Deck hatches

Sanding Rough Edges Inside Hatches

Before I glue the bow panels down for ever I want to have as much of the work inside the hatches done while I have them open and accessible because once the panels are on they are on for good and my access to the inside will be much more restricted. So I have started sanding down the glass edges to be sure there are no sharp edges or shards that might cut or prick fingers at some later time. I am not fairing them per say, just making sure they are smooth. I will then apply a thick coat of white epoxy paint that self levels so it will in a way act as a bog and fair in one go. It is more like resin with pigment that paint but has the effect of sealing, filling and fairing if I can apply it just thick enough that it self levels but not so thick that it runs.

I will apply the paint to about 200mm below the top as I will have to glass the joins over and need it to stick to the duflex directly. I will also peel ply the tape lines even though it will be difficult to get on neatly because of the angles and the tight space but it will be easier than sanding these tapes later. In the most forward area I wont bother because this section wont ever be accessed unless I have a collision and then I imagine that there will be bigger problems than rough glass edges.

I decided a while back that I would be having a sliding hatch over the helm position after seeing one on a Fusion (or a Lightwave I cant remember now) at the boat show. I went to the Lewmar stand and got a price on the hatch the boat I had seen had. The price was a massive $1400. Now I am sure it is a lovely hatch but I just couldn’t see $1400. So I decided to look elsewhere and it occurred to me that the hatch is over the cockpit which is still open to the elements other than having a roof so it does not need to be absolutely watertight but that would be preferable. Then it occurred to me, a car sunroof would do just fine. Better still a manual one. I don’t need it to be powered and it would be better without the moulding that goes with it to hide the motor, wiring and switching.

A quick search on EBay, and I found these for $65 delivered, a deal so good I decided to buy 2 and put one on each side. They are even better than I expected, not too big, not too small and they even have a locking clip when open so they cant slide shut by accident. I took a bit of a chance with these sunroofs because I wasn’t really sure if they would work out but I figured for that price if they did not work, I could always try and re sell them and even if I couldn’t even do that, I only risked $130 and in the end it has worked out beautifully.

Only the cut-out is visible from below and from above just the cut out and the rails, the glass slides over the roof. Some sunroofs (electric) need a pan under the opened glass area meaning the cut-out is much larger and therefore making for a weaker top. I will need to build one side up a little to compensate for the curve in the roof as the sunroof wont have quite the same curve. Other than that, perfect solution for a fraction of the price.

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Paul