|Kaholee Refit | December 18, 2006
Today, I worked for a few hours to cut holes for the four new aluminum deck hatches in the cockpit. I began with a 9" round hatch in the poop deck. Not only would this hatch provide valuable and comfortable access to the locker beneath, its installation was nearly required in order to reach the nuts securing the final bits of hardware on the deck, which had either been installed before the deck was mated with the hull during original construction (most likely), or by a much smaller person than I who could crawl into the lazarette through the original vertical access hatch in the cockpit. I simply couldn't reach these last nuts from this hatch.
After laying out the hatch, I cut the hole with a jigsaw, and was able to easily remove the remaining hardware. Then, I cut holes for three rectangular aluminum hatches in the cockpit: one on each cockpit seat, to provide access to the lockers beneath, and one in the cockpit sole to provide necessary access to the stuffing box, eventual fuel tank, and rear of the engine.
We decided some time ago that the original vertical access hatches in the cockpit well should be removed and filled in, as they were unsafe in offshore work and also were not very handy in terms of access to the valuable storage space in the cockpit lockers. A true conversion to top-loading locker lids would have been possible, but the labor required might have eaten up too much of the available time for the project. Instead, we decided to install rugged commercial-type waterproof aluminum hatches--straightforward to install, effective, and completely secure and watertight.
I didn't permanently install the hatches once the holes were cut, as there is much work ahead. But I left the hatches in their new openings so that the cockpit wasn't peppered with dangerous man-eating holes during ingress and egress.
Afterwards, I pumped out a bilge full of water that I had only just discovered, using first an electric sump pump and finally a sponge to get the remains. Then, I set up some equipment and materials to prepare for the next task ahead: sanding and preparing the interior and decks for paint and additional work.
Total Time on This Job Today: 2.75 hours