Originally Posted by FOG
Tom, so just to be clear, you open the two large hatches in the saloon sole while underway to do routine engine checks? If so, how often is routine?
Opening just one sole hatch allows me to get in and out pretty easily. Using the forward hatch would require removing the steps and two other hatches. Plus it's a somewhat tight and uncomfortable squeeze. I have the full "V" berth forward and galley up, so that might be a difference.
On longer passages, I make it a point to try to do hourly ER checks. I'll look at a belt, feel a hose, check a bilge, and shoot the temperature of some component or other. Just generally poke around for anything unusual.
Closer to home I rarely do that (although I should.) I also sometimes skip a check in rough weather. Even though it's probably more important then, there's the safety issue of moving around the boat, as well as the dangers in the ER itself. Another option is to just stick my head down there, look, listen and sniff, then close it back up.
I started doing this largely to break up the monotony on long trips, but it saved my skin big-time once, and there have been a few other minor saves.