Echo has separate screen and shades for our overhead hatches. The shades are easy to use and work well to keep out the sun, but the screens are a real pain. The difficulty is that since the hatches hinge out and the screens are mounted inside, the only way to open and close the hatches is to remove the screens.
In order to close the hatch (the need for which normally occurs in the middle of the night in driving rain) you have to unlatch all the dogs, remove the screen, and the close the hatch. Opening is the reverse.
Mary and I first saw the Ocean Air units at the Annapolis Boat show last year. Although we were intrigued with the concept, we did not see a way to install the screens in our boat because our headliner has features that would prevent the frame from sitting flat.
Having now lived with the old set up for a couple of years, we began to give more thought to coming up with a way to use this product. We hit upon the idea of making frames to bridge the discontinuities in our headliner and provide a flat surface for the screens to attach.
With plan in mind, we talked to Vince at Ahoy Captain who is a stocking distributor and we ordered 3 units for our most often used hatches. Vince answered all our questions with good product knowledge and promptly shipped the units to our current base in Puerto Rico.
The first step was to fabricate the bridging trim out of wood molding, paint the trims white, and install on the headliner. This actually turned into quite a pain because of my lack of precision woodworking tools on board. It was tough to get good clean miters cut and glued. If I make more, I think I will hire a picture frame shop to make these.
Once the frames were fabricated and installed on the ceiling, the next step was to trim the extension liner to take up the space between the hatch and the screen frame.
Finally, the screen / shade units were attached to the trim. The convenience factor for this product is just great. You can use as all screen, all shade, or half and half. To actuate the hatch, you just pull apart the magnet closure and have instant access to the hatch. We really like these!
Great job Jeff.
Thanks Al. How are your projects going?