Designing a new companionway? Any advice?

jollysailor17

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The sliding hatch and garage on my Elizabethan 29 has seen better days and so I have decided to bite the bullet and renew the whole shooting match. I have been thinking for some time, that by raising the hatch seven inches, it would give me full standing headroom below.
I am thinking of making this from two 3/4 inch marine ply epoxied together for the sides and front and one piece of 3/4 ply for the top.
The added height would allow for small port lights to be fitted so as to give 360 degree lookout when in the galley. I thought I might do this with a router and cut 1/4 inch rebates and epoxy perspex port holes on each side, so creating a double glazed porthole and seal the outer with an aluminium surround.
I wonder if the sides can be vertical or should they be set at an angle?
At the moment this is an idea and I wondered if anyone has done anything similar or could offer advice?
 

rob2

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I'm not sure that you should epoxy the perspex in place, the movement of the wood with humidity changes is likely to break something. It would be quite OK to bed the perspex onto mastic and scre it in place, but make the cearance holes for the screws on the bid side, so as to accomodate any movement. A friend of mine recently built an extended hatchway to increase standing headroom and is very happy with the results.

Are you planning on a sliding hatch? I seem to recall there are old designs around for hatches which lift and slide for easier sealing.

Rob.
 

oldsaltoz

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It would be more cost effective, lighter and stronger if made from closed cell sheet foam.

This could all be done using the less expensive standard resins, then fixing it to the boat with a small amount of epoxy resin and cloth.

The whole thing can be built away from the boat so no weather or security problems till you are ready to install.

Good luck.:)
 

William_H

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New hatch

I think you need to consider the end appearance of the boat profile when it is finished. One type of boat here called a Tankard in many cases had an extra raised hatch as you suggest but bigger fitted. I think the end result looked 'orrible. perhaps make a cardboard replica stick it on and look at the boat from a dinghy.
Of course much depends on whether you value standing headroom. I find on a smaller boat that the motion is such that you don't stand much anyway. Sitting is safer.
If you have a sliding hatch and weather is nice you cans tand in the entrance with hatch open.
Lastly if you go the plywood roof don't forget to camber the top so water does not collect but runs off easily.
good luck olewill
 
D

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Hatches and Goldfish

I am aware of some smaller boats that have had movable seats built into the companionway area. Instead of standing, the seat is used to sit within the head room available.

I have also noticed an astrodome type bubble on a hatch. The bubble was removable and a blank could be fitted thus retaining much of the hatch's sliding functionality. I am sure the astrodome bubble could also pivot on the aft edge allowing the hatch to slide somewhat when fitted.

The advantage of the removable bubble or pivoting bubble is that you retain the original structure but with more headroom, the disadvantage when standing is that you may feel like a goldfish.

Food (flakes sparsely sprinkled) for thought.
 

BAtoo

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I suggest whatever method you use do a mock up first and see what it will look like; most owner mods of this sort look like the proverbial dog's dinner rather than the mutts nuts !!!!
 

barnaclephill

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it would give me full standing headroom below.
I am thinking of making this from two 3/4 inch marine ply epoxied together for the sides and front and one piece of 3/4 ply for the top.
I wonder if the sides can be vertical or should they be set at an angle?
At the moment this is an idea and I wondered if anyone has done anything similar or could offer advice?

G'day Jolly,

I am presently doing the same as you. To avoid developing a posture stoop, I decided to do the same. I have a 26' steel yacht with ply above the decks, ie cabin. Head height was about 3inches too short for health, so I had a little stoop or when braced standing, the feet were at an angle. (back straight, derriere leaning on bench, feet a little forward of column of the spine).

About 4 years ago I extended the cabin roof approx 45cm further aft, as the backwall of the cabin (hatch, instrument panel etc ) was at 45 degree angle - good for strength but bad for when the rain is vertical. The whole width of the cabin was extended, and a new companionway (with 3 horizontal boards) and a sliding hatch were installed. The sliding hatch was of the "inside" variety, and usually the drains weren't effective, so it needed being an "outside" or sliding hatch that covers over the side rails. When the slide was closed, I had an area of about 40 x 40 cm of full head height in it's garage.

Details:
I made the curve firstly out of 4 layers of 6mm ply, as the roof is/was 18mm thick, plus some 3 beams of about 60x70mm going across the cabin. The extra thickness of 24 rather than 18 was to remove 2 of those beams, having just enough height, allowing me to walk fore and aft. I decided only to raise the roof over the main steps-sink-stove area only, and only for a width of about 55cm. The length was 172cm. The curvature of my 4 layers was not perfect - it has a warp. The outer sliding curve may have a slight warp also, but are fixed now.

2 rails were made - 19x65mm timber, one softwood, one hardwood: so soft & hard 38x65 on the portside, hard & soft 38x65 on the stb'd side, as they looked too thin at 19x65. Then the rails were epoxied to near the edge of the curved roof.

Over Easter, the old hatch came off in about an hour. Some bits were saved for later, about half made an excellent evening fire on French Island, Westernport Bay.
The next day as we motored home, the motor made the electricity to operate the angle grinder to clean the fibreglass off the timber roof. And the jigsaw to clean up the edges where my hand saw couldn't reach. Lots of dust went into the sea, as we were on autopilot. Then when anchored, we expoxied the roof edge, put on the top, and a few locating screws from underneath.
The next day another round of epoxying the outside join, as epoxy is sometimes (for me) runny to be workable. (I need a stronger flexible spatula, steel perhaps).
A week later, I filled in the last of the outside join, to make it waterproof, and I extended the height of the companionway boards, to make it lockable and keep the swallows out.

Next jobs are to add quads to the outside edge (b/n rail & old roof) to give the new roof a wider base to anchor to. And then I can walk on it, cover with a bit more epoxy, beach sand & paint. (non-slip))
Then I finish cutting the second of the 2 beams that come out, and finish the inside edging and paint it all nice like.
The warps in the 2 curves were cured by planing the runners that are on the underside of the sliding part. It all works well.

Big job perhaps, but most of it was done over about 4 hours while beached, and on autopilot. The rest was mostly squeezing in thickened epoxy, and some fiddly jobs that I hadn't measured beforehand.
The good news is that when finished, I have (less the engine/comp'way steps) 170cm long by about 55cm wide of full head height, feel more relaxed, and I don't have to fear spinal problems down the track if I keep the boat.


To answer your above questions, for the width you want, check that you can bend your 3/4" plywood, rather than build up layers of thinner ply - also less work & errors. Vertical sides, but build them up inside & out with quads, to help keep the stresses in the normal curve, rather than being pushed against an unbuttressed wall.
 
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Ubergeekian

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I suggest whatever method you use do a mock up first and see what it will look like; most owner mods of this sort look like the proverbial dog's dinner rather than the mutts nuts !!!!

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Scotty_Tradewind

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The sliding hatch and garage on my Elizabethan 29 has seen better days and so I have decided to bite the bullet and renew the whole shooting match. I have been thinking for some time, that by raising the hatch seven inches, it would give me full standing headroom below.
I am thinking of making this from two 3/4 inch marine ply epoxied together for the sides and front and one piece of 3/4 ply for the top.
The added height would allow for small port lights to be fitted so as to give 360 degree lookout when in the galley. I thought I might do this with a router and cut 1/4 inch rebates and epoxy perspex port holes on each side, so creating a double glazed porthole and seal the outer with an aluminium surround.
I wonder if the sides can be vertical or should they be set at an angle?
At the moment this is an idea and I wondered if anyone has done anything similar or could offer advice?

My pal lives on an E'29 24/7 12/12 and suffers same as....
Any chance of photos of your project as it evolves so we can input opinions/suggestions?
He has saved like mad consequently for 5 years now, but a little more comfort may go a long way :)
 

Blueboatman

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Consider copying the hatch from a wooden pilot cutter?
IE the sides slope down to the front, the actual hatch is nicely curved athwartways, thus you can probably get away with less than 7 inches at the aft end of the two sides.

laminate top from 3 x 1/4 inch ply sheets.

Sides would be better in solid timber or grp , IMO
 

Lakesailor

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The imagined advantage may be far outwieghed by the numbness of the finished article. My Seahawk is a great little boat, but I hate the raised coachroof above the companionway. That is fixed , but the Prelude has the worst of both worlds in that the sliding hatch is domed.

Feckless2.jpg


sail%2020k%20Prelude%20yacht.jpg
 
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