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S&S Swan General - Swan 57 - aft companionway
09 April 2021 - 08:06
Join Date: 20 July 2017
Posts: 115

Swan 57 - aft companionway

Dear All

One of Kairos' previous owners converted the aft companionway from the original sliding hatch with hatch board to a fixed, top-opening Lewmar hatch - please see photo below.

We still have the ladder below deck and it is just about possible to squeeze through the hatch but not when wearing foul weather gear etc.

We are currently contemplating to reinstate the original hatch configuration on Kairos, main reason being to have the option to use the aft companionway as direct access to the cockpit in adverse/heavy weather condition.

Believe the aft companionway would be a much safer option than crawling from the main companionwayover what we call 'the regatta deck' with virtually nothing to grab hold off to get into the cockpit as it's currently the case.

We don't envisage to use the aft companionway a lot except in conditions described above as it would likely mean that the after cabin and bunks would get their fair share of water/spray every time it is used. It's pretty much right avove the starboard bunk as you can see from the photo but we believe this is acceptable if (occasionally) required for crew safety.

However, before we crack on we wanted to check if there could have been any other reasons why the previous owner chose to make the modification other than personal preference?

Maybe the original hatch wasn't as water proof as it should have been?

Any experiences from the fellow 57 owners, maybe pros/cons? Are you using it?

We'll halso have to have a new sliding hatch and hatch board made so any pictures (drawings?) would be much appreciated!

Thank you very much,

fair winds


Kairos - 57/043


Current aft companionway configuration

Below deck

Aft companionway

09 April 2021 - 13:34
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Stefan

It appears that the dropboard was fixed when the hatch was changed to the present hinged one. This makes traffic through the hatch awkward, and the situation would be improved very much by changing the dropboard back to a removable one.
The hatch may be hinged, but should preferably be a little longer aft, so the aft edge overlaps the dropboard. The hatch lower frame needs to be cut away aft for the dropboard, and should therefore be of cast aluminium, not an extruded thin section. Suggest that you look at Bomar hatches.
Kind regards



09 April 2021 - 14:40
Join Date: 20 July 2017
Posts: 115

Dear Lars,

thank you very much for your quick reply.

A hinged hatch is an interesting option.

We were actually thinking of reinstating the original sliding hatch, rather than amending the existing (or a new) hinged hatch. So the new hatch would slide into the existing hatch 'garage' (is that's what it's called?) and the hatch board would be removable as you mentioned.

That would then give us the full width and depth of the original hatch opening whereas a hinged hatch solution would always have to be narrower, to accommodate the hatche's frame, I suppose.

Apologies, I should have made this clearer in my post.

Thanks again and all the best,


Kairos - 57/043

14 April 2021 - 14:30
Join Date: 20 July 2017
Posts: 115

Dear All,

a quick update below - photo of Kairos' aft companionway with cover for sliding hatch removed.

As mentioned before we'll need to build a new sliding hatch and hatch board for the aft companionway. We assume the original design was similar to the one of the main companionway i.e. tinted perspex/plexiglas sliding hatch and teak hatch board?

If anyone would be able to share some photographs etc. that would be fantastic - thank you!



Kairos - 57/043

Cover of sliding hatch removed

16 April 2021 - 17:38
Join Date: 17 July 2020
Posts: 104

Hello Stephan,

here the original hatch on 57-007 before we start our refit.

we will replace a protection to use it in bad weather too.

fair winds !


algol 57-007

16 April 2021 - 18:38
Join Date: 20 July 2017
Posts: 115

Thanks Yves,

much appreciated!

So the original aft companionway hatches look pretty much exactly like the ones from the main companionway, that's good to know.

Have you ever had any problems with the hatch leaking? We still trying to figure out why a previous owner felt the need to 'close it off' with a hinged hatch ...

Thanks again, all the best for your refurbishment project (which I follow with a lot of interest in the other threads!) and fair winds,


Kairos - 57/043

PS: When you say 'we will replace a protection' do you mean you are planning to build a little spray hood for the aft companionway, too? Ours works very well, it's the most sought-after corner of the cockpit as it offers a little protection from wind. It can get in the way a lttle when using our starboard coffee grinder with two persons though. To be able to get a good foothold when grinding it's better to fold it down and stand with one foot on the hatch.

17 April 2021 - 07:15
Join Date: 17 July 2020
Posts: 104

Hi Stephan, 

no leaks noted on this hatch, and varnish is good in cabin, so I think there is no problem, and has never be leaks here.

Yes I want to install a little spay hood to keep the hatch opened even on bad conditions, and yes of course it makes a little protection for the cockpit.

I was too searching for maybe a bigger protection for people in cockpit when sailing at night, but yet not found a good and beautiful solution (easily removable)

No problem for 007 with the grinders as she had a central pedestal already removed, and we are going now to 88/3 ESP… electricity will do the job !


Algol 57-007

To help old sailors…

19 April 2021 - 11:53
Join Date: 20 July 2017
Posts: 115

Hi Yves,

thank you very much for your feedback!

Regarding the the main Genoa winches, on Kairo we have the 'best of both worlds', I suppose - we can switch to either the grinders or to electric motors. There is a separate thread on the forum on this system. We rarely use the electric motors but it's good to have them and this also may well change in the future ...

Regarding a sprayhood giving protection for more of the cockpit, I think it will be difficult if not impossible to find a solution that does not have a negative impact on the beautiful lines of any S&S swan.

While I am sure all of us have at some point whished we had a large sprayhood for Kairos' cockpit we have decided that this is the price one has to pay for beauty ... :-)

Cheers and fair winds,


Kairos - 57/043

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