Hatch Refit Finish Line, Cheap as Usual

It’s time to update this blog and we have so much going on at one time that I have a hard time knowing what to report about and what to just skip over. We hit the ground running when we got back from the long trip this summer. August was completely dominated by the clearing out and big sale. The week after that we moved half of our furniture up to Andrew’s place in Bellingham.

How did all of this fit into our house?

How did all of this fit into our house?

Once that was done, it was as though a clogged drain had been cleared. The energy vortex around the whole ‘getting the house ready to rent’ issue went into overdrive.  Rooms are being reclaimed for bedrooms, walls are being painted, molding is being finished up, and gardens are being seriously downsized. This is taking almost my entire focus and almost all of my time, hence this blog has been neglected. I get up every day asking myself, ‘what will I clear out today’, rather than my usual ‘What will I write about today’.

We have a dining room once more. It's ready to go.

We have a dining room once more. It’s ready to go. Except those plates over the door are now gone. I keep finding new things to get rid of.

Meanwhile, Galapagos has not exactly languished in her slip. Mike has taken her out once or twice, and we’ve been continuing to do some projects aboard. But let me tell you this: it is really hard to work on a boat and a house at the same time, considering that we still work at paying jobs, and that there are still only 24 hours in a day. We were both hoping to get in some fall sailing, maybe a trip to a nice anchorage or something. But it’s not going to happen. Anyway,  within the year we’ll be living aboard and I’ll have plenty of time to be in anchorages, quiet or otherwise. For now, there is too much work to do.

We did complete the replacing of the hatch lenses and we are very happy with the outcome. The last time we checked in about this project, we were in the midst of removing the (Gaasp!) silicone from the hatches, doing our own little research about what works best to get those last little microscopic bits of silicone to release their deathgrip on aluminum. I’ll tell you what works best: elbow grease and razor blades. It’s the only way. But in term of products, that Boat Life ‘Release’ is the way to go. Unfortunately, we ran out of it, so we bought something called Contractors’ Solvent. It was not nearly as efficient as the Boat Life ‘Release’, but it did work and we were very close to being finished by the time we ran out of the Boat Life stuff. I’m going to go ahead and order a large bottle of this stuff just to have on hand in case we need it again.

Another product that helped with the tiny bits was this great sandpaper Mike found at the local Lowe’s. This stuff is great. It has a flexible backing that allows you to work in into small spaces with it tearing and is easier on the fingers than regular sand paper.  A combination of elbow grease, this sandpaper, the bronze wool I bought, razor blades, and the Contractor’s Solvent seemed to do the trick.

We also bought 220 grit.

To bed the overhead hatches, the ones that had been bedded in silicone, we chose to go with another silicone product since that had been holding for over 20 years and we were worried that a non-silicone product might not stick to the surface.  Mike bought GE Silicone II, a basic good quality silicone. Yes, we kind of made a deal with the devil here. We taped off the top edge, Mike laid down a heavy bead of the stuff and we dropped the lenses in. So far, they haven’t leaked a drop, even in very heavy rain. The true test will be when we go sailing a lot.

The cheap boat product, however, is the tape we found to use around the outside of the non-opening ports in the hull. These ports are screwed onto a heavy butyl rubber liner that is firmly attached to the hull. When we removed the crazed originals, this rubber liner was in very good condition, so we left it alone. The lens is screwed on, and the the seam and screw heads were covered with some kind of black material. You can see it in this photo.

The ‘before’ shot.

This stuff must have been original to our 1975 boat. It was so degraded from UV that we couldn’t tell what it was and it literally flaked off into my hand when I began removing it. I had no idea what to use to replace it. I wanted something like a tape because it needed to have crisp edges. I found the answer on FindTape.com; a beautiful butyl rubber tape by 3M that was designed specifically to stop leaks! Woo hoo! The Pro Tapes Pro Flex Patch & Shield Tape is described as “one of the heaviest, most aggressive sealing tapes available”. In addition, it came in several sizes and lengths. But what makes it a ‘cheap trick’ is the price: A 5 foot roll of the 2″ stuff for $3.31. I bought one roll for each of the ports.

Mike screws the new lens in place.

This is the best stuff since ice cream was invented. We love it. And we are sure this is going to work really well. It’s very sticky (so be sure you do it right the first time) and goes on easily and smoothly. The paper backing comes off cleanly. We think it was the perfect solution to sealing the seam on these ports. And we’ll just carry some extra rolls in case we need it for something else in the future. We think this stuff will be handy for any number of things.

Once on, the warmth of the hull smoothed out those edges.




5 thoughts on “Hatch Refit Finish Line, Cheap as Usual

  1. We know about working and getting a house ready (for sale in our case). It doesn’t leave much time for anything else! But, it’s all part of the process. Looks like you’re making tons of progress!

    • We really are, Cheryl. I remember all your posts about trying to do both. In our case, we deferred projects around the house because we’ve been focusing on Galapagos for the last two years. We are paying for that now, but the good news is that our house is feeling better and better.

  2. Pingback: Temporary Holding Tank Fix | Little Cunning Plan

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