In an earlier post, I mentioned ordering Ocean Series Hatches. What I did not mention was that they were made by Lewmar and I got a really good price on them, especially since I got that FREE shipping thing. Now it was time to go to work installing them.
Carl and I both worked full time jobs on St. Thomas and it was very rare that we got days off together. So we each took on parts of the refit that we felt comfortable doing. I had taken on the installation of the hatches.
We brought La Creole into the marina, something that doesn’t happen often, because we thought it would make things easier. There is a marine store on the Crown Bay property and if I needed anything, it would be right there. Turns out, I did, a new Head for the aft cabin but, that’s another story.
There were four hatches to be replaced and so I dove right in. Starting with the forward hatch, because it leaked the most, I started tearing it out. Now that the old hatch was out, I needed to fill all the old screw holes with epoxy, clean and sand the surface where the new hatch would go and oh yea, paint it.
All this was going on in the summer when the marina is not quite as full, although there were still several mega yachts around us and a lot of locals who came in for the summer rates. One yacht Captain in particular, berthed right next to us came by quite often to check on my progress. The Captain also mentioned several times that he always dreamed of the cruising life and asked Carl and I many questions about our lifestyle. Actually, Carl and I wanted to know more about his lifestyle. I bet he doesn’t have to install hatches!
While waiting for the paint to dry, I decided to buy a new Head for the aft cabin. The old one wasn’t working properly and a rebuild kit costs slightly less than a new Head. Out came the old one and the new one went in pretty painlessly.
With the paint dry, it was back to the hatch installation. The dry fit went well, a perfect fit and so I caulked and screwed in the new hatch. Aaaah.
Now it was on to the aft cabin to replace that hatch. Again, tore off the old one, filled in the holes, cleaned sanded and painted. The dry fit didn’t go quite as well because the hatch was slightly bigger than the opening. Now I had to dremel a divot into the fiberglass so that the latch could turn with enough clearance to close properly.
Our time in the marina was up. We moved back out to our mooring and the remaining two hatches would have to wait until my next weekend off. The weekend came soon enough and the remaining two hatches were installed with the help of Jamie, on the catamaran Kookaburra. They are on the mooring right next to us and very good friends.