I received the following from member Beau Vrolyk, Santa Cruz, CA:
As the caretaker of MAYAN (John G. Alden design number 365-B) I really enjoyed your article on Alden cockpits. Well done!
I have a question for you and your readers. I have sailed aboard 8 Alden schooners so far in my life. Every one of them has a port hole in the cockpit that opens on the engine room. The port hole opens outward rather than inward, the way every other port hole in the boat opens. The question is: Why does this port hole open outward?
I have an opinion. When all of these boats were built, they were typically equipped with gasoline engines. I believe that Alden wanted a way to put a fire extinguisher into the engine room without opening a large hatch and making the fire worse with a greater air supply. Of course, it could be that Alden just wanted cool air for the engine. But if that second explanation were right, there are far better ways to do it than a shin-busting port hole in the cockpit.
Curious what you all think.