Preview: Hatches That Are Watertight, Easy to Maintain, and Handsome

April 28, 2014

Avatar LinAndLarry Pardey


“If you didn’t want to get wet, you shouldn’t go to sea!” That’s how one owner defended the salt water that sprayed through his classic skylight and onto our dinner plates and the saloon settees. I gratefully accepted the towel he offered and we went on to have a fine day of sailing. But that evening, when Larry and I were back at or boatshed, I climbed inside the almost-finished main cabin of our future cruising cutter and looked up towards where we planned to have our own skylight. Larry followed my glance and said, “That guy was just defending a badly designed hatch. I guarantee we can figure a way to keep the inside of this boat dry. We just have to think like a drip.”  I laughed, then we both agreed, for our boat we wanted water-tightness first, adjustability to get air flowing into the boat at anchor second, and classic looks third. Then we began examining every hatch we saw on weekends roaming the docks, and digging through books. After sailing both east and west around the world, we feel we got what we wanted. We also know it is the relatively simple details that have made our hatches work. Though these hatches are all built of timber to fit onto a classic wooden boat, the same details can be used to make the hatches on fiberglass or steel boats watertight.

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