Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sealing Bomar hatch leaks

Eolian does not have this kind of hatch.  But if your boat does, then Drew over at Sail Delmarva has these tips for you:
A wet bunk is just too much like camping out, so last weekend I fixed a few nagging leaks. Nothing, until a  torrential down pour strikes, and then more than you want to deal with, several dripping at once. A few lessons learned:
  • Clean the sealing area. Particularly on the sloped hatches over the aft cabins, most leaks are actually caused by trash caught in the gasket area. Simple hose out and wipe with a cloth periodically. You may not need a new gasket.
  • Replace the o-rings in the latches. Very easy and the cause of most minor leaks. Only a few minutes and no easy way to it screw up. If you decide to replace the gaskets, you need to remove the latches for working room anyway. Additionally, the increased pressure on the latches caused by new gaskets is know to cause leaks when old o-rings are recycled, so just replace them now.
  • Defender sells the gasket material for the low-profile hatches used on the PDQs. You buy it by the foot and cut to fit, so there is less waste and it is cheaper than West Marine if you are doing several hatches.
  • Standard "Goop" is a suitable adhesive for the Bomar gasket material (gluing the ends together--they are not glued in place). Trim with a razor and press the ends together. Close the hatch to dry (wax paper on the rim). The instructions said Super Glue, which is neater, but I was out. I have used both before (making o-rings at work) and they both work.
  • Place the cut on the down-hill side. Obviously.
  • If you ever replace the lenses, don't get sealant on the gasket. The sealant should only be between the lens and frame on the edge, and not much excess below the lens. Center the lens first, then inject the sealant, rather than placing the sealant and then dropping the lens in place.
  • Try to place the gasket under slight compression; they shrink over time and will tend to pull away in the corners. No doubt you figured this out.
  • Lube with water and a trace of dish washing soap to make it easier to slide in. A dull dinner knife tip can help shove the tab in the last bit.
About 20 minutes each. A little hard on the fingers, so do only a few each day.  Not bad.

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