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Preventing the loss of washboards during heavy weather sailing

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What is the issue?
It is critical that the main hatch be kept secured during heavy weather sailing. Yet washboards are difficult to handle in these times. Each ascent / decent of a crew member necessitates a dismantling and reassembly of the washboards. This involves replacing typically two to three washboards in the correct sequence and orientation to correctly fit. Performing this operation in difficult conditions makes it very likely that a board could be lost overboard.

In particularly difficult situations, where the boat has rolled or pitch poled, the washboards tend to fall out and get lost further exacerbating a survival situation.

Why address this?
The loss of a washboard breaks the watertight integrity of the vessel and may place the vessel in jeopardy of significant flooding down below. It is essential for the welfare of the vessel and crew that the washboards are not lost.

How to address this?
Place an eye upon each washboard and a bulkhead of the yacht so that tethering lanyards can be deployed when engaging heavy weather – see figure 1.

The slight problem with using a standard D type eye is that the boards will no longer stow flat once this is implemented. We overcame this by using brass recessed ‘insert handles’ instead of a standard eye for the connector - see figure 2. This enabled us to have a solid attachment point when required but allowed us to stow the washboards flat in normal daily usage.

See also 'securing the main hatch for heavy weather sailing'.

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.

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