Bow hatch for a sailing rowcruiser

  • The sailing version of the RowCruiser is likely to ship more water at higher sailing speeds than the rowing version.  The forward deck hatch in the plans is prone to leak in these conditions.  The alternative of having an access hatch in the cabin (through the forward bulkhead) is limited by the mast support and has the added disadvantage of not having an easily accessible anchor and ground tackle.

    A standard commercial 8-inch plastic deck hatch would be an alternative but the curvature of the foredeck means that a "plinth" would need to be constructed so that the hatch could bed onto a level surface.  This could be a bit unsightly and difficult to build (it would need to be at least half an inch high at the outside point).

    Has anyone come across a solution?  I would be interested to hear how others have dealt with the issue

  • Hi, 

    I see this is a year old post, which means you're probably finished your boat.  What did you end up doing with the bow hatch and do you like what you've done?



  • @Bill Hutton 

    Hi Bill,

    Not sure if it helps but I can tell you my choice on that matter. I thought the space would be poorly accessible from the inside so I choose to go with the "normal" hatch. But what I did do was divide this compartment horizontally by glueing a piece of plywood at about the hight of the mastsupport. So then the compartment is accessible from the top but the bottom of it is over the waterline and if it ends up leaking on a regular basis I can drill 2 little holes in the sides to drain it.

    For me this had the added advantage of being able to cut a hole in the bottom of the bulkhead for extra legroom, since I'm very tall. The bulkhead I made of 2 layers of 6mm ply to be sure it would still give enough support to the hull.

    On a side note I'd advice you to check if the curves of the hatch-supports match the deck-arches because they don't seem to match. Just keep them next to each other or look in the digital files. I only found this out after glueing them and about a day before leaving the project for a while so I haven't been able to check the drawings.

    All the best with your build!

    Michiel (over75% ready:))

  • I'm impressed.  That's an inventive solution. 

    I just finished the decks two days ago, so I guess I won't copy your idea.  Unfortunately.

    The boat looks great, nice detailing!  Thanks so much for the info.

    I don't know if we can communicate directly, but I'm at sukieak at gmail dot com if something comes up.  Cheers.


  • @Bill Hutton 

    Hi Bill,

    what a great step to glue the decks:D did it come out as you hoped?

    Any pictures???

    I really needed the extra space for my legs so it was an easy decision. 

    Have you considered glueing a "wavebreaker" in front of the hatch? That should look OK and take most of the of pressure.



  • I have not considered a wavebreaker.  Good idea thought.

    "Cabin" is coming along.  I need to tape the blue and finish the gray.  I decided to go on strike for the blue - Behr outdoor latex.  I'll let you know in ten years how it works, sooner if it fails!  Worth a try.  Paints are so doggone good these days, we'll see,.

    The outside hull is very very close to being ready to prime and paint.  It's always nice to get past the sanding and filling on that one.

    I think I'm going to try the Sealect hatches:  Do you know anything about those?  I read they're very waterproof, but . . .   It'll take me some jury rigging to figure out the base for the ring.

    Questions for you:

    Do you have your sails and masts?   Where did you buy?  Did you go with Bic O'pen?  I seem frozen on the decision but I need to get going.  After buying a $2600 trailer, I need to mortgage my soul but no one seems to want it.  One builder on this forum used duckworth sails which are a bit cheaper, but I'm thinking that Colin knows best.  I know he knows best!!

    I must be missing something easy, but have you cut your rigger mounts yet?  I can't figure out where to cut the sheer strip cutout.  Here's the figure from the manual:

    Thanks and cheers.  I'll try and remember to check this forum more often.  I keep waiting for it to alert me.  Lazy!


  • @Bill Hutton 

    Wow that looks great! Really like the light blue/gray combo, pretty sure that a latex would work for the top part:) 

    With the hatches I have no experience, sorry.

    About the sails I've decided to go with an double optimist rig. It gives me the same total sailarea and the setup is a lot more affordable, about 1000€ in total for both masts while the bic would come to about 3000... maybe US prices are different. I haven't tried them on the boat yet, but there should be height enough under the boom. I'm keeping my fingers crossed while typing.

    And I'm moving the daggerboard aft to the cockpit to compensate for the bigger mizzen. And to create more room in the cabin.

    I've been staring at the riggermount drawing for a bit but it doesn't make sense, looks like it's 2 different objects. In not using the rowboat setup because I'm installing paddle-wheels, so I haven't looked at those parts properly. Maybe make a new post about it, asking Colin? He's quick to reply normally:)


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