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Old 30-09-2010, 19:45   #1
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When to Batten Down the Hatches ?

Just a thought, I've done plenty of sailing on my current yacht offshore but never in real wild weather. I've done plenty of offshore miles on other peoples yachts in some pretty bumpy weather, always with the companionway hatch fully open. Do you single handers usually sail with the companionway hatch fully open in wild weather and if so, at what point do decide to close it up when going below for a snooze?

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Old 30-09-2010, 19:57   #2
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The hatch will let you know--when there's water coming in, its time to close it, whether it is a downpour or waves breaking over the boat.
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Old 30-09-2010, 19:59   #3
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No way... hatch is always pulled shut... both washboards out upto a F6, then one in.. if it goes up to 8... in goes the next... if its raining they're all shut... even if its under motor n flat calm...
I hate wet inside the boat.
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Old 30-09-2010, 20:01   #4
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I don't know about "wild,"

I don't know about "wild," but when I'm in my 28' sloop I leave the companionway open, even on a good heel. I just have more awareness of the boat that way, but the tradeoff is obviously the potential for taking on water if something untoward were to happen, as well as minor water damage to the area surrounding it.

But I don't solo that one very much. Still, sometimes with the people I have on board, it feels like I'm going solo...
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Old 30-09-2010, 20:10   #5
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Keep mine partially closed,2 in,3rd if needed.mar
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Old 30-09-2010, 20:10   #6
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Well, a CAL28 will float 90+ degrees and not ship water down the companionway... That said, I sure wished the damn thing was closed up!

BTW, I made a one piece drop in out of King Starboard for in port and fair weather.... Much simpler in and out!
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Old 01-10-2010, 07:57   #7
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In truely bad weather/seas, it is wise to have one's drop boards in place and secured and the hatch cover closed and secured so that it cannot be thrown open by a violent roll-down. If one looks back at the experience of many of the yachts during the storms that effected the Fastnet (in '79) and, later, the Sydney-Hobart, boats that left companionway hatches opened and were knocked down suffered significant down-flooding. The arguements against that are, of course, that some worry about off-watch crews being trapped below deck in a knock-down/roll-over and/or suffereing from inadaquate air circulation. Well secured hatches are the best insurance against flooding, however, regardless of the yacht's orientation. A flooded yacht can very quickly become untenable in rough conditions.

FWIW...
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Old 01-10-2010, 08:25   #8
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When I put the second reef in the main then I tend to make sure all is pretty secure.
The companionway hatch is pulled over.
Washboards I have only put the bottom washboard in once or twice because of sea conditions. More often for rain when the wind is behind.
Have used both washboards a couple of times for rain.

The ealiest reminder to start getting stuff squared away is when the junk on the table becomes junk on the floor.... oh, and my pile of Cruising World mags gets themselves out of order When I finish re-re-re-reading one I put it on the bottom of the pile and pick from the top. If it takes a few months to work through the pile I think I am reading a brand new magazine - I can't remember none of the articles!

Hatches always closed at night at sea. On really clam nights then they can be popped if right above the off watch person (who is now me all the time....)
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Old 01-10-2010, 09:11   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
oh, and my pile of Cruising World mags gets themselves out of order When I finish re-re-re-reading one I put it on the bottom of the pile and pick from the top. If it takes a few months to work through the pile I think I am reading a brand new magazine - I can't remember none of the articles!
PHEW! I thought I was the early Alzheimers member here! Glad to be in such good company!
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Old 01-10-2010, 10:10   #10
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can we add to this thread how. Deck hatches are easy about or a little before the 2nd reef or when the spray starts coming in. The companion way is soon to follow. Problem is at the helm the dropboards secure to the hatch with a hasp and lock if your down below you would have to get out through a deck hatch if the helmsmen were disabled. If your down below and use the barrel bolt The helmsman is locked out. Never liked that and havent yet come up with a simple strong solution.
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Old 01-10-2010, 10:36   #11
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The offshore racing rules mandate dropboards that can be secured so as not to fall out when the boat is inverted (typically using a lashing), and that the hatch be securable but still be able to be opened from inside and outside. There are many solutions that people have come up with to meet the rules:

I have a single-piece dropboard with a screw-plate that you can open and reach through to operate the hatch cover barrel bolt. The dropboard is secured with a lanyard. On VALIS there is a bridgedeck the same height as the cockpit coaming, so it's pretty hard for green water to get below, and I really only carry the custom dropboard to comply with the racing rules -- I never actually use it.

There are more elegant solutions as well. I have seen a fabricated a spring-loaded sliding bolt in the hatch that has two "operating knobs" (or whatever you would call them) coming out through slots in the hatch on both the inside and outside. My description is awful, but this can look very nice.

A company in the UK makes the "Hatch Latch", which can be operated from inside and outside and looks like an good product:

Osprey Marine

I have been thinking about getting this, but they don't have distribution in the U.S.A. and I've been lazy.

As for when to batten the hatches, I've never been in conditions where I was concerned about downflooding, and even with the spreaders in the water (during a spinnaker jibe and round-down), while the cockpit is partially submerged, no water gets below. But, there are plenty of times where wave-slaps will drench the topsides, so we generally keep the deck-hatches closed when underway, unless we are cooking and really need the ventilation, or if the conditions are truly calm enough to keep the deck dry. We generally batten down for night sailing, as the squalls can drench the boat at any time.

We often close the sliding companionway hatch and might put in the lower washboard, just to reduce the nuisance spray. It depends on the conditions and the point of sail.
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Old 01-10-2010, 10:37   #12
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while i was sailcruising gulf o f mexico, we left hatches open until seas were 2-4 ft. then closed the forward overhead and side ports. the companionway and center hatch were closed with rain and seas over 4 ft. we were in a 37 seidelmann performance cruiser. in my boat, a formosa 41, we will sail with forward hatch and side ports closed and dogged down and tend the rest accordingly, as formosas are well known for stabbing and lifting seas into boat with sprit.

in thegulf, we were "pooped " by a breaking 8 1/2 ft sea--over the stbd quarter--i like sailing with a drop board in--we didnt at that time--0300--- stuff got slightly damp--the sea didnt get itno the boat except via the lazarette covers, which drain into boat!!! but it was the flying fish makin the face that made me laugh like crazy!!! was fun
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Old 01-10-2010, 10:47   #13
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One thing I don't like about dropboards in the companionway is that it makes one of the more dangerous moves on a boat (going below or coming up) even more challenging by causing you to swing/pivot your legs over some boards. The higher the boards the more of a gymnastic exercise.

I shut the forward hatch if we're getting any decent bow spray. The salt gets into the beddding up forward and it never dries out.
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Old 01-10-2010, 12:16   #14
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Water - particularly salt water - below is a very bad thing. Accordingly I sail with all ports and hatches dogged all the time. Offshore the boards are also in. The companionway slide may be closed or part open depending on conditions.
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Old 01-10-2010, 12:31   #15
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Relaxing in the open, Hatches wide open..

Knuckles a little white, Dog it down tight...

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With your life or your boay.....
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