Use cases are important to understand and are usually the case upon which most people argue. I would remind the reader this is how I am refitting my boat and you may take a different path on your refit. We wanted to change out our companionway entry based on a few requirements.
- The entry way should provide privacy year round.
- The entry way should have a significant amount of flexibility in how it operates.
- The ability to remove completely the entryway hatch should be kept
- One handed hatch operation should be possible.
We were able to to come up with a solution that met all of those requirements and looked pretty nice.
Here you see the original hatch board in acrylic. Though it appears dark, at night, it basically was a portal for anybody walking down a dock behind the boat into our life. We determined the swap was necessary and started shopping. Our final decision fell on a company called Zarcor that has a bi-fold door solution that can be customized to a boat entry way.
We measured carefully the current hatch solution and looked at any possible issues. This would come back to bite me when we started the final fit. What I didn’t realize early on was that the door frame would have to move out slightly skewing ALL of the measurements by about an eighth of an inch.
Here you can see why the skew in measurements happened. Where you see the acrylic is not where the twice as thick doors would sit. Even with a tracing of the current hatch the doors move out and being thicker would end up just a tiny bit to big for the opening.
Another element was that the top of the hatch was curved and the way they build the doors I ended up having to relieve about an eighth of an inch from the hatch wooden cap near the center and then fair outwards towards the port and starboard edges. From each door I took about a sixteenth of an inch on the bottom to help make it fit and about a 1/32 of an inch from the port and starboard edges of the doors. Here the doors are fitted and have the white privacy glass installed.
There is also a smoked acrylic glass that you can easily swap in should you wish. Finally there is also a set of fine mesh (no-seeum) screens for when you are operating in the tropics and want a breeze.
Overall for the live aboard sailor this is a great choice for a door solution. There is a security bar that make them pretty tough to open should you want high levels of security. The solution as seen is MUCH more secure than the previous hatch board that was easily bypassed. The doors from being hand fitted have a bit of a snap into place which makes them stay pretty well in a sea-way. This is one of the crews favorite changes. The price is steep for a quality solution, but at approximately $1600 with extra door inserts, security bar, storage bag, and great customer service it was well worth the time and effort.