Wooden Hatch Replacement
When the boat came from the factory, it had three large wooden hatches mounted on the deck. The mid-cabin hatch was the butterfly type. I could never get it to stop leaking. Another deck-mounted hatch was over the forward cabin. I had fixed and repaired and rebuilt that hatch so many times, it was just a waste. I had rebuilt it twice with Lexan in the hatch to add light to the forward cabin. Each time, after a few months, it would start leaking again. The third hatch was over the aft-cabin. It was the same size as the hatch over the forward cabin, and it had the same problems.
With all of the time and expense invested in hatch repair and rebuilding, I decided that a complete replacement was justified. The replacements would be aluminum and easy to use and would be able to be sealed to prevent leaks. Like most Taiwanese built boats, the hatch size was not a "standard" size, so I had a very difficult time finding a hatch. I was able to find a company in Canada, Bomon, that builds custom hatches. The pricing was as good as a Lewmar or Bomar hatch, so I ordered one to replace the butterfly (mid-cabin) hatch. When that hatch was installed, I was so pleased with the result, that I ordered two more to replace the forward cabin hatch and the aft-cabin hatch.
The original wooden factory hatches had been inset into square holes on raised hatch bases with lips on the bases for sealing the hatches. In order to install the Bomon hatches, I had to grind off the lips of the bases and build radius in each corner of each square hatch opening. This I was able to do, and the results are very pleasing.
The replacement hatches were made so that once I ground away the lip on the base the hatch would sit in the base perfectly. When that was accomplished, I then had to build in the radius in the corners, and fair the top surface so that the new hatches would have a flat surface to mate on. When that was all done, it was a matter of drilling holes for the mounting screws and dry fitting the hatch. When the dry fit was complete, I removed the hatch, used butyl rubber to seal the mating surface on the hatch to the surface base, and then screwed the hatch to the base. During the actual construction, I would use a piece of plywood covered in plastic and held down with cement blocks to cover the hatch holes in the deck. This is what I refer to as my 'Gucci' hatches!
The first group of pictures will show the mid-cabin hatch replacement, then the forward cabin hatch replacement, and finally the aft-cabin hatch replacement. As you will see there are more pictures of the actual construction of the forward hatch replacement, and very few of the aft-cabin replacement.