Ravenswing

Need ideas for a safer, better escape hatch

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Yesterday we had Farrier F36 Ravenswing tri romping across the SF Bay "slot", taking water over the leeward float deck, throwing spray everywhere through the nasty chop, etc. (should have reefed!). Went below once things calmed down behind Angel Island, and was SHOCKED to find the escape hatch wide open and about 18" of green water in the aft cabin. No wonder the helm felt wallow-y. We took on hundreds of pounds of water in a short time. Not good. On the ocean this could have been a swamping disaster.

At rest, the bottom of the hatch is about 8" above the water. At speed, to leeward, it's half submerged. The hull builder had installed a 2-dog Bomar deck ventilation hatch, and I (as finish builder) completely missed the fact that it is a skimpy deck model (major builder/owner mistake :(   The slapping waves yesterday pounded at the leading edge (top hinges, bottom dogs) enough to flex the plastic dogs away from the aluminum frame. I found handles had not been rotated. The dogs just don't reach in to the frame enough for this kind of duty. 

So, today, cleaned up the boat and my undies... why again do we want a damn window in such a dangerous place?   Questions for you all:

1) With our 18.5" square cutout, it looks like Vetus Magnus Heavy Duty MAG4747SL is the only offshore hull rated multi-dog escape hatch that fits. Anyone know of another? 

2) I have the hull cutout. (3/4" tongue and groove red cedar, glass uni skins) Thinking of bonding an outer flange, waterproofing the works, and through bolting it in place, with a wrench placed inside and out for backing out securing nuts. Who has a better execution idea?

3)  Do we really need to be able to get in from the outside???  If the boat flips and people are outside, aren't we going to swim in through the companionway anyway? I'd prefer a flush exterior, and nice big hand-turning wing/ring/knurled knob/etc. nuts inside...

4) I've read Lagoon is putting fixed safety glass windows, with car windshield breakers strapped nearby.  Could we really make a watertight window on a 20+kt tri hull near the waterline?  That sounds risky too. 

Please venture forth your clever ideas or actual experience. So glad this shit happened in the bay, close to our marina. 

Thx

-Greg

 

photos of the current hatch are in this blog post:

https://cartersboat.com/2017/11/

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In the Australia regs, escape hatches are only required for Cat 1, 2, 3 and 4 racing. This applies to all boats longer than 12m and less than 12m if built after July 2006.

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I mounted my [Moonlight] escape hatch with the hinges at the bottom. Not much use for feeding the ducks or peeing out of but easier to use when everything is the other way up.

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We've been using Goiot hatches ever since Lewmar discontinued making escape hatches. The Goiot are insultingly expensive, but they work. De-core and make a monolithic mounting flange on the inner skin. That leaves the hatch basically flush to the outer skin on a typical 25mm core thickness hull. 

A clever idea that I've seen is sticking on a clear mylar film outside the hull to fair the escape hatch. Presumably, a panicked man could break the adhesion of the mylar and bust his way out.

 

http://goiot-systems.com/en/escape-hatches/

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1) I had that Vetus hatch on the foredeck of our cat that would be regularly under a lot of deck spray / waves. It's a good one.

You do want a CE Category A hatch (designed for hull topsides and highest water pressure).

2) Mounting it recessed so waves don't hit the gasket directly is very important. i.e. recessed or small lip wave breaker on 3 sides. I really like the Mylar idea if it is never opened for ventilation. Could you just use Mylar tape over the seam though if the hatch is recessed?

3) Sure, the "break here" glass is fine. Research submarines have windows :).  It's a cheap approach but it does prevent leakage.

9 hours ago, Jethrow said:

In the Australia regs, escape hatches are only required for Cat 1, 2, 3 and 4 racing. This applies to all boats longer than 12m and less than 12m if built after July 2006.

Not that I think they should be required - but that is odd. i.e. only somebody racing will capsize.

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Take the Vetus Magnus, they are relative cheap for a class A hatch ,  I did want a round one and the only one I could find was the Goiot, I got three ones before I did get a good one. The first two had handels what just picked with a couple off mm the opening part, my shop had to press Goiot to deliver beter quality because they first did not want to change.

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Greg,

Will send the constructive drawing and pictures of the custom, flush fitting, 400 mm round hatch we built on Skateaway which still looks and works like new thirty years later.

Less compromising to the boats structure, lighter, safer when passing through (don’t need to gash your shoulder adding to your predicament after capsizing offshore), easy to open from inside or outside the boat - in the dark - no heavy plexiglass to degrade and fall out of the frame when the mastic fails and a tiny fraction of the cost - plus you get the satisfaction of creating and adding another piece of beautiful workmanship to the rest of your fine craft

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While boardhead's solution is likely to be rock solid, and Soma's mylar would do the job...since it only had an issue once on a big water day in the slot ... I'd just goop it up with RTV to keep the water out.  A sharp knife and it is operational again if (heaven forbid), you need it. Granted, I don't do ocean crossings, so maybe you want it perfect and instantly available.

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Yeah, perfect fit and as bulletproof as possible is the mission here. Gathering materials today and will report back to all on building this weekend and installing next week,  per "boardhead"'s ideas.  Stay tuned. 

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Sorry to hear this. You have put so much hard work into Ravenswing and had more than your share of new boat 'shakedown' issues. Sending you all the best!

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5 hours ago, boardhead said:

Greg,

Will send the constructive drawing and pictures of the custom, flush fitting, 400 mm round hatch we built on Skateaway which still looks and works like new thirty years later.

Less compromising to the boats structure, lighter, safer when passing through (don’t need to gash your shoulder adding to your predicament after capsizing offshore), easy to open from inside or outside the boat - in the dark - no heavy plexiglass to degrade and fall out of the frame when the mastic fails and a tiny fraction of the cost - plus you get the satisfaction of creating and adding another piece of beautiful workmanship to the rest of your fine craft

Boardhead,

     Does TRANSIENT still have the homemade minimalist escape hatch that we built just before leaving for the Two-STAR? You should have seen the looks on the faces of the Royal Western Yacht Club 'scrutineers' faces when they were doing their inspection of the boat when we arrived in Plymouth.

    Grab a photo of that simple hatch if you can, (if it is still there). 

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Quite a few years back - more than ten - Tim had Transient ashore in Lanoka and decided to open and service that “escape” hatch. After removing all (a lot of ‘em) the fasteners - maybe an hours work, shiny side up, dry, in daylight, with a big screwdriver and wrench - Tim gives the “hatch” a kick - no go - after many fierce kicks it’s like the fasteners had never been removed! He set about the perimeter with hammer and chisels - he got pretty hot so that part might have bee better immersed up to his shoulders in cold water, in the dark, but probably not!

Did you draw a circle, drill some holes and make a fake hatch Rasp? Just kidding but no way was the “hatch” or Tim coming out that hole! 

After weighing his options Tim ground out a faired ring around the bolt circle, inboard and out, epoxied some biaxial into that ring, dressed it off, primed and painted the area and the “hatch” disappeared.

I guess that “hatch” didn’t leak and the structural weakening was minimal but a hole cutter and saw would have been a lot faster escape from or better re- entry to Transient’s interior.

Good job the RWYC inspection crew didn’t ask you guy’s to “demonstrate the operation”  

Transient should have an escape hatch, especially given the offshore miles she has covered, but she doesn’t.

Only X-Rays would reveal it’s existence now.

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I always wondered about the goop holding that hatch in, especially on the race late at night as you had to look right at it across the hull from the head of the bunk. Most of the time it was covered up with foul weather gear though. I know we didn't use 5200 and it may have been Silicone. After your account here I would probably use cheap PolySeam Seal bathroom caulk. Did you say something about a lot of fastenings?

     I had a cabinet shop just across the street from the beachresort in our bay. I used the old (2 nails and a loop of string) method of making a slightly elliptical template which I cut out on my bandsaw and delivered to the owner/skipper who used the template to carefully cut around it with a sheet rock saw in about 5 minutes.

6673-Irwin-Protouch-Drywall-Jab-Saw-01-1k.jpg

    I took the inside cutout panel back to my shop to clean up the cut and using a router and guide made a doubler with about 2" overlap on the inside and 1" on the outside. When I got back to the boat the edge of the cut in the hull had been cleaned up and epoxy coated. I had pre-drilled all the holes on the drill press back and the shop and it was quick work to fit the ring to the hull and glue and recoat everything. The elliptical shape let you turn and pass the hatch piece through the hole and it was pretty quick and simple except for making those double headed wingnut/bolts. I wanted to fabricate an elaborate thing in my shop but TRANSIENT was always such a Simple Is Beautiful mindset that there was no need (or time) for that. 

    Are you aware that my reference to Simple is Beautiful above is how TRANSIENT was built on the plug/mold of a small trimaran project done in Dick Newick's backyard on the Vineyard. It was actually SIB (Small is Beautiful) but Simple was more of the philosophy rather than just merely Small.

Quoted from this excellent synopsis of Newick.

http://stephenlirakis.com/?p=6951

Dick Newick and Jim Brown, coupled with Phil weld’s bankroll and enthusiasm, focused on working sail, particularly for third world countries. they built SIB (for Small Is Beautiful, after e.F. Schumacher’s seminal book),

    I guess adding the shelf took up about half the space of where the original hatch was. 

Better link to the Newick article (with photos).

http://www.stevencallahan.net/images/proboat/newick-dec2010.pdf

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21 minutes ago, Rasputin22 said:

Quoted from this excellent synopsis of Newick.

http://stephenlirakis.com/?p=6951  [***AVOID THIS!***]

Dick Newick and Jim Brown, coupled with Phil weld’s bankroll and enthusiasm, focused on working sail, particularly for third world countries. they built SIB (for Small Is Beautiful, after e.F. Schumacher’s seminal book),

    I guess adding the shelf took up about half the space of where the original hatch was. 

Better link to the Newick article (with photos).

http://www.stevencallahan.net/images/proboat/newick-dec2010.pdf

The post you refer to at stephenlirakis.com is a rip off of Steve Callahan's article, and poorly done at that.  Avoid it!  Read the original at Steve's web site.: Intuitive Dynamics

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27 minutes ago, ProaSailor said:

The post you refer to at stephenlirakis.com is a rip off of Steve Callahan's article, and poorly done at that.  Avoid it!  Read the original at Steve's web site.: Intuitive Dynamics

Woah there! Didn't you see where I provided a link to the Callahan article in my post? The one I described as 'Better link'? 

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5 minutes ago, Rasputin22 said:

Woah there! Didn't you see where I provided a link to the Callahan article in my post? The one I described as 'Better link'? 

Yes, I did.  Just emphasizing the point and steering people away from the bad link you posted, which unfortunately will increase search engine traffic to his corrupt web site.

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8 minutes ago, Rasputin22 said:

So what makes Lirakis' website corrupt?

The specific page you linked to is a corrupted copy/paste of Steve Callahan's article.  That's not the way the web is supposed to work.  Posting the link to his page gives his whole web site a lot of traffic for no good reason.

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1 hour ago, Rasputin22 said:

So are you saying that Lirakis himself is corrupt or just his website?

Really Jody?  You need further clarification?  You posted a junk link, deal with it, as we all must in our own way.

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What makes that link a junk link? It showed up on a web search and I did notice that the photo links were not valid so I searched further down the list and came across the Callahan link via ProBoat and included that with a note that it was better and showed the photos. What else should I done beyond that point? You haven't really clarified anything since you can in with you sleeves rolled up calling people corrupt and ripoffs. Asking you to give your reasons for calling it a junk link is just my was of dealing with it. Have you looked at other pages on the  Lirakis website? Are they corrupt too? Lots of good articles there, should we beware of them? 

    That junk page does have at the very top attribution to Callahan and the same links that I posted and you later somehow hid the real link behind the Intuitive Dynamics underlined name (how do you do that?) so I don't think Lirakis may even be aware that his photo links are dead. How would one fix that? Just curious.

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8 hours ago, ProaSailor said:

The post you refer to at stephenlirakis.com is a rip off of Steve Callahan's article, and poorly done at that.  Avoid it!  Read the original at Steve's web site.: Intuitive Dynamics

 

8 hours ago, ProaSailor said:

Yes, I did.  Just emphasizing the point and steering people away from the bad link you posted, which unfortunately will increase search engine traffic to his corrupt web site.

Proa I have a hard time figuring out what you are going on about.

Perhaps you could clarify why you seem to have such a hate on for stephenlirakis.com. I’ll admit it’s a not particularly enthralling site.

He has on his site an article written by Steven Callahan that appeared in Professional Boatbuilder. He provides a link to Steve Callahan’s work. He clearly attributes the article and describes it as “Provided Courtesy of Professional Boatbuilder magazine & Steven Callahan”

That would imply he has the author and publisher’s permission. If so who are you to object? If not then plenty of reason to object. Do you know that it is reproduced without permission? If so have you contacted Callahan and Professional Boatbuilder to inform them?

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1 hour ago, KC375 said:

Do you know that it is reproduced without permission?

Yes.  I'd rather say no more and didn't mean to imply anything about the rest of that web site except that the Callahan article "mirrored" there is a corrupt copy of the original, which is available directly.  And the corrupted copy doesn't deserve the attention it gets from search engines and from posting a link to it here.

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I also very much subscribe to the KISS or Simple Is Beautiful rationale - complex is heavy - heavy is slow - I don’t like slow!

Closed cell neoprene sheet was probably not available in the time and place you hastily installed the hatch but that is the way to go.

Adhesive sealants like silicone and 5200 will never release with the kind of surface area you describe.

As I recall the wing nuts needed a wrench to apply sufficient torque to back them off and the build up of multiple coats of paint over the years jammed the threads up.

I will take some pictures of the hatch on Skateaway, open and closed, inside and out, next week  and post them here. That hatch opens in seconds and re- seals tight, without resorting to sealer and I will take a scale along to weigh the component. Also there are a couple of appropriate sized Lewmar Ocean series hatches in the loft, still in their original boxes that can be weighed for comparison, 

 

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12 hours ago, ProaSailor said:

Yes.  I'd rather say no more and didn't mean to imply anything about the rest of that web site except that the Callahan article "mirrored" there is a corrupt copy of the original, which is available directly.  And the corrupted copy doesn't deserve the attention it gets from search engines and from posting a link to it here.

Fair enough. If an article is copied in its entirety without permission from the author and publisher, that is offensive and should not be perpetuated. I can see how you could legitimately call the article corrupted as the quality of cut and paste is poor, mixing in photo captions with the body and losing some sections. Given your legitimate concern about this, and in particular about not perpetuating the google search engine ranking, have you informed the original author and publisher – Google gives some guidance on dealing with this here. The few people I know who raised like issues with Google were satisfied.

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