Coaming and Hatches

When we last checked in with our boat-builder in December 2007, she had trimmed all the excess glass off the deck. Before completely abandoning the boat in favor of studying for the PMP (Project Management Professional) certification exam, she shaped the coaming wall.

To do this, one sets the pre-formed coaming wall that came with the kit, in the position on the cockpit recess where (ideally) it will come to rest. Once it's taped down, one takes a compass (remember those?) and - starting at the biggest gap somewhere around the middle - scribes the contour of the recess onto the coaming wall. The coaming wall is then cut with a Japanese pull-saw along the contour line. This was then firmly taped to the deck for about six weeks. (The forms were also put into the hull, so that the shape would be held while someone had her nose in a book. Well, several books. Oh, and I passed on Feb. 4.)

February 11 - this evening I marked along the INSIDE of the coaming wall with a fine-point Sharpie pen, then used a combination of Dremel tool and pull-saw to cut out the area for the coaming wall. I intentionally left it small, prefering to fine-tune the fit rather than risk having the opening be too big on the first try. Once the main area was cut, I again taped the coaming wall in place, and - using that nice sharp point on the compass - etched a line along the outside of the coaming wall. I've sanded about one third of the opening to this etched line.

February 12 - the recess is trimmed back, and the coaming wall fits tightly. (That's not the final contour... the height of the wall fore and aft is about right, but the sides will get trimmed down quite a bit.) Next up - laminating the strips for the coaming lip.

February 13 - all 12 strips for the coaming lip were laminated with thickened epoxy, then clamped onto the coaming wall. That was just all kinds of fun. Note to self: might have been easier with two people!

February 18 - after the lamination had set, it was removed from the coaming wall and planed down to 1/4". It was then fitted around the wall again, so that the front edges could be cut.

Once everything was fitted and trimmed, it was time to attach the coaming lip to the wall. I cut a bunch of 3/4" wide blocks to use as spacers between the cockpit recess and coaming lip. Those were hot-glued onto the boat (wrapped in blue tape, on top of blue tape). Thickened epoxy was applied to the inside edge of the coaming lip, and it was clamped to the coaming wall.

February 22 - last night, I planed down the top edge of the coaming assembly, then whipped up a nice batch of shmutz thickened with milled glass fibers and a touch of sanding dust for a fillet on the underside. That should be set up nicely by Saturday, so I can epoxy the coaming assembly to the deck.

February 25 - over the weekend, the coaming assembly was epoxied to the recess with more schmutz. After curing a bit, the clamps and blocks were removed. Tonight, I flipped the deck and filled in any gaps between the coaming wall and the recess cutout with more schmutz.

April 6 - let's get caught up since my last foot surgery on March 4, shall we? Prior to surgery, the coaming lip and wall were glassed, after the knee braces were attached:

Once I was able to get back in the basement, I trimmed the glass off the braces, and then glassed the underside. This weekend, I cut the hatches. Weapons of destruction: 1/16" drill bit for the pilot hole, and a keyhole saw. After scribing the outline of the hatch template with a utility knife, it was time to cut holes in my boat.

April 12 - this past week was spent attaching scrap strip pieces to the underside of the deck, to form a lip for the hatch lid. Once all strips were adhered with schmutz, they were left to cure for two days. The very ends were tapered down the the deck with a Dremel tool, then final sanded with the ROS. More schmutz was added to smooth out the transition in preparation for glassing. As usual, click to enbiggen.

May 20 - lots of little details done in the past month. After spending two weeks trying to figure out how to avoid adding another layer of strips for the hatch recess, I ended up doing it anyway. Once on, it was sanded and glassed underneath, and sealed with epoxy on top. A friend made the "hook arms" for the inside of the hatch lids. (Thanks, Curtis!) The small "balls" will anchor the ends of the hatch lid tethers - there are matching ones on the underside of the deck also. The same pieces will be used on the inside of the hull to anchor the bungee for the hatch lid closures, but I won't place those until the deck and hull are joined. Also done: the posts for the footrails are epoxied on (and the rails FIT); they've since been reinforced with two layers of glass. And, slots for the soft padeyes have been cut into the deck, filled with schmutz and reinforced on the back with two layers of glass for each one. Once the schmutz cures, another slot will be cut inside it to insert the padeyes. I'll have to do the far two at the bow and stern before joining or I won't be able to reach them. As usual, click to make big.

No more excuses - on to joining deck and hull!