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.

Simple Door Latch

November 11, 2014

In situations where more normal people ask, "How can I fix this," we onboard Eurisko tend to think, "How can I use string to fix this?" This habit took years to form, which is the only explanation I have for how long it took to find an appropriate latch for our head door.


The cleated door outside the head

The door swings athwarship to provide privacy for the V-berth, or it can be used fore and aft to close off the head. In an attempt to economize space and multipurpose as much as possible, the trashcan is also attached to the inside of the door, hinged to be accessible from either side. But as well-planned and beautifully constructed as it is, the door did not have a latch when we first bought our 34-foot Creekmore. The Velcro a previous owner had installed on the bulkhead was sufficient until we sailed her hard, and then the door swung to the beat of the heeling boat. Since we wanted to be able to latch the door from either inside or outside the head, we could not find a method for securing it without using awkward contraptions that did not fit with our simple lifestyle. Until we thought to use string.


Inside the head, pull the line through the hole.

We drilled a small hole near the opening edge of the door, big enough to pull a 2-foot length of small line through. (We used starter cord.) By tying a stopper knot near both ends, we now had a line we could pull most of the way through the door into one side or the other. My husband installed a 2-inch brass cleat on either side of the bulkhead that encloses the head. Pull the line through the hole, and cleat it on the inside or out in order to secure the door. When we are offshore we have to put a locking turn on the cleat to prevent the line from loosening which allows the door to bang in big seas.


Cleat it.

When we first installed our new "latches" a friend pointed out that the line chafes on the edge of the door. In spite of her assurance that "that won't last very long" it was nearly 10 years before we replaced the original line. She was correct about the chafe, however, and the paint has worn off the door where the line touches. And I occasionally smack my elbow on the corner of the cleat and cuss the person who thought that was a good idea, until I remember I have only myself to blame.


Outside the head, pull the line through the hole.

Despite the few disadvantages, we would not trade our unusual door closure. Inexpensive, unobtrusive, and simple, our "latch" is yet another problem solved by string.


Cleat it.

What happens when a bluewater sailor finds herself in brown water? MONDAY we'll look at the pros and cons of blue vs. brown.

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