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Old 20-05-2020, 09:38   #1
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Adding access to engine room

Greetings, I'm a new member and have been the owner of a 1979 O'Day Center Cockpit for about 6 months now. She's my 1st yacht-sized sailboat. Anyway, access to the engine (Westerbeek 30) requires an insane amount of boat yoga, and I'm a little too tall and a lot too round to do it with putting bruises all over my body.

What I have been thinking about is installing a hatch into the cockpit deck just over the engine, in order to make access for basic maintenance (checking oil, adding oil, etc) a great deal easier on my body and spilling a lot less oil.

Does this seem feasible to any of you? The idea seems such a no-brainer to me, but I haven't seen any other sailboats so modified. It strikes me as highly improbable that I could be the only person to think of this, so I presume that there might be a reason to not do this.

Any input will be appreciated. TIA
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Old 20-05-2020, 09:52   #2
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Re: Adding access to engine room

before cutting a hole in the deck .. I would make sure there is no way to cut hatches in the bulkheads on either side of the engine room.
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Old 20-05-2020, 11:05   #3
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Re: Adding access to engine room

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Originally Posted by gonesail View Post
before cutting a hole in the deck .. I would make sure there is no way to cut hatches in the bulkheads on either side of the engine room.

There isn't. There is an access port from the saloon and another hatch in the aft cabin. Both are small and narrow.
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Old 20-05-2020, 11:18   #4
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Re: Adding access to engine room

Many such discussions on the forum.... https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ers-70469.html
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Old 20-05-2020, 12:26   #5
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Re: Adding access to engine room

Since it's a mono and you are intending to cut the hole in the cockpit floor across the centre line of the vessel doing so has no structural implications in respect of hull integrity.

From a water tight viewpoint so long as you have some sort of seal and a cockpit drain it should not cause a problem.
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Old 21-05-2020, 08:21   #6
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Re: Adding access to engine room

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Originally Posted by RaymondR View Post
Since it's a mono and you are intending to cut the hole in the cockpit floor across the centre line of the vessel doing so has no structural implications in respect of hull integrity.

From a water tight viewpoint so long as you have some sort of seal and a cockpit drain it should not cause a problem.
Had a marina buddy do exactly what you are talking about.... he opened a hatch above and aft of the engine.

Be prepared to reinforce the cockpit sole fore and aft as well as athwartship.

Youre taking alot of meat out of the cockpit sole and it will flex and feel spongy if you dont.

Also make sure that you have a water tight hatch for that new opening. Id hate to take blue water into the cockpit some dark stormy night and have it draing onto the engine or into the bilge.
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Old 21-05-2020, 08:50   #7
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Re: Adding access to engine room

My boat was built with an acrylic panel inthe cockpit sole. It is bedded and screwed in place but can be easily removed if the engine block were to be removed.

What I like about it is the amount of light it admits to the engine room.
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Old 21-05-2020, 12:49   #8
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Re: Adding access to engine room

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Originally Posted by CaptainMelanie View Post
There isn't. There is an access port from the saloon and another hatch in the aft cabin. Both are small and narrow.
I think i'd investigate creating a removable wall in the quarter berth before chopping a hole in the cockpit. I do feel your pain as I once had to replace a raw water pump up under a Volvo (if it's green - run) in a 30'er once. Nothing like spending 3 painful hours in the worst possible position doing a two handed job with just one hand since you can't get two hands in there to do a job you could have completed in 30 minutes with two hands. Which is why you CANNOT GIVE me a small boat !!!
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Old 21-05-2020, 12:56   #9
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Re: Adding access to engine room

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainMelanie View Post
Greetings, I'm a new member and have been the owner of a 1979 O'Day Center Cockpit for about 6 months now. She's my 1st yacht-sized sailboat. Anyway, access to the engine (Westerbeek 30) requires an insane amount of boat yoga, and I'm a little too tall and a lot too round to do it with putting bruises all over my body.

What I have been thinking about is installing a hatch into the cockpit deck just over the engine, in order to make access for basic maintenance (checking oil, adding oil, etc) a great deal easier on my body and spilling a lot less oil.

Does this seem feasible to any of you? The idea seems such a no-brainer to me, but I haven't seen any other sailboats so modified. It strikes me as highly improbable that I could be the only person to think of this, so I presume that there might be a reason to not do this.

Any input will be appreciated. TIA
No reason not to do it, the hatch will be stronger than what you take out if you do it right. But it must be leak free or your engine will be a mess.

I did it on my first offshore cruiser. I bought an oval shaped large aluminum commercial Freeman Hatch like used on fishing boats etc. it worked great. Not sure if they are still in business though and last I saw they were quite expensive. Leak free though. Remove the lid, get right in there with direct sunlight. $700-$2500
https://www.go2marine.com/Freeman-24...ty=1&size=1093
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Old 21-05-2020, 14:15   #10
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Re: Adding access to engine room

Quote:
Originally Posted by joelhemington View Post
I think i'd investigate creating a removable wall in the quarter berth before chopping a hole in the cockpit.

if it's an ODAY 37 center cockpit .. it looks like there is an entire bulkhead in the rear cabin (behind the stairs) that could be used for an access door to the engine room and tanks as well. of course that's under the cockpit so I'm not sure of the headroom. just saying.
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Old 22-05-2020, 08:12   #11
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Re: Adding access to engine room

Quote:
Originally Posted by gonesail View Post
if it's an ODAY 37 center cockpit .. it looks like there is an entire bulkhead in the rear cabin (behind the stairs) that could be used for an access door to the engine room and tanks as well. of course that's under the cockpit so I'm not sure of the headroom. just saying.
If it is a bulkhead, it's best you not mess with it. I was thinking more of the panel to side of the engine compartment as these are usually not structural.
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Old 22-05-2020, 10:19   #12
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Re: Adding access to engine room

my boat, a csy 37, was built with a large cockpit hatch that not only gave me great access to the front of the engine (the engine is in "backwards" with a v-drive to reverse the shaft) but also incredible access to everything else including the cutlass bearing, water muffler, through hulls, and the chain and cable and quadrant for the steering gear. it is heavily built with a water channel all around underneath it's edges connected to the drain system.


highly recommended. one of the reasons i bought this boat was the fantastic engine access, unusual in most sailboats. i passed on a lot of boats when we were looking to buy just for that reason.
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