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How to Remove and Install Hatches and Portlights

Hatches and portlights should be fitted to a flat surface with a maximum tolerance of +/- 1mm. For decks of composite construction, it's recommended that the exposed laminate be sealed with the appropriate material prior to fitting the hatch. Openings in metal decks should have all burs and sharp edges removed. It’s recommended that the lower frame of the hatch is suitably insulated from the deck if there is a possibility of electrolytic corrosion with the aluminum frame of the hatch.

Hatches and portlights should not be considered as stiffening members and it is recommended that the deck be adequately stiffened to prevent distortion during heavy weather. Cutting holes in the deck and hull can compromise the structural integrity of the boat. If in doubt, consult a competent yacht designer or surveyor.

Hatches

Hatches should not be opened and closed more than necessary until the lower frame has been securely mounted to the deck. Hatches may be fitted to decks of any thickness. However, on thinner decks, the flange in the lower frame may intrude into the cabin. If a Trimkit is being fitted the size of the hole cut out in the boat must be increased by 3mm. Hatch lids have to be opened past 90 degrees in order to fasten the hatch to the deck. If an obstruction stops the hatch opening this far it will not be possible to fit it. When a hatch is fully open the lid should come to rest so that it is supported near the edge with the handles. If this is not the case, and the lid is supported near the hinges, the leverage on the lid may cause the hatch to be damaged.

Portlights

Portlights have a maximum and minimum deck thickness to which they may be fitted. Portlights fitted to hulls approaching the maximum deck thickness may have restricted opening. Portlights require different fastenings to suit different deck thicknesses. If the fastenings supplied with the portlight do not suit your hull thickness it will be necessary to order the required fastenings separately.

Tools Checklist

  • Bedding compound and application gun (silicone)
  • Fastenings (supplied with portlights)
  • Power drill and set of drill bits
  • Jigsaw
  • Screwdrivers, Allen keys, spanners depending on product
  • Compass (for making hatch radii)
  • Felt tip pen
  • Ruler
  • HATCH REMOVAL AND INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS
    -Removal of Existing Hatch

    To ease delamination and associated damage to the deck, great care should be taken when removing the lower frame.

    1. Make a bridge of wood over the corner of the hatch frame. Take care to protect the deck by placing cardboard or carpet under the feet of the bridge. Place a second piece of wood under the boat’s inside hatch frame, across the same corner as the bridge. It may be necessary to make a miter joint in the second piece of wood to ensure contact is only made with the hatch’s lower frame.

    2. Use a G clamp to pull the second piece of wood upwards towards the bridge. This will start to lift the lower frame off the deck.

    3. As soon as the frame has lifted by a few millimeters use a sharp, thin-bladed knife to cut the bedding compound between the frame and deck. Prior to fitting the new hatch ensure all the old sealant has been removed and the old fastening holes have been filled.

    -Retro Hatch Fitting - Mark the Cut Out

    Before marking up the hatch cut out area ensure it is being fitted to a flat surface (+/- 1mm).

    4. Mark the cut out dimensions of the hatch onto the deck. Remember, if a trim is being fitted it will be necessary to increase the cut out by the amount stated.

    5. Offer the hatch up to the marked out dimensions to check the accuracy.

    -Cut and Drill

    Take care to avoid any power cables, gas pipes or other services. Please ensure that you use the appropriate safety equipment such as electrical power breakers and safety glasses.

    6. Drill a hole for the jigsaw blade on the waste side of the cut line.

    7. Use a jigsaw to cut the aperture through the boat. It may be necessary to cut or remove the headlining.

    8. Alternatively, a hole cutter that matches the corner radii may be used to cut the corners.

    9. Test fit the hatch before applying sealant.

    10. While the hatch is in place mark the lower frame fixing holes.

    11. With the hatch removed from the deck drill all fastening holes. The hinges should be through-bolted while self-tapping screws can be used for fitting the remainder of the frame.

    -Bed Down and Seal

    When you are entirely happy with the installation of the hatch. Apply a generous bead of bedding compound all the way around the frame where it is in contact with the deck.

    12. Apply sealant to both sides of the fastening holes on the hatch frame. If replacing an existing hatch, fill any old fixing holes with sealant.

    13. Refit the hatch to the deck. Around the hatch frame, a small amount of bedding compound should be forced out of the gap between the frame and deck. Fasten the lower frame to the deck.

    14. The hatch should be through-bolted in the hinge areas, while self-tapping screws can be used for fitting the remainder of the lower frame to the deck sheet.

    15. Clean up excess bedding compound. Finished hatch installation.

    PORTLIGHT INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS
    -Mark The Cut Out

    1. Cut out the template provided and check it is accurate by placing it over the back of the portlight. Portlights should be fitted to a flat surface (+/- 1mm.) Tape the template to the boat and mark the cut line.

    -Cut and Drill

    Take care to avoid any power cables, gas pipes or other services. Please ensure that you use the appropriate safety equipment such as electrical power breakers and safety glasses.

    2. Drill a hole for the jigsaw blade on the waste side of the cut line.

    3. Use the jigsaw to cut the aperture through the boat.

    4. It may be necessary to cut or remove the headlining.

    -Test Fit

    5. Portlights are fitted by clamping the outer frame against the deck using the inner frame inside the boat.

    6. Test fit the portlight and clamp ring before applying sealant.

    -Bed Down and Seal

    If you are replacing an old portlight, fill any old fixing holes with sealant.

    7. When you are entirely happy with the installation of the portlight, remove and set it aside. Apply a generous bead of bedding compound all the way around the frame where it is in contact with the deck.

    8. Refit the portlight to the boat. A small amount of bedding compound should be forced out of the gap between the frame and the deck the whole way around the frame.

    9. Clamp the outer frame to the inner frame with the fixings enclosed. Ensure the fixing threads are greased.

    10. Clean up the excess bedding compound. Finished portlight installation.

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