Hatch Musings

These comments pertain mostly to a Scamp but could be applicable to other designs as well.

Here’s the deal:

Scamp offers a ton of storage, literally.  It is possible to install anywhere from 10-15 hatches in various places on this competent little micro cruiser.

Now for my question:

Since we can install hatches everywhere on Scamp, does this mean we should

Here in resides the problem.  Each and every time you cut a hole in your boat you compromise safety.  You compromise the boats integrity.  Sort of like someone telling little white lies until they get out of control and become a chronic lier, steeler or murder.  Well, that was a bit extreme, but you get the point.  It’s very easy to go Hatch Happy on a Scamp and I believe I’ve been guilty of this heinous crime.

If you think about it, the number one reason for storage compartments isn’t actually storage.  No, the number one reason for storage compartments is buoyancy.  And, if cutting holes jeopardizes buoyancy, why are we doing it?

We’re doing it for storage, dummy!  If we didn’t need storage, we wouldn’t have any holes in our boats.  OK, how much storage do we actually need?  The answer to this question depends on how we plan to use our boat.  And, once we’ve determined how much storage we actually need, let’s agree to just install this number of hatches.  No more, no less.   Now we would have a boat with sufficient amounts of storage for our needs without overly compromising the integrity of the boat with hatch overgrowth.

If I build another Scamp I’ll have a minimal number of storage hatches and probably none in the seats.  Well, almost none in the seats.  I would install 2 hatches in the vertical front face of the seats under the veranda.  At least this is my current level of thinking.

Remember also, that a dry bag secured under the veranda could easily hold a weeks worth of clothing and provisions.

Scamp is a very sea worthy micro cruiser if we don’t scandalize its sea worthiness by going hatch happy.  My confidence level in my own Scamp will be much higher if I minimize hatches and make them water tight.

In summary:

Water can’t get into your buoyancy chambers if you don’t cut a hole and allow access.  This seems overly simple, but might be profoundly true.  Read almost any boating disaster, it probably began with water intrusion.  


Lighting, Music, Log Book and Dock Lines


I wanted to find a small LED light that could work as a flash light and a small lantern.  I wanted it light and simple.  I also needed to secure the light with a tether.  DSC00446I have often respected the UCO company for the uber cool candle lantern they manufacture.  Now they also offer a small LED lantern.

DSC00443And check out the attachment point.  Solid and simple.  I like the way the D ring is metal not plastic.

DSC00423Here it is secured under the veranda next to my UE bluetooth speaker.

DSC00427The light in the collapsed, flashlight mode.DSC00432The light in it’s extended lantern mode.  This light will be augmented by my headlamp, but should offer general evening lighting.


Who doesn’t want music on their vessel?  I love music and think it can add a ton to the mood and experience.  It’s also a great way to get your kids involved.

DSC00424 The UG speaker offers huge volume buttons that are very easy to find.  It has a 15 hour lithium ion battery.  The sound on this little water resistant speaker is incredible.

DSC00428 And check out the secure D ring on the bottom.DSC00426Easy to find on/off button with audio verification.

DSC00440I used bungie cord to secure the speaker up under the veranda.  This keeps it from swinging.

DSC00437The back side is secured with a carabiner to the loop line.  So, even if it slipped out of the bungie (which seems very secure), I wouldn’t loose my speaker.

Log Book:

DSC00448Every boat needs a log book.  This allows you to keep a journal of your micro expeditions.  Where would we be if early explorers didn’t keep journals?  DSC00453Rite in the Rain makes 100% waterproof journals.  I’ve always wanted one, but wasn’t sure I needed one.  With Shackleton, I now need one.DSC00451I love the small carabiner that came with the pen.  It allows me to secure the pen to the notebook.  The pen will write upside down or during a rain storm.  The ink is smudge proof.  I wrote a few notes on the front page and put the whole thing under the tap.  My kids thought I was crazy…not a single smudge.  Awesome gear.   DSC00455The carabiner also allows me to tether the journal to my boat.  I made the tether long enough to allow me to make a journal entry without unclipping the tether.

Dock Lines:

I didn’t want them dangling.  I did’t want them getting hung up in my outboard.  I didn’t want them trailing behind me like kelp around the centerboard.

DSC00435 I used stainless coat hooks from Ductworks and hung 2 lines on each side of the veranda.  I mounted them on the outboard side of the bow hatches.  This allows good access to the hatches without getting tangled up in the lines.  DSC00434I didn’t use a carabiner to secure these lines, instead, I just hung them.  I want very quick access to the dock lines.

Now working on mounting the compass

Organizing a Wooden Boat

One thing I love about a wooden boat is how easy it is to organize exactly to your liking.  This is almost impossible to do with a fiberglass boat, but with wood you attach what you want, where you want it.  You gotta love that!!

My goal was to organize three things:

  1. The garbage (more secure than my last attempt)
  2. The life jackets (when towing or sleeping on board)
  3. Oar stowage (when assembled and inserted into the oarlocks)

Let’s start first with the garbage.  

I had previously used a tea cup to secure the garbage bag.  This was very insecure and would fly off during transport.  I want things nailed down, so when I travel or during an accidental capsize, things stay put.  The tea cup hook just didn’t fit the part and it didn’t secure the garbage.

DSC00449This is the location for the garbage, just forward of the library on the Port side of the boat.

DSC00451I installed a stainless D ring and a carabiner.  Now there is no risk of loosing my stuff sack.

DSC00456The garbage bags are stored inside the fleece stuff sack.  It will hold about a dozen.

DSC00457With the garbage clipped through the carabiner, it isn’t blowing off anytime soon.

Now for the life jackets:

DSC00451Notice the extra bungie cord also attached to the D ring.

DSC00452It can be secured across the library to hang your damp socks on (hanging from the first attachment point).

DSC00455Or, (hanging from the second attachment point) you can secure the jackets out of the way.  This means I can get into all my hatches without moving the jackets.  Do you sense a little OCD here?  Only when things matter…Shackleton matters.

Finally, the oars

DSC00438 I added oar collars.  These fit nicely inside the 2 1/4″ bronze oarlocks.


DSC00430 I then found these bicycling webbing straps that I never use.DSC00425The have a loop in one end, which I ran through the hole in BH 7 and secure with a fastex buckle.

DSC00434They hold the oar just outside the boat and keep the oar from getting in the way of the backrest.  The oars are slightly downhill into the oarlocks, so I don’t think they will move much from this position.

DSC00432The oar stick aft and seem to be very much out of the way.  This will provide a quick and easy way to temporarily secure the oars.

Now designing the bimini/tent combo.  

More Outfitting of Shackleton

Warning:  This post may be extremely boring to many of you, unless small details matter.

3 things I’m trying to solve in this post:

  1. Garbage stowage
  2. Fire Extinguisher stowage
  3. Seat Cushions

Let’s jump first to the garbage issue.  I decided to add a garbage in addition to my bail bucket.  This leaves the bail bucket free to store shoes, bail and function as a toilet.  So, I now need a place for garbage.

DSC00441 I added a soft stuff sack which holds half a dozen grocery bags to the front side of the library, secured by a tea hook.

DSC00443I can pull out a garbage bag, secure it to the hook and place all my daily trash in it.  Once in a harbor, I can simply discard the bag/garbage.  This system will provide me with 6-8 garbage bags for a given trip, which should be sufficient.

Now for the Fire Extinguisher:

Coast Guard rules say if your boat has a motor, you need to have a fire extinguisher on board at all times.

DSC00435In reviewing the ideal location for a fire extinguisher, I learned there is not an ideal location.  There is only good, better, best.  I settled for good/better.  Ideally, the fire extinguisher would be more accessible in the event of a fire, this would be best.  But, to mount the extinguisher up top would add to the cabin clutter and could snag on a strap or line, which could cause an accidental discharge.  Also, they are quite heavy.  To add this much weight up higher wasn’t to my liking.  So, I settled on the ballast chamber.  This offers good access (albeit a few seconds longer to retrieve) and best with regards to keeping the weight low in the boat.

DSC00436It just so happens that my vault lid screws are perfectly spaced to prevent the extinguisher from moving left or right.  The gap between the bulkhead and the vault also provides a nice nesting place for the extinguisher to settle in.

DSC00439This was simple to install and should be fast to remove in the event of a fire.  The security strap prevents the extinguisher from shifting around or falling in the event of a capsize.

Seat Cushions:

You can probably guess I wanted it simple.  Think Ham N Egger.  I was also concerned about the cushions shifting or denying me access to seat hatches.  And, could the cushion be used on shore for sitting?

DSC00424 This a piece from an old closed cell foam pad I had lying around.  I rounded the corners for a cleaner edge.  DSC00425I can move it to whereever I need it, including shore or a picnic table.  I could also kneel on it when tying up at a dock.  I could also place it under my air pad at night to slightly raise my head a bit.  I could also roll it up and beat my sailing partner with it late at night to a full moon.  The list could go on & on.

DSC00423It stores easily inside any of my compartments.

Now on to Oar Stowage