!

Front hatch: looking at my own Ches 17LT I note the deck is cambered right to the bow tip.   You have not glassed the deck (top) - did you glass (by which I mean f'glass cloth + epoxy) the deck underside? (I know the manual doesn't call for it. but some do).

If not (in other words, if you followed the manual and applied only epoxy to the underside), it might prove troublesome - the deck may want to 'spring back' or open up to some degree if you cut out a decent size hole.   It could even split - it's under a fair bit of stress and tension!

If doing this myself I would try to place the hatch cutout as far forward as possible and make it smaller rather than larger.

If the cutout section (forming your hatch lid) wants to spring back to a flatter shape, this could probably be easily corrected by epoxying a couple of shaped ply pieces on- edge underneath it to ensure the correct profile.

To some degree, the necessary spacers(s) and flange for your flush-mounted hatches will help to keep the camber of the deck around the cutout hole, but it will very much be a case of suck-and-see.   If you do proceed, I'd suggest getting the spacers and flange epoxied-in asap after making the hole, with lots of epoxy and clamps so it does not have time to 'relax' on you.

Your craft is ten years old: maybe time for a new build, incorporating hatches this time?

Hope this gives food for thought.



RE: adding hatches to an already completed Chessy LT16

If you are obsessive about it, here's some more food for thought.  Decide where you want your forward hatch.  Take some stiff cardboard and make a template that matches the curve of your deck.  If the radius of the deck's curve changes, make multiple templates (each deck is slightly different).  Make a small form that matches the curve of your deck but less the thickness of your deck and one more piece of ply.  Laminate a new piece of same-thickness ply on the bottom of your cut-out hatch, clamping it to the form.  That will help hold the deck curve to the edges.  Then add two or three ribs, from side to side, underneath as Wordsmith suggested.  The ribs don't go all the way to the side of the hatch or they would interfere with the structure that holds the hatch in place.  Since the ribs can't go all the way to the edges, that last little space of the hatch has a tendency to unbend, hence the reason for the lamination to hold the curve all the way across.  Still might not be perfect.  But you get the idea.

Good luck.

RE: adding hatches to an already completed Chessy LT16

There are two issues at least: 

1. Where to cut. Where you can insert a deck support on both (bow/stern) sides of the hatch. that's close to the coaming.

2. cutting while under the curve - pressure.

Make a deck support, expoy it in BEFORE you cut.  This suggests cutting closer to the coaming where you can reach.  drill tiny holes to aliagn the deck support/braces.

use straps/belts/webbing to hold the deck in place as you cut. I'm sure you will need to put in deck supports.

When cutting three hatches in my shearwater double, I was more than pleased with a metal blade in my Skill 4470 jigsaw (Variable speed, 4 = plywood, new metal cutting blade).  Blue 3M tape on the wood to minimize tearout. With a friend helping to hold the craft, I directed the saw FROM the front/where the blade is going! Hands on the saw, goggles, slow movements, good firm footing etc.  SLOW DOWN, barely move the saw.

Slowly on the curve, hold the line, the saw wants to drift out to make a bigger curve. Follow the line.

Try the Japanese pull saw also.

Home depot has thin veneer plywood for $8 for 48 x 24 inches. make up a jig to hold a curve like your boat and try it. both ways, jigsaw and hand saw.

Good luck.

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