This tip illustrates a method of securing the drop boards in position for added safety in case a wave breaks into a boat and fills the cockpit. All that stands in ths way of water pouring down the companionway and into the boat is the height of the bridge deck (the step over to enter the companionway) and above that, the drop boards. Standard drop boards are held in position by their weight and it does not take much imagination to see how they could be knocked or floated out of position.
In part, the Offshore Racing Council requires a secure arrangement that is operable from the exterior and from the interior of the boat
Photo one illustrates the parts added to wood dropboards to provide a secure and operable arrangement from both sides.The lock is a 5/16 diameter stainless steel bolt (rod) inserted into a 11/32 diameter hole in the top edge of a dropboard. The bolt is made operable with a 1/8 diameter stainless steel pin through a 1/8 diameter hole drilled in the bolt and all on centre with a 1/8 wide * 5/8 long slot milled in the wood dropboard.
Two 1/16 thick * 7/8 diameter polyethylene washers are slipped over the pin ends to provide a friction slide. Aluminum operating knobs 3/4 diameter * 1/2 inch high, one inside and one outside, are placed on the pin ends and secured with number 10 stainless steel set screws.
The second photo shows the assembly. Pressure is applied to compress the knobs and polyethylene washers during assembly so that the bolt can be slid by hand but friction will retain a locked or closed position.
The last photo shows the starboard, outside corner of the dropboard with the bolt engaged. A 11/32 diameter hole was accurately located and drilled to engage the extended dropboard bolt. The starboard side is shown and is duplicated on the port side as well. All materials are readily available and the fabrication of the parts was completed using hand tools.
by Ed Sulis