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Old 23-03-2008, 09:58   #1
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Seaworthy Escape Hatches

We have a 96' Privilege 37 cat that we really love. The design and structure is really impressive and it is as close to "bullet proof" as you can get with a production cat. There is one issue that I think about when we have a sea running and I see the escape hatches submerge with passing waves. I'm not happy with the stock Lewmar aluminum hatches which serve as escape hatches and I know other cats have the same problem. When we are loaded for cruising, these hatches are only 2-3" above the waterline and I'm uncomfortable with the hinge attachments, the locking handles, and the locking stops that the handles close on. We have numerous other Lewmar hatches on the boat and we had to make several repairs. The rivets on the hinges and stops have corroded out in many of our hatches and in one case the s/s screw holding the handle corroded and fell out. Since these same hatches are keeping the ocean out of the boat, I have to do something to improve the seaworthiness of the escape hatches.

If other "cat people" have solved this problem, I'd be interested to hear the solution. I would also like some feedback on the repair that I'm thinking about.

My idea is to replace the lexan glass with an exact size duplicate made from 1/4" aluminum plate. I would use the existing hinges to attach the opening hatch to the hatch frame, but I would also put 3/8" stainless steel bolts through the aluminum plate in the four corners of the hatch. On the inside, I would make 2 backing plates 4"x24" out of 1/4" aluminum. The backing plates would exceed the width of the hatch opening on top and bottom and the 4 bolts would go thru the backing plates and be secured with lock washers and nuts. On each hatch, I would mount a 3/8" box wrench for opening the hatch in an emergency. (not as quick as handles, but less chance of becoming a semi-submersible)

Comments? New ideas? Thanks.
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Old 23-03-2008, 11:27   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svcattales View Post
We have a 96' Privilege 37 cat that we really love. The design and structure is really impressive and it is as close to "bullet proof" as you can get with a production cat. There is one issue that I think about when we have a sea running and I see the escape hatches submerge with passing waves. I'm not happy with the stock Lewmar aluminum hatches which serve as escape hatches and I know other cats have the same problem. When we are loaded for cruising, these hatches are only 2-3" above the waterline and I'm uncomfortable with the hinge attachments, the locking handles, and the locking stops that the handles close on. We have numerous other Lewmar hatches on the boat and we had to make several repairs. The rivets on the hinges and stops have corroded out in many of our hatches and in one case the s/s screw holding the handle corroded and fell out. Since these same hatches are keeping the ocean out of the boat, I have to do something to improve the seaworthiness of the escape hatches.

If other "cat people" have solved this problem, I'd be interested to hear the solution. I would also like some feedback on the repair that I'm thinking about.

My idea is to replace the lexan glass with an exact size duplicate made from 1/4" aluminum plate. I would use the existing hinges to attach the opening hatch to the hatch frame, but I would also put 3/8" stainless steel bolts through the aluminum plate in the four corners of the hatch. On the inside, I would make 2 backing plates 4"x24" out of 1/4" aluminum. The backing plates would exceed the width of the hatch opening on top and bottom and the 4 bolts would go thru the backing plates and be secured with lock washers and nuts. On each hatch, I would mount a 3/8" box wrench for opening the hatch in an emergency. (not as quick as handles, but less chance of becoming a semi-submersible)

Comments? New ideas? Thanks.
I have the same issue on my Tobago. I haven't done anything about it yet, but I have been looking at different solutions.

I am looking at these hatches in stainless steel:

Stainless steel hatches by Nemo Industries

One of the issues, i whether you want to be able to open the hatches from the outside in case of an inversion, I have decided that I do, and I want to do it without using tools.. Some manufacturers use a winch handle style fitting. But if inverted, where will I find a winch handle, and do I want to go underwater to get into the boat, and risk getting tangled in ropes and stuff?

My conclusion at present is to replace the exsisting ones with better quality ones. But being in Europe, I need to ensure that my hatch is approved for use in this area of the boat for insuránce purposes. This limits the choices, I don't know if the Nemo hatches are approved for this function, as they just indicate a genegral CE logo on the site.

Goiot also carry a range of approved hatches.

I know that a Tobago was flooded in Holland a few years ago when the handle broke. Boat was salvaged, but probably quite a scare.

I think a 10 mm Lexan plate is probably alot stronger than your aluminium plate, and I like the light it lets in.

Regards

Alan
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Old 23-03-2008, 17:35   #3
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Moonlight hatches (BSI) have a hatch which is specified as a multihull escape hatch, made from thicker plastic.
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Old 23-03-2008, 18:30   #4
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I was wondering.
If these hatches can be opened from the outside.........are they are security concern?
Seems like one could easily break in undetected.
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Old 24-03-2008, 01:57   #5
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Originally Posted by 44'cruisingcat View Post
Moonlight hatches (BSI) have a hatch which is specified as a multihull escape hatch, made from thicker plastic.
The BSI website isn’t very illuminating. Adrien - BSI -
Which “Moonlight” (Offshore, Flush, or LowLine) hatch do you recommend as a Catamaran “Escape Hatch”?
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Old 24-03-2008, 02:10   #6
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I have a Moonlight brochure, according to that there is an "A1 Multihull escape hatch" certified 94/25/EC, ISO 12216 ad ISO 9094 location in area 1 in sailing multihulls.

It's in their "Offshore" range.

The part number is 67434M36 for the 1/2' spigot, and 68434M36 for the 1' spigot.

They are a 435mm x 435mm (cutout size) hatch with 12mm thick acrylic.

I haven't really looked at their website, hope this helps.
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Old 24-03-2008, 02:15   #7
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Just had a look, and you're right Gord, it's not the easiest site. The hatches I mentioned are on this page: - BSI -

They are the ones rated area 1 and 2.
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Old 24-03-2008, 02:17   #8
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Originally Posted by Therapy View Post
I was wondering.
If these hatches can be opened from the outside.........are they are security concern?
Seems like one could easily break in undetected.
Some of the French production boats have a locking bar on the hatch handles. In an inverted position the bar will (theoretically) fall out, unlocking the hatches.
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Old 24-03-2008, 06:35   #9
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Originally Posted by Therapy View Post
I was wondering.
If these hatches can be opened from the outside.........are they are security concern?
Seems like one could easily break in undetected.
I have Moonlight hatches including the escape hatches. As with other manufacturers, locks on the handles can be enabled or disabled - mine have red slides on each handle for this purpose. Yes, if unlocked, someone could gain entry from outside. But this is the case for all the hatches that are big enough to enter through - not just the escape hatches. My engine room hatches have the same latches with locks but I haven't figured out yet why. Maybe if approached by pirates we could lock ourselves in an engine room.

Dave
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Old 24-03-2008, 07:51   #10
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Thanks

Thanks for the info on Moonlight Hatches. I checked out the web site, but from the pictures and descriptions, I couldn't tell if they were different than my offshore rated Lewmar hatches. For 2Hulls: are the hinge design, locking handles, and handle stops more robust than the Lewmars? ;i.e. are hinges & latch stops attached by rivets or molded into aluminum and are the latch handles held by a s/s screw? I suspect the Lewmar hatches were also rated for multi-hull use even though they don't meet my standards. I don't want to go from the "frying pan into the fire" along with great expense and lots more labor.
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Old 24-03-2008, 08:08   #11
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For 2Hulls: are the hinge design, locking handles, and handle stops more robust than the Lewmars? ;i.e. are hinges & latch stops attached by rivets or molded into aluminum and are the latch handles held by a s/s screw?
Hi Greg - I don't remember enough details about Lewmar hatches to make a comparison. I'll be going to my boat (on the hard) this weekend and can report back on the details such as rivets/screws etc. If you're interested in getting some practice sanding bottoms, you can come look at the hatches yourself. My hatches seem pretty dern robust to me. We have a variety of sizes and styles - all Moonlight - and none of them leak. I have four large, oblong shaped ports. A couple of these have hinges that seem too tight. I think there's an adjustment for this that I haven't tried yet.

Dave
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Old 25-03-2008, 12:35   #12
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My escape hatch from Goiot had locking pins in the handles. These hatches seem to be rather robust also. They can be looked at at PLASTIMO.COM
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Old 25-03-2008, 14:18   #13
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A little off track, but I've read a few posts on another board about people, mostly in a chartering situation, opening the escape hatches for ventilation at night, and then forgetting to close them before weighing anchor and sailing off the next morning. Some got very wet bunks, others seriously flooded the hulls.

Doesn't matter what brand you have, if you don't keep 'em closed.
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Old 25-03-2008, 21:30   #14
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Baier Hatch Company at Go2marine - Watertight Hatches

I have no connection with this either the manufacturer or the chandlery-but these look maximally bulletproof to me. You can get them in all aluminum.
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Old 25-03-2008, 23:39   #15
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We use the Moonlight escape hatches , they have 12 mm thick lexan instead of 10 and are ce approved to be mounted in catagory 1 or less than one meter from the water line , they have locks in the inside that we always open before we start our sailing journey, they are totally leakproof below you can find the 2 sizes produced by BSI
674343 M36Escape hatch area 1 435.5 x 435.5 36 radius
675037 M36Escape hatch area 1 500 x 370. 36 radius
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