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Old 01-09-2014, 14:48   #1
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What Would you do to this Hatch Hole?

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Today while attempting to replace cracked acrylic on our smaller hatch that sits above our galley area, we noticed water oozing out so my boyfriend ripped out the entire hatch and the wood around the edges is rotted. It looks like a po attempted to mend the leak by applying tons of silicone, and perhaps tried to fix the rot (there is hard chalky substance on one side, some epoxy? on another side, and rotted wood covered in silicone on some other sides). Yuck! So we are mulling over options...

Ps- we just finished a bit of deck repair so have materials like new foam for core, epoxy, etc, handy at the moment.

A) perhaps fitting a larger hatch so we would be removing an extra inch or so on each side? Our hole is aprox. 10"x10", if we made it 12"x12" would it make is less sound?

B) scrape all the edges best we can (which is difficult because of all the random past material) and the replace with foam/epoxy similar to a deck repair? My qualm with this is I don't think we will be able to scrape far enough to find good dry wood.

C) removing top layer and re-fiberglassing. Almost exactly what we did for the deck repair....

And I'll be glad to hear other suggestions too!
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Old 01-09-2014, 14:50   #2
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Re: What would you do to this hatch hole?

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A big chuck of the chalky material I was describing that he just pulled out
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Old 01-09-2014, 15:00   #3
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Re: What would you do to this hatch hole?

I would enlarge hole and install larger hatch if possible...if that eliminates the rotted edge material.
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Old 01-09-2014, 15:01   #4
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Re: What would you do to this hatch hole?

Take the ceiling down inside, get a big bright torch and shine it at the underside of the hatch area. With a bit of luck the GRP will be translucent and you will be able to see how far the damage goes into the core of the deck.

I sailed a rather nice Nic 55 to Gibraltar that had thousands of little holes drilled in the underside of the deck, looked like a peg board. They were hoping it would dry out which I think was a bit optimistic given the the size of the problem (had teak decks with screws) but worth a go.

How big a job do you want to do? Refurbish the hatch with new perspex and seal down properly or cut out the deck, repair and glass it all down again?

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Old 01-09-2014, 15:05   #5
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Re: What would you do to this hatch hole?

Dig out the rotten core using a long drill bit and a chisel. It shouldn't go far on the "uphill" side, but the "downhill" side may require exploration. Recore using a strip of G10 or equivalent flat stock for core around the edge, wide enough for the hatch screws to tap into.
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Old 01-09-2014, 15:08   #6
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Re: What would you do to this hatch hole?

Im the other half performing this boat surgery...on the aft edge where I got a chunk of chalky material out of the core, ive scraped back 3 inches so far, and its still very wet...
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Old 01-09-2014, 15:09   #7
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Re: What would you do to this hatch hole?

Keep cutting or grinding until you find the extent of the saturated section of the core. You might be lucky and find it is small and a new larger hatch will fit but you may be for a whole new cabin top - don't ask me how I know
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Old 01-09-2014, 15:11   #8
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Re: What would you do to this hatch hole?

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Originally Posted by redpointist View Post
Im the other half performing this boat surgery...on the aft edge where I got a chunk of chalky material out of the core, ive scraped back 3 inches so far, and its still very wet...
Not a good sign; I'm starting to feel for you.
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Old 01-09-2014, 15:18   #9
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Re: What would you do to this hatch hole?

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Take the ceiling down inside, get a big bright torch and shine it at the underside of the hatch area. With a bit of luck the GRP will be translucent and you will be able to see how far the damage goes into the core of the deck.
Inside has a molded in liner that cant be removed without cutting away. I think I'd be better off cutting away the top skin and going from above like I did with my other section of core repair.

I'm at 3.5 inches back on the after side and still saturated. Don't know if i can effectively scrape back any further without removing the top skin....good news is that I epoxy potted and rebedded the bow pulpit and chain locker lid a few weeks back and those were all dry.
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Old 01-09-2014, 15:21   #10
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Re: What would you do to this hatch hole?

Interestingly, in the pictures cgrabens posted intially, you can see where the handrails go into the deck not far away on the port side. I epoxy potted those a few months back and those were dry. (You can also see at the bottom the line where our previous core repair was. I still havent gotten around to grinding down and fiberglass taping the seams yet.)

I think ill soak the area with some acetone and tarp it up real well for today...not sure how I want to proceed further though.
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Old 01-09-2014, 15:26   #11
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Re: What would you do to this hatch hole?

wherever you scrape out core you will need to fill it again .. a good product is epoxy mixed with west system filler. but how do you fill in sideways? ah the excitement of fixing old boats
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Old 01-09-2014, 15:29   #12
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Re: What would you do to this hatch hole?

Since you said you already had the materials, you might as well fix it right. If not, then you might have further issues that crop up right next to the "just for now" fix that you did.
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Old 01-09-2014, 15:36   #13
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Re: What would you do to this hatch hole?

The thing I hate most about this is that I'd like to reuse the old skin...but its so hard to guess how far around I need to cut to get the bad stuff. I tried tapping it out to listen for the dull thud, but that only seems to work well enough to tell you where the wood has rotted away to basically nothing.

Is it much more difficult/expensive to laminate a new top skin? That would take the uncertainty out of it at least. Or maybe I could drill holes for samples and then fill them in later.
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Old 01-09-2014, 15:40   #14
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Re: What would you do to this hatch hole?

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Originally Posted by redpointist View Post
The thing I hate most about this is that I'd like to reuse the old skin...but its so hard to guess how far around I need to cut to get the bad stuff. I tried tapping it out to listen for the dull thud, but that only seems to work well enough to tell you where the wood has rotted away to basically nothing.
Try drilling down with a 1/8" bit. The swarf will tell you if the wood is still damp. The holes are easy enough to fill .

Opps just you saw your edit

Sometimes it is just easier in the long run to rip the whole lot out and laminate a new top.
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Old 01-09-2014, 16:07   #15
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Re: What would you do to this hatch hole?

I drilled into the deck 5.5 inches away from the edge on the bad (aft) side and it was still wet, but the wood was a nice light tan color, not rotted brown/black like around the hatch. 7.5 inches away from the hatch its bone dry.

Maybe I should reconsider cutting it all away, and just scrape out the wet core 5.5-6 inches back, fill it with thickened epoxy, and push some coosa board in there like Minaret was saying. I'm glad to know theres dry wood not too far away.
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