By creating a footwell, it freed up an extra hatch. In contemplating what to do with it, I decided to place it in the BH6-7 location. This will make available almost as much space as I lost by creating the footwell. None the less, it still takes guts to cut a hole in the sole of a perfectly good boat.
The first step was to determine the location of the cut. With the hatch in hand, it is easy to trace out the area to be removed.
This hole allows access for the jig saw.
After a little extra cutting and filing, the hatch dropped in. Luckily, I had already finished the inside of this area with epoxy and paint, so there was little to do other than installing the hatch.
Before installing, I coated all the newly exposed plywood edges with two coats of epoxy. I then applied a liberal bead of silicone and secured with 3/4″ ss screws.
This hatch still allows for a good place to stand while straddling the tiller arm when sailing. I plan to store extra line, repair parts, tool kits, registration, flairs, carabiners and first aid kit in this area. I picked up a lot of good storage here that I had no previous access to.
My thinking has been, if I did finish work as I went along, it would never appear too daunting a task.Though you can’t see it well in this photo, here sits Shackleton with 4 coats of varnish on the inside. I use 2 coats of gloss, followed by 2 coats of satin. I much prefer the look of satin over the high gloss. The reason I start with 2 coats of high gloss is that I have read (and tend to believe) that high gloss is more durable. So, I start with the gloss and end with the satin, for the best of both worlds.Seat cutouts, finished and drilled to receive hatch.Hatches installed using a generous bead of 100% silicone around the bottom flange. I worried for some time that the hatches would be uncomfortable to sit on, but I believe they are going to be just fine. Starboard hatch placed outboard of the CB slot. This will just barely lay open once the carlins and deck coaming are installed. Stir stick used to flush up the bulkhead even with the gunwales. Epoxied in place.I added a fillet along the top of the starboard gunwale where it meets the transom for proper alignment. The bulkheads need to be angled to better match the angle of the carlins. Port side carlins installed. This was a little tricky to do by myself. Another set of hands would have helped, but I worked through it. I also cut and installed a filler block at the bow transom to stiffen this area up a bit. It will also provide a nice place for me to attach a bow anchor line plate (not sure what they call those things).
I’m going to increase the size of the bulkhead/carlins fillets in a few hours and then let things get good and hard before removing the clamps. Lots of pressure; I’m afraid the carlins might want to pop off, hence the larger fillets to follow.
Then on to the Starboard side carlins.
I marked the 3″ fiberglass tape (used for the plank #2/3 joint) with a Sharpie before cutting and glueing in place. After all was cured, I noticed the Sharpie marks sticking out like a sore thumb. So, I decided to paint that section instead of sanding to remove the markings. I guess I’m getting a little lazy at this point in the build. However, I actually like the contrast between the brightwork and painted panels. This paint line is actually straight, but it looks bent due to the top line being curved and the hull flaring outward. At this point, I have finished painting all interior compartments up to their top line. It feels good to see some of the finish work being completed as I progress through the build.After trimming the seats to fit around the bulkheads (impossible to keep the BH’s perfectly vertical), I cut out for an access hatch between bulkhead 5-6. This is the only dry access hatch I am planning in the seat area. I will open up a wet access area between bulkhead 7-8 on both sides of Shackleton. I used some 3/8″ scrap ply to strengthen this area. I wrapped the plywood around the corner to better pick up the corner screws of the hatch. The opposite side of the cut-out will screw into the existing seat longitudinal cleating material. The forward and aft edges of the hatch areas have just over a 1″ span to the bulkhead cleating, hence I felt no need to reinforce these areas. I purchased these awesome seat hatches from Duckworks Magazine. They measures 24″ x 9″ and fit perfectly between bulkhead 5-6. I was happy to find a hatch that fit so well in this rather confined area. I’m hoping to have the seats installed by week end.
I’m not getting much cycling in these days. I’m up to 188 lb. instead of my 174 lb. cycling weight. But, I’m having a great time building this little micro cruiser. I have drooled over larger boats, even during this build. My first choice would be a Com Pac Eclipse. This would allow for convenient overnighters with the family. I may well buy one some time in the future, but Shackleton will be a great day sailor and a great trainer for me.
One of the things you need to decide along the way of building this boat is how and where to access the storage areas. After much thought and deliberation, I decided my hatches needed to do the following:
- First and foremost is convenient access. What, not waterproofness? That’s correct. I place the convenience factor as numero uno.
- Hinged as opposed to pop-off style. I don’t want to remove a door and place it somewhere before reaching into the hatch, so a hinge is important to me.
- Proud fit not flush. I want my hatches to sit on-top of, not down into the storage areas. My simple reasoning for this is to better prevent water intrusion. If the hatch sits proud of the hull, water needs to get up over the lip before it can drop down into the storage area. This may not be a benefit in a capsize, but may prove beneficial in an afternoon rain shower.
- Simple and easy to install. I’m a simple dude.
But doesn’t this style of hatch leak? Probably yes, but I’ve heard and read that all hatches leak. I figure, if I take on a little water, so be it. I’m hoping not to be in a capsize situation very often. If I am overly concerned about this, I can always pack my gear in waterproof river bags. I have a ton of those laying around because I also kayak and whitewater raft.
The hatches I choose were all purchase from Duckworks Magazine. They appear solid, simple and practical. The hinge is stainless and the overall appearance is one of quality.
This is just one way to skin this cat. Many others have utilized other methods and are very happy with their systems.
I’m still trying to decide what hatch to use on the seats. My concern is that the raised flange of this hatch may not be comfortable to sit on. So, I’m still undecided about seat hatches. Always more to think about.