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Old 26-05-2014, 00:28   #1
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Deck hatch replacements

Hello Cruisers,

I am about to replace our tired old deck hatches.

The current hatches provide an opening angle of about 100 degree, that is, they open to the vertical, and proceed about another 10 degrees past this point before being restrained by their struts.

I am wondering if I should consider hatches that open completely flat, i.e. that allow the hatch cover to travel through 180 degrees and lie flat on the deck. There is plenty of space for this on our decks.

I have not yet checked to see if any specific brands or models of hatch offer this function, but before I do I would be interested in people's opinions or experience of such hatches, and whether they felt it was a useful addition.

Matt
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Old 26-05-2014, 01:12   #2
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Re: Deck hatch replacements

Were you going to use extruded aluminum hatches or cast??
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Old 26-05-2014, 01:24   #3
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Re: Deck hatch replacements

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
Were you going to use extruded aluminum hatches or cast??
Not sure what you mean by cast... probably NOT cast iron..

Not fussed really, whatever feels strong and pleasant to use.

Matt
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Old 26-05-2014, 17:07   #4
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Re: Deck hatch replacements

I think robertsailor was referring to cast aluminium hatches.

As to opening to 180 degrees, if one of those hatches is where you might want to use it to exit the boat in the event of fire or robbers coming in, then opening all the way could make it easier to get out of the boat.

Ann
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Old 26-05-2014, 17:13   #5
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Re: Deck hatch replacements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
I think robertsailor was referring to cast aluminium hatches.

As to opening to 180 degrees, if one of those hatches is where you might want to use it to exit the boat in the event of fire or robbers coming in, then opening all the way could make it easier to get out of the boat.

Ann
Hee,hee... I'm usually the optimist in our family, but I gotta point out that it also makes it easier for thieves to get into the boat!

But don't worry, be happy!

(All in jest, Matt)

Jim
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Old 26-05-2014, 19:23   #6
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Re: Deck hatch replacements

Cheerful bunch, these cruisers...

Actually, my reason for replacing the hatches is in part due to the fact that the hatch on the rear cabin is too small for a safe, rapid exit, so that aspect is certainly relevant. In the interim I have actually placed extra fire extinguishers in that rear cabin for this very reason.

Like I said, cheerful bunch US cruisers...

Anyway, I was considering the thought that a flat hatch was less likely to snag on sheets and things. Yes, I know hatches are supposed to be closed when under way, but honestly, when I am out on the Gulf St V, I always have my forward hatches open to pull air through the boat. I am yet to meet a wave big enough to even splash the foredeck out there, so I feel the risk is reasonable.

Matt
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Old 26-05-2014, 20:51   #7
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Re: Deck hatch replacements

sounds good, but i can think of one problem.

if you had to close the hatch from inside the cabin in a big hurry (sudden downpour) you would have a hard time getting hold of the hatch and then pulling it 180 degrees back to close it. not a problem if you were already on deck.
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Old 26-05-2014, 20:52   #8
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Re: Deck hatch replacements

Good point.
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Old 26-05-2014, 21:05   #9
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Re: Deck hatch replacements

[QUOTE=GILow;1550526]Actually, my reason for replacing the hatches is in part due to the fact that the hatch on the rear cabin is too small for a safe, rapid exit, so that aspect is certainly relevant. In the interim I have actually placed extra fire extinguishers in that rear cabin for this very reason.



I am strongly in support of your approach. I think centre cockpit, aft cabin yachts should have 3 exits...aft hatch, centre companionway, and forward hatch. Not sure, but I think some of the standards set by relevant authorities reflect this.

Probably needless to say, but when enlarging the hatch, I am sure you will ensure the integrity of deck beams, etc. When I was looking for my Swanson 42 I came across one where the owner had added extra hatches, simply cutting through the deck beams, failed to add compensating strength, and totally compromising the deck in the process.

Steps to access the hatch are also important. On Banjo, the steps are mounted on a bulkhead. They are very nicely done, and some ladies have thought they were put there to hold their knicknacks and jewelry.

As to hatches, I have mostly Lewmar, they are stayless, fold back flat, with the support incorporated into the hinge. The hinge/support deteriorates under UV, but I have been able to buy replacements, despite the age of my hatches. There may be other, better hatches nowadays.

It is very handy to have the hatches fold back flat. The stern hatch is over the battery compartment, the forward over the sail locker. I have recently swapped out the batteries, and have removed/replaced 8D Lifelines singlehanded through the rear hatch, using the boom. Wrestling a 130% genoa through the forward hatch, singlehanded, is also facilitated by a fold flat hatch

Lee
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Old 26-05-2014, 21:17   #10
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Re: Deck hatch replacements

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Originally Posted by banjoship View Post
...I came across one where the owner had added extra hatches, simply cutting through the deck beams...
That's just plain nasty. Thankfully, all ours fall nicely between deck beams.

Yes, bigger hatches, within reason, would be better. We have two on the foredeck, one over the sail locker, and one over the main saloon.

You've got me thinking about how easy it would be to climb out either now, since neither have ladders... The main saloon is probably ok, just stand on the seating, but I will actually check that is possible. The one over the sail locker on the other hand....hmmm... NOT so easy. The one in the lazarette cabin is ok, I have climbed through it a couple of times, which is what got me thinking I either needed to lose some weight, or put in a bigger hatch. The bigger hatch is more likely...

Thanks for the tip on the stayless hatches, I will check them out.

Matt
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Old 26-05-2014, 23:34   #11
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Re: Deck hatch replacements

Hatches like most things are a variety of quality and prices. Cast aluminum hatches are generally the strongest and the highest quality but of course cost more. Extruded hatches are the cheapest to buy and are weaker than cast. In years gone by the finer boats all had cast hatches and boats designed for offshore also were built with cast hatches.
These days the bar has been set pretty low for boats considered Ok for offshore and most of the boats use extruded hatches because it keeps the price down.
Extruded hatches are easy to spot because the always have a joint and you can see these joints. Even extruded hatches have different levels of quality and strength.
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