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Old 26-04-2010, 10:11   #1
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Companionway Sliding Hatch Rails - Attach with Screws / 4200 or Through-Bolt ?

Hi folks,

My 1978 Seafarer 30 is used for Coastal sailing. The largest waters I may cross in the next few years are the Bay of Fundy or the Gulf of Maine between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick or Maine. I would likely take the shortest off-shore route (ie daysail in good weather forecast).

I have removed the rails holding down my sliding hatch and have cleaned them up to re-install. Each rail was held down with (old) sealant and about 10 small screws into the deck.

If I were crossing the Atlantic, I would certainly think about drilling through the cabin one piece glass headliner and throughbolting the rails, which would require a backing plate or washers and nuts, on the inside. I would also fill the void between the deck and the headliner with epoxy, around each hole, to make the whole headliner like a big backing plate.
I did this when installing line organizers.

But, As I am only coastal sailing, is that overkill?

I do have a dodger "protecting" the hatch as well, and I think the likelyhood of teh hatch and rails being ripped off is quite slim, even with 4200 sealant and 10 small scews!

As well, the rails are aluminum, and even if it was through-bolted down, I guess a big enough wave, catching the hatch, could bend up the aluminum rails anyway??

Thoughts?

you can just see the portside rail in this pic:
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Old 26-04-2010, 10:27   #2
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I'm planning to make the Maine to Nova Scotia trip this June, and I just replaced my sliding companionway cover, since I broke the old one last year by slamming it closed a bit too hard in cold weather. Lesson learned.

All I did was replace and rebed the small screws with 4200. I really wish you hadn't brought up how inadequate that might be.
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Old 26-04-2010, 10:43   #3
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Hi Dennis,

Thanks for the reply! I really don't think it is inadeqate, but figured I would ask the question.

I would like to hear how others have done this, and what the norm is for attachment.

I think that if a force was big enough to rip the rails up (with screws and 4200 firmly attached to good, clean gelcoat), it would otherwise likely just bend the rails up enough to pull the hatch off anyway. Unless the rails were beefed up, made from stainless or something stronger that the thin aluminum that they are!

I did sail from Halifax to Boston in a friend's 36'er a couple of years ago, and we got caught in a decent "storm", with 15' waves and 30+ knot winds (on the nose) that lasted for 1 1/2 - 2 days. That was no fun! If I eventually cross myself, it will likely be from NS to Grand Manan, or to Saint John, as I used to sail the Saint John River, and Grand Lake, New Brunswick. It is a beautiful spot, if you have time on your cruise.
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Old 26-04-2010, 10:51   #4
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There are many here who are far more knowledgeable than I. In fact, probably everyone here is.

I'm looking forward to the cruise. I'll be hugging the coast all the way. I'm hoping to have enough time to approach Yarmouth, and then go around outside to Shelburne. We'll see...
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Old 26-04-2010, 11:00   #5
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We just finished this exact same project. The original installation had the runners just screwed in and sealed. Over the years the seal had failed, and water made it's way into the combings the runners were screwed into. Luckily these pieces where isolated from our actual deck core so no moisture made it's way in there.

Regardless of strength issues, if you have a cored deck, I'd be in favor of the epoxy & thru-bolt technique just to ensure you don't let any water in. Good luck.
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Old 26-04-2010, 11:53   #6
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Thru bolting is better!

If one wants to brake into the boat, the EZest way is to pry up the hatch slides.
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Old 26-04-2010, 12:00   #7
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Sonrisa - good thoughts on the cored deck concerns. I don't believe that my deck is cored, in that area, but it is likely worth me drilling an exploratory hole to find out. If I do find balsa, then I will go ahead with oevrsized drilling, potting with epoxy, and throughbolting.

Delmarrey - I do agree with you. But, if they really want in, those aluminum rails would just bend up anyway, with enough force.
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