We have cruised more than 40,000 miles aboard our Corbin 39 cutter Cormorant and rarely concern ourselves with crime. However, times are changing, and the brutal murder of a cruising friend in Thailand early last year caused us to rethink our security precautions.
We always lock our boat when leaving it, even for a short time. That includes pinning the hatches so they cannot be opened from outside. While aboard, we have an infrared motion detector which scans the companionway.
We accept that it is almost impossible to deter a determined intruder, but as long as we are not caught sleeping, we feel that we can probably scare off most would-be attackers.
We sleep in the vee-berth cabin when not underway, and it has a large hatch directly above the berth. We usually open the hatch part way for ventilation. To keep an intruder from opening and entering the hatch, a simple hasp-type bracket was fabricated out of a 3mm aluminum sheet. It has a slot cut into it to fit over a staple bracket that was attached to the hatch coaming with screws. The other end of the bracket has a hole drilled in it that fits over the hatch dog. An old piston hank serves as an easily removable keeper. We made two hasp brackets: one long and one short to give us some flexibility in the amount of opening desired. The bracket cannot be removed with one hand, and it would require an intruder to make enough noise to alert us before the hatch could be fully opened. This simple design can be adapted to fit most hatches.
To secure the companionway from inside the boat, we have installed a staple and hasp latch on the inside of the hatch slide. It’s a simple matter to latch the entry, and it can be very quickly opened if necessary.
About the Author:
Harry Hungate and his wife Jane recently transited “Pirate Alley” aka the Gulf of Aden on their way to the Red Sea, hence their renewed interest in security. They plan to spend the next couple of years in the eastern Mediterranean.