Port Lights (Windows)

Our life on the boat is being driven by projects.  Some we plan on and some just force themselves upon us.  Our first major thunderstorm told us that 3 of our ports leak and we had better move new ports up to the top of the things to do list.  Actually one port leaked in 2 places but we only counted it as 1 port.

As of yesterday afternoon we have successfully replaced one port (window) on the boat, only 7 more to go.   Replacing these ports was a major point of contention between Jan and me.   The problem is the cost.  Because 6 of the ports are 20 1/2″ long we would be looking at larger ports with higher costs and since the boat is 41 years old they do not make ports at this size anymore.   I could order the Lewmar Standard port light in a size 3 for $289 but the port is only 16″ wide so I would have to fill in about 5″ of the cut out. This would be a job for a professional with the additional cost.  Labor rates at the boat yards are running $76 per man hour so it would cost more to install the ports than to buy them.  A size 4 Lewmar port light goes for around $339 and is 24″ wide so I would have to expand the cut out 3″ and recut all of the corners.     The existing  ports are installed with a 2″ gasket that is a pain to install and tends to rip in the corners during installation.    I have not mentioned the last 2 ports that are around 26″ wide and would be custom built.

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This is the original port.  The white line around the window is a locking gasket and the crud around the port is excess silicon caulk I applied a few years ago to keep the port from leaking.

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This is Jan cleaning the existing cutout.  Fortunately we are tied up to the dock wharf style(parallel) so we can sit on the dock and work on the boat.   In our previous slip I would sit on the deck and lean over the edge to work on the port. The piece of rounded cardboard on the deck is actually the acrylic glass with backing paper still applied.

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This is the new port just after installation.  It took 3 hours from when we picked up the new port to when this picture was taken.   There’s still some caulk to be cleaned up around the edges.    Originally this port came with a paper backing on both sides and it drove us nuts trying to line up the port.  We finally said screw it and ripped the backing off.  It was much easier to line up the port.

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This is an inside before/after view.  The port on the left is the new port glass and the port on the right is the old glass with the old gasket.   Really a huge difference! The new glass is a lighter shade of charcoal/smoke so we have more light with a better looking cut out.    We will have to treat the cutouts with some epoxy paint but that is a later project.

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I’ve shown this picture before.  We are looking out the galley(kitchen) port.  The curtains on the right side of the picture are installed throughout the boat.  While they look nice they are not functional at all because of the slide mechanism that is sewn on to the back of the curtains does not work.  Jan has agreed to replace all of the curtains with something much easier to open and close.

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This is a better picture after Jan has cleaned up most of the excess caulk.

The featured picture for this post on the home page is something Jan took from inside the boat.  We used a lot of blue painters tape to make sure the glass was lined up correctly.   We also had a beach umbrella tied to a piling to provide shade. It looked like we had opened a tiki bar in our slip.   The neighbors came to look at the glass and give us their opinion if it was lined up correctly.   We used 14 screws so I did not want to re install this port light.

We expect rain this afternoon so we’ll be in the v-berth (pointy end of the boat where we sleep) checking for leaks.

More to follow,

Jan, Matt & Scout

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