When surveying "Medeek" over 2 years ago, I found a great little boat with very few problems. One of them was the cockpit gate that had expanded and needed repairs and adjustments, so it was one of the very few items I asked Peter -the previous owner- to make good before I'd buy the boat.
He did so, and for a while the repairs held. But, as with anything, unless you treat the root cause of the problem and not just the consequences, you haven't won the war. Just the battle.
Unsurprisingly, over the months, the gate expanded again in the weather and once again became difficult or impossible to close. This time I was going to get to the root cause of the problem and solve it once and for all.
The main culprit was easy to find: The gate had an aluminum reinforcing bar embedded in the fiberglass that had corroded over the years, expanding and cracking the fiberglass and gel-coat.
So I went in deep, and used percussive persuasion to pry the old aluminum bar out. This left me with a huge dent in the gate where the aluminum used to be, and I decided -on advice from another N40 owners who'd had a similar issue- to re-glass the whole section.
To add to the fun, the old screws holding the gate had become impossible to undo, as someone in the boat's previous life had stripped their heads. I had no choice but to extract them -luckily it was easy as they were top quality stainless steel- and in the ensuing battle, I lost a leaf of one of the damaged hinges to Poseidon. Does Poseidon also rule inland rivers?
Contacting Nordhavn for replacement hinges led to disappointment when the wrong sized -but magnificent quality- hinges showed up. So this part of the story is still ongoing: Finding exact replacement for the hinges has proved elusive so far, so I've had to use a Home Depot stainless hinge for the time being until I find or have a good quality replacement made.
The screws are tapped in directly into the thick fiberglass. It seems plenty strong enough at 1/4" diameter, but I have a set of stainless steel inserts ready to go if I ever sense the gate needing super duper reinforcements.
With the hinges back in, I had to adjust the gate and sand it "just right" to it's original shape.
Now the gate is back up. The bulk of the fiberglass work is done, but as soon as I get the correct hinge, I'll be left with a lot of detail work. I'll need to fair the existing work, sand the imperfections, spray a coat of arctic white gel-coat to the inside of the door and to protect the door better in the future I want to see if using those stainless steel anti-chafe sheets commonly used on high end sailboats would work.
I'm hoping Nordhavn's excellent parts department will come through with a hinge. I'll also ask the diver that will go down and clean our keel cooler soon to see if by any chance he finds the leaf I dropped. It'll be damaged from having extracted the screws, but should still be in usable condition while I find a new replacement.
We're going to treat ourselves to a short river cruise soon for a change of pace.