Cockpit Enclosure

I plan to install a two piece grate in my cockpit. One side will be raised flush with the cockpit seating while voyaging so I can nap yet still be immediately available to the person on watch. When in Port or hanging on the hook, I plan to raise both sides so I can sleep outside and enjoy the trades while in the tropics.

I plan to attach (zipper?) bug screen to the helmsman awning and snap it to the backside of the combings. In addition, I will have weather flaps that roll down over the screens during times of unexpected perception while in Port. The screen and weather flaps would detach and stow when cruising.

I don’t want to reinvent the wheel, so I’m hoping someone has already done something similar with their BCC?


In tropical climes, we run with the off watch sleeping in the cockpit - without any modification to the cockpit grate. As you wrote, that meant that the off-watch is immediately available in case of squall, doubts about collision risk, etc.

Zygote has removable insect screens for her skylight hatch and main hatch, with of course fixed insect screens in the dorade vents.

Zygote has a full enclosure for the cockpit. I’ve uploaded photos of it before (see,4450,5194#msg-5194). We often run in rainy conditions with the awning and the aft curtain in place. The two side curtains were designed, by Bob Baltierra, so they flop down and hang inside from the wind curtains. The side curtain are then easy to fix in place to deal with a rain squall.

We’re living aboard in the marina now and have just weathered an East Coast Low that dumped considerable rain (183 mm or 7 inches of rain in 24 hours, according to Brisbane weather: Wettest May day in 175 years). Before the ECL arrived, we dropped our usual Sunbrella awnings and installed the cockpit enclosure - that ensures that the cockpit remains as protected living space, meaning that the cockpit becomes both a mud room (for donning, removing, and drying foul weather gear) and living space.

I reckon that making side curtains to the wind curtains is preferable to just making side curtains to the coamings. More space is enclosed and you can grind the primary sheet winches unhindered.

We’ve lived aboard in the tropics much of the past 15 years and not bothered about insect screens in the cockpit. But we’ve not been in locations notorious for no-see’ums and the like, just places with mosquitoes known to be carrying dengue, chikungunya, and Q fevers.

Bob Baltierra also designed and made small forward curtains, running from the side curtains to the dodger, with apertures for the sheets and the roller reefing line, so the full enclosure is “full”. You can see the starboard forward curtain on the Zfullenclosefront image.


Your posts are invaluable Bil! I really like how your side curtains attach to the wind curtains, that really increases the protected area around the cockpit. Knowing how no-see’ums can ruin a nights rest, I think I may still attach insect screening to the awning and snap it on the the outboard side of the combings when sleeping.

I’m getting ready to go on the hard for a bottom job and to tie up some loose ends before I start cruising. While in the yard I hope to begin the interactive process with one of our local canvass shops to develop a workable design for my cockpit enclosure. I’ll let the forum know how things work out.

I’m now having second thoughts about having Mike build me a split grate since you’ve done well without modifying yours. Perhaps a one piece is a better approach.

How do you attach your aft curtain to the taffrail?

How do you attach your aft curtain to the

Press button snaps on the forward face of the taffrail. Sun has just gone down. I’ll take a photo tomorrow.


If all goes well, traveler, you’ll find two pics below:

  • aft windcurtain from outboard.jpg shows that we’ve removed the mainsail from the boom and the mainsheet and mainsheet blocks (we’re preparing to remove the boom and mast for repainting and to renew the standing rigging and - if all goes well - the chainplates).

On the aft windcurtain, note the deer hide strips that Dolly & Bob Baltierra added for protection so the mainsheet doesn’t chafe through the Sunbrella. Zoom in and you will see the external turn-buttons to which the aft curtain of the cockpit full enclosure attaches.

  • windcurtains port quarter from inboard.jpg shows how the port windcurtain and the aft windcurtain join at the gallows upright. Note the neat stitching of the deer hide edge strips and the vinyl reinforcing inside the windcurtain (to spread the strain of the turn-buttons holding the aft wind curtain to the stern rail and the port windcurtain to the top lifeline. Note the press button snaps (or press studs) on the forward edge of the taff rail and the inner face of the bulwarks. And the Sunbrella flap that curls around the gallows upright to hold the aft windcurtain laterally.

Bob Baltierra designed the side and aft curtains of the cockpit enclosure so you first make the curtains to the external windcurtains. That allows those vinyl curtains to hang down inside the windcurtains. And when rain threatens, it’s convenient and easy to then lift each curtain up and attach them to turn-buttons on the helmsman’s awning.

The press button snaps (aka press studs) are screwed into the taffrail and the bulwarks. I filled the cavity of the studs with surfboard wax in an attempt to exclude water and add a sort of lubrication to the studs.

Zygote’s turn-buttons are DOT marine durable ones. The buttons are I think cast brass that is nickel plated while the rest of the fastener is pressed metal. Turn-buttons are variously called Murphy fasteners (after George William J Murphy, who held several US patents for them), Common Sense fasteners (a trade mark, now owned by Scovill Corp which I think is now owned by a Japanese firm; the DOT brand is also owned by Scovill. I suspect, but don’t really know, that the DOT brand originated with the G W J Murphy Co), Bourque fasteners (after an employee of the G W J Murphy Co), and originally carriage curtain fasters (after their use to attach tarps on railway carriages, side curtains on horse-drawn carriages, and eventually the top and side curtains on Ford automobiles such as the Model T.

Hope that all makes sense.


Hi Bil,

I pulled & painted my mast & boom two years ago. This was the closest match I could find to the original color:


Hope you find this helpful…


This was the closest match I could find to the
original color:


Hope you find this helpful…

Thanks, Traveler. I haven’t moved to the point of choosing between polyester-urethane LPU and acrylic-polyester-urethane LPU, let alone focusing on color. I’ve noted your info gratefully.

I earlier did think that the gold anodising route (e.g. Douglas Walling’s Calliste) would be fun to walk, but finding a large anodising bath is nigh impossible.

At the moment, I’m still worrying about whether I should change Zygote’s 316 ss external (and internal) chainplates to (1) 2205 duplex ss or 2507 super duplex ss with fasteners in 2507 super duplex ss (the option advocated by my cousin the metallurgist) or (2) bronze (the traditional option and one taken by may BCC owners). I’ve been worrying those options for two months now!

I will be visiting businesses this coming week to confirm that Option 1 is doable locally (the Australian economy is 1/10th the size of the US; finding a bronze foundry with which to work in my locality has proven a high hurdle; duplex and super duplex ss is more accessible, but buying small quantities and getting it machined to shape is still uncertain).



I am wanting to replace my SS chainplates with bronze chainplates. Port Townsend Foundry has the BCC patterns for bronze chainplates and I’ve communicated with them in the past about obtaining such chainplates. Unfortunately, it is a bit of a challenge in getting Pete and Cathy from Port Townsend Foundry to stay focused on an issue.

If you decide on bronze chainplates and the cost of shipping them from the US to Australia makes economic sense to you, please keep in mind my interest. It may be that with two potential customers Port Townsend Foundry will be a little more interested in completing such an order.


Gary: Hi!

Thanks for your offer.

I’ve sent you a Private Message to discuss further.