Shearwater Hatch Question


On the Shearwater (Sectional) does the hatch cut outs go as far as the shear panel or stop short.

The pictures on page 44/45 seem to show a small strip of deck between the hatch cut out and the shear panels. But then the drawings on page 60 show the hatch extending fully to the shear panel? 

The picture on page 65 does seem to infer the hatch goes to the shear panel fully. 

Are the cut outs different fwd and aft? (Refering to thier relationship with the shear panels - not actual size)

I suspect the hatches do extend to the shear panels - but this is deffinately a measure twice cut once situation......



9 replies:

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RE: Shearwater Hatch Question


the hatch tops go out to the shear panels - both the front and back hatches.

i don't have a manual like you have so i can't check the page numbers, but i think what you may be seeing (or getting confused about) is the hatch sill - which is the lowest piece in the hatch construction on the deck.  the sill creates approximately a 3/4 inch smaller outline the hatch compared to the hatch top.  and this sill is where the gasket goes so that when you press the hatch top into it, you have a water-tight hatch.

on the shear water you cut the hatch yourself.  the hatch spacer comes next (the inner dimension is used as the pattern for the hatch..and the outer dimension is bigger than the hatch, and then next the hatch sill whose inner dimension is smaller than the hatch and outer dimension is bigger than the hatch.  its important to look at these pieces all togehther as it does get a bit confusing.

anyway....hope that helps....



RE: Shearwater Hatch Question


I figured they extended  - but just wanted to make sure. 

RE: Shearwater Hatch Question

 Hope it's ok to hop on this older thread --  


is there a trick to fitting the front sill and spacer assembly into the hole you've cut?  The outside of the sill is, by definition larger than the hole.  In the rear, there's lots of room to go in at the angle and rotate the assembly around, but the front hatch doesn't seem to have enough space to make it fit.  Am I missing something obvious?

RE: Shearwater Hatch Question

If you are saying that you secured the deck to the hull prior to cutting/building out the hatches, then you have an order of operation problem.

in shearwater builds you cut the hatches and do all this work prior to taping the deck to the hull (or at least that is what i did).  so the pieces simply come in from the back and not inserted through the hatch itself.

if that's what you did, you can recover by cutting the pieces in half  (symetrically) along the access of the front to back of the boat.  you will then be able to get the pieces in but will have to build out the hatch sort of blind.  but it is not that hard to do and is in no way catasrophic.   do make sure to coat the pieces well with epoxy to ensure your work does not expose and uncoated wood to water.

apologies if i misunderstood your question...i read it twice carefully before replying.




RE: Shearwater Hatch Question

In the shearwater sectional manual, it's very clear that you cut the hatches after you tack weld the seam between the hull and the deck, and then install the hatch rims after the whole boat has been glassed.  I did manage to figure out an angle at which it is possible to get the hatch sill into the boat...

RE: Shearwater Hatch Question

excellent, glad it worked out.

there are places that you can change the order of apologies if my remarks created any panic. when you said it wouldn't fit, i took that as defnitive, so happy there was a twist to it.

fwiw, hatches is one of the areas, that after a lot of experience building, i try to execute before the deck is attached if the construction technique of the particular boat can accomodate it (e.g., it does not work on chesapeakes for example).   it's just a lot easier to to do a nice clean job with the hatches when you can see the backside.

here is the picture of my shearwater 17 under construction.....

so in this assembly order, the hatches were cut and the work done after the tack welding of th deck pieces.  after this picture was taken, the fillets were placed (between the blue tape) and then the internal of the deck was glassed.....and then eventually secured to the hull.

the following you-tube video shows the same order described above....

but this video from a CLC class on building, they do the hatches after the hull and deck are assembled:

my perspective is its a lot easier to ensure that everything is clean and coated with epoxy to ensure its waterproof when you do it before but you can clearly do it afterwards as well.


RE: Shearwater Hatch Question

   Ok, more hatch questions.

The manual for the Shearwater Sport Sectional doesn't seem to include instructions for how to install the rubber gasket and the hatch toggles.  (I"m not up to that stage yet, but am working on fitting the sill into the hatch space, and am trying to decide whether I need to take off more material still...) 

Does someone have instructions they can share?  Or pictures?  Does the gasket get attached to to the sill or to the lid?

Are they added at the very end, after everything is varnished?

RE: Shearwater Hatch Question

Hi ELB, 

on the shearwaters, the gasket goes on the hatch itself.

you will notice in the construction that on top of the hatch sill is a little hatch lip that the gasket (on the hatch) gets pressed into creating super-tight/water tight compartments that work really well if built as recommended.


there is a good build video on CLC site at this link:  

its a short time lapse....but gives a good sense of how this is done.


RE: Shearwater Hatch Question

   As a retired Saab mechanic I couldn't help but notice the ruby red 900 convertible in the driveway :-)

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