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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So in preparing my boat for the first passage im ever going to make in the mighty ocean ive been researching various modifications and i came across a site with a fellow with a coribee who sailed it all the way to greenland from somewhere in europe and it seems like he had two very easy but seemingly very seaworthy modifications to the cockpit and the companionway he reduced cockpit colume by enclosing the space between the seats under the tiller which i imagine with a little muber for bracing and some plywood and some paint could easily be donte and reduce the effects of being pooped, and the companionway was pretty much completely redesigned and it was glassed over and the sliding hatch at the top was replaced by a lumber plate almost wihich had a plexiglass hatch on it shich he opened and closed to get in and out any thoughts on how effective these would be for reducing danger during pooping/ a roll or a knockdown, also any ideas on construction materials and thicknesses ie for the companionway how to structuraly block it off with strong materials. Oh yea and my boat is a 1970 Contest 30 mark a
 

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Easy and authoritative place to start is to D/L a copy of the the Offshore Racing Requirements, and then bring your boat up to Category One status.
You can find a copy via some searches on the www.

Be prepared for some raised eye brows when you do the calculations for minimal drainage of a flooded cockpit (at least on most production boats).

Be safe,

L
 
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Robin Lee Graham, subject of the National Geographic articles and the book The Dove glassed over the cockpit of his Cal 24 to reduce the loss of steerage way when pooped.

It would seem uncomfortable and would probably reduce FMV, but you could certainly use fiberglass with balsa or some other core material to glass over the cockpit. A simple bridgedeck (if you do not already have one) might accomplish the same thing and cover the bottom of the companionway while still leaving some foot room for you in the cockpit.

The other fellow's solution sounds a bit extreme to me, speaking as one of the uninitiated coastal sailors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
currently for drainage there are 6 scuppers about 2 inches wide so to me that looks like alot o drainage combined with a short seat height but i figured closing it all up would give some peace of mind in a storm i don't really like the idea of having alot of water weight in my cockpit and i do have a bridgedeck but i have heard stories of washboards being smashed in when yachts take breakers over the stern. again i'm probably being over cautious but id rather be safer than necessary
 

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Don't make the cockpit safe for the boat , but dangerous for the occupant.
Aluminium makes the best hatches. Its cheap in scrapyards, around $2 a pound , and easy to work with.
Sliding hatches are impossible to seal completely. I switched to aluminium doors decades ago, and would never go back to sliding hatches. Most round the world racers have also done so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
how do i make the doors and what do u mean by dors rather than hatchboars iknow hatchboards are rather leaky and dangerous can u give me some advice on how to contstruct it how about the top sliding hatch what do i do about that its a big heavy thick wood one how do i modify that and do i need to cut the aluminium myself how do i do that
 

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A jigsaw, table saw, or skill saw will cut aluminium easily. Do all your own cutting and layout, to minimize what you have to pay others for.,
A good slope on the back of your cabin makes a bubble over the companion way, and a single door on hinges ,work much better. How much slope does yours have?
A brake press can be used to fold down edges. If you do your own cutting and take it to a sheet metal shop with a brake, that shouldn't cost too much.
Aluminium doors, locked form the inside, with a lock you reach thru a vent to unlock, makes a very tough boat for a thief to break into.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
can u show me a pic and my coachroof is flat i have a doghouse so im guessing now id have to build a bubble ut of say balsa and glass over it., my decks solid glass btw but it looks like this i dont have a pic of my boat but heres one on the internet Redirect Notice
 

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This is what Brent means below. If building new, especially in steel or aluminum, it can make sense but I wouldn't try on your boat.

As far as making the cockpit well smaller, if you have 6 drains of 2" size - you are way ahead of most of us. Remember the boat you read about, Ming Ming, is much smaller than your boat so a footwell full of water in a 21' boat is a much larger issue than one on a 30' boat. The easiest way to reduce the footwell size is to store something there as long as it is sealed for protection from water.

From the Origami group:
 

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I think there are other things he can do to ensure offshore safety. I have read of sailors using pressure washers to make sure there are absolutely no leaks on the boat. Upgrading the rigging is another fundamental step I think. Inspecting, and possibly reinforcing the bulkhead tabbing couldn't hurt either, I found some broken tabbing in my boat from years of coastal cruising and I'm sure in the open ocean improperly secured bulkheads are the first thing to go
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
can you explain the pressure washers thanks and well my boat has been used offshore in a limited sense the p.o used it in the carribean and between texas and florida, so the rigging is rather stout looking and at the marina the guys its in told me it still has plenty of life left in it. but i do want to know about the pressure washer system and also could i replace the sliding wood panels with an aluminium one therefore giving it greater strength? And how about the part where the sliding hatch meets the dropboards how can i better seal that i've realized while the door idea is a much better idea it would require a lot of modification on my boat. also in tabbing the bulkheads if they look like there not about to fall does that mean there good how do u determine that
 

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Listen, I am no offshore expert at all so this advice is worth about what you paid for it.

That said, I speak to alot of sailors, have built a few small boats and read alot on this kind of stuff.

I read the story here on this forum of a large production boat doing the transpac to Hawaii, and having to turn back partly due to the boat leaking too much. It had never leaked in coastal conditions. But in the rough seas it encountered, with the deck being swept by a wave every minute or so, enough water came in to get everything inside the boat wet and require running the pumps. Death of a thousand cuts so to speak. I have heard that modern thinking on offshore boats is the "tupperware" principal, that the boat should be able to be sealed up perfectly, including the companionway. Many production boats used less than ideal caulking methods, and after only a few years they develop leaks (check out the bedding with butyl tape thread he gives some good examples). After 40 years, that sealant is just gonna be gone. I am going through this on my own boat, which leaks when it rains. I have begun re-caulking all through deck fittings, including the toe rail. I hope the hull-deck seem is still in good shape, because that would be one hell of a job to re-do lol... point is, people say that if the hatches/fittings can be sprayed with a pressure washer and not leak, then they probably won't leak if hit by a wave. I don't know how true that is, but at least a few people seem to believe it.

While recaulking, you may want to inspect the through-deck fittings for corrosion. 1/4 inch stays won't do much good if your chainplates are corroded inside the deck.

As for bulkheads, the hull flexes while in heavy seas and this can de-tab bulkheads. Happened on my own boat, though not on a crucial bulkhead. I simply re-tabbed it, using two layers of cloth instead of roving. If I were going "offshore", I would sand and reinforce the tabbing on my bulkheads with a layer or two of cloth. This is cheap and easy to do, and gives you a close up look at the structural condition of your boat, including whether the (usually ply) bulkhead is beginning to rot or is in good shape. A few through-(tabbing and bulkhead) 1/4 inch bolts on each tab is cheap insurance to ensure that the tabbing won't become detatched from the bulkhead (they are usually attached with polyester resin, not epoxy, so the bond may weaken over time).

Another thing to consider is a forward crash compartment. James Baldwin raised his v-berth a few inches and sealed up the compartment underneath, creating a crash compartment. He did this after a collision with a fishing vessel which could have been worse if he were not a lucky guy...

Again though, I am not talking from experience as I have never made an "offshore" passage. Just reiterating what I have learned from others and from my limited practical experience.
 

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I think that you are confusing a couple of things here. There is stopping leaks on one hand and taking in a massive amount of water at one time if you got seriously knocked down or pooped. Neither is a good thing but obviously the latter is a really serious problem, the first is more of a serious annoyance. You can't fool around with taking on a bunch of water since that could be sinking issue. To my mind, whether you have doors or dropboards they need to be very strong and installed in such a way that they can't fall off or come open if the boat is doing nasty things. It does not help if you have immensely strong dropboards if they are not there. I think doors are better but boards are doable as well, although not as convenient for their main purpose ie entry and exit. We have doors but can also put our old dropboards in behind the doors when conditions warrant (which is very rare).

Stopping leaks is a very good thing and someone suggested a pressure washer to test for leaks - good idea but don't get the nozzle too close or you damage bedding.

As for cockpit volume, if you were concerned and plan to have some jerry cans with you (which is almost a necessity because many places you go you need to dinghy water and/fuel to the boat since there are no marinas and fuel docks (one boat in America Samoa went to the fuel dock used by the fishing boats, some of which are 150'+ - and blew out the manifold system connecting his fuel tanks. You can imagine how much of a mess that made).

Anyway, you might be able to position some of the tanks inside the cockpit, rathen tied to the rail where they are more vulnerable. Takes up volume but you need to mount them very solidly so they don't just float up if there is water in the cockpit. Also, don't get too carried away with filling up all of your cockpit. For example, it is safety issue to be able step up from the cabin and move into the cockpit into a secure cockpit. If all the foot space is gone and you climb up onto the seats that is a potentially awkward position. Also, picture how you will be sitting in the cockpt and moving from the cockpit to interior and onto the deck and imagine where you want to put your feet and legs for ease of movement and comfort.

Finally a question, I think you said you had 6 scuppers for drainage - are they in the cockpit well or at deck level - how big are the hoses/passages from these?
 
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