When it comes to sealing the vertical area of our “big hole,” a few removable washboards may suit a budget trailer-sailer, but such boards are too often found on very expensive and otherwise sophisticated vessels. To ascend into the cockpit from below, one must lift out one or even two boards (a difficult proposition in any weather, but especially in a gale); climb out into the cockpit, possibly on a heavy heel, with hands full; then place the boards back into their slots in exactly the right order and rotation. To make this slightly less inconvenient, designers changed from parallel to tapered companionway sides, which meant you had to lift the board up only a couple of inches to push it in or out. Of course, the disadvantage here is that a boarding sea can also lift the boards an inch or two and implode them. If such boards are stout enough for bluewater use, then by nature they’re bulky and heavy and take up substantial stowage area when not in use.