We haven’t seen hatch pillows on other boats. Have you? No? Maybe you have shades instead? Those seemed expensive to me. A previous version of the pillows was on our boat when we bought her. We thought they were kinda silly. They had stars on one side. Like looking up to the stars, but we were inside? We have grown to like our hatch pillows so much that we are remaking them to match our new decor. These pillows are made of foam cut to fit the inside of the hatch area and covered in outdoor fabric (Robert Allen – Gales Point) and Sunbrella. They keep out light at marinas and eliminate a bright full moon at anchor for sleep. These pillows also provide a bit of insulation with a bit of breath-ability so there isn’t too much heat trapped at the plastic hatch lens. They even absorb small leaks from the hatches (soon to be refurbished). There is a downside – they take a bit of room to store during the day. They need to dry out a bit as they pick up some condensation overnight (or from those small leaks).
I ordered a nice firm foam from Rochford. Even ordered their sample pack. The samples are big enough to use for some of the smaller hatches. Rochford custom cut the other sizes I needed at a reasonable price. Turns out that with the firm foam you need the size cut a hair smaller (1/4- 1/2″) than you think. So we got an electric knife off Craig’s list for $10. That cuts a nice 1/2″ off pretty easily. There are nine hatches. As of publishing date, I am almost done. None of this is hard. Just takes time at the machine. (Update: As of November 4, 2012 – the hatch pillow project is complete!)
Basically the construction is a small square box cushion. I overlap two end pieces that close with Velcro so I will be able to remove the covers to wash them as needed. I’ve been looking for the best directions for corners and still find that I’m really just working through them with a lot of pinning. Probably need small cuts or to round the corners just slightly.
Secret tip: I use those silver car windshield things to keep out heat. I cut one up to fit into each of the portholes. OK we don’t really think that the government is listening in to our antics on the boat but if they were…we’d be covered! Actually we can feel the difference in cooling when we have our “silver shields” in. We really only use them when we are away from the boat during the week since we are currently weekend cruisers. Pretty soon all the boats in the marina will be jealous and have them!
Anyone have other suggestions for box cushion construction or insulating the boat? Are hatch pillows the next big thing?