Hatches facing backwards??? - SailNet Community

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Old 05-01-2008
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Hatches facing backwards???

Hi all;

Got three spankin' new hatches ready to go onto our boat this weekend. In The Cruising Encyclopedia by Steve Dashew, the author states that cabin airflow is increased by mounting the forward hatch facing BACKWARDS, so that the raised lid is facing the bow.

His reasoning, and he has done this so it is not just speculation, is that with the companionway open, a draft is created as wind at anchor moves over the boat. He believes that this created more air movement in the cabin then having the hatch open forward, as most boats do.

Anyone ever do this, or want to give their opinion?

Thanks,
Chris
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Old 05-01-2008
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It also allows for taking in substantially more water if hatch is open and a wave breaks over the bow and the hatch is open.

Personally - I wouldn't go forward facing. There are plenty of other things that can be done that do not invite water like its got a VIP pass than that. Also note that his boats are relatively LARGE and high freeboard.
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I think I would be happier with the hatch opening aft and just buy a wind scoop thing and rig it at anchor.

Actually now that I think about it, I remember that the forward hatch can be used either way by just switching the hinge pins. I don't think I ever had it on that way.

Last edited by knothead; 05-01-2008 at 07:25 PM.
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Old 05-01-2008
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Maybe, but I'm skeptical. Our forward hatch faces forward ( by which I mean the forward edge opens up and pivots up and back), and the flow of air at anchor is down through that hatch and out the companionway. In really hot weather or when the breeze is light, we supplement it with a windscoop.

It might work if you anchored off the stern, and used the dodger as the windscoop. Also, when sailing with the trade winds, the wind DOES come down in through the companionway. But even in these scenarios, you'd still want the forward hatch facing forward to improve out-flow.

Our hatch is reversible (i.e. it can open forward or backward). But the only time we open it backward is if we are anchored and it is raining, or in a slip to get a breeze that is coming from astern.
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I would venture to say that MOST production boats have their forward hatches set with the hinges aft so that they work as wind scoops in that manner. The ideal setup is like JRPs where you have the option.

The "hinge forward, aft opening" is generally considered an offshore installation, the rationale being that a wave will tend to close the hatch, and hopefully minimize the water going below. (sorry - obviously stating the obvious)

We have two hatches forward of the mast, the lower foredeck hatch has hinges fwd, the one in the cabin top has hinges aft and acts as a ventilation scoop.
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To clarify, When I say backwards, I am talking about hinges forward, and air movement flowing from the companionway to the hatch.

Chris
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Another factor in this decision is what you use the hatch for. If normal practice, for example, is to haul the appropriate sail out of the Vberth to hank on, then you're more likely to have the hatch open at times when water may get on deck.. on the one hand the open aft arrangement will minimize water below, but the open forward makes it much easier to haul the sail out (and to stuff it back down later)

In today's world of virtually universal roller furling, I suppose that's not the concern it used to be.

I think for coastal, sheltered water cruising, and if you pay attention when things get bouncy, that the typical "hinges aft, opening forward" makes sense from a ventilation point of view esp. on those hot summer days.
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I would never sail the boat with the forward hatch open, either foreward or aft facing. At anchor, it is highly unlikely you will get green water over the bow!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xort View Post
I would never sail the boat with the forward hatch open, either foreward or aft facing. At anchor, it is highly unlikely you will get green water over the bow!
Very prudent. but sometimes very uncomfortable for the off watch.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xort View Post
I would never sail the boat with the forward hatch open, either foreward or aft facing. At anchor, it is highly unlikely you will get green water over the bow!
Xort..

one should never say never again.....

I do it many, many times...you will too...
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