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Old 14-02-2013, 19:17   #16
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Re: Ever Heard of Catamaran losing its escape hatch in a seaway?

Personally, I think it would be foolish to ever use an escape hatch for ventilation. It will, at some point, be left open. Also, they are not really escape hatches but ingress hatches. That's the reason they have handles on the outside and a bar that can only fall off if the boat is inverted.

To the op's original question. There was a major lawsuit due to a hatch which broke and sank a near new catamaran. If you do a google search here on the CF you will find the original thread. They sure could break due to floatsum but based on the hammering I've seen mine take, I doubt from just water pressure. Still, it would be prudent to have supplies ready to patch if needed.
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Old 14-02-2013, 19:38   #17
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Re: Ever Heard of Catamaran losing its escape hatch in a seaway?

"Foolish too I think to put plastic lens hatches anywhere under the bridge deck of a cat"
Belize, close your eyes and imagine you are IN a cat which has just capsized, and you're pretty freaked out about it. As are the others onboard.

Wait, look, there's daylight and sky over there. Even though the rest of the inverted boat is incredibly dark.

A clear hatch would make sense that way, like an illuminated exit sign, it will draw attention to the way out. Of course, a solid hatch with those pricey tritium illumination tubes on it would do the same thing, but tritium isn't allowed over most international borders.

Pallarn-
We never heard the end of that lawsuit. Is it still in progress, I wonder?
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Old 14-02-2013, 20:47   #18
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Re: Ever Heard of Catamaran losing its escape hatch in a seaway?

We just replaced the seals on the hatches of our Privilege 482 (1992). Monty's story is disconcerting, to say the least. Also they collect Lego pieces and dust like nobody's business...
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Old 15-02-2013, 04:07   #19
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Re: Ever Heard of Catamaran losing its escape hatch in a seaway?

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Dangerous, feelgood EU concept if it is installed low down in tunnel.

Now if placed higher under the tramps foward in hull to allow excellent airflow (protected from rain) through each hull can be a good thing.

It think Catana might be doing it thesedays. Freeflow46 certainly does. Can just see hatch in top lefthand side of photo.
That hatch looks like it would be underwater if the boat inverted which is why they need to be close to the waterline before the inversion!
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Old 15-02-2013, 05:57   #20
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Re: Ever Heard of Catamaran losing its escape hatch in a seaway?

Yes, exactly the same happened on a Privilege I was charter crew on, going from St Lucia to Dominica. Same geyser in the saloon, similar repairs with a cupboard door taken off its hinges and spare sail laid over that, with the heaviest guest sitting on the beer cooler on top of that. Turned a crisis into a comedy.
But similarly, the whole frame came out so don't know if we hit some flotsam in the rough seas that caused it or it was a failure in the aluminum.
Perhaps there could be some change in the design of the floor hatches so that they are set smooth to the outside and don't protrude to catch the force of the waves.
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Old 15-02-2013, 16:54   #21
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Re: Ever Heard of Catamaran losing its escape hatch in a seaway?

Dear Homeless, that piece of video of a whale between the Cat. hulls, SHOULD be on Youtube, it would be awesome. !!!

Re hatches in hulls- we twice courted the idea of buying the Fountaine Pajot Athena 38' which has the very 'tween hulls 'escape' hatches in each of twin heads within hand washing distance of the sea. I notioned that this might be handy to dip a fishing line, whilst on the throne perhaps, but I shuddered re the future need (? impost) of always religiously checking said hatches before departure. Even to devising possible ways to fit a switch such that neither engines or nav equipment would work unless hatches firmly closed.

The second Athena (rather tired and ex charter) convinced us to buy something else. The same 'escape' hatches in Stb hull were seized with badly corroded alloy framing and hinges, whilst the Port one was so corroded, a head butt fom a small mullet might have done the hatch in.

All that said, it behoves yachties to have for ALL hull and cabin windows or hatches, some thick ply cutouts/ predrilled screw holes or other quick fitting mechanicals on hand or some generous self tapping screws and a battery drill nearby.
It's amazing what emergencies can be resolved with the hands and will of a panicked sailor.

On that subject how many of us have tapered soft wooden plugs of suitable sizes on a lanyard at each through hull skin fitting? Hose clamps can fatigue/ rust etc under the less than diligent eyes of a cruiser with a 'round tuit' attitude to regular maintenance...........

Happy (and safe) cruising to all.
Cheers (hopefully not 'bottoms up').
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Old 15-02-2013, 16:58   #22
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Re: Ever Heard of Catamaran losing its escape hatch in a seaway?

Even if the darn things don't break, I wonder how many long-term cruisers with an escape hatch have a story of leaving the thing ajar and either sluicing down the entire cabin or having stuff stolen by someone? They just seem like an accident waiting to happen, as are many other supposed "safety" devices.
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Old 15-02-2013, 21:02   #23
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Re: Ever Heard of Catamaran losing its escape hatch in a seaway?

One thing I can say is they really are cool to check out when your pounding through waves a a nice speed. I have guests that will watch for 1/2 hour.

Has this Happened to Anyone Else ?
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Old 15-02-2013, 21:41   #24
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Re: Ever Heard of Catamaran losing its escape hatch in a seaway?

I deliverd a Tri a long time back, 25- 30 yrs ago. It had an escape hatch mounted in the main hull, where I believe a dump window or port should have been. The difference was it was sealed and bolted up solid ! In the case of a turn over ya just un bolted the hatch and removed it ! Never would leak, but it did add the safety in the case of an accident. Just a thought came to me this would cure the problems with these leaking hatchs ! seems like it could be done on cats to replace these unsafe windows maybe??
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Old 15-02-2013, 22:18   #25
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Re: Ever Heard of Catamaran losing its escape hatch in a seaway?

Went through a hurricane at sea some years back. Had a wave come aboard at some point and take the acrylic/perspex/lexan (don't really remember) right out of the frame of a window. Much smaller than a hatch, maybe 9" x 18". Not really sure if it came out whole or in pieces. The crew belowdecks didn't want to disturb me on watch (told me later they thought they were all going to die). They stuffed a cushion in the hole, and then one of them leaned against it for several hours until they told me because he was getting tired.

I know it was only water, no debris, nothing else, so if a single wave can do it on deck I could easily see it happening on the underwing that gets pounded pretty regularly. And even more so with an opening hatch that has all those extra points of failure.
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Old 16-02-2013, 01:38   #26
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Re: Ever Heard of Catamaran losing its escape hatch in a seaway?

Based on today's obese society, it would seem that many of the escape hatches these days are far too small to fit out the average man !
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Old 16-02-2013, 07:30   #27
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Re: Ever Heard of Catamaran losing its escape hatch in a seaway?

At the boat show yesterday, we saw the broker that sold us our boat, who also previously owned a Privilege. Apparently he had a hatch open up underway (didn't lose it though). The handles apparently broke off. He highly recommends that we replace ours with metal handles (he had to have custom ones fabricated). I guess he doesn't feel the need to sugarcoat it. Now that we have bought the boat.

On the other hand, he says the hatches are awesome when you're at anchor for checking out marine life and fishing.
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Old 16-02-2013, 08:19   #28
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Re: Ever Heard of Catamaran losing its escape hatch in a seaway?

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
Even if the darn things don't break, I wonder how many long-term cruisers with an escape hatch have a story of leaving the thing ajar and either sluicing down the entire cabin or having stuff stolen by someone? They just seem like an accident waiting to happen, as are many other supposed "safety" devices.
Good point. We've chartered on a number of catamarans over the years as my gal likes them for our vacations. Loves the space on the trampoline to do her back exercises at anchor. I never even think about opening the escape hatches for ventilation. I am always amazed at the pounding they take even in moderate seas. Owners must get use to it but, it always makes me cringe when I see the cabin table shudder as the underside gets pounded again and again. And for me those escape hatches are entertaining and unnerving at same time:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: A vacation escape?
But, I figure for a seven or ten day charter in fairly calm weather and a lot of time spent at anchor chances are in our favor that things will not break bad. But, if they did I imagine a lot of water would be coming in from those hatches if it's not caught fast enough.
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Old 16-02-2013, 08:59   #29
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Re: Ever Heard of Catamaran losing its escape hatch in a seaway?

I'm not sure of the idea of building a hull and taking great care to make it strong enough to take anything the sea can throw at it, and then cutting a huge hole in it and filling it with an opening hatch of a type that has been reported to have failed at various times. The only logical way to do this would be to fill any opening with something that is actually stronger than the hull itself, like a chunk of reinforced hull laminate larger than the hole, and then held down with multiple metal lever latches all around the perimeter.
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Old 18-02-2013, 02:59   #30
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Re: Ever Heard of Catamaran losing its escape hatch in a seaway?

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I'm not sure of the idea of building a hull and taking great care to make it strong enough to take anything the sea can throw at it, and then cutting a huge hole in it and filling it with an opening hatch of a type that has been reported to have failed at various times. The only logical way to do this would be to fill any opening with something that is actually stronger than the hull itself, like a chunk of reinforced hull laminate larger than the hole, and then held down with multiple metal lever latches all around the perimeter.
i'm no boat engineer but i'm sure the thickness of the bridge deck floor is for structural rigidity rather than stopping waves breaking thru.

Are good condition and within life expectancy hatches failing? Or is it just another of the boat maintenance gotcha's to look at if you buy a multi with them?
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