Friday, March 25, 2011

Bug Screens

We had soft mesh covers, with bug mesh screen, made for the out side of our hatches. The problem with these, was when it started to rain we had to rush out side to remove them so we could close the hatches; otherwise the mesh would get stuck in the hatches as we closed them. So, having seen this idea on another boat, I copied the design to suit my boat. In essense, we could use the bug screens from inside the boat and close the hatches when it rains without stepping outside.

 First, I made my wooden frame to match each hatch surround inside the boat. On the back side of the frame, I  routed a 5mm groove in a square pattern. I used a glazing rubber which is 5.5mm in diameter with a hole through the middle. It also had a row of longitudinal ridges on the outside for gripping. This allowed the rubber to be compressed down from 5.5mm to about 4.5 mm. A polyurathane was applied to the frame, front and back.
I placed the mesh over the frame with about an inch extra on the dimensions for each side of the routed groove. Starting at one side, I pushed the glazing rubber into the groove with the mesh. Once done, I went to the other side and as I pushed it in, the mesh starts to tighten up. With the remaining mesh still exposed out of the groove, I ran a sharp blade along the edge, of the outside of the groove, to trim off the mesh.
Finished product. Note rain on hatch!
Hinges were applied to the side of the frame, opposite the levers for the hatch. In the corners, to secure the bug screen up, a couple of aluminum triangular plates were secured with one screw and allowed to pivot to allow the fame to swing down on the hinges. Just above the closed frame, a strip of half inch x half inch foam strip was applied to the inside of the hatch surrond. This seals against the closed frame to prevent any small bugs getting down the side of the frame and prevents the pushing inwards of the frame.

Holding Tank Tanksaver

While pumping out my holding tank, I heard a crackling sound of fiberglass. Stopping the pump out, I noticed the holding tank was starting to implode and the fault was a blocked vent line. To prevent a disaster happening in the future, I installed two Tanksavers from Sealand. These offer a one way valve which will open if it detects too much vacuum inside the tank. With those big dockside suction units, this could be the one thing that could save your tanks.

A three inch hole saw and a Tanksaver kit from sealand costing about $20 is required.

 Find a flat surface on your holding tank top surface and drill the 3 inch hole. Push in the rubber ring and then coat the valve insert with dish washing liquid and push in. That's all there is to it. Just a ten minute job on each tank.
Hole drilled and rubber insert placed

Finished product