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Old 07-12-2012
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Re: Offshore Checklist--Companionway Drop Boards

Something I have not seen mentioned is the need to have a reliable manner of securing the companionway drop-boards in the event of a knock-down, or capsize/roll-over during bad weather. In the Fastnet ('79) a significant number of yachts that were knocked down or capsized lost unsecured drop-boards that "fell out" and allowed major flooding even though the boats quickly re-righted themselves. Our drop-boards are heavy 3/4" in. thick teak plywood. To secure them we use 1/2" shock cord that attaches to pad-eyes on either side of the base of the companionway and can be pulled over hooks on the interior sides of the boards. The cord is strong enough to prevent the boards from dropping out under their own weight, but not so tight that one cannot free them reasonably easily. When off-shore, we generally keep the lower drop board in place, and secured, against the possibility of an errant wave coming aboard, which has happened from time to time. In the night, we always have both boards in place, and secured, although the hatch cover, under the dodger, may be left open for air circulation.

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