Before leaving Florida, we gathered the materials to make screens to cover all of our hatches and the companionway. While we were in the Bahamas, we rarely had problems with insects. Here in the much more lush Dominican Republic, the abundant insect life made screens essential.
Cindy had assembled a simple hatch cover with screen and vinyl binding tape last spring. But the project languished while other things took priority. Now it is finally done. The hatch screen sits on the deck and stays in place with weights sewn into casings along the circumference of the base. Because the screen is free standing, we can use it for other things, such as covering the food on a picnic table. Of course, it can also be used interchangeably on the salon hatch or the V berth hatch. The hatch weights were our own invention. We constructed them by filling 3 foot lengths of clear plastic tubing with BBs and sealing the ends with epoxy putty. The result was heavy, compact, and flexible. With the four lengths folded together and the screen rolled around them, the whole apparatus collapses to an easily stored compact cylinder.
The companionway screen is a weighted curtain that attaches to the edge of the sliding companionway hatch with snaps. We elected to do a curtain as opposed to a cover that was attached on all sides to ease entry and exit. For the weights, we used BBs again. The curtain required a more flexible edge than plastic tubing could provide. We opted instead to construct a weight belt. The belt is composed of 14 individual packets of BBs sewn into a fabric casing, separated by rows of stitching. We made the BB packets by measuring 3 ounces of BBs into small plastic bags, then vacuum sealing them. (Yet another use for the Food Saver!) The belt fits into a pocket running the length of the curtain bottom. The edges of the curtain are bound with vinyl tape. The top is a one inch wide snap placket, reinforced with two layers of vinyl. One advantage to having a curtain instead of a screen that fastens around the opening is that it can be left in place whether or not the hatch board is in. We just flip the screen on top of the sliding hatch to replace the board.
Cindy and Gray