Sorry that the blog has been a little uneventful lately, work has been very busy and as hard as it is, work has to take priority because without it we would not have the resources to work on the boat at all!
Trips out to the boat have mainly been to make sure that the winter cover is still in one piece and functioning. We’ve had very high, gusty winds and its been a challenge to keep it all together. I’m happy to report that after some initial mishap the rain is now staying off the boat! Unfortunately that says little for our balsa core which has stubbornly refused to dry out at all. I’m still getting 25% to 100% humidity readings in some spots which is a bit frustrating.
One fantastic development is the completion of our first hatch!!! It is immensely satisfying to have completed a project that at first I deemed fit only for the professionals (see “Overhead Hatches”). I am happy to say that, while our hatch is far from new (its older than we are!!) it is beautiful and ready for a gale! I think maybe if we had sent it off at the expense of over $1,000 it would have arrived looking more “like new” than it does but at the $276 that we ended up spending I feel very good about it! (plus I secretly want our boat to look like a tried and true battleship from the outside once we are done – exterior finishing will be minimal and we are keeping the hull grey.)
So, after all the cleaning (see “Hatches Coming Along”) I masked off the aluminum around where the sealant would be:
Then applied Dow Corning 795 where the acrylic would be bedded:
I ever so carefully laid the acrylic down into the bedding making sure to keep the space even on all sides and let the weight of the acrylic press itself down to lay gently on the spacers built into the frame. After removing the masking tape which, unexpectedly, was probably the hardest part we had a proper hatch again!
The last step was fitting the new gasket material (also outlined in “Overhead Hatches”) which was relatively simple. I laid the gasket material in place and cut it to the approximate size needed. Then I laid a bead of Dow Corning 795 and spread it out with my finger:
After that I carefully laid the gasket material back in place pressing down as I went along. I cut the material at a bit of an angle so that it would cross over itself a bit when sealing:
And here we have the final product!
The seam worked out better than expected and can hardly be seen even up close:
After all was said and done I closed the hatch up and will let the sealant cure and the seal take shape (it actually conforms to the shape of the aluminum after being pressed in place). Dow Corning 795 does not dry out but cures with humidity and can take weeks and weeks to cure fully so I am just going to leave the hatch alone for a few weeks before re-installing it on the boat so I don’t accidentally fall though the cabin-top one of these days!
One side note: we decided to go with clear acrylic by preference but do realize that it can be a bit warmer than tinted acrylic. We are going to make a set of interior shades to combat the heat when we desire. I could have gone either way, clear or tinted. But I am glad that we ended up with the clear in the end.