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Old 19-09-2010, 12:52   #1
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Cutting in a Sliding Cabin Hatch

Has anyone done this before? Added a sliding cabin hatch where her wasn't one before.

I just bought a little 20' Henley, and the entry to the cuddy is small at best. I would like to cut out a couple of feet of the cabin top and install a slinding hatch ala the Pacific Seacrat Flicka. I'm capable of doing the woodworking, but I'm not sure if I would be compromising the structural integrity of the deck by doing so.

If anyone has done this type of modification, I would love to hear about how it went, and what type of problems were encountered.

Thanks,
Bill
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:04   #2
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Hey Bill,

I haven't added a hatch, but we did convert our companionway hatch from one sliding type to another (with a sea hood); maybe the photos can give you some ideas. As long as you aren't cutting holes around a structural bulkhead or at the mast base, you're probably fine.

Our old hatch - weighs 95lbs!!!!!:


So we came up with an idea for an elaborate sea hood with a 1/2" plexiglass sliding hatch:



After some fabrication:


Fiberglassed, screwed/fiberglassed down:



With tops and the cowl vents (that's why it's elaborate). Notice the "slot) underneath - that's where the plexiglass goes:



The plexiglass slides in the two U-tracks on either side of the companionway. I don't have any photos of the actual hatch in place, but will eventually:


Hope this helps somewhat. You can see more photos by clicking the link in my signature and going into the "Deck Renovation/Rerigging" photo album.

Cheers,
Aaron
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:19   #3
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If yours is a Halman Henley, like this 20' Sailboat Halman Henley
I wouldn't cut out the cabin top.
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Old 09-10-2010, 20:58   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
If yours is a Halman Henley, like this 20' Sailboat Halman Henley
I wouldn't cut out the cabin top.
Even down to the same color upholstery.

Why wouldn't you?
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Old 10-10-2010, 00:36   #5
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Thats some really impressive work Aaron...you've been holding out on us.

I cut in a new slidder...it was a big job, but not difficult. (where the air horn is)
I didn't have to cut through any structural beams.
After roughing in the new shape, I glassed over everything from the top to the underside of the cabin top.
I guess the only advice I would have from the actual execution side is to work as close as you can as far as dimensions and tolerances go...it will pay dividends in the end.
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Old 10-10-2010, 06:13   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GorillaToast View Post
Even down to the same color upholstery.
Why wouldn't you?
I wouldn’t want to cut away virtually the entire doghouse roof-deck, which it appears to me might be required to effect a comfortable companionway. There just isn’t enough continuous structure, there.
I suppose you might safely cut out about a quarter the roof, and substantially reinforce the remainder. It would be very difficult to carry the structural loads down past the portlights to the deck, though.
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Old 10-10-2010, 19:53   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
I wouldn’t want to cut away virtually the entire doghouse roof-deck, which it appears to me might be required to effect a comfortable companionway. There just isn’t enough continuous structure, there.
I suppose you might safely cut out about a quarter the roof, and substantially reinforce the remainder. It would be very difficult to carry the structural loads down past the portlights to the deck, though.
I was thinking 18"-24". Just enough to get in without doing my contortionist act.

But if it would require adding a bulkhead to reinforce the whole roof structure, it's not worth the effort.

Thanks.

BTW, that's only the 2nd other Henley 20 I've heard about. Do you know of any others? I'd like to talk to someone who's sailed one before I get it in the water.; just to hear about any quirks. I talked to a guy in Nova Scotia that sold one, but he never got a chance to sail his.
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Old 10-10-2010, 22:48   #8
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I think you may be able to do it by running/glassing two inverted stringers, to the top of the cabin, from the top/sides of the wash boards, forward.
This would act as the start of your slider rails but also act as beams to transfer the cabin load to the ends of the stingers.
You may also have to reinforce either end of where the stringers end...
Not sure if it would be worth the effort given the size of the boat.
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Old 11-10-2010, 03:59   #9
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Not sure if it would be worth the effort given the size of the boat.
That's what I'm starting to think.

Thanks.
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:07   #10
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I'm convinced it's a very doable thing to cut a companionway hatch into your little pocket yacht, but there are considerations, some of which have been voiced.

Gord has a valid point about removing structure, particularly in the location you'll have to cut, but this could be reinforced to compensate for the lose.

I think the biggest problem is you don't have enough cabin roof to permit a fully functioning companionway hatch, which typically slide forward, exposing the hole in the roof. This requires the roof have at least twice the hatch length available for the hatch to slide on. It doesn't appear you have this without an unusually short hatch.

In short, if you have 36" of roof, the best you can hope for is an 18" deep hatch opening, which I would consider minimum to function reasonably. Naturally, you'll want a heavy hatch carlin around the opening and a roof beam at the forward end of the opening. It would also be a good idea to have a broken deck beam at the aft end of the opening, well attached to the roof and aft cabin bulkhead.
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