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Old 03-08-2015, 00:39   #1
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Companionway door ideas

Hi,

I'd like to change my companionway door for having two slot in boards to some kind of permanent fixture. I've come up with a couple of ideas but they both have difficulties. I've attached a picture of what I have now.

I'm slowly working towards a renovation that will see me doing some serious long term sailing once I retire. For vessels to be permitted into cat 1 races need to have their hatches either permanent fixtures or somehow permanently attached. I'd like to renovate as close as I can to that standard, though my boat would never reach that standard I don't think.

Any ideas?
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Old 03-08-2015, 01:22   #2
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Re: Companionway door ideas

Easy, and the best modification you can do on any boat.

Dropboards are the most woeful system for a modern yacht. In your case a door that hinges down the port side of the opening will work brilliantly. Put a window in it, and some sort of clever dog to squeeze it into rubber. Keep the dropboards as backup just in case.

You might needs to play with the hinge angle or door shape to stop it catching on the port seat when it opens.

Make it strong and light. Ie foam core, or aluminium.

I'll try to draw you something tonight if you want.

Cheers

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Old 03-08-2015, 01:38   #3
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Re: Companionway door ideas

Hi, RC,

Some friends of ours with an aluminium cutter rigged a series of companionway slides that stack (like a camper's stacking cup), when down, it/they (the "boards") stack in a slot in the bridge deck. They can be raised to the level of just one, or two, or all three, and the top one is rounded up to where the lock is fitted, in such a way that a crowbar can't get a grip on it anywhere.

Maybe that kind of concept would work for you.

Ann
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Old 03-08-2015, 01:47   #4
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Re: Companionway door ideas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
Easy, and the best modification you can do on any boat.

Dropboards are the most woeful system for a modern yacht. In your case a door that hinges down the port side of the opening will work brilliantly. Put a window in it, and some sort of clever dog to squeeze it into rubber. Keep the dropboards as backup just in case.

You might needs to play with the hinge angle or door shape to stop it catching on the port seat when it opens.

Make it strong and light. Ie foam core, or aluminium.

I'll try to draw you something tonight if you want.

Cheers

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I'd appreciate that if you got time. I had thought of hinging it that way but couldn't work out how to water proof it, so it seals nicely.
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Old 03-08-2015, 01:47   #5
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Re: Companionway door ideas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Hi, RC,

Some friends of ours with an aluminium cutter rigged a series of companionway slides that stack (like a camper's stacking cup), when down, it/they (the "boards") stack in a slot in the bridge deck. They can be raised to the level of just one, or two, or all three, and the top one is rounded up to where the lock is fitted, in such a way that a crowbar can't get a grip on it anywhere.

Maybe that kind of concept would work for you.

Ann
Sorry Ann, I just can't quite picture it.
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Old 03-08-2015, 03:40   #6
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Re: Companionway door ideas

For hinged door pics, google or go on yachtworld.com & look up boats for sale which are setup for solo/short-handed racing. Vendee Globe, Class 40, etc.
Or, more mundanely. Beth & Evan's former S/V Hawk. That, or say a Hunter HC 50.
Evan BTW is a member here, but they also have their own site, www. bethandevans.com which includes a full on description of their hatch door, here (with pics)
http://www.bethandevans.com/evolution_of_hawk.htm
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Old 03-08-2015, 04:20   #7
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Re: Companionway door ideas

Here's a few rough drawings.

This is similar to the one I made for Snowpetrel 1. The difference being snowpetrels companionway was central, whereas yours is offset. This is an advantage for you as far as the door goes as it can swing completely open and stow flat against the cockpit bulkhead. you might have a problem with the corner of the door catching on the port seat, I have sketched a two solutions, either remove the offending corner, or change the hinge line.
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Old 03-08-2015, 04:25   #8
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Re: Companionway door ideas

This pic isn't too clear but shows enough detail of how Roger Taylor modified his Achilles 24:



The best way to see what he did is to look at his videos on Youtube, there are many.
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Old 03-08-2015, 04:52   #9
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Re: Companionway door ideas

Continued...

My hatch was 3mm aluminium with folded corners at about 60 degrees, similar to a modern deck hatch. I used 50x6mm aluminium flat bar to strengthen it, but 25mm angle would probably have been better.

The surround was made from 1.5 or so mm scrap stainless steel folded up by a sheet metal place into the profile shown in diagram 4, and welded up to fit around the hatch. It was bolted onto the bulkhead, and made the hatchway slightly smaller. It could be unbolted to get something like the engine out if need be. Two tangs with 6mm holes where welded on to act as hinges.

If you wanted to stainless steel angle or split half tube (say 30mm) could be welded on direct to the steel bulkhead.

The hinge was a 6mm stainless rod that slid through matching tangs on the door and the stainless frame. It could be slid out to enable the whole door to be removed and stored below in good weather, but on snowpetrel the door could only open up 90 degrees and obstructed the cockpit it I had a few people aboard. Yours will stow neatly so this isn't a problem.

The inside was lined with foam to keep some heat in the boat and a window means you can look before you leap.

You can see Snow Petrel 1 on a mooring at gravelly beach. My brother has just bought her back from the guy who bought her off me. She's a bit rough at the moment, but we managed to get her home from Melbourne Ok. And hope to get her down to Hobart soon. She is a great little boat!

My advice to you is mock up a few simple doors from plywood with lift off hinges to get a feel for how big to make it. leave the drop boards behind it for now. My folks have done this on NZ maid and love it. They may make a more permanent one one day, but for now it works a treat. They have a similar offset hatch to yours on their 45 foot Herreshoff Mobjack.

Ann's Suggestion is a great way to do it for a central hatch, with the doors telescoping down into a bridgedeck. very neat, I first saw it on a very clever boat called Volo, and see a few production boats with this system now. But it's not going to work easily on your boat due to the seat position being in the way, without big surgery.

Another great option is to buy a deck hatch of a similar size, mount it where the hatch Ive drawn goes and then cut out the top bit of flange, and attach it to the sliding hatch.

On that note there are a lot of good ways to lock the system from inside and still be able to access it from outside, but thats a whole 'nuther essay!

Just one more point, make the sliding hatch long enough to cover the top of the hatch to reduce water intake there. Oh and you will want some sort of hard dodger like these

Cheers
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Old 03-08-2015, 04:58   #10
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Re: Companionway door ideas

Maybe this. But put hinges one side, latch t'other.
Bit of ingenuity and you've got yourself a security gate & weather gate.
Needs a little "outside the box" thinking, though....

Cheers!

p.s.: Photo lifted from a prior post by MarkJ
Hatch Security
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Old 03-08-2015, 05:13   #11
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Re: Companionway door ideas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
Here's a few rough drawings.

This is similar to the one I made for Snowpetrel 1. The difference being snowpetrels companionway was central, whereas yours is offset. This is an advantage for you as far as the door goes as it can swing completely open and stow flat against the cockpit bulkhead. you might have a problem with the corner of the door catching on the port seat, I have sketched a two solutions, either remove the offending corner, or change the hinge line.
Thanks muchly, that's great. I struggled with two of your drawings but eventually got there. The idea of aluminium deck plate with bender edges sounds good. I've got two aft hatches made with that but their only small.
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Old 03-08-2015, 05:28   #12
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Re: Companionway door ideas

If you go take a row around snow petrel 1 you will see exactly how it all works. I basically copied a modern deck hatch, but made everything much chunkier. I did most of the welding, but got a shop to fold the metal.

But I would make a simple cheap ply one for now, and see how you like it.

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Old 03-08-2015, 05:45   #13
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Re: Companionway door ideas

For serious weather, hatchhboards are available ,otherwise stowed. 99% of time I have a piece of heavy translucent plastic attached to top of sliding hatch and long enough to reach below the opening so is quite weatherproof in almost all weathers since it is also under the dodger.By sliding my companionway hatch beyond its intended stop I also get fine ventilation below along the sides while preserving privacy,light and ease of passage to cockpit and communication with any crew below. An upward flick of my arm lands this cover on top of the sliding hatch and all is open (or closed) again.

I use a carpet runner available at most hardware stores and sold for $1 a foot and has an embossed design that aids privacy and style……I can tell from below if there is someone in the cockpit but one cannot see from outside anything going on below.Perfect for marinas or when that big sport fisherman is staring down on you from behind.
Scissors are all that is required for the my wedge shape ,but remember to cut width extra wide so all will not blow inward in a gust. This $10 solution will last a few years and should be a1/2 hr. install.

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Old 04-08-2015, 02:36   #14
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Re: Companionway door ideas

Here's another example, on an IMOCA 60 http://www.ayc-yachtbroker.com/sites...ateau/3279.jpg
Basically you're building an old school freezer door with camming handles.
Also, this is another variation on the same idea (a Hunter HC 50) 2001 Hunter HC50 Hunter's Child 50 sailboat for sale in Florida
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Old 07-08-2015, 22:11   #15
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Re: Companionway door ideas

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Found an inside and outside pic (both including my father!). The Bar Inside pivots across to lock the hatch shut. It has a little wheel on the nut to adjust the tension, You can crank it up to tighten it if needed, though once set right it seemed to work without any adjustment. The Hinge bar could be shifted to starboard so that the door could be opened the other way, and the whole door could be removed and stored below. It worked well, but was in the way at times because it couldn't fully open. Your setup has the potential to be much better because the door can open 180 degrees, and lie flush with the bulkhead.

I'm not a great fan of offset hatches due to the risk in a knockdown. but they are certainly handy for this style of door. I'd put a triangular inner bolt on filler piece for bad weather to reduce the chance of water flowing below unhindered if the door is open.
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