Friends who are unaccustomed with yachts and come aboard, will frequently ask me about the so-called wash boards in the companion way on a sailing yacht, why they are constructed the way they are: Two heavy boards with no handles and nowhere to stow them away! We have not yet lost one of these loose hatches overboard, but I am pretty sure that it would sink fairly rapidly. I believe that my boat is constructed the way it is for good reasons, but at a boatshow, I came across a couple of other solutions for wash boards on the new yachts on display. It inspired me enough try and make my own.
On my Storm the outer part of the slots in which the boards are dropped down are wooden and screwed in place. By removing these (and they could have been refitted if the plan did not work out well) one is left with a perfect backing surface for a hinged door. The Storm has, just as one of the exhibited yachts, a long companion way where the door nicely rests out of way. (See Figures 1 and 2) This probably does not work as well on all layouts.
After a trial last season, we will now finish some cosmetic details and we feel this will work well in the future, keeping the door open available to close as necessary when under sail.