Leaking Hatches-cover fit shift

When I first bought my Sirius (used) my VCP hatch cover tucked in (with some difficulty) all the way around, and my hatches were bone dry. Now the cover tucks in neatly only about half way around. When the boat’s upside down (which is quite often as I roll alot) the water comes in and my hatch has been as much as 1/4 filled with water. This has been getting progressively worse over the course of the summer, and is making my camping trips soggier than I like. Am I right in thinking I have a major repair to look forward to or is there an easier fix? Nothing seems obviously loose.

Thanks for any advice,


Hatch cover dry?
VCP hatches can be awfully picky, but that’s odd behavior. Have you been maintaining the hatch cover with periodic applications of 303? I believe that VCP recommends it. Unless the hatch itself is quite dried out, I can’t imagine how this could happen unless there was some degradation in the rim of the hatch itself.

What is the condition of the part onto which the hatch cover fits? And the deck of the boat surrounding that part? Any deformities visible?

new hatch cover
And no visible deformities except that the way the hatch cover now fits is different than the way it fit before.

I thought my old hatch cover may have magically changed shape, so replaced it. Now I have 2 well treated (with 303) hatch covers and a wet boat.

Someone suggested creeping crack filler (no brand name known), but I’m concerned about the change in shape but can’t visualize how that could happen. There is some loose glass where the skeg cable is held in place but I figured that’s just surface stuff, and I did fill up the hatch with water and there was no leaking from the inside out, so that’s clearly not the problem.

I feel like I must be missing something. This boat repair stuff is new to me.


camping trips with inadequate flotation?
This sounds like driving on a tire with 15lbs of air but deciding it’s not worth putting air into it.

FYI, we’re talking bulkheads and trying to figure out how to fix a leak. Are you referring to the crack filler?

that’s not a fair comparison…
Lyn has bought new covers and treated them correctly and is looking for a proper fix to her problem. She is trying to identify the cause of the issue and fix it rather than just ignoring it.

Agreed, and hmmm
Best to focus on helping to fix this thing as the poster is doing… and this is a toughie!

VCP hatches tend to want to catch kinda twice. I wonder if the first catch is OK, but the second catch isn’t due to some harder to see problem on the rim of the hatch. Not an obvious deformity, but still not quite right, so maybe really wet activities like rolling could allow some water in?

Is the plastic of the hatch rim dry or cracked anywhere around the upper edge or side?

for your help and for defending my honor (grin).

I haven’t seen anything obvious. There was some cracked glass (I lost some blood over that) at the area where the skeg cable is held together, but it appears to be superficial.

I just spoke to my favorite kayak guru and he thinks it’s coming in thru the skeg slider. He suggested I do the same upside down test, but duct tape the slider and see if that keeps the water out. I’m praying that’s the cause; if not, I suspect I have a big job on my hands.


I was misreading your problem solving process. Have you filled the bulkheads with water to see where it leaks out?

Yes, but
I didn’t try it upside down though, another suggestion by aforementioned guru, though he said if I didn’t see anything it wouldn’t be conclusive.

Thanks, apology accepted!


it’s frustrating
I’m surprised how expensive VCP hatches are to replace,on the Chathams I got I’ve been slathering them with 303.

up to 12 years
Supposedly, Valley hatch covers will last up to 12 years with proper care.

On Valley boats, the rim is set in so that there is an additional seal not usually present when other manufacturers use Valley hatch covers.Compare any Chatham to a Valley boat and you will notice this. Even without the aditional seal, VCP covers tend to be very reliable.

All the P&H boats I’ve seen for years have had Kajak-Sport hatch covers. The Sirius in question must be truly vintage.

The day hatch
has a Kajaksport cover, but the front and back hatch are VCP.

As I said earlier, though I’m starting to doubt my memory, the cover fit very snuggly around the whole perimeter of the hatch. Now only one half of the cover does ‘tuck in.’

It seems impossible, I know, but the change in ‘fit’ correlates with the leak, at least in my foggy mind.

Maybe I’ll go down to the pier today and find out it’s all coming in thru the skeg slider. That would be a trade-off…easier repair but I’m losing my mind.


BTW, I think I now have 2 perfectly good rear hatch covers. I do treat them well, but the temptation to look for the easiest solution was irresistible.

tuck in
Yes, the ‘tuck-in’ (good term)is what I was referring to. It is rare for a non-Valley boat to accommodate full tuck-in of Valley hatch covers. If your Sirius did before and no longer does, it is not the cover. In any case, friends with Valley hatch covers on non-Valley boats seem to have dry compartments even without the full ‘tuck-in.’

Skeg boxes and channels for skeg cables seem to be a common source of leaks. I hope your leak is an easy fix

2 additional tips
for the VCP hatch covers. I have found the oval ones sometimes sit and fit better in one direction over the other. Once sorted, I just tether it from its external loop to some point on the boat forcing it to align only one way.

The other big help is to round off the lower and outer hatch edge to allow it to slip and fit into the hatch recess without affecting the seal. Trim it with a sharp knife and then some 120 or grit sandpaper to an even radius.

Then 303 inside lip as well.

Can you clarify?
I’m not clear on what you are saying. Glass repair is very new to me so I’m a bit timid about things. OK at patching but reshaping the hatch makes me nervous without a bit more information. Also, if I blow it, is this a piece that can easily be replaced (which, if it’s not the skeg cable may be necessary anyway).

Thanks to you and everyone for your help so far. I ended up working too late to get to the pier, but am going tonight and will post my findings.


Possible option
FWIW - My previous boat had a major hatch leakage that resembled yours. The manufacturer came up with a “fix” that included simply putting a foam tape gasket around the hatch rim (just under it). This solution, while a bit bizarre, worked just fine. I wasn’t crazy about it at first as it seemed the hatches didn’t do that snap or click when they were put on. But, it worked and kept the water out.

You can pickup 1/2" waterproof foam tape at Home Depot that has a sticky side. Stretch it a little bit when you are putting it on and then test it out. If it doesn’t work, then you will only be out about $3.00 for the tape.

Hope this helps.

I found the leak!!
I found it by filling the rear hatch with water and turning it upside down on saw horses. There’s a 3-4" split in the seam between the deck and the hull, which is good news (I guess) cause it’s relatively easy to fix.

Thanks so much for everyone’s help. Now I can get a bit more experience with boat repair. I just have to decide whether to do it from the inside or outside, but that’s a different thread altogether.


That was getting increasingly hard to psyche out. Glad you found it.

VCP hatch “tuck in” at the bottom
I’ve found that the hatch rims are invariably just enough off-center in the deck that one side is always much harder to tuck in than the other. Wetting the hatch cover helps somewhat, but a fair amount of “thumb power” is often required to get the cover to seat completely. If you don’t get it seated at the bottom, it will not seat as well at the top and leakage is likely.

VCP hatch covers are made of a foam material that seems like it may actually expand a bit in the summer, making the covers harder to seat. I really wish they would just make them out of rubber, like Kajak Sport. They’d be more durable, too.

Worst case, you can lightly trim the hatch cover to fit the boat better (you can sand the cover material). If you tether your hatch covers (a VERY good idea), the orientation will always remain the same, so you don’t need to mark the trimmed side. That said, I’ve not found this to be necessary, but I’m stubborn enough that I won’t let a !@#$%^& hatch cover get the best of me! :wink: