Re: Hatch door repair

Karen Smith

This topic come around about every year, I think!

Actually, the companionway vertical door most certainly can be removed, and without raising the dodger.  Ours is out right now for renewal of its varnish. Once you make a minor modification to the woodwork, removing it for maintenance is easy from then on.  For me, any reveneering  or even just refinishing job, done without removing the door from its tracks would be a half job.  Here is how it is done:

Using a very fine saw (a fine tooth blade in an oscillating multi tool like a Fein works well) cut off the inside of the track on the starboard side. Once the track is opened, the door can easily be removed for proper veneering or painting, or varnish, or whatever.  If this step is beyond your woodworking tools or skills, it’s worth hiring a good marine carpenter to do it for you.

Before cutting, remove  the screws that go into the wood from the cockpit, or you’ll have to cut through them. Not impossible, but annoying.

This part of the door track can be reattached with spacers of wood, plastic or metal to make up for the saw kerf. We installed ours with flush flat head screws we left visible on the inside, but you certainly could countersink and plug them if you wanted them hidden.  To keep the hatch as waterproof as it started you can run a bead of brown colored silicone to seal the saw kerf as you put it back together.  Although short of filling the cockpit with water, it would not make much difference.  Done with a bit of care, the whole process ends up being quite invisible to any but the most fastidious inspection.

We had a post about this some time ago with pictures. Here is a relink to it:

Giving credit where credit is due, this way of dealing with the companionway came as a suggestion from Joel Potter.

Bill Kinney
Annapolis MD.

Join to automatically receive all group messages.