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S/V Wyndwitch - Morgan 24
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Whenever it gets hot I open the forward hatch a crack and remind myself to drop it after setting sails. Too often I forget and either the genny sheets catch or some related cluster summons me forward to fix things. My Morgan has the mounts cast to reverse the hatch....has anyone here tried aft facing forward hatches and what's your opinion of them? Inquiring Mind wants to Know.....
 

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Not answering your question, but possible solution to your problem...
I have taken a light line and attached clips to both ends and have
run it from toerail/lifelines on port to a point on mast 3-4 ft higher
than hatch (where I attach whisker pole) and than on over to
starboard towrail/lifelines. Must run under sheets...
Keeps sheets off open forward hatch no problem.
Not my original idea...sure I picked up from sailnet years ago.
 

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....has anyone here tried aft facing forward hatches and what's your opinion of them? Inquiring Mind wants to Know.....
Our boat had such a set up when we bought it - certainly reduced the ventilation possibilities, esp on the hook, but I think a benefit is that a boarding wave is more likely to push the hatch shut before it dumps 20 gals into your V berth.

When we replaced the hatch we reverted to a forward opening, aft hinge for the forced ventilation it offers.
 
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forward facing hatches are a big no no in a storm have spent time upside down in freezing seas stuffing rags into one that tried to sink us they can also get torn off in rough seas,only for coastal cruising.Every time I see one I shiver.
 

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I say hatches should never be open underway, no matter the direction. Can't sail from down below anyway, so I don't get the need. Offshore, boarding waves, rolling sea condition, stuff that could tear off a hatch?? Direction is a moot point, dog them down, period. Maybe I would make an exception for dead calm seas in the Bay with light wind. Still, I wouldn't choose to open the forward hatch, as a stinkpotter wave could splash over the bow and allow ingress.

If there is wind, you'll ventilate in minutes at anchor. If there isn't, you'll roast at anchor, even if you ventilated getting there.

If you have need to be below, while underway, a 12v fan should get you through. We installed them in the heads for that purpose.
 

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S/V Wyndwitch - Morgan 24
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I say hatches should never be open underway, no matter the direction. Can't sail from down below anyway, so I don't get the need. Offshore, boarding waves, rolling sea condition, stuff that could tear off a hatch?? Direction is a moot point, dog them down, period. Maybe I would make an exception for dead calm seas in the Bay with light wind. Still, I wouldn't choose to open the forward hatch, as a stinkpotter wave could splash over the bow and allow ingress.

If there is wind, you'll ventilate in minutes at anchor. If there isn't, you'll roast at anchor, even if you ventilated getting there.

If you have need to be below, while underway, a 12v fan should get you through. We installed them in the heads for that purpose.
Thanks to you all for your responses my primary motive in asking the question is still aimed at hearing if reversed hatches still do adequate ventilation. I am mindfull of the importance of secure hatches in a seaway and for that matter the often overlooked potential of open companionways... thanks again
 

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I'm sorry this post is not to address your post directly, but I am shocked at the thought that you would leave the dock without dogging each and every hatch (except the main companionway) and port aboard securely, first. Even more important than PFDs and any other safety gear, one would think making your boat waterproof would be your first concern for basic safety.
 

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Thanks to you all for your responses my primary motive in asking the question is still aimed at hearing if reversed hatches still do adequate ventilation. I am mindfull of the importance of secure hatches in a seaway and for that matter the often overlooked potential of open companionways... thanks again
Oysterman, in my experience, aft-facing hatches still do provide very adequate ventilation.

Even though there maybe not quite so much airflow as a forward facing hatch, the biggest advantage is that, with side-flaps fitted, you can leave them partly open whilst under way in a balmy summer breeze without the worry of a rogue wave over the bow (most likely caused by a large stinkpot crossing close across your bows at high speed - as the buggers are wont to do) tumbling straight down the hatch and into your bunk.

Hatches, like yours, that can be altered either way to suit the prevailing wind conditions, are even better. The general idea is that they be forward-facing at anchor (bow into the wind) and aft-facing under sail (wind from aft).
 

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I had an aft facing forward hatch on our previous cs. IMO ventilation at anchor was poor. I turned it around and airflow improved quite a bit. My hatches or ports are NEVER open underway.
Jim
 

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Once again, looks like I take an approach contrary to most :)

For a main hatch forward, I favor an aft-opening, as in concert with a spray hood it allows you to keep it open underway, or during rain squalls at anchor, etc...



Although I have a pair of dorades that are helpful, I rate the importance of being able to keep a hatch open underway highly, it can greatly improve the quality of life below. For those susceptible to seasickness, for instance, a good flow of fresh air might often make all the difference... I would Never Say Never when it comes to the prohibition some have voiced on leaving hatches open underway... Beat into the trades for a few days on the final approach to Tortola, on a boat with no dorades and nothing but forward-facing hatches, and sailing on an angle of heel too deep to run the generator to run the air conditioning, and with a crew that hasn't showered in days courtesy of a failed watermaker shortly after departure from the Chesapeake... trust me, you'll become a believer in the benefit of being able to crack open an aft-facing hatch or two in order to allow some fresh air below... :)

I think many make the mistake of considering boat ventilation to be the result of the placement of a single source, rather than looking at it as an overall 'system'... There's a great diagram re airflow in DESIRABLE & UNDESIRABLE CHARACTERISTICS OF OFFSHORE YACHTS, shows how maintaining a good flow is as much a consequence of the ability to exhaust air via the companionway, as it is to provide an intake. Dodgers can be very important in creating a proper flow, and when the proper balance between intake and exhaust is achieved, even aft-facing hatches can admit quite a bit of airflow... Which, of course, can always be assisted at anchor, with the addition of some sort of wind scoop...

I also have a smaller forward-facing hatch on my foredeck above the vee-berth, which of course is great at anchor under the right conditions. But for offshore sailing, a forward-facing hatch on the foredeck can pose a bit of risk, and I'm afraid the proper term escapes me at the moment, but one is well advised to create a raised 'dam' of sorts around the perimeter of the hatch to block the force of green water that might come aboard, or sweep the deck... Adding a cover that can be snapped in place tightly over the hatch can add an additional amount of security, and help inhibit any leaks...
 

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forward facing hatches are a big no no in a storm have spent time upside down in freezing seas stuffing rags into one that tried to sink us they can also get torn off in rough seas,only for coastal cruising.Every time I see one I shiver.
Well if you are upside down, I don't think it matters what way it is hinged. If there are rough seas it needs to be closed and locked. Most hatches I have seen the hinge actually looks weaker than the latch, so once closed and dogged down a forward opening hatch might actually be more secure to boarding waves.
 

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Sounds like you have Atkins and Hoyle hatches. Yes, they can be reversed. Just did the Annapolis Bermuda race and return. Made the hatches aft facing so we could have ventilation when conditions permitted.
 

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S/V Wyndwitch - Morgan 24
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Sounds like you have Atkins and Hoyle hatches. Yes, they can be reversed. Just did the Annapolis Bermuda race and return. Made the hatches aft facing so we could have ventilation when conditions permitted.
They are heavy bronze /chrome with stainless hinge pins. With another set of the deck mounts in the forward location the shift can be made.
I spend substantial amounts of time in the bay and do not take wakes over cabin or head.....appropriate manuever of the boat prevents most of that. However i do Not leave the hatch open outside or....during sailing....but would enjoy some air when gunkholing or idling up and down canals or coves.
My hatch is just forward of the mast atop the trunk cabin not by any means vulnerable to common wakes or bay chop. Thanks for reminding me this need not be an either or arrangement!
Think I'll go ahead and acquire another set of hinge mounts....
 

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Why are they a no no?

How can they get torn off?
By the force of water sweeping the deck, getting under the forward lip...

I'm pretty certain it was one of the recommendations to have come from the official inquest of the 1979 Fastnet disaster, as some boats apparently lost forward-facing fore-hatches...

Some yacht construction codes mandate it, the MCA for instance;

Deck hatch hinges must be fitted on the forward end of the hatches.

http://www.ogdenmarinesurveyors.com/pdf/mcacodes-en.pdf
 

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Those were older boats with different hatches. Are you saying a modern lawman style hatch could be blown open, ripping the two latch handles off? I don't see it.

JonEisberg:1966410 said:
Why are they a no no?

How can they get torn off?
By the force of water sweeping the deck, getting under the forward lip...

I'm pretty certain it was one of the recommendations to have come from the official inquest of the 1979 Fastnet disaster, as some boats apparently lost forward-facing fore-hatches...

Some yacht construction codes mandate it, the MCA for instance;

Deck hatch hinges must be fitted on the forward end of the hatches.

http://www.ogdenmarinesurveyors.com/pdf/mcacodes-en.pdf
 

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Those were older boats with different hatches. Are you saying a modern lawman style hatch could be blown open, ripping the two latch handles off? I don't see it.
How do you know the exact type and manufacture of the hatches that might have been lost? I once had the pleasure of sail aboard Lynn Williams' DORA, which was eventually sold to Ted Turner and re-named TENACIOUS, and went on to win that infamous race. Although she was an "older boat", all those hatches and deck hardware looked pretty robust, to me... I would guess they were probably cast aluminum Bomars or similar, of a much higher quality than much of the crap I see being put on many boats today...

Sorry, I have no idea what you mean by a "lawman style" hatch, but many of the "modern" hatches I'm seeing on boats today make extensive use of plastic in their construction. I've had the plastic handle on a Lewmar Ocean Series hatch break off in my hand, for instance. I've also had the chintzy aluminum rivets that secure the catches for the dogs to the frame eventually corrode and fail, making the hatch impossible to secure until it was repaired. Are you saying such things can never happen offshore?

Or, are you saying the people at the MCA who drew up The Code of Practice for Small Sailing Vessels don't know what they're doing?

Or, are you saying it's not possible that a hatch simply might not have been secured properly? My Lewmar Oceans have the ability to be locked in a 'ventilation mode', where it is cracked slightly open to allow a slight degree of air passage, but still closed enough to prevent the ingress of rain. It certainly appears that they are closed in such a position, but they are not. Are you saying it's not possible that an inattentive crewmember aboard might be mistaken in considering a hatch in such a mode to be 'secured'?

Or, are you saying that it's not possible to simply forget to properly secure a forward facing hatch? Consider the following scenario: A fully crewed boat is sailing, perhaps racing, downwind in sporty conditions. One of the off watch is sleeping in the vee berth, with the foredeck hatch cracked open slightly for a bit of much needed fresh air, permissible in this case as the deck is staying dry. He's awakened in the middle of the night by the cry of MAN OVERBOARD - All Hands on Deck! In his struggle to fully awaken and begin his urgent scramble to get topside, he forgets to secure the hatch...

Are you saying that after the boat has been turned back upwind to recover the MOB, and is now stuffing the bow into short period 6-8 foot seas, that the several tons of seawater that might sweep the deck at 20+ knots would not possess the force necessary to lift the forward edge of an unsecured hatch, and invert it with sufficient violence to break its crappy plastic hinges?

Or, are you saying that in such a scenario, an unsecured aft-facing hatch is just as likely to be broken free as one facing forward?

Unlikely, perhaps - but I see lots of ways a forward-facing hatch might possibly be lost...
 

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Although I do like the breeze thru my bow hatch at anchor (I have one of those wind scoops), I can definitely see the safety factor in having it hinged the other way. Forgetting happens. I have forgotten to close the hatch and have been sorry for it just taking a wake in a canal. If it was hinged the opposite way, the hatch would at least deflect most of that kind of mishap. For going out in the ocean, closing and latching down the hatch is on my "offshore checklist" along with putting plugs in the dorade vents and other things. I just bought two additional latches I'm going to install on the bow hatch to dog it down even tighter when going offshore. Moving water can rip anything off that's not completely secure. I agree that most of the modern hatches I see are incredibly flimsy, designed more for looks than function.
 
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