The forward hatch on Onne van der Wal’s 1986 Grand Banks 32, Snow Goose, was tired. The lens was crazed, and the hatch wasn’t holding itself open anymore, so he decided to install a new one.
A previous owner had replaced the original Grand Banks fiberglass hatch with a Lewmar hatch. Onne believes that was done in the 1990s, but because that hatch had been a little larger, the original opening had been modified. Fortunately for Onne, Lewmar still made the same size hatch.
The whole project turned out to be pretty straightforward. After removing the screws, he carefully pried the old hatch out with a crowbar. The biggest challenge was making small cutouts in the fiberglass to accommodate the slightly beefier hinges on the new hatch, which Onne carved out with his Fein and Milwaukee multitools.
After scraping and painting the old modification, and sealing and painting the cuts for the hinges, he dry-fit the new hatch. Once he was confident it would open and close properly, he added TotalBoat Seal sealant and put the screws in. He reused the old fasteners. “They were nice stainless-steel screws,” Onne says. “There was nothing wrong with them.”
Because the seal on the new hatch will need higher temperatures to memorize its new shape, Onne didn’t clamp down hard on the dogs. “I won’t fully latch it until we get some nice warm weather so the rubber can mold itself into the shape of the frame,” Onne says.
You can watch the time lapse with Onne’s commentary below.