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October 25, 2001

Batten Down Your Hatch

A small piece of tarp and some bungee cords will provide ventilation and rain protection to your cuddy cabin in rainstorms.

After a number of very stuffy overnights, I discovered that the hatches and ports on my cuddy cabin were useless in the rain. It took only a few nights spent tossing and turning in a sweatbox before I found a simple solution to the problem.
Start by cutting the corner off a waterproof tarp, leaving a triangle measuring around 3 feet by 3 feet by 5 feet. (Use your boat's layout for the exact measurements you'll need.) Fold over the cut edges and hem with duct tape on what will be the underside of the tarp. Install brass eyelets on the three corners you have created. (Eyelets and installation tools are inexpensive and can be found in most hardware and marine stores.)
I set up the tarp using short stretch (bungee) cords with hooks on their ends. I place one hook on the top center of the windshield and attach the other two to the bow rails on either side of the hatch. This positions the tarp directly over my cabin hatch cover.
This configuration provides good protection even in wind-driven rain and allows me to leave my hatch open for maximum ventilation. The whole thing rolls up into a very small package for stowing.
David S. Yetman
Newburyport, Massachusetts