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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 09-24-2009
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Companionway Door Ideas

Hey Folks,
One of my winter woodworking projects is going to be replacing my existing companionway doors with a new custom set.

I'm looking for ideas, thoughts, suggestions and photos from anyone who's done this. I'll also be checking out the booths of a couple of vendors who make them at the Annapolis Sailboat Show.

What I want to add/correct/improve on my current doors:
  • The ability to pop out the glass and drop in screens.
  • Able to quickly drop in hatch boards behind the doors (I can't use hatch boards with the current mounting hardware).
  • Better weather sealing when I'm aboard in the winter.
  • Easier to open/close the hatch.
  • More decorative details (decorative dolphin inlays for the wife on the
    inside)
Here's what I currently have and want to improve on.



Thanks,
Jim
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Old 09-24-2009
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One of the issues with Catalinas is the size of the companionways - and the bulk of the hatchboards/doors fitted to them.

Hard to tell, but assume those hinges are "lift-off" types? If not that'd be an improvement right off the bat.

I suppose you could have glass/plexi panes and a framed screen that popped in and out, maybe held in with toggle clips or some such.. but it'd be difficult the have such windows be truly weatherproof (makes one of your other objectives hard to reach). We have a solid plexi drop board and a screened one as well - and just use whichever's appropriate. (but our companionway is much smaller, and the dropboards more compact)

Do you have room on the inside of the companionway edges to add another channel for drop boards? They could be wood strips or perhaps an aluminum channel.

btw - the existing ones look pretty nice already!!
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Old 09-24-2009
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Here is what we currently have:



The nice thing is that they come completely out. When bad weather comes, we can remove them and replace with solid hatch boards (the best solution for bad weather I think). For a scre, we cut out screen replacement like you can get at Walmart for $5/roll to fit the hatch size. Most of the other boats that have done this like us also line the edges with sunbrella and sew in weights at the end to hold it down. It is a very cheap, easy solution.

Dad's boat (seen below), has solid teak doors with plexi glass i nthere like yours. It has a really nice knob entry with locking key mechanism. His too are removeable by pulling up. I like his bettter than ours as they are more sturdy - and I really like the knob/locking mechanism. However, as mentioned above, that would be a large set of doors for most Catalinas.



Just some thoughts, Jim.

- CD
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Old 09-24-2009
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CD
Does dads boat have drop in boards too? I want to switch to a folding door and don't want to carry the drop in too.
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Old 09-25-2009
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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.

Jim
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Old 09-25-2009
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Try this site. A buddy of mine with a Catalina 320 had them make a set and they're very nicely done. Not cheap but then again you get what you pay for.
BTW I too think what you already have looks nice.
Mike
http://www.sailithaca.com/
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimMcGee View Post
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.

Jim
Jim,

Cannot wait to see those doors!!!

- CD
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  #8  
Old 09-25-2009
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Originally Posted by xort View Post
CD
Does dads boat have drop in boards too? I want to switch to a folding door and don't want to carry the drop in too.
There is not a slot for drop ins. Those are Tayana doors, as I understand it. They do not use drop is hatch boards like other manufacturers.

I will say that, unlike most doors, they are THICK. THey are easily an inch or better thick. I feel that those doors may be as strong as most drop-ins.... or stonger.

- CD
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  #9  
Old 09-25-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingdad View Post
Jim,

Cannot wait to see those doors!!!

- CD
Well it's going to be a winter project so it may be a while. Do you want me to do an article for the forum on building them?
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Old 09-25-2009
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Jim,

I have "drop" in boards for a lack of better term on my 85 Jeanneau. I'll try to take a pic this weekend. It is made of two boards, the lower has sliding pin locks that go into the side of the door opening, the upper overlaps and sits on top of the lower, which then fits up and under neath the sliding hatch. Then there is the typical key lock to hold the two boards in place.

The previous/original owner made some plastic smoke door panels that allow one to open and close said doors if the weather is bad.

Sounds to me like yours, but opposite in all manners to a degree, but what you may be looking for. If this sounds like something that will work, I'll take some pics.

As far as articles go, keep track take good pics, I've done a few on the Jeanneau owners forum, I am sure teh Catalina sites would like them, along with check with the folks at Good Old Boat. You might get $100 from them or there abouts.

marty
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