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Old 09-03-2009, 15:25   #1
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Boat: Roberts 36 - Clarity
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cockpit floor hatch

Despite advice to the contrary, I have to have a cockpit floor hatch in my Roberts 36. I just can't crawl over the engine to get at the gearbox linkages, prop shaft, stuffing box and steering quadrant. Can members advise me of, perhaps, a commercially produced hatch frame/system that will either keep the hoggin out of my engine room, or divert it successfully overboard, or into the bilge? Do members know of a design I may follow that works (I'm reasonably proficient with the tools, but I'm keen to do it right first time). Thanks. Bill
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Old 09-03-2009, 17:05   #2
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Some Pacific Seacraft boats have cockpit access to the engine. Take a look at what they have done.

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Old 09-03-2009, 17:13   #3
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The PS 37 Voyagemaker has a cockpit hatch, I've been wondering how well it works.
If I'm not mistaken they also put their fuel tanks in the bilge. I am going to look at one at the end of the month. Both those features are concerns of mine. I'm curious how well they hold up.
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Old 10-03-2009, 10:24   #4
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Benford cat

I owned a catboat whose cockpit sole was essentially a large wood hatch. It had no dogs or fasteners, yet remained perfectly water-tight here in the Pacific Northwest's rainy winters. It was more than 20 years old when I purchased it, and was still tight when I passed it on. There seems to be a fair amount of misinformation/mystery about such in the cruising community, but they're really not mysterious at all.

For a traditionally-designed hatch, the deck opening must be strong enough to compensate for the missing portion of sole. In an FRP hull this would likely include the creation of both carlins and beams which are tied into the deck structurally. Then a water-tight coaming of at least a couple inches height above the sole is built, and a heavy, robust hatch which fits very closely over the coaming but does not touch the cabin sole (perhaps 1/8" or 3mm clearance).

If the hatch surface includes laid and paid teak it can dramatically improve the apearance and non-skid of the cockpit. So long as your cockpit drains remain unplugged you should never have water below. When we took a wave over we didn't get any water below in the engine room (but plenty through the companionway.)

I haven't seen any commercial drop-in hatch I'd trust for a cockpit hatch, though I'm sure someone makes one strong enough. I just remember the kids as teenagers jumping from the cabin roof onto the cockpit hatch, and am still amazed at how heavily built it was.

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Old 24-04-2009, 05:36   #5
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Boat: BR36, resurected building project
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re cockpit hatch, I also live in brisbane, trying to get a BR36 together, agree about needing access to engine etc, Zenith Engineering at milton is/was the Isuzu marine engines people Dicon are the agents for Nanni/Kobota marine engines in Bris, I would appreciate a chance to make contact maybe we can be of mutual assistance my email see ya cheers Geoff
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Old 24-04-2009, 06:47   #6
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IF you do a yahoo search of "marine hatches" you'll get a slew of vendors. The commercial marine industry has had deck hatches that seal for years. It's old hat! They aren't cheap.

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Old 24-04-2009, 07:01   #7
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Clarity, an old boat of mine had a flush hatch in the cockpit sole that leaked like a sieve. I constructed a male mold for a trough out of 2x2's attached to some plywood (for the lip) and mechanically fastened the finished product to the inside of the deck. I designed it to have a 1 1/2 inch overlap to the opening and then insalled a drain in the front center, running a 3/4 " hose to a 'T' in one one of the cockpit drain hoses. It worked perfectly and had the advantage of leaving the cockpit sole flush and at the designed height.

Cutting your own opening should be a breeze: just make sure to epoxy and glass in wooden cross beams and to seal off the edges. I suspect you can use the deck cut-out as the lid, if you are careful enough.

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