Replacing hatch seals on Arctic Tern 14

Can anyone recommend a material that can be used as a replacement hatch seal strip? The “gasket” material that came with my Pygmy Arctic Tern 14 was never very water tight. Three years ago, I replaced it with an automotive window seal strip, and it worked fairly well, but it has started to get brittle and I’d like to replace it. I have not been able to find the same automotive product, and am hoping someone could suggest an alternative for me to try. Thanks in advance! wd

Tern seals…
I’ve had very good luck with the factory stripping.

One trick to check the hatch fit is to set the cover in place without the foam and try to rock or move the cover. Sand the mating surfaces for the best fit (especially the peaks) when they feel like they mate perfectly then install the weather stripping.

good luck

I went with minicel foam
Because I wanted a wider strip than what came with the tern.

Had no problem with leakage in 4 years of paddling

What Greyhawk said . . .

– Last Updated: Oct-28-08 11:59 PM EST –

When I built our Tern 14s, I had read about some people having problems with the hatch seals, so I called Pygmy and they essentially said what Grayhawk said - and what I read by some others online.

It is important to get the hatches to fit well, in the first place, before you add the gasket material. That means sanding all the lips and hatch perimeters smooth and making sure they fit flush, without significant gaps between the hatch underside perimeter and the lips - then add the gasket material. Your best bet might be to order more gasket material from Pygmy.

BTW, when I did the hatches, late last spring, the gasket material was wide-enough that it basically covered the entire width of the lips, so maybe they are supplying a wider gasket material than in the past?

We have paddled our boats all season and have not noticed a problem with hatches leaking, with the exception of one end of a boat being completely immersed on one occasion, in which there was only a little water intrusion.

The seals on my Tern 14…
…are 6 years old now and still dry. Prep is the key. I also cut the ends of the seal material on a long angle which I believe allows for a better seal between the ends.

Thanks everyone
It looks like the Pygmy factory seals are the way to go! When I remove the current seals, I’ll certainly check for the fit as you recommended and sand as necessary. I’m wondering if this may have been the problem all along, as no seal has ever been completely water tight. I also wonder if the webbing might stretch a bit when it gets wet thus loosening up the hatches. Have you found this to be the case? wd

Yes to the webbing…
…however, the stuff that Pygmy supplies was much more stable than the webbing I bought at the local outdoor store. Looked the same and felt the same but was very unstable with moisture and temperature. Pygmy webbing is fine but will change a bit. Just be aware and don’t store the boat with the hatch straps tight.

Nylon vs Polyester
You need to use polyester webbing.

Nylon webbing will stretch when wet and contract when dry – this is not a good thing when it comes to holding down your hatch covers.

(I learned this the hard way on one of my boats – previously, I had no idea that there were different types of webbing).


polyester or polypropelene
black 1" polypropelene webbing is most common.

at home depot
there’s a collection of gray medium density weatherstripping. Pick one, 5/16"x3/4" should do it for flush mount hatches.