I began work on the deck hatches. Cosmetically, they are in very poor condition. The paint is chipped and flat, the edges are chipped and the weather stripping is rotten and/or missing.
I began by removing both hatches. The Helms 25 has a small forward hatch above the v-berth and a second larger hatch just forward of the mast. I then removed the old weather stripping and gave both hatches two coats of "Kilz" oil-based primer. Each hatch will eventually also get new non-skid on the tops and a coat or two of the latex paint I'm using on the rest of the cabin for the underside of the hatches.
Next, I purchased new water-proof weather stripping with self-adhesive backing. It fit perfectly into the groove where the old weather stripping had been.
Both hatches look much better (even with just the two coats of primer) and seal much tighter. My main priority was to get a good seal before fall and winter arrive. I'll address other leaky areas that need resealing in future posts.