March, 2007. A no-see-um screen for the companionway hatch is more complicated than deck hatch screens. No easy shower-cap solutions exist for the Fox's companionway, oh no. Our companionway has a sliding overhead cover that is at a roughly 90-degree angle to the hatch proper, which in turn fits into a very nicely-manufactured stainless steel vertical groove. To make a bug screen for this area requires the creation of a very short plane of fabric on a vertical axis, attached to a much longer fabric run on the horizontal axis, connected to another fabric plane on the vertical. Sure; one could simply heap up a bunch of fabric in the companionway, but what if The Skipper wanted something a bit more....finished?
Here's what I had to work with: a top companionway cover that is 31" wide but includes a very handy 3/4" fiberglass depression on the outside of the cover's aluminum tracks that presumably let water drain off from boarding waves that break through the dodger (perish forbid). Turns out that this 3/4" fiberglass depression is precisely the width of 3-oz. crescent-shaped fishing weights at their widest point. Another handy feature is that when the top companionway cover is fully opened, it has a vertical teak edge that is 2-1/8" high to which snaps can be (and were, for another project) attached - but there is still a 90-degree angle to accommodate at the bottom of this teak edge where it meets the upper surface of the horizontal top companionway cover. (Oh, the foreshadowing here!) The length of the top horizontal cover is 33-1/2". It then drops vertically again, for 25", after which any bug screen can be held in place by weights or clipped to the hard point at the center base of the companionway in the cockpit. Whew.
In fashioning this bug screen for the companionway, I felt the best way to get the desired 90-degree angles at the teak edge on the front of the top companionway hatch when it is open; plus the 90-degree angle going from the horizontal plane to the vertical plane of the companionway; plus the weight that was necessary to keep the bottom edge of the bug screen in place, was to cannibalize a previous project and insert 1/4" fiberglass rods into a casing at each of the two 90-degree angles and at the bottom of the screen. Certainly, wood dowels and/or chain and/or fishing weights could be substituted. But I digress.
We have here, essentially, a giant 60-5/8" x 31" (finished) rectangle of no-see-um fabric. It has a seam and 3 snaps inserted across its upper width to attach it to the top vertical edge of the open companionway cover. On the horizontal plane, the no-see-um fabric has three 1-3/4" long pockets on each side of the horizontal plane (left and right) to accommodate fishing weights that hold the fabric down horizontally against breeze and invading critters. Where the vertical planes meet the horizontal plane, there are casings holding fiberglass dowels that very crisply define the required 90-degree angles to keep the fabric snug against the companionway.
Looking at these photos may help (I hope). In the first (exterior) photo the hatch is in the "closed" position and the upper 2-1/8" vertical section with the 3 snaps is near the cockpit instruments. Fiberglass dowel #1 is near them. Fiberglass dowel #2 crosses the horizontal-to-vertical plane at the foreground of the photo. Finally, the bottom hem holds fiberglsss rod #3 in a casing and keeps the bottom of the screen in place near the floor of the cockpit. The second (interior) photo shows a view of the "closed" bug screen from the interior of the boat. How enlightening.
Only problem: if bugs are in the air, and the bug screens are deployed, ONE MUST STAY INSIDE THE BOAT. These bug screens are not effective if one sets aside the bug screen & scampers into the cockpit, and then runs back into the salon, and back into the cockpit, lather rinse repeat. Not like I'm casting aspersions or anything, but if anyone on your boat has ADHD, no bug screen will be effective. Because if an ADHD person perceives a barrier, they will want very badly to go through it, again and again and again. To assert their humanity or something. In a bug-screen scenario, this behavior tends to negate the effectivity of the bug screens. I'm just sayin'. But if you have a crew that can hunker down and behave themselves, this design might work. And for storage, one just rolls up the fabric around the the rods, fixes the mass with a couple small rubber bands, and tosses them in the nearest locker.