June 18, 2014 at 2:54 pm #1975
I’m in need of replacing the forward hatch and wondering about a few things. I think I’ve read somewhere (can’t remember where…) that orienting the hinges forward (so that it opens facing aft) was safer. I’m not in the habit of forgetting to close it, especially when out on the ocean, but doing it the other way has the obvious benefit of improved ventilation and kite launching/dousing of course. The other question I have relates to how the hatch will completely open and lay flat against the deck, which strains the aluminum portion of the hinges and is why I’m replacing the current hatch- the hinges have cracked. They’ve been welded before, so my options are limited. In order to prevent this additional strain on those hinges, it needs to be supported somehow so that it doesn’t completely clam-shell open and lay flat on the deck.. I’d rather not use a strut, but maybe attach a simple bump, either on the hatch itself or on the deck to limit hatch travel? What are other folks doing??
RayJune 18, 2014 at 3:21 pm #3369
Flipping forward is the only way to go. It allows the sheets to stay attached while minimizing water ingress from a conventionally mounted hatch. You need to build some sort of shim under the forward part of the hatch to elevate it above the hump in the deck. With the shim, the hatch will lay flat on the foredeck. No strut, which will just get in the way of stuff.June 18, 2014 at 3:32 pm #3370
Thanks, Old School- that’s the way it is now, so I’ll probably keep it that way. Has anyone been experiencing cracks in the hinges like mine has done?June 18, 2014 at 4:15 pm #3373
I have a decent condition original hatch. Cheap plus shipping. I painted the frame and it looks good!
I replaced my hatch so that I could open aft again. The new one has locking handles and two positions to lock; one is open a half inch, perfect for sheets. It required building up the flange an inch and a quarter which repels water as well. The flange build up was so the hatch could lay flat aft.June 18, 2014 at 4:30 pm #3374
Bruce- I need something near bomb-proof. I’ve looked at Bomar and just don’t think they are as robust. Why did you replace your original, and what kind is it?June 18, 2014 at 5:54 pm #3375
See the attached photos. I used a Lewmar Medium profile hatch with the hinges mounted forward. Mounted it on a 1/2″ thick PVC shim. Painted the shim the same color as the deck (Awl Grip Whisper Gray. As you can see the shim disappears.June 18, 2014 at 6:45 pm #3376
I used this Lewmar. The build up was cedar, glassed and sealed. Smoothed inside for no snagging spin launches. Awlgrip makes it look factory and molded.
This was an awesome price as well. $359June 18, 2014 at 6:46 pm #3377
Again, my original hatch is available.June 18, 2014 at 6:54 pm #3378
The ‘safer’ aspect is for avoiding green water over the front deck lifting a aft opening hatch and depositing a ton of water below. Opening it forward, it can’t open.
The alternative is a hatch that can be closed/latched shut from topside. The Lewmar 60 has that capability with sheets still attached.
Opening forward or aft is equal otherwise, unless you forget to latch in big seas. Opening forward will require a buildup with the stock hatch. A replacement hatch will require an even bigger buildup as the hatch flanges are typically low profile. The “Ocean” profile hatches might fit better, but are pricey; not sure. Building up the opening is not a huge job. Side benefit is a stronger deck.June 18, 2014 at 7:12 pm #3379
Hey, Bruce- thank you for the offer, but I just ordered the same (but new) ocean hatch from Defender. I didn’t want to take any chances that it wouldn’t fit, so I stuck with what was already there. It’s not a whole lot more expensive (relative to all the other things I’ve added to this boat to-date!), and it’ll be here in 2 days, which is a bonus so I can sail this weekend. I will keep the orientation the same; opening forward.June 20, 2014 at 1:02 pm #3400
By the way, Bruce- what did you use for bedding material between the hatch frame and deck? Lewmar suggests silicone, but recommendations vary widely from 3M 5200 (not!), butyl tape (probably not) and Lifecaulk (which I’m leaning toward).
RayJune 20, 2014 at 1:22 pm #3401
Lifecaulk. The West Marine version. NEVER use silicone on your boat. You will have leaks AND have to remove the residue some day..which is near impossible.
I used butyl tape for my cabin windows. Do it on a cool day. The stuff is wicked when warm..spider webs of goo when you try to trim it.June 20, 2014 at 1:23 pm #3402
PS to all:
Building up the deck flange has a second benefit. You can use wood screws to mount the hatch instead of through bolting. No spinnaker worries!June 20, 2014 at 2:26 pm #3403
Yeah, I’d never use silicone, either. I think my deck may have been built up already– the current frame sits flat. I’ll double check, but it’s as low of a profile as you can get otherwise, so whoever did it before did a great job. Here’s a a photo, which you might be able to make out what it looks like.August 18, 2014 at 1:41 pm #3473
Ray..that is the stock height. By now you know that and probably added an inch of height some how.August 18, 2014 at 2:04 pm #3474
Actually, I made a “hatch pillow” for lack of a better word.. Just hacked apart an old coast guard ocean life vest, took out the foam and sewed some spinnaker cloth in the shape of a 1′ x 8″ pillow (or so), put in some grommets on the corners and bungied the thing down between the hatch opening and the mast. Works like a charm and I haven’t tripped over it yet!
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