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Old 08-11-2007, 18:44   #1
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Post companionway doors

Greetings all,

I have been thinking on a change for my companionway door. At present I have wood slats and also a piece of plexiglass as on unit that slides in.

The slats are a PITA, and the plexiglass too big and has its safety issues underway.

What do you use and why?
Advantages, drawbacks ?
Hope to get some ideas....
Thank you
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Old 08-11-2007, 20:14   #2
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I'm sure that you realise that the wood "Slat" doors are made to be used in different sea conditions to allow air in and keep water out. If you don't do any off shore sailing, you may want to concider using the doors as a mold to build a one-piece fiberglass door. The down side is stowing that one large piece. It is often easier to stow the 2 wood pieces.

BTW, if you ever do any off-shore work with that boat, make sure that you have a way to pin those "Slats" so that they won't get dislogged in the event of a knock-down. Many a vessel have been lost due to large volumes of water flowing through the companionway during a knock down.
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Old 08-11-2007, 20:49   #3
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Beetle has a single molded-in fiberglass step up from the cockpit floor that blocks off the companionway to the level of the deck (as required by ORC rules), and then a single companionway board (washboard) that blocks off the companionway to the level of the deck-house (which is quite low, perhaps 10" above deck). The structure works quite well, the wasboard is 3/4" thick teack, no slots, no entryway for water. It works very well, especially offshore when the cockpit floods out.

My previous boat was a Newport 33 that had a companionway that extended all the way to the cockpit floor, which made flooding a problem if the cockpit filled with water (which it did on a regular basis in big seas/high wind conditions). There were I believe 4 washboards, also solid teak, and I would plunk in 3 of them if conditions were iffy. It was a pain in lift out the top two so I could hop over them - but they kept the boat dry, which is the whole purpose of them in the first place.

To stow 4 boards I made up a long, narrow sunbrella bag that was attached to the interior right at the companionway such that I could lift out the boards and simply drop them into the bag - worked out well.

- beetle
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Old 08-11-2007, 22:08   #4
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The slats are a PITA, and the plexiglass too big and has its safety issues underway.
We have a bridge deck above the cockpit with doors on the companionway and an overhead hatch. They are one inch thick solid wood and can be pinned shut or latched open. They each have a 4 inch square screen covered with wood louvers that are high enough that water levels can't reach them. Inside of that are screen doors that fold inside and a second screen hatch. That allows a fully screened entry or a water tight seal. You need to be able to keep a flooded cockpit from flowing below.
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Old 08-11-2007, 22:39   #5
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Two wooden doors, with louvers over 30% over the surface area.

I have the plexiglass as well, but that only comes out if I think the cockpit is going to get doused (breaking waves, etc). The plexiglass is kind of crappy though, because it only goes in when the weather is terrible, but that's the same time you don't want to be trying to straddle that thing to get below.
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:07   #6
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The plexiglass is kind of crappy though, because it only goes in when the weather is terrible, but that's the same time you don't want to be trying to straddle that thing to get below.
Pretty much the same with stowed hatch boards too. It's when you need something quickly that it matters more. I wasn't too excited about the doors at first but it's what you need most all the time and in an emergency it's easy to get them closed. perhaps not as water tight as a hatch but eh vertical seam has an overlap inside so you only pin the bottom in one place. They open outward so you get an easy eascape unless it's piled high in sea water. At that point the cockpit would be full and probably will have knocked the boat down and washed the crew overboard.

A neighbor has a single large pice of plexiglass (lexan actually) it is heavy and not something easy to stow let alone retrieve in sudden tough weather. It broke twice so far too.

You don't always need a full hatch board. Having them in sections at least makes it easier to add one or two as a precaution.
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Old 09-11-2007, 14:49   #7
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I guess I mislabeled my hatch boards (not slats ) and there are 5.
I have thought of a hinged door that can slide into existing grooves, don't see why this would be too difficult. As for the hatch boards I wondered if it was more a tradition than a real function(ality).
As stated before the idea here is to keep the water out. Well most of it, since I cant see how hatch boards are going to be water tight.
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Old 09-11-2007, 15:47   #8
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I wondered if it was more a tradition than a real function(ality).
There is the issue of security at the dock. My last boat had removable doors that dropped onto the hinge pins. They had no security at all and were of no use in rough weather where you might take a wave in the cockpit but in most other respects were great. Having doors with hatch boards can be a good thing since you use the hatch boards when really required. I would add screens to the doors. Having 5 boards at least makes stowing them and handling them easier.

I would surface mount the doors aft of the hatch boards. Perhaps set up a seal with the hatch so you can keep the bugs out.
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Old 09-11-2007, 19:17   #9
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I like the hatchboards underway more than the doors. You can keep the bottom most one in at all times, and then just keep adding them in as the weather gets crummier. I had them on my old boat; they were nice underway, but the little doors with louvers seem a bit more "warm" to me.

In regards the monster piece of plexi, that's what I have. It's just one huge piece that fits inside the entire companion way, from the foot to the hatch. You're right though about the doors; even a solid wall of water wouldn't get more than 20 gallons or so in there (I'm guessing). Either way, it would probably make more sense to build little wood shutters that go over those, since I have had horizontal rain come through them and soak the companion way ladder.
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Old 09-11-2007, 20:29   #10
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Mario,

I read this earlier and thought you might get a kick out of it.
Bridgedeck Project

Its a discussion about adding bridge decks to boats. Basically extending the cockpit seat level across the companionway to prevent shipping water into the cabin if the cockpit fills. In the later pages you will find several progress and finished pictures.

An interesting thought Tim Lackey shared (Triton Guru) when I was pondering beefing up the companionway on my Triton, was that the hatch boards can serve as a potential weak link. In the event of a wall of water, they'll give way and potentially save the cabin top.

Zach
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Old 10-11-2007, 01:33   #11
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What I have and have had...

I have hatchboards and a plexiglass for the companionway above the bridgedeck, which are okay except when it comes to stowing them. I also have a single-piece screen. One "trick" I've learned is in a light sprinkle to throw in the top two boards, leaving the bottom one out for some fresh air movement below while keeping 99% of the rain out.

A previous boat had fixed doors, which were very nice to look at and easier to use, but they weren't going to slow down someone determined to enter. They also let in a bit more water in a driving rain, and when pooped (no bridgedeck.)


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Old 11-11-2007, 18:45   #12
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Zach, I thought it was a joke at first but they did get to some meaningful posts eventually. Most of it is a little more than I am prepared to get into.

Plexi and hatchboards seem to be the majority and aswell all agree the plexi is a PITA.
I was thinking of installing a hinge to the plexi secured to wood that would slide in groove. Plexi trimed to fit. I agree this would be a security risk but I never leave the boat secured with the plexi, always use hatchboards. Keep in mind security measures only serve to keep honest people honest.
I have two nicks on the gelcoat from corners of plexi bumping on removal and instalation. After a glass or two of wine it gets tricky...
Most of the time I used the plexi only at anchor or on the dock while AC is on or squitos are out, so its water tightness will be fine for rains not rough seas.
I think that will work ... or not ?
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Old 11-11-2007, 21:07   #13
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Both Doors and Panels

I have both doors on lift-off hinge pins and normal hatch boards.
The doors are a PIAT in that (like boards) you have to take them off and stow them to go sailing, plus they are harder to get back on the little pins when shutting the boat down.

BUT...at night, the doors are great...leave them on and open them if nice air..or close if it gets too cold...or if they are closed you can just open them to go up on deck to (in example) tie off banging halyards..

BUT (again) the doors with plexiglass panels are harder to keep sealed..need a trim board inside of them to push water back out to the cockpit...even so, they dont seal well, so I have what is the best piece of sunbrella I've ever had made..it is a T-shaped pice that goes to each side of the eyebrows, over the hatch, and down to the bottom of the doors, with snaps...it totally seals water out of the cabin, and keeps the hot sun out too...plus saves the varnish (Bristol) on the doors...

so, I'd suggest doors for casual sailing, seal them well but don't use the hatch board slat..so that you can still use either...boards for rough weather, doors for cocktail crusing..
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Old 12-11-2007, 06:53   #14
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I have a single heavy weight plexi hatch board which is stowed against the V berth bulkhead or can fit under any number of seat cushions.

The companion hatch slide over the hatchboard and there is a dodger as well. The whole bit is on a bridge deck so water intrusion would only come from a wave crashing on the cockpit from astern. OUCH. When it rains and we are sailing down wind, the hatch can be slid over or the board can be dropped in with the hatch open. We don't get water into the boat from our hatch and don't have a ventilation problem as air passes over the plexi hatch board. it works.

jef
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