Monday, August 1, 2011

The Main Hatch

I figured that with an unproven, homemade boat design, it would be important to have a watertight hatch with some sort of positive locking mechanism.  The first thing I did was to bond a ringframe around the opening.  This would provide the hatch with a nice area to recess into.

I built the hatch out of 3/8 plywood covered on both sides with a couple layers of carbon fiber.  This was to make it stiff and strong and to keep it from warping. (plus I just think CF looks cool!)  While I was at it, I also built the support beam for the traveller.  It is a ply U-beam which I also covered in layers of carbon. 

The hatch fit really nicely.  I then bonded an rubber seal around the inside perimeter of the hatch.  When the hatch is closed, the seal is compressed providing an excellent seal.  Later I changed out the hinges for ones that slip apart allowing for easy removal and stowage of the hatch
I also changed the hatch handles a bit.  The new ones seem to work really well.  I'm pretty sure that with this settup I should be able to lock things up pretty tightly if things start getting a bit sketchy out on the water!


Eric Kittell said...

I'm wondering if you've had a chance to test that hatch out in a capsize

Shannon Buys said...

Nope..the boat has gotten knocked down pretty good, but the water never gets anywhere near the hatch. I have experimented and sprayed it with the water hose and it keeps thing dry. I'm sure it's not completely waterproof if submerged.. but hopefully it would slow the ingress of water while we solve the capsize issue. The boat now has enough foam inside that it shouldn't sink even if it fills with water and I have also added a manual bilge pump in the cockpit to pump things out afterwards. Hopefully we never capsize!