A little more detail
The existing doors are pretty sturdy, and yes they're lift off hinges, which is handy when you have a couple of people lounging in the cockpit, or when you're sailing in mild weather.
The problem is the way they're mounted you can't use the hatch boards at all. There was at least one occasion when I was running the inlet south of Long Beach Island that I would have liked to drop the hatch boards in. Thankfully the original hatch boards were on board when I bought the boat.
Another issue is that the doors are slightly taller than the hatch boards. That means you have to lift the hatch over the doors to unlock the boat. That's a big heavy hatch and an issue for my vertically challenged wife.
What I have in mind is a setup like the one on Cruising Dad's Dad's boat. I'll create a teak frame in place of the existing metal frame. I have new brass lift off hinges and the doors will hinge from that wood frame. This accomplishes a couple of things. The hatch boards can be dropped in quickly, whether the doors are on or not. It will create a wider "threshold", that I can angle at 15 degrees and seal with a rubber strip. That will keep rain from getting under the doors. I'll route a thin groove on the hinge side of each door for weather stripping. And as on Cruising Dad's Dad's boat I'll mount a teak strip on the companionway hatch, so you won't have to lift the hatch to open it.
Rather than make the doors with a standard rail/stile setup, I'll use a mortise and tennon design. This will make the doors stronger, and will allow me to bevel the bottom stile to let water run away from the base of the glass to prevent leaks. A thin strip of butyl tape (sp?) applied to the plexi-glass should provide a good seal. I'm thinking about a simple thumbwheel setup to hold the glass/screens in the doors. But I haven't been able to find a low profile thumbwheel that matches the picture in my head.
I like the idea of a door knob, but I'll probably go for the simplicity of a brass hasp. I'm going to have the local canvas guy make a five compartment case to mount on the vertical wall of the aft berth under the stairs that can hold the hatchboards and the doors.
For materials I'm looking at either teak or ribbon mahogany for the doors and frame. Brass hardware and aqua pearl acrylic to do dolphin inlays on the inside of the doors in the upper right corners. The wife loves the stained glass we saw in a set of doors on a Gozzard but I'm worried about durabililty.
Sorry for the long post, I hope it fills in the details for what I'm thinking.
Now what am I missing and how can I make the design better? I want to do this once.
95 Catalina 30 Island Time
“If a man is to be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most" - E.B. White