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Old 06-05-2016, 11:17   #1
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Companionway Door Brainstorming Session

OK, so here is my companionway now:







I have four boards that stack in and it is getting quite tiresome to take them out and put them back in. I have seen a few Calibers with hinged doors that are screwed into the sides of the companionway. I know there are a lot of people on this forum who are super intelligent and come up with really cool ideas. I thought I'd just throw it out there if anyone has an idea for some way to create a functional, easy companionway door that would also be strong at sea. Thoughts?
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Old 06-05-2016, 11:22   #2
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Re: Companionway Door Brainstorming Session

Many boats have hinged doors, and they are handy. But you need to have them removeable to get them out of the way at sea anyway. So... at the dock they are great, maybe no better than what you have for longer distance sailing though. You could replace what you have with 2 boards in lieu of 4 for easy handling maybe.
At sea you likely will just have them stored 95% of the time anyway. Just put them in in heavy weather. So they are less cumbersome than you think.
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Old 06-05-2016, 11:29   #3
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Re: Companionway Door Brainstorming Session

There are a few manufacturers of swinging doors.
here is one
Companionway Doors by Zarcor provides style, comfort and convenience to the entryway of your sailboat

I would not try to permanently install a swinging door, I would want to be able to install the boards if the Wx got real bad.

The time I find they are a PIA is in the Marina, have to keep them in to keep the AC or heat in, need to remove them anytime your carrying anything in or out of the boat.
Underway, mine are always out, thankfully I have yet to experience Wx that would make me have to put them in
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Old 06-05-2016, 11:47   #4
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Re: Companionway Door Brainstorming Session

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
The time I find they are a PIA is in the Marina, have to keep them in to keep the AC or heat in, need to remove them anytime your carrying anything in or out of the boat.
Underway, mine are always out, thankfully I have yet to experience Wx that would make me have to put them in
Yeah in the marina I use my patented "towel door" system, where I use one of the four planks rested on top of the companionway sliding glass to hold a towel draped over the door. Keeps A/C in somewhat, and makes for easy entry. I do this underway in rain as well.

Cheechako, I think your idea of having 2 boards instead of 4 might be this best option as of now :/
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Old 06-05-2016, 12:55   #5
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Re: Companionway Door Brainstorming Session

I think if it were me, I'd design a pair of removable hinged doors for "everyday" use. I would then have a proper heavy weather drop board(s) for impending doom. For the hinged doors, I'd want some sort of "hold opens" so they don't slam around when motoring or sailing in nice weather. I know they make "take apart" hinges that would serve the purpose.

Oh look, see above, someone already beat me to it and sells them...I made a few back in the '70s and '80s
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Old 06-05-2016, 14:25   #6
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Re: Companionway Door Brainstorming Session

Impending doom, lol
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Old 06-05-2016, 20:33   #7
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Companionway Door Brainstorming Session

Look at Zarcor. They work great, are removable and you can still use your boards if needed for weather. I've had them for years and never use my boards, but have them available. Can get clear or tinted insets and also screens. I think it took me less than a day to install them.


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Old 06-05-2016, 22:49   #8
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Re: Companionway Door Brainstorming Session

Quote:
Originally Posted by DDabs View Post
Yeah in the marina I use my patented "towel door" system, where I use one of the four planks rested on top of the companionway sliding glass to hold a towel draped over the door. Keeps A/C in somewhat, and makes for easy entry. I do this underway in rain as well.

Cheechako, I think your idea of having 2 boards instead of 4 might be this best option as of now :/
We don't use a towel, but do have a "flap" which is a companionway-shaped bit of sunbrella which is attached to the sliding part with a few snaps. the bottom hem is weighted to keep it hanging straight down. I keep meaning to make one out of clear vinyl as well.

Simple, cheap and effective for the tasks that you mention.

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Old 07-05-2016, 05:35   #9
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Re: Companionway Door Brainstorming Session

i have same arrangement as Jim Cate above,but use translucent vinyl liner that is sold as carpet runner everywhere. Tucks up under my instruments our just flips up out of way when passing under, gives privacy and light below. If cut slightly wider than needed is surprisingly weather proof and will last a number of years in strong sun . By overextending the companionway hatch I create nice gap along both side for airflow and gap created at "garage" for hatch allows galley heat to exit under the dodger .thus giving infinite adjustment to temps below in all normal weathers.....works a treat...........Of course heavy plexi splash boards (smoked) are stored below.
Total cost<$20 US. Approx. 1 hr install time and will look reasonably eloquent when deployed.

............................................luv you all (still).......................mike................ ......
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Old 07-05-2016, 08:36   #10
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Re: Companionway Door Brainstorming Session

I also got tired of the drop in boards especially at anchor because I get up so often to check or to pee. I made raised panel teak, take apart hinged doors. It cost way too much for the type of boat I have but I love them. When the sliding hatch is bolted the hinged doors are as strong as necessary. I spent about $1000 and I haven't put a vent or louvers in yet. Also when I run the engine the latch hooks that hold them open vibrate and make a lot of noise.
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Old 07-05-2016, 09:19   #11
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Re: Companionway Door Brainstorming Session

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Many boats have hinged doors, and they are handy. But you need to have them removeable to get them out of the way at sea anyway. So... at the dock they are great, maybe no better than what you have for longer distance sailing though. You could replace what you have with 2 boards in lieu of 4 for easy handling maybe.
At sea you likely will just have them stored 95% of the time anyway. Just put them in in heavy weather. So they are less cumbersome than you think.
That system is what we inherited with our current boat, 2 washboards for max protection at sea and security and a drop in double door for in harbour easy access.
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Old 07-05-2016, 10:23   #12
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Re: Companionway Door Brainstorming Session

We have doors that slide into half hinges- originally it looked like your setup . I half a drop in wash board, but haven't used it yet. We made them with built in screens and have slide in lexan panels to go over the screens( 2 sets- clear for the gloomy rainy days, and dark tint for night ). At the dock/anchor , screens are open- doors in, when sailing, doors come off.
I'll get a picture off my phone and post for you. Really, way too expensive for the boat , but it's easily one of the nicest features on it ( everyone loves them) ..
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Old 07-05-2016, 10:36   #13
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Re: Companionway Door Brainstorming Session

Your boat, and therefore your cockpit, is small, though a fair bit bigger than TrentePieds. Comfortable sitting space will be at a premium as it is in all small boats. Do not waste the best sitting space in the cockpit, forward, with your back resting against the bulkhead, by having hinged doors. TrentePieds has them. They will go, in favour of the drop boards/snap on bug curtain combo. Boards will stow in purpose specific chocks when they are not in the companionway.

For the very same reason - when we are not under way I rank higher than rope - all the lines now lead to the cockpit and obstructing MY sitting space (as your lines seem to obstruct yours), get stowed on "belaying pins" (cheapo plastic hangers) that keep the coils on the SIDE of the house, out of the way. In the interests of comfortable living aboard that whole foofahrah of lines lead to cockpit, which is totally unnecessary for our use of TrentePieds, will be eliminated next year.

Similarly, the completely unnecessary affectation of a binnacle and wheel fitted in the middle of the back porch and thereby destroying its usefulness as living space will go in favour of a tiller.

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Old 07-05-2016, 10:54   #14
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Re: Companionway Door Brainstorming Session

We upgraded our J42 3/8" stock Lexan dropboards to 1/2" and added a reinforcing member to the top of the lower board. Made Starboard brackets to store the boards right below the companionway with their safety tethers always secured. The brackets are arranged so the tops of the stored boards form a nice bench with the companionway sill. We sail offshore with the lower board barrelbolted in place, which prevents downflooding even if the cockpit is filled to the winch islands. Boards cannot wash overboard.

Your companionway sill is lower, but you might make brackets for the 4 boards below the sill.
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Old 07-05-2016, 10:56   #15
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Re: Companionway Door Brainstorming Session

I had a local craftsman make a set of outward swinging doors to replace my drop in boards for all your same reasons.

When the companionway hatch is closed the top of the door is secured within a 2 inch deep channel. The lower threshold in a solid inch and the is a latch in the center on the door on the inside. All in all outward forces pushing in during bad weather would have a tough time forcing them inward.

I have plans to have made a weather shield (neoprene) that will cover the door (actually wider then) for heavy weather sailing. More on that later..
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