Main keyhole hatch
Unlike the production boats, A1 does not have a sliding hatchway in the companion way from the cockpit into the fore cabin. It’s more of a shimmy through the keyhole beneath the shallow blister where the mast step is mounted. The aft cabin does have a sliding hatch and there is a circular hatch right forward on the fore deck.
Sliding aft cabin hatch
The aft cabin hatch was pretty good – in need of some TLC but basically sound, and it has come up looking quite well. I’ve been told that it’s very lightweight compared to the hatches on production boats.
The fore deck hatch was a different matter and needed a lot of attention. The coaming, made up of veneers, was in reasonably shape but benefitted by the judicious use of epoxy to strengthen it up. The circular panel was in very poor state with much of it rotted away completely. The wooden block, attached to the aft side of the hatch, to which the hinges are attached, was also pretty far gone.
I cut two discs of 6 mm ply and glued them together at right angles to form the new circular panel. The panel fitted into the existing coaming and a further layer of 3 mm veneer was glued to the outside to tidy up the coaming. I would have liked to introduce a dome effect in the new panel to facilitate the shedding of standing water, but couldn’t work out a simple method of achieving this. I’ll have to keep an eye on the panel. The existing handle underneath the hatch was good and was glued and screwed in place. I was able to find a piece of mahogany the right thickness for the hinge block and this was shaped and glued into position.
The hatch closes onto a coaming sticking up proud of the fore deck. This coaming, whilst sound had suffered a lot of wear and tear over the years and has to be beefed up.
All in all, it looks fine. The securing catches crumbled away, so new replacement catches will have to be sourced.