Custom Hatchboards

The old hatchboards

A number of years ago, I replaced ORION's original hatchboards with new ones I made myself. However, I made a big mistake right from the start: After I cut them, I coated them with epoxy before applying varnish. This was fine for the first few years, but then the face of the boards got scraped. Water became trapped under the epoxy and eventually lifted the epoxy and varnish right off. In an attempt to sand them, I burned through the top veneer in a few spots. Despite re-applying varnish, the result looked spotted and awful. Never again will I use epoxy under varnish.

In September of 2017, fellow Mariner sailor Will Gilmore (#2632 DRAGONFLY) posted pictures on the Association's forum of custom hatchboards he made with a wood-burned design of a dragonfly and a rose. It looked fantastic, and I was really struck by the artistry and quality of his work. I knew right then and there I was going to be his next customer. Imagine my surprise when, after contacting him by e-mail, he had already thought of me and made a preliminary sketch of a possible design! He had read my mind!

Over a period of several months, Will and I exchanged many e-mails to finalize a design which would include ORION as well as the constellation Orion. He chose a picture of ORION sailing with her spinnaker (from the 2016 trip to Greenport album), slightly modified it, and added the stars of the constellation to make it look like ORION was sailing at night. In the meantime, I sent him my old hatchboards so he could exactly replicate them.

When he was done, I was blown away by the result. They fit perfectly and look astounding. What a talent! I'll be proud to show off my hatchboards from now on instead of being embarrassed by the boards I messed up.

Will has been extremely generous with his time, energy and talent, and I can't recommend him highly enough. He is a true gentleman, and I encourage anyone hoping for their own custom hatchboards to contact him via his Facebook page, Earthshaking Creations.

Here are a bunch of pictures detailing the whole process.