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NervousPervous

Weed Hatch Designs

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Hello everyone,

 

I am trying to narrow down (sorry...) my boat preferences before I buy. I'm a bit freaked out by the idea of accidental sinking and have seen 'that' video of the boat going down in a lock due to an 'absent' weed hatch.

 

1. Does this really happen ever by accident or is always because people have either forgotten to put the hatch back on or neglected to maintain seals?

 

2. If the answer to 1 is yes it happens - I have a question about weed hatch designs.

 

I've read that Tyler/Wilson boats have a different design to usual whereby it is not possible to sink the boat via the weed hatch. I can't find anything online that gives any details of how this works. Is it true? Do any other boat builders use this method and if not, why not as if this is a problem and someone has solved it, I don't understand why everyone doesn't do it?

 

I would be on the boat on my own, initially not as a liveaboard full-time. I'm thinking of going for something 35-40 ft. I'm thinking that as long as I learn the ropes (I'm really really sorry...) that I might be better able to avoid cills with a short boat - is that right do you think?

 

As you can see - I'm very worried about sinking my boat. Any other tips on avoiding this are very welcome, or indeed warnings about it being 'quite common' so I can chicken out and get a campervan instead!

 

Thank you all,

 

Meg

 

 

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Meg, there seem to be quite a lot of things on t'net which would frighten most of us off the cut if they were just down to luck. A properly secured weed hatch, with a seal in good condition, is not going to sink your boat. Look after it, check it regularly, particularly after you've had the lid off, and you'll be fine. :)

 

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A weedhatch ‘lid’ is big and heavy, slightly leaky seals will cause the auto bilge pump to run, but forget to put it back on and run the engine in gear and you will sink the boat.  When open I put it on the roof to get it out of my way with the engine key.  That way there is no danger of the engine starting with my arm in the prop, and I can’t get the keys without seeing the hatch cover.

.

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26 minutes ago, NervousPervous said:

I've read that Tyler/Wilson boats have a different design to usual whereby it is not possible to sink the boat via the weed hatch. I can't find anything online that gives any details of how this works. Is it true? Do any other boat builders use this method and if not, why not as if this is a problem and someone has solved it, I don't understand why everyone doesn't do it?

Yes, this is true.  The weedhatch is a chute through the back deck and is not open to the engine hole.  Even if you left the plate off completely, water still wouldn’t get into the boat.  Another advantage is that access if fairly easy — but on the other hand you do need quite long arms to reach down there.

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Weedhatches only sink boats when the boat tries to move when the weedhatch has been left off or not replaced securely. It is good practice, having replaced the weedhatch to rev the boat in gear (forward & reverse), to see if it is leaking whilst it is still tied to the bank and in shallow water. If it is tighten up the clamp more.

 

The Wilson type weedhatch brings the top of the hatch further up, so the top is closer to the deck of the boat. The problem is your arms need to be correspondingly longer to reach the propeller.

Edited by cuthound
Spillung
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5 minutes ago, CompairHolman said:

My first boat was a Les Allen and that had a weed hatch that came up to the stern deck, so impossible to sink. 

 

And no doubt amost impossible to clear the prop.

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There are some boat builders who have designed a sink proof weedhatch, but generally if you keep it in good order they are not a real problem. If you are having the boat built, and it is really that concerning to you, you can specify that you want it contained within a water tight compartment thereby negating any risk entirely.

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If you leave the weedhatch lid off completely and run the engine you could quickly sink the boat.

If the lid is on, but not tightened down, or the seals are damaged, water will only come in slowly. An automatic bilge pump will probably cope. 

The weed hatch opening should be at least 6" above water level. If it is close to water level, and the boat settles in the water, for example due to rainwater collecting in the stern bilge, then it could dip below water level, and then even a slightly leaking seal will let in water over a period of time.

 

In practice this is all a bit theoretical. Check the weedhatch is sealed by giving a burst of forward and reverse gear each time you put the lid back, and you will be fine.

Edited by David Mack

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Thanks all,

 

I'm assuming then that there is no chance of the hatch popping off by accident? They screw down well do they? I'm 100% confident that I will not make a mistake or neglect the seal - I'm way too neurotic for that!

One last thought - in answer to the possibility of gradual ingress and a dropping stern. When you pay to moor in a manned marina, do they undertake to keep an eye on this sort of thing and call you if they suspect a problem? Or is it totally down to you to regularly check a boat you've moored up for storage?

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Some marinas definitely check the boats on a regular if not daily basis simply because it's good customer care. For others it might depend on how much they care about your sunken boat polluting their marina.

 

We have a Tyler Wilson shell and it is not difficult to reach the propeller down the weed hatch. The rear deck is significantly lower than that of the shared boat we had which was built by Pat Buckle. It was impossible to reach the propeller from the deck despite a hatch being provided for the pupose. Much easier to climb down into the bilge and bang your head on the underside of the deck whilst clearing the propeller through the weed hatch.

 

I remember one of the shared boats being sunk because the weedhatch was fitted back to front after an owner had cleared the prop. 

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26 minutes ago, NervousPervous said:

Thanks all,

 

I'm assuming then that there is no chance of the hatch popping off by accident? They screw down well do they? I'm 100% confident that I will not make a mistake or neglect the seal - I'm way too neurotic for that!

One last thought - in answer to the possibility of gradual ingress and a dropping stern. When you pay to moor in a manned marina, do they undertake to keep an eye on this sort of thing and call you if they suspect a problem? Or is it totally down to you to regularly check a boat you've moored up for storage?

Down to you really, they may notice something and call you they may not. If you have a boat in good condition and maintain it you shouldn't have a problem. On the two boat I have had it has been impossible to put the lid on wrongly, it just don't fit.

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17 minutes ago, Cheshire cat said:

I remember one of the shared boats being sunk because the weedhatch was fitted back to front after an owner had cleared the prop. 

 

A well designed weedhatch will only fit on one way round to prevent this.

 

If you get a boat where the hatch can be fitted either way round, you could paint it in such away (two colours) thst the correct way round was obvious.

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2 minutes ago, cuthound said:

 

A well designed weedhatch will only fit on one way round to prevent this.

 

If you get a boat where the hatch can be fitted either way round, you could paint it in such away (two colours) thst the correct way round was obvious.

if blind the words top and  bottom in braille might help too 

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Don't choose the length of your boat to reduce cill problems.  That is a bit like buying a Learner car rather than the car you need for your business.  Choose your boat length to match your usage, your purse, and where you intend to travel.

Address your perception of the cill risk by taking instruction on how to drive your boat when you first get it, as much and as long as you need to feel really comfortable.  People on this forum will be able to help you find suitable training or even maybe do it for you. Best of all get to travel on somebody else's boat. What part of the world are you in?

Edited by system 4-50

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6 minutes ago, system 4-50 said:

Don't choose the length of your boat to reduce cill problems.  That is a bit like buying a Learner car rather than the car you need for your business.  Choose your boat length to match your usage, your purse, and where you intend to travel.

Address your perception of the cill risk by taking instruction on how to drive your boat when you first get it, as much and as long as you need to feel really comfortable.  People on this forum will be able to help you find suitable training or even maybe do it for you. Best of all get to travel on somebody else's boat. What part of the world are you in?

It's not just the cill, also thinking of mooring fees and the fact it's only for me and not for liveaboard. I did wonder though whether I might find it difficult to control a larger boat, holding/moving with ropes when I'm on the bank etc- I'm a quite short woman of a certain age and not as strong as I used to be. 

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3 minutes ago, NervousPervous said:

It's not just the cill, also thinking of mooring fees and the fact it's only for me and not for liveaboard. I did wonder though whether I might find it difficult to control a larger boat, holding/moving with ropes when I'm on the bank etc- I'm a quite short woman of a certain age and not as strong as I used to be. 

Mooring fees & licence are definitely relevant.  As to control, definitely get some experience on somebody else's boat.  I am short 5' 5", 72 years old, and I don't cruise in as high winds as I use to, but I'm happy to do most of what is need on my 60ft narrowboat.

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41 minutes ago, NervousPervous said:

It's not just the cill, also thinking of mooring fees and the fact it's only for me and not for liveaboard. I did wonder though whether I might find it difficult to control a larger boat, holding/moving with ropes when I'm on the bank etc- I'm a quite short woman of a certain age and not as strong as I used to be. 

 

If you always make sure your boat is very close to the front of the lock and stays there when locking down, then the risk of cilling is eliminated, irrespective of boat length.

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3 hours ago, NervousPervous said:

I'm a quite short woman of a certain age and not as strong as I used to be. 

You have just described about 80% of the people that drag boats around on ropes on canals.  Most of them also do it while being yelled at by a 6 foot 16 stone bloke stood on the back of the boat, who is usually giving them unhelpful or plain wrong orders!

:icecream:

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Controlling a 70 foot boat is reasonably easy in most locks with the right knowledge, where it can present a problem is when mooring up single handed with an offshore wind. The best solutions for that are (a) get crew, it's much easier with two people and a 70ft boat has more accommodation space, or (b) avoid boating on windy days or find a sheltered spot to moor up.

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To those who think that long arms are necessary to clear the propellor via certain designs of weed hatch have they not thought to first use the cabin shaft before sticking their hands into the unknown?

 

JP

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9 hours ago, Captain Pegg said:

To those who think that long arms are necessary to clear the propellor via certain designs of weed hatch have they not thought to first use the cabin shaft before sticking their hands into the unknown?

 

JP

 

Depends on what is stuck around the prop on how successful a cabin shaft is.

 

OK for weed etc, but useless on old tyres, a fertilizer bag which encapsulated the prop, and my latest prop foul, somebody's cratch cover.

 

All the above needed manual intervention with a knife.

Edited by cuthound
To remove a letter masquerading as a space

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11 hours ago, Captain Pegg said:

To those who think that long arms are necessary to clear the propellor via certain designs of weed hatch have they not thought to first use the cabin shaft before sticking their hands into the unknown?

 

JP

I don’t need long arms accessing the weedhatch / prop from the deck  as I just put the top third of my body down the hole.  Getting down there is easy, getting back out again is more of a challenge....

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