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Re: Access hatch under seat, George Farland

Hi guys:

An intact settee wall will NOT stop the water from filling the boat due 
to a side hull puncture. The ends of the settee voids are not sealed and 
water can drain into the bow and stern, albeit slowly.  Once the settees 
are filled, the water will continue to flow over the top and fill the 
cabin.  Basically the cut-out holes will equalize the level of the water 
quicker than if the hull did not have the holes.  Eventually the hull 
will fill completely, regardless of the holes. I suppose that not having 
the holes will buy you some extra time to get to land though. Consider 
this; an SJ23 hull with a 1" diameter hole forward of the keel will fill 
to 1 foot deep in about ten minutes. This water is spread pretty well 
equally throughout the hull. What a mess.

However, you should concern yourself about the reduced strength of the 
settee. An intact wall adds considerable rigidity to the hull.  If you 
sail in an area with high winds and rough water, I wouldn't consider 
this feature.  While I agree that the access hole is very convenient, 
having used them on several other boats, at least cut the hole so the 
corners have a 1" radius to them.  This prevents stress points. You 
should reinforce the inside edge of the hole with 1" thick wood or 
aluminum stiffeners to keep the Fiberglas in line. This would also give 
you a convenient attachment point for the inside slide rails you 
describe. Remember, two smaller holes ones are stronger than one big one!


Kind Regards

Bob Schimmel
(Always stay curious)

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