Figure e

figure 16-5g

Hatch stick and hold-down line figure 16-6 Toerail

Scribe both sides


Temporary fencepost



40d galvanized common, or Y16 x 5" galvanized lag, or continuous-threaded bronze rod drop board. I like to fit and fasten three beams, as shown in Figure 16-1 c, across the top: one at the after end, to support theoverhangand provide a hand grip; one in the middle, to give strength where needed; one over the forward beam, for chafing gear and symmetry. And if you are wise you'll install drifts (30-penny spikes. 6 inches apart) to stiffen the edge grain against the splitting effect of weight on top. Bed and fasren the edge pieces, fitted as close as you dare, to shed water clear of the slides. Cut those twin notches, 2 inches aft of the dam, up from the routed groove, so that you can lift the after beam up and over the darn and work the cover off the forward end of the rails. Stick a strip of foam rubber weatherproofing on the after face of the forward beam to help seal against water coming aft along the housetop and jumping over the dam, and also io absorb the shock when the sliding cover is slammed shut—I hope it opens as promised.

One last addition, if you wish. Build a cavern, forward of the darn, big enough to swallow the sliding cover when vou shove it ahead (see t J r

Figure 16-3). This will stop water that might otherwise wash back along the housetop. It will provide a fine base for an airtight dodger. This stout roof can be topped with chocks to take the transom of an overturned dinghy. It's a fine thing if you plan to cross oceans, a cozy home for wasps in wintertime, and a nuisance when you paint the housetop. We've roofed it with 1 A-inch aluminum plate, rolled to the pr oper crown, and we once fastened the aluminum with bronze screws, which ate away the metal in one short summer. We sacrificed, with sorrow, my beams across the top of the slide, to keep the height of this cavern as low as possible. All in all. a pretty thing, and you can decide for yourself whether it's worth the extra bulk and labor. I think it is, and sometimes wish I'd done it on our own boat. But then I think of the wasps and live crabs scuttling to safetv in the far end.

I hope the drawings make all this comprehensible. I hope you're as happy as I am to get it over with, and go on to drop boards and skylight.

Companionwav drop boards

Drop boards usually come in sets of two— the upper one crowned, of course, to fit snugly under the overhang when the cover is closed, and with a ship-lap joint where it sits upon the lower board. Make them with hardwood cleats on 'he ends, sloppy fit endwise, with 45-degree horizontal louvers cut through them, if you wish. Make a sei of screens to match. Make a secure stowage place for them under the deck-

beams, and don't tell me vou'd rather have cute

little I vv i fi doors on hinges. They are even more of a nuisance.


My down-gazing client of the first paragraph, having ticked off the companion slide (probably with a low mark), would next assess the skylight, which might well be considered the crowning glory of a proper yacht. I suppose I have built a dozen of them in the classic style—and they all, at some time, have dripped rain upon the cabin table. I much prefer the construction shown in Figure 16—1. This is simply a large version of a Dorade-type vent ila-tor, shaped and trimmed to look exactly like the opening skylight, but without the complications of hinges, adjustable openers, seals, and gutters—and the tight canvas cover that you lash about it as a last resort. It is strong, cheap, durable, and it has one great virtue: it keeps on working all the time, moving air into or out of the cabin, at the mooring or driving into a head sea, in fair weather or foul. I ,ook to the drawings, therefore, and don't expect anymore apologies from me.

Think of a Cape Cod cottage with a glass roof, and with a solid partition, midway in the length of it, tight to the floor and walls, but extending no higher than the eaves. Lay a watertight glass floor in one room (with drains, at floor level). Carefully omit the floor in the other room. Cut two large round holes in the north end, the room with a floor. Air and, inevitably, water will enter the cottage through these openings; the air will flow over the partition and down into the cabin, and the water, knocked down by the glass baffle, will drain harmlessly awav. You can fit cowl ventilators

/ t to the end opening; and you can install the skylight with the opening aft, to draw air out rather than to drive it in. (You will, of course, fit removable insect-stopping screen to the big opening.)

Make the sides and ends of the stock at least V'4 inch thick. Dovetail the corners for a fancv job, or jog sides past ends as shown, made tight with glue and screws. The glass floor must be bedded and glazed watertight on a ledge just clear of the foundation, with (scuppers) limber holes above it to drain away invading water. The roof, with its four glazed panels, ridgepole, overhanging eaves, and brass-rod protectors, must be bedded to the walls and ends in stickv stuff so it can be removed as a unit. You

will, of course, use shatterproof glass throughout. You'll make the opening long enough to span i wo bays between the beams of the housetop (leaving the middle beam intact) so that you can bolt it solidly to the housetop frame. And vou can sav about now, as I do, "Why not lit a fine, flat-opening hatch, with hinges fore and aft on the cover, and a transparent roof to let in the light?" But you'll lose that constant flow of sweet air in arid out, and the hearty if misplaced approval of the wharf brigade. So study Figure 16-1, make your own adjustments, and decide for yourself.

Hatches and covers

As for that flat hatch, you'll need one, very

likely, in the after deck, and another, certainly, up forward in the top of the house or in the foredeck. Consider that this one may be an escape route, or a passageway for bunched sails and spare anchors. It may be buried under solid water at times, and must be strong enough so that no conceivable accident can tear the top loose and overboard. Strong hinges should be bolted or riveted to the the coaming and cover. And, finally, you must provide some means to hold the cover tightly closed against water and thieves. I have always shunned the beautiful brass quadrant-style hatch openers because they clutter up the opening and snag anything going in or out—and they cost a lot more than two notched sticks and strong hold-down lines, which belay on cleats on the far sides of the deckbeams.

Figure 16-5a shows three cross sections through coaming-and-cover configurations; Figures 16-5b through 16—5f show details of joint options. The first construction is simple and obvious, and does very wel 1 if you provide a foam-rubber gasket between the lid and coaming. The second construction is perhaps neater, and not difficult to do if you have the means to rabbet stock for a perfect match between the coaming and rim. Halve the corners together, as shown in Figure 16-5b, and do not be tempted to join them with a picture-frame miter (Figure 16-5c). The third construction, with double coamings and deck-sweeping skirts on the cover, is probably worth doing in a forward hatch for offshore work. A wave-top that breaches the first defense still has to climb a wall, penetrate a gasket, cross a chasm, and surmount another wall. Somewhere on this journey it should get tired.

So how shall we cover the cover? In our early and primitive days, there was no question: roof it with tongue-and-groove boards and stretch canvas over all. Came more vachtv

^ t ideas, with varnished mahogany companion-way slides, and we went to glued-up natural-finish tops—and inserted larger and larger-plexiglass rectangles until the entire top was translucent, and the quiet gloom of the fore-peak was no more. That bit of sunlight below did much to dry the air and discourage mold.

Right about now you may weigh respectfully the advice of your hard-headed experts, who point out that (for a petty few hundreds of dollars) you can buy precision-made cast-aluminum hatches, complete, and save yourself two days' labor and future grief. So you can, and a good thing too. But if you've come this far with your dream, on blood, sweat, scrounging, and pennies, you're a hopeless case anvway, and mav as well continue to do

Toerails and bulwarks

And so we come to the toerail, that simple rim around the outside edge to keep you and various items of gear from going overboard. This fence comes in a great variety of shapes and sizes. The simplest form is a square strip; irs most elaborate is a bulwark, supported by-top timbers or bronze knees, and finished with a fine wide cap on top. Most often it will be a plank-on-edge piece, edge-fastened to the covering board and sheerstrake, usually tapered from bottom to top, and beveled to match the flare or lumblehome of the sheerstrake. A simple thing indeed. Armed with bar clamps, props from the underside of the shop roof, and timbers up the topsides, I managed, for the first 20 years of my career, to fit and fasten this toerail in a week's time. It was a process somewhat akin to stuffing a live boa constrictor into a garbage bag, and I groped ever for a better wav.

And this is the ridiculously simple solution, which you would likely have arrived at in a much shorter time: Screw-fasten a row of fenceposts (Vs- by 2-inch oak, a foot long, say) to the sheerstrake, as shown in Figure 16-6, with the top ends peeping up 3 to 4 inches above the deck edge. Space them no more than 3 feet apart. Spring and clamp your rail stock

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