Chip Ford's 1974 Catalina 22 Restoration Project
Sail #3282  l  Marblehead, Massachusetts

The never-ending project to fill my hole in the ocean while bailing it out

Preparing for Sailing Season 2012
The Forward Hatch Project, Revisited
Page 4

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Description

Today I got started on replacing the seal on forward hatch. Toward the end of last season I noticed a small amount of water was getting into the cabin. I could see a crack of light showing between the hatch seal and and its deck flange when it wasn't dogged down extremely tight, so planned to jump on it this spring.

I decided, as long as I was going to replace the foam weatherstripping anyway, it's a good opportunity to eliminate another minor annoyance — clean up the interior bottom with a couple coats of paint. This would require removing the hatch, but that'd make cleaning off the old weatherstripping and replacing the seal easier too.

When I installed the used hatch in 2006 I was hoping to eventually cut out  a portion of its center and fit a piece of tinted plexiglas for additional light below. I never got around to it; found that I was often stepping on the hatch while on deck. That would only damage any plexiglas, so I decided against it.

The first step today was removing it.  (Apr. 7, 2012)

With the hatch inside on my washer/dryer "workbench" I removed the remaining hardware then carefully scraped the old weatherstripping gasket seal off in one piece. This will make replacement measurements simpler when I get there.

After washing down the underside of the hatch with acetone then sanding it with 120-grit, I applied a first coat of paint  using the leftover Pettit Easypoxy (single component polyurethane topside paint), 3108 Off-White from the cribboards refinishing project last year. I'll add another coat tomorrow.  (Apr. 14, 2012)

With two coats of paint dried it was time to install the gasketing; first a layer of the Greene Rubber Company's neoprene. The 2" width was good but the 3/8" thickness wasn't enough to fill the gap all around between the hatch and its flange. I added another layer; a bit more compressable Frost King rubber foam weather seal, 1¼" wide by 7/16" thick.

After remounting and allowing time for the bedding compound to set up before tightening the hinges and struts, everything looked good. The two layers of rubber didn't seem to be sticking together as well as I'd like, but I expect tightening down the hatch will cure that.

When I initially tried to close down the hatch it was somewhat of a struggle — the gasket was a bit too thick — but I got it dogged down. The seal is very tight. Once I'm more confident that the two layers of gasket have bonded to each other, I'll reopen the hatch and see what happens. If the gaskets remain bonded this seal should be completely water-tight. (Apr. 19, 2012)

 

. . . A year later and I'm still trying to seal the leaking . . .

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Moving on with Season 2012 improvements
It's never-ending ... but spring is here and Sailing Season '12 is ahead

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