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Old 17-12-2012, 19:30   #1
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How do I access winch fixing bolts?

Hi All,

I am about to replace my standard, head sail sheet winches to self tailing. I have managed to get winch that line up with the exisiting bolt hole positions and thought this would be easy to change over.

Of course this is a sailboat and very job seems to have some brain bending complexity to it!

My starboard winch is ok as I can access the fixing nuts and backing plate through the cockpit locker. Albeit whil being a contortionist.

The problem is the port winch. The winch is above the 1/4 berth but a single inner skin covers the entire interior above and sides of boat.

I figure the only way to get access to the bolts is to hole saw through the skin lining so I can hold backing plate and get a socket on the nuts.

My questions are.

1- Is there an alternative to cutting sections out of the inner skin (Which I assume is fibreglass). I dont think there is but maybe I just can't think of any and someone out in Cruising world has some tricks

2- If not What have been some of the solutions to repairing, replacing or covering the section of the inner skin that I will cut out. I think that if I reseal/ re fibreglass that I will need to access again in the future. Has anyone made a removable cover for access to deck fittings that looks ok for the interior of their boat?


Thanks

Scott
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Old 17-12-2012, 19:35   #2
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Re: How do I access winch fixing bolts?

Yup. That's one downside of liners. Depends on the situation ... try neatly cutting the required hole(s) then covering with a tidy little panel of any nice matching material. The panel can be lightly glued in place. It could be a varnished piece of nice thin ply, too.
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Old 17-12-2012, 19:44   #3
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Re: How do I access winch fixing bolts?

G'Day Scott,

Many folks with boats that have "liners" of various sorts have had to cut holes into said liners for access to deck hardware. A PITA that some numbnuts in the sales office thought would look nice at the boat show and hence improve sales.

What I have done in past boats was to cut a substantial hole that gave access to the entire area rather than a bunch of small holes, each giving access to one nut. I then made up a nicely varnished cover hiding the hole, held in place to the liner by a few screws. One can also use the removed bit of fibreglass with a narrow bit of timber trim glued to its circumference to cover the cut edge and again held in place with some screws. Varnish or paint to match, looks ok too.

Neither method is difficult to accomplish, but gee, it would have been nice for the builder to think of the end user rather than his bottom line. (That will be the day!)

Cheers,

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Old 17-12-2012, 20:36   #4
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Re: How do I access winch fixing bolts?

If there is no alternative to cutting through the panel beneath the winch, be careful if you choose to use a jigsaw or simiular piece of artillery. There will be electrical, ariel and possibly hydraulic lines above the panel, some of which may not be tucked into the sides.

If you use a stubby drill to make perforations, then cut the initial hole by 'joining the dots' with a pair of side cutters, you can get access to displace any wiring which otherwise may be cut by a saw intrusion. Then you can neaten it with a jigsaw before fitting a suitable covering panel.
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Old 17-12-2012, 22:36   #5
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Thanks guys,

Some helpful tips there.

Luckily there is a light a fitted a bit further along. I have removed this and through the hole where the cable exitsI can see where the cables are running.

The other option is I cover the patch with another light fitting.

Scott
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Old 17-12-2012, 22:52   #6
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Re: How do I access winch fixing bolts?

All of the above selections work well. I've used plastic deck plates as well. They work great but they don't look as nice as some of the other suggestions would.

Beckson DP63W 6" Pry Out Deck Plate
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Old 18-12-2012, 06:39   #7
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Re: How do I access winch fixing bolts?

Hole Plugs
http://www.heyco.com/hole_plugs/
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Old 18-12-2012, 07:18   #8
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Re: How do I access winch fixing bolts?

As Daddle mentioned liners do have their downside. But, they make the interior look so nice for the wives of boat buyers at the expense of practicality. When I re-bedded my boats hand rails I decided to make it easy for myself now and in the future. I cut through the liner using a Dremel Tool to make for easier access to the screws to remove and replace the handrails:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: REBEDDING HANDRAILS: Part 3 Remounting the rails
Made the job a lot easier.
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