When we first bought Summer Dance, the companionway hatch screeched like so many other older C22s. Over the years, the flanges on the sides of the hatch and the teak rails that they slide in wear down from use. The front edge of the hatch eventually scrapes against the cabin roof and/or the rails and makes a sound like fingernails on a blackboard, only louder. It’s not something that you want to put up with for long.
But we had higher priorities that first sailing season, like actually sailing, and not enough time to repair it correctly. So I jury-rigged a Quick and easy hatch fix that got us through the season. During this winter’s refit, it was time to do a proper repair.
The damage to the hatch flanges wasn’t as extensive as some I’ve seen. There were only a few minor cracks and chips. Mostly, the flanges were just thin so the repair didn’t need to involve laying up a thick layer of fiberglass. Instead, a simple build-up with epoxy would suffice and at a very stingy cost.
Masking tape. It’s not just for painting anymore
To prepare the surfaces, I used an abrasive mesh wheel in a drill to remove all paint and loose fiberglass where the epoxy would need to adhere. Then I wiped everything down well with Acetone.
To contain the epoxy, I wrapped masking tape around the outer and inner edges of each flange. I rubbed down half of the tape width on the hatch and left the other half of the width standing free. This made a simple mold that could easily be peeled off. Be sure to seal off the ends and not leave any gaps in the tape or the epoxy will run out.
Each flange takes 2 pumps each of resin and hardener to produce about 1/4″ of material. Pour the epoxy into the molds and use a mixing stick to spread it evenly down the full length of each flange.
After the epoxy has hardened completely, simply peel off the masking tape molds. The adhesive works like a mold release, leaving no paper behind.
The last step is to sand the edges flat and slightly rounded with 80 grit sandpaper on a hand-held belt sander or sanding block. No gel coat or painting needed.
I slid the repaired hatch into the newly refinished teak rails. At last, no more screeching.
The bottom line
Suggested price: $n/a
$tingy Sailor cost: $3
Have you had to repair your companionway hatch? How did it go?