Fiberglass hatch rim repair HELP

-- Last Updated: Mar-13-09 5:57 AM EST --

I just purchased a used Wilderness Systems Sealution XL in fiberglass. They boat has it's share of scratches, gel coat hairline cracks, and wear marks, but it is plenty seaworthy.
The worst part of the boat is the fact that roughly 1/3 of the bow hatch rim is broken off. It appears that the rim is a separate piece that was fitted to the boat originally. It's all black, and appears to be plastic, but not riveted on.
Is there a rivet-on repair kit, or how should I proceed with the repair?
I stole this boat for $50 (asking price) so I don't mind having a professional repair done, but if there's a fix that I can do...I will.

I see three possible solutions.
The first, and probably the best, is to get a replacement rim from the company, and get from them instructions on how to remove the rest of the hatch rim and install the replacement.

The second option is to saw out, break out, or otherwise remove the broken rim, and then lay up a new rim. I’ve laid up an entire cockpit rim, and can tell you how to do hatch rim, but it’s a lot of details, too many to go into here when we don’t know whether you can exercise the first and best option. ALSO, a hand-laid rim tends to be uneven, which if not dealt with somehow, can mean a leaky hatch.

The third option, related to the second, is to get some Tygon tubing very close in size to the underside of the hatch rim, heat-gun it in place, and lay up just the third of the rim that is missing. But as with the second option, there will be difficulty getting an even surface that seals.

You can see that option number one is WAY more attractive. Give it a shot.

if by "broken off"
you mean actually cracked away and missing the above description is good.

If however you mean that the rim has detached itself from the deck then it’s much easier.

If the latter is the case some nice real epoxy (not the 2 minute one in syringes) and the repair should be a 1/2 job, even for the novice.

Mix up the epoxy and drip into the gap between rim and deck of kayak.

You could mix up some microfibre into the epoxy to thicken it and make it less runny.

Gently clamp and wait until it cures.

other hatches available
No need to get the original hatch rim for a repair. You can get rims and hatch covers from Valley or Kajaksport, and if the size is similar, it’ll be better than new. Just grind out the rest of the old rim, and glass in the new rim.

The piece is broken off, rather than cracked. I’ll be calling WS today to see if they happen to offer a replacement.

Thanks again!

Do you have the missing piece?
If not, you would grind off the rivets and replace the insert ring using Stainless nuts and bolts. Ask wilderness if there’s a gasket under it or just a marine sealant? It will be easy. to grind off the rivets, you can use a small grinding stone they sell for drills.

Don’t have the missing piece
The rim is epoxied in, not riveted. Talked to WS today, they no longer offer the replacement part.

Measure the dimensions of the rim
Both Valley and Kajaksport sell large oval hatches with pretty wide flanges on the bottom of the hatch rims. Perhaps the opening on your boat is similar enough in size to one or the other to be able to use one of their products as a replacement. If the current rim is epoxied in place, it will take a fair amount of sanding/grinding to remove it, but replacing it with a standard part will eliminate future problems finding replacement rims or hatch covers.

Another thought
If you cant replace the original hatch with something similar, you can always glass over the original opening, then make a cut-out for a 10" Kajak Sport or 8" Valley hatch. For that matter, you could use the less expensive Beckson hatches from your local marine supplier.