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Old 31-08-2015, 22:48   #1
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Companionway Hatch Board Design

Those of us who own a west coast Pearson Triton are familiar with the unique fiberglass companionway hatch boards that Aeromarine built for the west coast Tritons. It features a cupped opening at the top of the lower board that overlaps the upper board to allow for ventilation while prevents rain from getting inside the cabin. It's a good design with two potential issues: (1) it is a big opening which could invite disaster if the boat is knocked down beyond horizontal, and (2) it is difficult to stow the lower board since it is not flat.

I have been thinking of ways to modify the design and, at the same time, add a couple of additional features to make it safer and more convenient to use and stow. My idea entails three modifications to the existing design: (1) cut out the cupped opening and replace the cutout section with a piece of lexan glass so that I can see out from inside the cabin, (2) link the upper and lower boards together with a piano hinge so that I can leave the lower board in the slot and have the upper board just hang outside the lower board, (3) trim the existing hatch board track slot on both side of the companionway so that only the lower portion of the track is slotted to enable the upper board to fold over the lower board. It's difficult to envision the (2) and (3) part of the design unless you take a look at the Golden Hind 31 companionway design describe in the Cruising World article

Sailboat Companionway Design | Cruising World.

To my way of thinking this design is superior for a number of reasons for those who want to venture outside the Golden Gate. Firstly, linking the upper and lower boards together with the piano hinge makes it easier to leave the boards together and in the slot while underway which will make it much easier to get in and out the cabin when the upper board is folded down and overlaps the lower board. Secondly, it is less likely that you will accidentally lose the boards during a boisterous passage because you don't have to juggle two or three boards to get in and out the cabin. Furthermore, as I mentioned it will be easier to stow while in port or when weather is nice while underway (you won't have that big cupped lower board to deal with). Finally, it is a big bonus to be able to see out even when the upper board is close as well. I realize you will lose some ventilation if both boards are in but you will only need that under very heavy weather conditions.

I have considered and rejected swing door ideas so I am not interested in rehashing that concept again. But I would very much appreciate it if you have a boat or have sailed on a boat with hinged upper and lower hatch boards as described here or in Cruising World.

Thank you in advance for your comments and insights.

Ray Chang
Triton106 - Blossom
Alameda, California
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Old 01-09-2015, 18:21   #2
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Re: Companionway Hatch Board Design

Any thoughts and comments would be much appreciated!
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Old 01-09-2015, 18:30   #3
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Location: Oregon
Boat: Seafarer36c
Posts: 5,563
Re: Companionway Hatch Board Design

Try not to sail where you need hatch boards. Louvered doors.
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companionway, hatch

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