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Securing the forehatch for heavy weather sailing

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What is the issue?
The foredeck of a vessel can take a pounding in heavy weather conditions. Many forehatches are secured only by a small bolt and violent pounding can loosen them, allowing them to blow open. If the forehatch latch were to fail a quantity of green-water would go down below deck very quickly placing the vessel in jeopardy. The hatch, blown open and hanging loose on its hinges, then runs the risk of being torn away itself making the situation worse.

Why address this?
A lot of water damage could be done in the short term should the hatch become uncovered in a seaway. A very dangerous situation emerges if it is carried away.

How to address this?
It is advisable to make arrangments to add a strong-back to the forehatch, as illustrated below, so that the opening may be doubly secured in heavy weather conditions. It is an unnecessary risk to run when it can so easily be resolved.

Securing the forehatch for heavy weather sailing
Image: Tony Gibson

A long and sturdy strong-back may also be used as a security device if a drill hole is made at the end of the secure bolt to enable a padlock to be used with it as shown below. With this arrangement in place, it should not be possible for anyone to climb in the forehatch. Thus the hatch may be left propped open and left to vent the vessel whilst unattended for short periods in less trustworthy places.
Strong-back should be too long to be worked out
Image: Tony Gibson

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.
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