Date: 14 June 2015. Hatch Cover How-To (Sunbrella and Tenara too)
The forward hatch on Seaweed has
glass. That is wonderful during the wintertime when it acts
somewhat like a greenhouse in letting in the sunshine and warmth.
Plus too it's fun to watch the moon when at anchor. I can see the
stars as they track across the sky. Generally speaking, I do like the glass.
But not in the summer.
This time of the year that glass
has one not so pleasant consequence. The sun shines in and it turns
my cabin into an oven. That is definitely unwanted. I
fixed it though, and for just a couple of dollars.
Now my new hatch cover is not perfect by any means,
however it is good enough. And you can do it too. As detailed in the
Screening My Hatch (eBay advice)
article a screen allows me to keep the hatch open and
let in breezes. The sunshine though? Well, it negated the cooling
effect of the winds. I needed a new solution.
Of course buying a specially made
hatch-cover was an option. Made with *sunbrella fabric it would be
expensive. That choice didn't meet my needs for time nor cash.
*Sunbrella is a woven fabric
with good UV (sunlight) protection that lasts well in a marine
environment. In the picture below the bimini and window shades are
made from sunbrella. It's very popular on boats because it holds up
Colin and Jean stand on the
bow of Lily Maria, their Thompson44:
The bimini and window covers on Lily Maria are
made with Sunbrella fabric.
Usually what fails on boat canvas
is the thread sewing the panels together. There is a solution.
Tenara brand thread for your project.
Tenara is Very Expensive,
and worth every penny of the additional cost.
If you want your outdoor fabric
items to last,
that brand thread is what you should choose. The better canvas companies all have
it, and generally recommend same.
Of course there are other options for hatches. I wanted
something to cover the glass, and figured it only had to last for
the summer months. In the winter I like watching the stars.
The local thrift store had a
pillow sham that from a distance I knew would look off-white. Up
close it's got flowers. Hey, I may live in a man's world however my
little piece is definitely feminine. Also the sun will fade the
flowers sooner rather than later.
Quite frankly, spending a lot for a temporary fix
that will be used for just a few months seemed a needless waste of
resources. This pillow sham won't last years. By the time it falls
apart, summer will be over.
The forward hatch above my bunk
has teak trim and bronze bars running fore and aft. You can see the
shadows in the above photograph. It's the same hatch as those found
on larger *Schuckers.
*Seaweed is a Schucker, made by
the Schucker boat company in Florida back in 1983.
How to make a Hatch Cover
in fifteen minutes:
List of Items required:
1. A pillow sham.
This was chosen because the layers of fabric would prevent
sunlight from coming through a single-layer fabric item.
2. Small Stuff.
That's what Daddy called thin line. Mine's an old flag
halyard (string) from a sailboat burgee. Braided, it's 1/8"
Lay pillow sham over hatch, tucking in edges so it's
even. Then run the line under the bronze bars, and simply
tie it on top. Up close you can see the lines. From a
hatch not have bars on the outside, this is what you do:
Now if you don't have those
snazzy bars like I do, it's going to be a bit more
complicated. And you'll need a couple of hooks in addition to
the Small Stuff. The snaps on a dog's leash work well.
You'll want to attach the
line to the forward edge of your fabric. Sewing back and
forth over the line works well for this. I did mine about an
inch in from the corners.
Before I went to the bars
method, I attached my hatch cover this way. This worked well
on Seaweed for a few summers.
Next tie the hooks/snaps to
the ends. How long you may wonder... Well, inside my hatch
into the teak framing I had screwed a couple of eyebolts for
another project. My line was tied so the snaps reached the
eyes. Attaching was easy too. Snap. Done.
In this picture you can
see a small portion of one eye-bolt just above the portlight
on the left. It's to the right of the bell.
The two lines at the
forward end kept my old cover in place quite well. Now the
back end was easier. There are two hinges at the aft end of my
hatch. I simply attached the Small Stuff at 1/3 and 2/3 of the
distance between edges.
Then a simple bow just
like we used to tie our shoes held it on at the back end. To
remove for washing was a matter of unsnapping and untying the
Easy works for me and the snaps were, well, a snap.
When it rained water would wick down the
lines at the forward end of the hatch cover. The way I
solved that was I'd unsnap the hooks and slide a large heavy
nut on the line. Then I'd tuck that weighted line between
the hatch and the raised lip. (See next photo.)
No water would come in.
I admit to liking my newest boat gear
acquisition. The pillow sham was $2 at the thrift store and should last me
throughout the summer. Then I'll wash it once. If it's disreputable
I'll chop it into work
rags and use it one last time before disposal. In the meantime, my
cabin is shaded and cooler too.
Life is good afloat, and it's a bit cooler now too.
Do you have shades up over your windows?
What do you do in the heat of summer to stay cool?
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