SimplySailingOnline.com shows by example how easily you can eliminate stress, become more independent, raise your children in a safer environment (while spending more time with them, instilling values not based on the mighty dollar) and avoid the traps of commercialism. Because we live and sail simply, we have been wandering for 11 years with no intention of stopping. This is not a trip for us; it is our life, and I hope to share our success with stories of laughter and tears, as well as how-to tips and DIY projects for preparing, sailing and making a boat a home, so that others can join us.

Companionway Screen

September 29, 2014

There are several options for keeping flying pests out of your boat. When we purchased our AS-29 we realized than neither what she had nor what we had previously built for Eurisko would work. Every boat is so different, that some designs require reinventing the wheel...er..screen. The AS-29 originally had screen material with Velcro around the edges that attached to the Velcro on the inside of the companionway and the underside of the slider. For us, this was not an acceptable option. Every time we went in or out of the companionway we had to unfasten the screen. And if when we went outside there was no one left inside to reattach the Velcro, we had no screen.


The line to keep the screen material in place is my favorite trick.

While on the hard to make other repairs, my husband, Dave, and I had some time to design and build a better screen. Since Dave's woodworking tools were all out anyway, we took some measurements, sketched a plan and gathered materials. When measuring the companionway, we were careful to measure to inside the board slots, since this was the outside dimension of the screen frame. We noted the thickness of these slots, as well. We then measured the opening itself. With all these measurements noted on our sketch, we went to the work bench.


A few hour's work and nearly free

We scrounged some teak that was thick enough for him to join with a half-lap. After marking the ends of each board, Dave used a Japanese pull saw to cut the half-lap. Before assembling the four pieces, he cut a groove in the inside of each piece using a few passes on a table saw. This groove was just a bit smaller than the diameter of the line that was to secure the screen material to the frame. He also used two passes (one in either direction) on a table saw on the outside of three pieces to form the narrower strip that would fit in the board slots in the companionway.


Half-lap joints

We assembled the teak strips with Gorilla Glue. Once the glue had cured, we cut screen material a good bit larger than the hole it was to cover. (It is easier to trim the edges later than it is to wrestle with a piece that is too small.) We used small diameter old line that we had onboard, which we also cut too long. Keeping the screen aligned, we pushed the line into the slot with the screen between the frame and the line. We pulled the screen taut for aesthetics. When we were pleased with the screens position in the frame, we trimmed the excess line and the edges of the screen material.


In place

In a few hours, using mostly recycled materials, we built an attractive, functional barrier between us and flying critters. We can step over it to get in and out so that the bugs can only gain access the few seconds that the companionway slider is open. In the small creeks where we took our AS-29, a convenient, easy to use screen was a must.

Previously published in Small Craft Advisor

You have probably heard us say that you always need more clamps than you have. MONDAY we'll show you a trick for building your own clamp, when the exact one you need for a project just doesn't exist.

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