The washboard concept is part of a traditional design, which hypothesizes that if a giant wave floods the cockpit, the boards would stop water from entering the saloon. That, of course, presupposes the boards would actually be in place. In practice, they are nearly always removed when we're aboard because they completely prevent access to and from the cockpit. For a short-handed crew, I consider semipermanently closing off the companionway in this way to be actually dangerous, because it effectively prevents quick access, both in and out. Also, the prospect of a total cockpit flooding is remote, especially on a center-cock-pit boat like Britannia, with its high freeboard and coamings that are 7 feet above the waterline.