Rebedding the Hatches


I have been chasing a leak in the V-berth and the Saloon for 3.5 years. I have reduced the leak substantially but not stopped it. In an attempt to stop the leak I have:

    1. Rebedded the Port lights in the V-berth
    2. Removed, repaired water damage, and replaced the track for the staysail
    3. Rebedded the staysail club foot.
    4. Rebedded the hand rails (they should be replaced).
    5. Rebedded the stanchions
    6. Rebedded the eyebrow trim on the cabin top
    7. Removed, repaired water damage, rebedded the dorade boxes

Still the leak on the starboard side of the V-berth persists.

I have decided to remove and rebed the hatches and stanchions (one more time)

First step is to remove the hatches. This is a slow a tedious task.

Removing the hatch using a screw driver, pry bar, and a putty knife.

Using a screw driver that was roughly the same size as the hatch pins, I was able raise one corner of the hatch frame. Once raised, I used a putty knife to cut the silicone that was stretched between the deck & the hatch.

Anytime I used a lot of force, I made sure that the lifting forces were as close as possible to the hatch hinge to minimize torquing thus reducing the chance of breaking the hinge casting.

Using a large screw driver as the fulcrum, I was able to easily adjust the moment arm for either lifting distance or lifting power.

As I move a way from my lifting point I used the screw driver to hold the hatch frame off of the deck so I could easily cut the silicone.

Once the hatches were removed I saw for the first time an interesting feature of our boat. Pearson installed wood only on the four sides of the hatch opening between the deck and liner. This left the corners with nothing for the screw to bite into. I will be installing larger screws when putting the hatches back on Sea Dragon.

Aft Hatch

Forward Hatch (Notice the space between the liner & deck)

Once the hatch was out, I spent several hours cleaning all of the silicone off of the hatch frames.

Here I used a putty knife and wire brush chucked into a power drill.

Look mom no silicone.....

I know..... I should have repainted the frames while I had them out of the boat....

Once the hatch was removed, there remained a heavy coat of silicone. I first used a single edge razor blade to cut most of the silicone from the deck. Next came the 3M stripping pad. Several quick swipes with the pad left the surface clean and smooth.

Finally, I use a little acetone to remove any dust, wax, or sealant. Below is the deck ready for reinstalling the hatch.


Deck clean up was slow and labor intensive but required few tools.

A little research and I found that Bomar no longer recommends bedding their hatches with traditional bedding compounds. Instead they recommend a special tape available from... you guessed it .... Bomar. At $49.00 per roll, how could I go wrong.
The tape is mushy material that has an adhesive on one side. The adhesive side also has a nylon string mesh, I assume for strength.
The tape was surprisingly easy to apply. It is a little messy, but strong and easily molded to the hatch frame. Radiuses were no problem.
Next the hatch was set in place and all of the screws aligned with their holes. I simply pushed the screws through tape.

I then worked around the hatch always tightening one screw then moving to the screw on the far side along the diagonal.

Then working around the hatch in circle to ensure that the hatch is pull into place evenly.

           This process was repeated until all of the hatch screws were tight enough to force the tape out from between the hatch and deck.

Once again, out came my trusty razor blade and trimmed the excess tape to produce a nice clean finish.

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Copyright 2006 Garner Bennett. All Rights Reserved