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Old 05-12-2011, 13:07   #1
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Cutting a Hatch in the Cockpit Floor

Let me explain first:

I just get back last week from training on Diesel engine (level i and II) at the Annapolis School of Seamanship, which by the way I strongly recommend.
There was quite a lot of hand on work. BUT in a large room, standing around the engine..
In my Endeavour 35, there is only one foot on either side of free room and to get to the back of the engine you have to get down the cockpit locker and crawl around the fuel tank.
I'm supposed know to be able for example to bleed the fuel system, but there is actually no access at least for somebody like me who is not a contortionist...

So my idea was to have a small hatch cut off on the cockpit floor: 1'1/2 x 2' to be able to get there.........

Question: is that possible, anybody has done it? what about the structural point of view?
Any recommendation (apart buying a bigger boat!!)

By the way I have seen such a hatch in the 37 CSY

Tks guys
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Old 05-12-2011, 13:34   #2
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Re: Cutting a Hatch in the Cockpit Floor

I had that arrangement in my last boat. You want to install a Freeman hatch or similar. As long as it's a quality double dogging hatch. Obviously it needs to not leak ever on your engine components. If you get the unpainted commercial cast hatch and paint it to match yourself it's cheapest. Or you can get real nice ones from them, like this-


3400 Series Hatch, Quick Acting, Single Leaf. Freeman Marine Equipment, Inc. provides the finest marine and specialty closures available. Custom fabricated doors, hatches, portlights and windows.
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Old 05-12-2011, 13:41   #3
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Re: Cutting a Hatch in the Cockpit Floor

Not familiar with the 35, but could you cut removable panel to gain access from the quarterberth, etc? My Newport 28 has a cockpit floor hatch directly over the engine and it sure is a nice feature. It can be dogged down and has a drain system that connect to the aft cockpit drains, but I would not trust it to handle a wave in the cockpit. How did the previous owner bleed the fuel system?
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Old 05-12-2011, 14:00   #4
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Re: Cutting a Hatch in the Cockpit Floor

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Not familiar with the 35, but could you cut removable panel to gain access from the quarterberth, etc? My Newport 28 has a cockpit floor hatch directly over the engine and it sure is a nice feature. It can be dogged down and has a drain system that connect to the aft cockpit drains, but I would not trust it to handle a wave in the cockpit. How did the previous owner bleed the fuel system?
No idea how he did it as he was bigger than I...........

And yes there is also the possibility to have an access cut through the quarterberth but this limit access from only one side when the hatch above would give access on both side ,even on three side counting the rear
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Old 05-12-2011, 14:46   #5
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Re: Cutting a Hatch in the Cockpit Floor

Get yourself a monkey and train him how to bleed it lol.

Ok well if you do not want to go that route I would think a panel in the quarter berth best. Cutting a hatch in the cockpit floor could effect the resale of the boat as that type of thing makes buyers nervous. Also an aluminum hatch can get very hot in the summer on bare feet.

Might pay to hire a mechanic to do it once and see how he gets it done many times they have tricks for getting at hard to reach places.

Of course Yoga classes might help too! But I still think the monkey is worth a try I hear they work cheap lol.
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Old 06-12-2011, 09:42   #6
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Re: Cutting a Hatch in the Cockpit Floor

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Get yourself a monkey and train him how to bleed it lol.

Ok well if you do not want to go that route I would think a panel in the quarter berth best. Cutting a hatch in the cockpit floor could effect the resale of the boat as that type of thing makes buyers nervous. Also an aluminum hatch can get very hot in the summer on bare feet.

Might pay to hire a mechanic to do it once and see how he gets it done many times they have tricks for getting at hard to reach places.

Of course Yoga classes might help too! But I still think the monkey is worth a try I hear they work cheap lol.
Monkey no way!!
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Old 06-12-2011, 09:58   #7
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Re: Cutting a Hatch in the Cockpit Floor

Cutting a hole in the cockpit sole is a bad idea ! You can't reenforce the structure well enough to support the flexing and stress. If you can't reach both sides of the engine from an acess on one side, cut one on both sides,but leave the cockpit sole alone !
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Old 06-12-2011, 10:01   #8
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Re: Cutting a Hatch in the Cockpit Floor

Ha I can just picture that a monkey with a wrench in one hand a a bottle in the other.....oh wait thats sounds like me!
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Old 06-12-2011, 17:28   #9
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Re: Cutting a Hatch in the Cockpit Floor

Obviously all depends on how the boat is constructed / designed etc etc.

But rather than aiming for small access, why not go big!.........by replacing the entire sealed cockpit deck with hatches?

They can be dogged down (for a rollover). Rain channels and / or rubber seals would cope with most rainwater / spray etc, as well as waves (until the cockpit drains kick in).

A major project and will require a lot of thought (and reinforcement).
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Old 06-12-2011, 20:52   #10
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Re: Cutting a Hatch in the Cockpit Floor

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But rather than aiming for small access, why not go big!.........
If agree; you're gonna do, do it big. I once did just that with a timber H28, where the motor (very much the auxiliary in those days) was packed in tight under the companionway. Almost the entire cockpit sole became a hatch and it was easy to keep it watertight.

Mind you, that was timber; providing appropriate structural support with glass may prove harder.

That said, I didn't think it all that successful. Access from above may be sorta adequate but you still have to be a contortionist in the cockpit.

In the end, I rearranged the internal fitout to give me access to both sides of the motor at eye level - cost me some galley space but that's a good trade imo. This access is easily the best, thought the cockpit access still comes in handy for some jobs.

After this experience, and given that motors are much more than an auxiliary these days, good and easy access to the motor shot to the top of the wishlist in future purchases.
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Old 06-12-2011, 21:00   #11
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Re: Cutting a Hatch in the Cockpit Floor

Hamilton Marine is where I got my commercial grade metal (aluminum) deck access hatches. Here is the link - but go to the bottom below all the usual sailboat deck hatches to find the commercial metal access hatches.
HATCHES & SCREENS
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:02   #12
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Re: Cutting a Hatch in the Cockpit Floor

thanks to all...
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:18   #13
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Re: Cutting a Hatch in the Cockpit Floor

A friend did that with a Freedom ketch, I think it was 41', because it was the only way he could figure to remove the engine for a rebuild.

Not a great solution for those who like to sail barefoot.
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