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Siamese 06-06-2007 10:22 PM

Screens for companionway...ideas?
'Still working on a few of the essentials for my new Catalina 309. We're doing a week-long trip mid-June (here on Lake Michigan), and I want to be ready with some sort of screens for the companionway (the other hatches come supplied with them).

This leads to my semi-rhetorical quesion: why the heck is the entrance to the cabin on most sailboats so darn primitive. I mean, I think the neanderthals went straight from the open air approach to a simple doorway to their caves, bypassing "cave boards" altogether.

I always look both ways to make sure a power-boater doesn't see me shuffling my hatch boards every time I open up my boat. And closing up the cabin from down below is a joke...install boards...slide hatch...then remember you left your glass of wine in the cockpit...grrrrrrr.

If you're overnighting on your boat with no companionway upgrade you're either sealed in with insufficient ventilation, or you've left the companionway wide open for your own convenience and the convenience of every bug that's drawn your cabin lights. LAME!

Hatch board advantages?
Low cost
ummmmm...okay, I give up.

I'm at a loss as to why manufacturers continue to offer their products with such an outdated system, and I'm equally stymied as to why buyers put up with it. Is it just me? Am I missing something? (Rant is now over).

I'll probably go out to the shop and put together a new screen door insert to replace the hatchboards. I made one for my previous boat. Just a simple wood frame with a single, hinged screen door in it that replaces the hatchboards for overnight. Works well, but the downside is that it works best with the companionway slider in the closed position, so it's a tad awkward to get in and out (but better than hatch boards!).

The real question: Is there any great wisdom out there on an effecient solution to this problem (by that I mean a cheap and easy solution)? Not a velcro and screen setup...uh uh, nope. Maybe a Sunfish?

sailingdog 06-06-2007 10:38 PM

Drop boards are used because they're fairly durable, cheap and good in bad weather. They also take up very little space...and are relatively fool-proof. Many boats I know have a second set made up with either screened cutouts or louvered vents in the dropboards.

Most doors aren't water-tight... and the ones that are tend to be fairly heavy, massive and expensive.

tdw 06-06-2007 10:42 PM

The best case for drop in companionway boards is strength. If you have doors hinged on the side with a centre line join that is an inherent weakness I'd have thought. Boards are also easy to stow completely out of the way.

For screens I'd adopt the old build a timber or aluminium frame with insect screen to use at anchor. If the frame is reinforced with a steel frame and lockable from the inside you solve both the security and bug problems in one hit although I acknowledge access is still an issue.

Maybe someone has a decent system of doors ? If so I'd like to see it also.

tdw 06-06-2007 10:46 PM

Bloody dog ! Always manages to get their first. :p :) :D

yotphix 06-06-2007 10:54 PM

Mosquito netting and weights? It's cheap and easy alright. The best possible solution for the manufacturers is a hinged watertight door on a slope to do away with the slider and the hatch boards completely. I saw this set up executed beautifully on a Swain 36 folded steel boat that was in Newport Beach and about to leave for French Polynesia. Does away with embarassment too!

yotphix 06-06-2007 11:12 PM

You can see an example of this in this You tube video.
YouTube - Daysail in Steel Offshore Sailboat built by owner
The one that I saw worked better because there was no dodger in the way.

sailingdog 06-06-2007 11:39 PM


Originally Posted by tdw
Bloody dog ! Always manages to get their first. :p :) :D


tdw 06-06-2007 11:47 PM

just a thought, but one could of course inset a screened port into a standard washboard which would give you ventilation and insect protection. Maybe a bit heavy to get in and out but still doable I would have thought. Maybe a bit clumsy. Just a thought.

CLucas 06-07-2007 06:49 AM


Originally Posted by Siamese

The real question: Is there any great wisdom out there on an effecient solution to this problem (by that I mean a cheap and easy solution)? Not a velcro and screen setup...uh uh, nope. Maybe a Sunfish?

These these... Zarcor Companionway Doors

rheaton 06-07-2007 07:00 AM

Catalina direct also offers some options. They are not cheap.

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