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Old 04-19-2017, 01:03 AM   #1
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Tuna Door Questions

Practically forever I've intended to install a tuna door. It's not getting any easier to climb over the transom. Three knee surgeries (both knees could be better) and, well, I consider a tuna door to be a safety feature.

Now I've found a fellow who can do the job. He's coming by to give an estimate this coming week.

What I do not know is about hardware -- I've seen lots of variations on boat show boats. I've been wanting a tuna door forever and a day. I've searched at nautical flea markets for the brackets/gizmos.

So, what do I need?

The doorway will be 18" square, give or take. I believe (correct me if I'm wrong!) that it should open out, maybe. I guess. Inward might be okay too.

Picture:


I've got a swim platform back there. The opening will be from the center to port. My doorway into the cockpit is center to starboard. I do not want to tumble back and out!

Both sides of the cockpit have locker/seats in the corners. This is looking aft through my doorway:





What say the experts?
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Old 04-19-2017, 02:03 AM   #2
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No expert, but the krogen door is centered.
Just normal stainless steel 4 screw hinges.
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Old 04-19-2017, 02:10 AM   #3
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If the installer is going to guarantee is work, he may prefer to pick out the hardware himself.
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Old 04-19-2017, 03:51 AM   #4
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Thanks Richard... yours does look nice and I note that it opens outbound.

Center won't work aboard Seaweed. I've got the wind-gen support post (which doubles as the davit support too) dead center. Wires for the charging outlet are on the starboard side too. I also installed a license plate light on that side so I can light up the swim platform for Skipper.

It's good to know how many bolt holes your hinges have. I'll be sure to mention that.

Benthic2... you're probably correct. I Prefer to buy the materials for all projects as I can control the quality. I do not yet have an estimate so this job is not written in stone. My usual method is to gather all the parts together first.

As the gent is busy I will have time to do buy the hardware before he gets to me -- provided I can afford him! That's not a given, you know? The latch part interests me too. I've seen a variety at the boat shows. Some look sturdy and others don't. I have no idea where to buy the good ones.
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Old 04-19-2017, 05:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janice142 View Post
I consider a tuna door to be a safety feature......(.So do I at 76 years old.)

I believe (correct me if I'm wrong!) that it should open out, maybe.I guess. Inward might be okay too. (That would be my choice after having a transom door that opened out.)
My old boat, SeaHorse II, had a Tuna door that opened out and I almost fell over board several times.(The latch didn't work properly and the door would swing open when underway) My preent boat's Tuna door opens in and it's much safer.

Photo #1 SeaHorse II's Tuna door.
Photo #2 Sandpipers Tuna door.
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Old 04-19-2017, 06:03 AM   #6
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Janice, Interesting project. I can certainly understand why you want a transom door. A few considerations:

Opening out and hooking in the open position saves space.

Do you significantly weaken the back of your boat by cutting a piece out of the transom? Did your mfg ever offer this option? There are doubtless ways to stiffen the opening. Probably been done before - don't reinvent the wheel.

The hinges need research, especially if you transom is curved or slopes. Check the older Bertram sportfishers. They had great hinges and a simple robust latch that clearly showed it was in the open or closed position.

Keep us posted on your progress.
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Old 04-19-2017, 06:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janice142 View Post
I believe (correct me if I'm wrong!) that it should open out, maybe. I guess. Inward might be okay too.

Ours opens inward.

Since we carry our dinghy on a davit system mounted on the swim platform... an outward-opening transom door could have become an issue for us.

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Old 04-19-2017, 06:54 AM   #8
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Judging by the posts here, there is no right or wrong way the door swings. Mine swings out and is centered. Honestly I can't imagine my Marine Trader without it. I have no fear o it opening underway and/or falling overboard as it is very secure.

Make sure you have references from the guy who will be doing the job. You will want to know how many he has done and what he recommends for your situation.

Good luck! I hate hiring out. Gives me loads of stress!! LOL!
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Old 04-19-2017, 07:11 AM   #9
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Ours opens out also. A few years ago we had some stress cracks at the transom and the door itself at the hinges. We removed the hinges to reenforced the attachment points. What a pain to get the hinges re-aligned properly so the door hung correctly. Here some pictures of the hardware.

Larry, Healhustler did a readical mod to his door a few years ago. There may be some info in there you can use. Here's the link.

Radical Manatee Transom door mod
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Old 04-19-2017, 08:23 AM   #10
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Quick outward opening door story....
Several years ago at Block Island we were with another couple in our rubber dinghy headed to shore for dinner at Dead Eye Dick's friend with a 42 Post was docked at Payne's and we thought we'd land the dinghy there rather than put the dink on the beach and get everyone's shoes full of sand, etc.
So the other couple's wife stands up to open the transom door so we could get in...she freaks when the door opens out, falls back onto my wife and knocks both of them into the water.
Of course there is always a dock crown there and they give my wife a standing ovation because she comes up out of the water with her glass (was rum and coke) still pointing upward. LOL
Of course we still went to dinner....the guys dry and the girls soaked with salt water that never dries out. LOL BTW it was kazoo night and we had a great time)
Hence I would vote for an inward opening....
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Old 04-19-2017, 08:51 AM   #11
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Our door opens inward and the side opposite the hinges is angled so there is no hardware needed to keep it from swinging too far and no stress on the hinges in that regard. I don't have any photos handy but I will try and get some when I get out to the boat. I particularly like the latch that holds the door open.

Ours is centered but I don't think having it centered or offset makes any difference. Do what works best in your application.
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Old 04-19-2017, 09:30 AM   #12
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You may want to consider which side you dock on and how you tie the stern.

Our Mainship had the door to stbd which works well as that's the most convenient side to tie up (helm door only on stbd).
I decided to add the lower stern cleat to allow crossing my stern lines and not block the door swing - or being a tripping hazard when boarding.

I also wanted to add Weaver davits for my inflatable which I place to port - works well as it still leaves room to board with the dingy on place and raised.

Many considerations and only you and the installer can make the final decision.

Good luck w/ the project - as always - pics at least when complete
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Old 04-19-2017, 09:36 AM   #13
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On downcast boats these doors are common. Popular consensus is that outward swinging doors are stronger and easier to make watertight. Of course these are often tuna boats that back down on fish regularly.
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Old 04-19-2017, 09:54 AM   #14
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I found some of the door parts on my BOM - here are a few you might want to check out / consider.

The hinges were listed as Gem - they sell marine hardware but I don't have a part# but their catalog is online.
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Old 04-19-2017, 11:01 AM   #15
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I always thought opening outward, and having a taper to the sides of the door so that IF water was forced up onto the door (from wave action) the door was forced into the hull rather than onto the hinges and latch made sense.

If I were able to mount a transom door that is the method I would use.
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Old 04-19-2017, 11:02 AM   #16
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Our door is centered and opens inward. No problems with that and I think I'd prefer that over an outward opening door. With a door that opens out you would have to unlatch it then step aside so it could open. With the inward opening door you unlatch it and walk through the opening as you swing the door in. Much easier IMHO if you have your hands full. (Don't you always have something in your hands when you go down to the boat?)
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Old 04-19-2017, 11:33 AM   #17
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[QUOTE=GFC;545414 With the inward opening door you unlatch it and walk through the opening as you swing the door in. Much easier IMHO if you have your hands full. (Don't you always have something in your hands when you go down to the boat?)[/QUOTE]I had no idea how many opinions there would be on this subject!
I also have a side door that we use constantly. (We never use the Tuna door.)

Photos shoe the angle on the Tuna door making it absolutely impossible to open out. The side door makes it much easier to board the boat from the dock.
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Old 04-19-2017, 11:58 AM   #18
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Is there a semantic difference between "tuna door" and "transom door?"
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Old 04-19-2017, 12:10 PM   #19
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Here's another approach (probably not for your boat however)

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Old 04-19-2017, 12:52 PM   #20
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Is there a semantic difference between "tuna door" and "transom door?"
I commonly see them used interchangeably. Sometimes Tuna Door on a fishing boat and Transom Door in a cruising boat. I was once told that the traditional Tuna Door does not open at the gunwale and only opens with the gunwale completely connected.
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