Author Topic: Good hatch design?  (Read 445 times)

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Offline SeaHusky

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Good hatch design?
« on: September 08, 2017, 03:10:16 PM »
A little diversion from all the hurricane worries. I have been thinking about hatch design. My boat has the standard "two slotted boards and a sliding cover" main hatchway. This is neither strong, nor even remotely watertight in case of a knock down. Roger Tailor on MingMing and others have mounted one or two Lewmar hatches but that is not really practical on a cruising boat. Does anyone have any suggestion for a more seaworthy construction or modification that is still cruiser friendly?

Sailing an Allegro 27 "Mikaja" in the Baltic.

Offline Owly055

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Re: Good hatch design?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2017, 10:09:35 AM »
     We of course are not looking at Ming Ming or Ming Ming II here.  Roger used only a single Lewmar hatch on the entry.    This large sloped sea hatch in your photo looks very practical with the hand rails.   Lewmar makes some sea hatches that are quite large, 30" being the largest I know of.  That's pretty big.   I know a few folks who wouldn't fit through a 30" hatch, but they aren't people I'd care to take along ;-)      The solution might be to fabricate a sloped hatch opening with an large opening similar to the original opening except sloped.   Use a washboard system and a dodger for normal conditions, but stow a bolt on cover with a good gasket system somewhere for rough weather.   The bolt on cover would use a clamping system with the clamps on the inside of the opening to compress the seal, and a Lewmar 77 sea hatch would allow you to enter and leave the cockpit without the big opening, and maintain water tight integrity.   In a knockdown you have numerous places for water to get in.... stove pipe, lazerette, anchor locker, portlights, hull to deck joint, mast boot / partner, etc.....    To maintain water tight integrity in a knockdown or capsize, requires a major campaign to find all the places water can get in.   Roger fiberglassed over the hull to deck joint, a significant offender.    Chances are you won't be battened down tight with zero ventilation, and you are going to find ALL the leaks.    If you're really serious about being completely water tight, the only way to test is to intentionally capsize the boat... drain the oil out of the engine, and pretty much remove anything loose inside the boat, hook a line to the masthead, down through a snatch block attached to a mooring block on the bottom, and to a winch on another boat, and pull it over.     It would be an interesting exercise.   I can see swinging the boom out to the side and tying it that way, with a fork of some sort to run your line through so the initial pull is outboard of the boat.  Once the masthead is well off to one side, it's going to go over fairly easily.    I can just imagine being inside while this is going on.  No matter how confident I was, I'd still want to have scuba gear aboard and a wetsuit, as well as a way to equalize pressure so I could open the hatch and escape if necessary.   It would be exciting to say the least.   I've never read of anybody doing this....... it would take confidence, determination, and huge balls!!

Below is a photo of Roger Taylor on Ming Ming II, and you can see his single Lewmar hatch and dodger setup.    He did an extensive series of Utube videos that are well worth watching.

                                                   H.W.


Offline SeaHusky

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Re: Good hatch design?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2017, 12:12:18 PM »
Owly, you are correct!
I don't really mean submarine tight and shouldn’t have written knock down. I think I was carried away by Roger Taylor’s reasoning (I have his books). What I am thinking about is that almost every time you read about people having encountered bad weather during a passage they need to dry out every cushion, mattress, bedding, clothing, carpet etc. due to having taken in large amounts of salt water. This to me seems unnecessary and I would like to have something better than the drop boards and sliding hatch that I, and everyone else, has that do not even stop all the normal sea spray that may reach them. Taylor addresses this problem after his crossing to Tasmania and one of my favourites, Sven Yrvind, says that "every housewife knows that the washing machine door must be watertight or you will have a wet floor. So far though, no production boat has had a watertight companionway".
This is him rollover testing his latest boat:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdOgULeFTfM

You may have a quite good idea about replacing the drop boards with a single panel that has a lewmar hatch. I will have to think more about that!

Sailing an Allegro 27 "Mikaja" in the Baltic.

Offline Owly055

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Re: Good hatch design?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2017, 01:45:53 PM »
Owly, you are correct!
I don't really mean submarine tight and shouldn’t have written knock down. I think I was carried away by Roger Taylor’s reasoning (I have his books). What I am thinking about is that almost every time you read about people having encountered bad weather during a passage they need to dry out every cushion, mattress, bedding, clothing, carpet etc. due to having taken in large amounts of salt water. This to me seems unnecessary and I would like to have something better than the drop boards and sliding hatch that I, and everyone else, has that do not even stop all the normal sea spray that may reach them. Taylor addresses this problem after his crossing to Tasmania and one of my favourites, Sven Yrvind, says that "every housewife knows that the washing machine door must be watertight or you will have a wet floor. So far though, no production boat has had a watertight companionway".
This is him rollover testing his latest boat:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdOgULeFTfM

You may have a quite good idea about replacing the drop boards with a single panel that has a lewmar hatch. I will have to think more about that!

I would go farther, and modify the opening so it was angled as shown in your photo.  That angle looks very good to me for ease of entry.  A grab bar above it would make entering easy when going in forward, side bars when backing down, actually angled grips for going down facing backward, or a pair of short tubular handles you could grab that were oriented laterally, and pointed inward or outward, attached to the verticals on the railing shown might be the best.   I put hand grips on my heavy equipment..... 3 yard loader, etc, which I have carefully and thoughtfully oriented to be in the most convenient location and orientation, so you always have something to hang on to with at least one hand.    I don't fall off of stuff!!    People laugh at my machinery with all it's mirrors and hand grips till they run it.   How many loaders have big west coaster mirrors with large wide angle spot mirrors below them?   I don't have blind spots and I don't back into or over things.

                                                                             H.W.

Offline SeaHusky

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Re: Good hatch design?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2017, 02:57:58 PM »
Good points but my boat is still a pleasure craft, will see 90% good weather and is meant to be sailed from the cock pit, sheltered by a soft sprayhood that I am thinking of replacing with a hard dodger. That isn't really compatible with the image in my first post?
Sailing an Allegro 27 "Mikaja" in the Baltic.

ralay

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Re: Good hatch design?
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2017, 08:02:10 AM »
"almost every time you read about people having encountered bad weather during a passage they need to dry out every cushion, mattress, bedding, clothing, carpet etc. due to having taken in large amounts of salt water."

The crew themselves can bring in large amounts of water and any hatch has to let them in.  It's hard to get someone from the deck in soaking wet jacket, bibs, boots, harness, hat, etc into bed without getting anything else wet.  Your clothes are going to get wet sailing in anything but nice weather.  Carpet is going to get wet. Cushions and bedding stay dry to the extent you can avoid coming near them until you're totally dry.  That gets harder as your boat gets smaller and the number of crew increase.  You need places to hang foulies, boots, clothes, and towels to drip dry without getting that water on anything else even if they're tilted 25 degrees and flapping around. 

I think, for most people, who aren't taking breaking waves in the cockpit, the water you yourself bring down when you open the companionway is probably more significant than the rain or spray that would leak past a tight fitting companionway with a sea hood. 

For our boat, the hawse pipes are the biggest source of water intrusion in regular sailing.  Not a dangerous amount.  But enough for it to get flung from the bilge sump up into the turn of the bilge where it makes a mess in a boat without a liner such as ours.  A boat crossing an ocean could close them up, but for coastwise cruising, I'd rather have an anchor ready at all times.  Some boats have a separate anchor locker that drains overboard, but then you're restricted in how much rode you can carry and are forced to store the weight in the very tip of the bow. 

Offline SeaHusky

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Re: Good hatch design?
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2017, 09:29:01 AM »
So instead of over thinking the companionway one should find storage space for a large amount of towels?
Sailing an Allegro 27 "Mikaja" in the Baltic.

Offline Owly055

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Re: Good hatch design?
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2017, 10:06:19 AM »
"almost every time you read about people having encountered bad weather during a passage they need to dry out every cushion, mattress, bedding, clothing, carpet etc. due to having taken in large amounts of salt water."

The crew themselves can bring in large amounts of water and any hatch has to let them in.  It's hard to get someone from the deck in soaking wet jacket, bibs, boots, harness, hat, etc into bed without getting anything else wet.  Your clothes are going to get wet sailing in anything but nice weather.  Carpet is going to get wet. Cushions and bedding stay dry to the extent you can avoid coming near them until you're totally dry.  That gets harder as your boat gets smaller and the number of crew increase.  You need places to hang foulies, boots, clothes, and towels to drip dry without getting that water on anything else even if they're tilted 25 degrees and flapping around. 

I think, for most people, who aren't taking breaking waves in the cockpit, the water you yourself bring down when you open the companionway is probably more significant than the rain or spray that would leak past a tight fitting companionway with a sea hood. 

For our boat, the hawse pipes are the biggest source of water intrusion in regular sailing.  Not a dangerous amount.  But enough for it to get flung from the bilge sump up into the turn of the bilge where it makes a mess in a boat without a liner such as ours.  A boat crossing an ocean could close them up, but for coastwise cruising, I'd rather have an anchor ready at all times.  Some boats have a separate anchor locker that drains overboard, but then you're restricted in how much rode you can carry and are forced to store the weight in the very tip of the bow.

     As the OP brought up Roger Taylor and Ming Ming II, it would be appropriate to take a look at the rest of Roger's mods.   Mingming II is of course a voyaging boat, not a coastwise cruiser.  It is equipped with a Junk Rig, which means that for the most part you aren't messing with the sail (only one sail) much.  There are no head sails, the sail can be reefed by simply releasing the halyard, no tying reefs in.   There is no traveler, no winches, no preventer, no kicking strap or vang.  Tacking the boat is accomplished by merely putting the tiller over, and it may or may not be necessary to adjust the sheets.  Mingming II is steered by a wind vane, and can also be steered from within the cabin.   The wind vane can be adjusted from inside.  The halyard and sheets can be reached without exposing yourself to the weather.   Open the sea hatch and all the lines are within reach and you are mostly inside the cabin AND under the dodger,  And the boat is unsinkable.   
     This  is a boat designed like Blondie Hasler's Jester, to be sailed while remaining warm and dry when the weather is rough.   Blondie sailed Jester to second place against far larger boats in the first OSTAR, sailing the entire race in bedroom slippers!!   
     You do NOT have to be wet and miserable in rough weather sailing, though it seems to be the "tradition".     

                                                 H.W.


Offline SeaHusky

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Re: Good hatch design?
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2017, 11:25:08 AM »
True but Roger Taylor doesn't really enjoy the good weather either. His chosen style is to never go ashore and almost never leave the cabin. Each to his/her own but I like to sleep in the cock pit if the weather permits.
Sailing an Allegro 27 "Mikaja" in the Baltic.

ralay

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Re: Good hatch design?
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2017, 07:25:26 PM »
I gave based that advice on SeaHusky saying he had a pleasure boat in which he expected to see 90% good weather.  It would be a shame to put a such a large amount of work into redesigning the whole companionway and cockpit if leaks weren't really an issue for his intended use.  I think the best general advice for most boat issue is go out and try it.  If it ain't broke, you don't have to fix it.  If it does bother you, you can always redo it later, probably with the benefit of additional experiences. 

Agreed with SeaHusky about Ming Ming.  I don't think it's a stubborn adherence to tradition that gives boats cockpits.  Lots of people have boats because they enjoy being outside and taking an active part in sailing.   Boat design follows that trend.  Folks who want more protection usually put on full cockpit enclosures.  Folks who want a Ming Ming or a Jester are a tiny portion of sailors, even voyaging sailors. 

I'm a proponent of using what's commonly available if it'll do the job (even better if you've already got it). 

I also didn't mean to make it sound like we're wet and miserable.  My clothes and the cabin sole inevitably get wet.  Towels get wet drying us and the sole off. Our berth and sleeping bag are nice and dry because we have plenty of room to hang wet clothes and towels in the head or hanging locker.  It is possible to totally rework a cockpit and companionway so one never has to go outside and get wet.  I find it easier just to go to Goodwill and buy some extra clothes and towels.  The sun comes out eventually. 

Offline Frank

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Re: Good hatch design?
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2017, 09:57:14 AM »
I'll chime in with a short ramble that may or may not address the original question.
That hatch, to me, unless you are "expedition bound" is not user friendly and overkill.
Preparation is a wonderful thing... Dreaming about all that is needed and what will work in those really bad situations is fun. In reality....most of us "over prepare" ... By that I mean that often I see people with too much aboard not needed and never used. Money and space wasted. I over prepared my first time to Bahamas 15yrs ago. Way too much stuff I thought was nessesary.
That hatch reminds me of that...
I see folks cruise the shallow waters of the Abaco's year after year in deep draft ocean going boats with poor ventilation. Great vessels if caught in a mid Atlantic squall... a true hindrence gunkholeing in 5ft and less....
A boat with a spray hood over the sliding hatch, proper bridge deck and straight drop boards that will not easily jar out (like the V'd ones) combined with a dodger for spray is about as good as you will need 99.999% of the time. Every Alberg boat I have seen had a bridge deck and straight boards.
Heck...my Compac 27 does...
So, guess all I'm trying to say is life need not be too complicated.
Some may want to design and build things for that .001% of the time.
I prefer the ease and simplicity of a very exceptable, user friendly design
But... I know I'll never be on an expedition to the South Pole either 😄
God made small boats for younger boys and older men

Offline CharlieJ

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Re: Good hatch design?
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2017, 05:33:03 PM »
when I rebuilt my 21 footer, Necessity,, I built a bridge deck - the drop boards had previously gone down to the cockpit floor

When I rebuilt Tehani, I changed the V-eed hatch, which was 32 inches across at the top, to a 24 in wide straight set of boards and built a real sea hood for the sliding hatch

Charlie J
Sailing on S/V Tehani
Meridian 25

On Matagorda Bay
On the Redneck Riviera

Offline Frank

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Re: Good hatch design?
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2017, 05:59:49 PM »
Seems we're thinking about the same CJ
Simple and works...
Could even get fancy with locks to keep the boards/hatch secure if ever need be, off shore, hove-to, if big crossings were in your plans....
Which I know, like myself, are no longer...

😄😄
« Last Edit: September 22, 2017, 06:02:43 PM by Frank »
God made small boats for younger boys and older men

Offline CharlieJ

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Re: Good hatch design?
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2017, 07:09:12 PM »
one huge advantage of straight boards is you must lift them all the way out. Angled boards can fall out after only a very short lift. Meaning that in a knock down with hatch open ( yeah, I know) they can simply fall out

And here's a pic of the bridge deck I added to Necessity. Had zero plans to sail her off shore, so left the drops alone
Charlie J
Sailing on S/V Tehani
Meridian 25

On Matagorda Bay
On the Redneck Riviera

Offline Frank

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Re: Good hatch design?
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2017, 08:05:35 PM »
This is the straight drop boards I replaced on my Lil 22ft 6in Electra. Old Carl did them all about the same... good bridge deck and straight boards. He never waived from his priorities.
Throw a dodger on to keep the rain out while open or spray off ya underway and although not "expidition built"..... many expeditions have been done with similar set ups.
God made small boats for younger boys and older men

Offline maxiSwede

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Re: Good hatch design?
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2017, 12:22:35 PM »
I am a wee bit late to this party, it's all said essentially.

Though it's kind of interesting to read of, and consider, heavy mods like Hassler or "MingMing Taylor", or total "roll-safe sub mode" builds like Sven Yrvinds, which all comes up with some great ideas for the 5% (?) of the time you find yourself in really poopy weather, personally I am inclined to say that:

Onboard a boat like That I would be miserable 95% of time, and possibly feeling great about prepping for the worst 1-3 % of the time.

Exception would be RTW in the Southern Ocean or similar.

But what do I know, after 10 years of full time cruising, most of it in the tropics and some 20k miles or so I have yet never seen more than about 30 knots sustained at sea. At anchor around 60 knots so a HUGE anchor is top of my prep. List for long term cruising.( and a spare or two for redundancy.

That said, I do start to wonder how long my luck can stay with me....there might be a bad one with the name "Nanna" on it out there....
s/v  Nanna
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and
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Offline CharlieJ

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Re: Good hatch design?
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2017, 06:30:38 PM »
agree- Got around 12,000 miles on this boat,, not counting weekend trips around here. Maybe 7,000 on my trimaran. I have had 70 knots at anchor on two occasions. But my "sail across ocean" days are done :) Best I'll do anymore is another trip across the Gulf of Mexico, or two (gotta come back ya know)
Charlie J
Sailing on S/V Tehani
Meridian 25

On Matagorda Bay
On the Redneck Riviera

Offline Owly055

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Re: Good hatch design?
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2017, 10:27:19 AM »
     The "Grasshopper Green" school of voyage preparation is appropriate for the vast majority of sailors, who will seldom venture far, and then in carefully selected conditions.   Most sailboats are equipped with weak oversize windows / portlights, and may have cockpit lockers &c that can drain into the bilges, hatches that are poorly sealed, ventilation systems that will gulp water when knocked down, heating stoves have to have chimneys, the anchor chain locker may not be sealed off from the bilges, the hull to deck joints are a joke on many boats, the mast passes down through a fabric boot, etc.  On the interior there are often or usually lockers that cannot be secured, open book shelves that cannot be secured to keep their contents from flying about, so canned goods, and other foods, tools, books, clothing, pots and pans, cleaning supplies, bilge water, battery acid, and countless other things unnamed will be flying about in a knockdown or capsize, creating an unholy mess once the boat rights..... if it does.   Accounts of knockdowns and capsize events describe this again and again.   Your boat comes back up minus washboards, and half full or more with water.  You can't bail with a pump because of all the flotsam &c.     
     The circumnavigator type voyager is likely to be faced with dangerous conditions at some point in his trip.    The crossing from Tonga to The Bay of Islands or other Kiwi ports is infamous for unexpected violent weather, as is the Tasman sea crossing to AU.   The Indian Ocean can be highly unpredictable.  Where the powerful Mosambique and Agulhus currents meet storms coming north from the Southern Ocean, things can become incredibly violent with some of the highest waves ever recorded.  People making the passage around the Horn of Africa from Durban to Capetown, typically make the shortest good weather hops possible to avoid being "caught out".    Choosing the right season for Atlantic and Pacific crossings, one can it seems be fairly safe, but some of the smaller seas, like the Philippines Sea, South China Sea, Tasman Sea, etc do not have a truly "safe" season.   

     Most of us will never venture far.  The adventure of the lifetime is the "puddle jump" or the ARC, or simply a long cruise in the Caribbean.  It would be a mistake for these people to prepare as if sailing in the Roaring 40's.   It would also be a mistake for those actually planning circumnavigataion to prepare in the same manner as those going on a Caribbean cruise.   We all have our own ideas and goals, and different appetites for risk.  Many of us will never realize our goals and dreams, perhaps simply because common sense and economic reality prevails.   
 
     I personally hope to spend years exploring the remote corners of the world, without a home base to return to, once I get my boat outfitted suitably.   I may never get there, but a guy has to have a dream to pursue with long and short term goals and mileposts.    Some of the refitting / outfitting & construction will be at the outset, but I expect it to be an ongoing project.  New Zealand seems to be a good place to do this kind of work while waiting out the cyclone season, and the Philippines and Thailand would seem to have some very good craftsmen.   

                                                                               H.W.

Offline SeaHusky

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Re: Good hatch design?
« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2017, 05:14:44 AM »
Just to clarify, my original intent was if there is an "intermediate"? Some way to improve the existing companionway while I am redoing almost everything else without going to the extreme. Seems like there isn't so I'll keep it as is for now.
Sailing an Allegro 27 "Mikaja" in the Baltic.

Offline CharlieJ

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Re: Good hatch design?
« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2017, 05:04:33 PM »
The one big thing I did that was a huge improvement, was adding that seahood. Had to go to an English boating book to get plans- NONE of the American authors had anything comparable- all just addon's that screwed to deck fiber glass shells. Book called "Yacht Joinery and Fitting" by Mike Saunders

Oh and reducing the opening to 24 inches instead of the original 32 inches- you could fly a helicopter thru the original :)

The tops are balsa cored 1/2 inch thick pieces.

This pic while under construction

Charlie J
Sailing on S/V Tehani
Meridian 25

On Matagorda Bay
On the Redneck Riviera