Why would anyone spend time and money trying to find a solution to such a simple task as securing a hatch? Builders of production boats ignore the problem. Professionals try to get away with as little as possible, amateurs do their best. In this case the leek proof hatches subdivide my boat into a number of waterproof compartments. The stored items gets protected from the elements and in the unlikely case of the hull getting holed they give flotation or contain the damage to the holed compartment.
It is true that a wing nut style bolt head or a simple small “T” handle welded to the Torx bolt head would make it easier to undo the bolts without any tools. I try to reduce the number of objects that can hurt me. Thatâ€™s why I forgo that solution.
I do not think that I am likely to loose my Torx tool. 1976 I started to build a 19 feet aluminum boat. June 1980 I rounded Cape Horn with her. I divided the boat into several waterproof compartments bolting down the hatches more or less the same way. Obviously at that time there were no Torx bolts so I used hex heads. I had about 200 of those bolts on board. I still have quite a few of them M6 25 mm long. Not only do I have the bolts I also still have the tool. I used the same system on some of the hatches on Amphibie-Bris 89 sailing to Newfoundland and on Yrvind.com 2011 sailing to Martinique still the with the same tool. Torx tools are not cumbersome I will bring a score.
Foto showing the tool I used on my voyages since 1978. A bit rusty after the Martinique voyage but still functional.
Will the screws fail due to metal fatigue? I do not think so. There are fore M8 screws to each hatch. M6 would be plenty, even M5. I am even sure four M4 would do the job. There is plenty of redundancy.
Over center latches are good but here the geometry is not suitable for them.
Knots have been suggested. Knots are good. I have used them in in the sleeping room below the bed. Those hatches do not need to bee waterproof because the whole room can be sealed off.
I have knurled the screws. Thus on fine days I need only to screw them down with my fingers. When the sea starts breaking I tighten them up.
Have you ever been surprised at what a difference a few drips of oil can make to a rusty tool? The bronze washer is there to reduce friction and it works like oil. Now if by turning the screw the threads on the washer will be damaged so that it get stuck there permanently? So what? The better.
Photo showing knurls and cut away threads near screw head. I will bring hundreds.
Photo showing hatches in bedroom secured by lashing.
The system consists of three “cleats” and a string. There are twelv compartments below the bed. The matrass is divided into three parts for easy acces.
To be continued…
Long time no see. The reason is I am now working full time. After 16:00 I am writing a new book to finance the project. And before 16:00 I am working on the boat. Also to keep fit I have to take time of for that. Sundays and Wednesdays is running or kayak, Tuesday and Friday after 18:00 one hour exercises.
Also I am working on the interior now and it does not produce very exciting texts or pictures.
However because of the planned route the standard have to be much higher than on ordinary cruising boats, especially regarding stowage. Everything must be secured and waterproof. The back part of the boat, the sleeping room is the easiest part because the whole compartment can be closed of. The forward part is not so easy because water can come in through the entrance hatch when I have to open it for going on deck or work with the rigging or leeboards.
One more reason is I have been on the wrong track a few times and had to go back to square one which is time consuming.
And to be honest, I did work faster when I was younger, but of course did even more mistakes and more sloppy work then.
On the whole I have a nice time with my projects and enjoy life.
Below are a few pictures.
Abowe. The main closing hatches. Inside the compartments are subdivided.
Abowe: One of the main hatches. There is a 20×30 mm EPDM closed cell gasket running around the edge to prevent water from entering. The gasket is not glued but is squised into place, therefore wery easy to replace even at sea.
To transfer the closing edge I used thumb tacks.
an fuzzy close up.
The thumb tack and tejp.
The thumb tacks has marked a pice of cardboard. The cardboard is transfering the edge to the lid .
I did cinsider several was of closing the hatch. Finaly I decided on bolting it down. It not the quickest way but the strongest and most flexible and secure. It is easy to adjust the pressure on the gasket. It will take a few minutes to open the hatch. The process will be repeated thousands of times during the voyage. I did worry about stainless against stainless so I did a stress test. It sized up so hard it was impossible to mowe. I had to use the grinder to split the nut. I probably overdid the test but on the other hind I did not fancy being down the roaring forties with no acces to my food. I wanted to be sure.
I went back to square one and did fittings of aluminum bronze. It is ecceptionally wear resistant and you are well advised to use sharp drills.
the bronze fitting.
One fitting temporarily in place.
Bronze fitting and drain channel.
One of the drain outlets.
One of the screws temporarily in place.
To reduce friction I made bronze washers. In order not to lose them I threaded them like a nut. At the top of the nut, just below its head I remowed the threads on the lathe. Now the washer can rotate freely up there but not fall off. It works well.
To be continued…