Over the years we've made various minor alterations to Bluebird, most of which are shared here. We hope you find one or two good ideas you can use or adapt for your own boat.

Replacement Hatch

The old hatch had a persistent leak which we had spent the past couple of seasons chasing with Captain Tollies and various sealants to no avail. Part of this was due to a fundamentally flawed design that seemed made to hold a pool of water against the seal which after 30 years of so was starting to fail and the design of the hatch does not permit replacing the seal alone, so rather than use an identical replacement (Houdini hatches are still available) I sourced a new design from Gebo, handily made to fit in exactly the same cut-out.

I purchased the replacement hatch from Sea Teach and it was delivered promptly and well packaged.

The old style original Houdini hatch compared to the new gebo style hatch

Nothing's quite that simple, as naturally the holes weren’t in the same place but other than a bit of drilling, the replacement was surprisingly straightforward for what had at first seemed a daunting job. The new hatch slotted nicely into the hole without any problem and I bedded it down in non-setting Butyl mastic and secured it with 5mm stainless steel machine screws, cut to length in situ with a multi-tool and capped off with dome headed nuts.

I also ensured the old holes were filled with mastic and capped then off with brown plastic caps to match the ceiling covering.

The new hatch fitted on Bluebird

As being leak-proof (I hope), the new hatch is much smarter, can be opened from on deck, and has the luxury of friction hinges. No more propping it open!

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