This is an example of the port holes

Fat-Dash has the original port lights that were installed in 1981. Most are missing the covers and someone has glued a clear piece of Plexiglas over the hole to make it watertight. This doesn’t allow for any air to enter the boat and is really ugly.  The pictures here show the view through the port lights during the middle of the day. This will be one of the biggest expenses and by far the most labor intensive project that I will be taking on.

We have settled on port lights from New Found Metals. The port lights that we are looking at are 14×4 stainless standard ports.  Here is the list of materials that will be needed to install the ports:

DESCRIPTION QTY PRICE TOTAL
4×14 Stainless Standard #414SS 16 269.95 $4,319.20
4×14 Teak Frame #414TF 2 44.95 $89.90
4×14 Stainless Screen #414NS 16 34.95 $559.20
4×14 Template – SS #414SS-TP 1 100.00 $100.00
Piloted Counter Bore #N-CB 1 39.95 $39.95
Bed-It Butyl Tape 12 16.95 $203.40
[amazon:B0009H5PP4] 2 16.60 $33.20
[amazon:B00004RGVP] 2 5.90 $11.80
[amazon:B000FN3UVS] 1 22.21 $22.21
[amazon:B000FN3UUY] 1 18.96 $18.96
[amazon:B005A175SY] 1 22.47 $22.47
[amazon:B000FN83BU] 1 15.20 $15.20
[amazon:B000FN5ZUM] 1 14.30 $14.30
[amazon:B000FMYZ4U] 1 4.37 $4.37
[amazon:B007ILB9UE] 1 27.63 $27.63
[amazon:B000C013JU] 1 5.87 $5.87
[amazon:B000C02AW4] 1 6.14 $6.14
TOTAL $5493.26

You will also need rags, razor blades, sanding sponge ([amazon:B0061JM4GC]). I don’t know what the cost would be for shipping the port lights to where you live but if it is very much you may want to take a road trip to Port Townsend, Washington to pick up the items. The rest of the items I had shipped from Amazon or bought at my local hardware store.

Preparation

After talking to New Found Metals they recommended that I measure the hull thickness at all the existing port lights. The Morgan 416 is a hand laid hull and the thickness can vary depending on who actually laid the fiberglass. Because all but 2 of the port lights had been glued shut to try to stop water leakage I was faced with removing all the port lights and measuring the hull that way. Surprisingly it was quite easy to remove the old port lights as they are only attached to the hull via 16 wood type screws 8 on each side. One port light I have still not removed due to it being glued to the hull.

I measured the hull thickness starting at the aft end of the boat and working forward. Here is what I measured in inches:

Description Thickness Width Height R Height L
Port Aft Master Stateroom 0.50 14.50 4.63 4.75
Starboard Aft Master Stateroom 0.50 14.50 4.75 4.75
Starboard Master Stateroom 1.50 14.75 4.56 4.63
Starboard Head Master Stateroom 1.50 14.75 4.56 4.63
Starboard Salon Aft 0.88 14.50 4.50 4.75
Starboard Salon Forward 0.88 14.50 4.88 4.63
Starboard Head Forward 0.88 14.50 4.69 4.75
Starboard Forward Berth Aft 0.75 14.50 4.75 4.63
Starboard Forward Berth Forward 0.63 14.63 4.75 4.75
Port Forward Berth Forward 0.63 14.44 4.63 4.50
Port Forward Berth Aft 0.63 14.75 4.75 4.75
Port Salon Forward 0.75 14.50 4.63 4.88
Port Salon Aft 0.81 14.50 4.56 4.63
Port Passageway 0.56 14.50 4.56 4.69
Port Master Stateroom Forward 1.50 14.75 4.56 4.63
Port Master Stateroom Aft 1.50 14.75 4.56 4.63

After taking measurements I now had 13 holes in the boat that let in lots of fresh air but also bugs and rain. I got some heavy mill plastic sheeting and using “Gorilla” tape ([amazon:B000CSS8UE]) I taped up all the openings and went home to order port lights.

The new port lights have arrived.

I received a pallet of boxes totaling 9 boxes. There were 2 port lights in each box each port light in it’s own box. I removed the exterior boxes and verified that everything had arrived. Looking at the new port lights compared to the old ones I was quite happy. As you can see in the pictures below. The first picture is the old port light that has been removed. The second picture is the new New Found Metals port light. The third picture shows how much bigger the port light opening is. The forth picture shows how substantial the new port light is.

Installation

There are videos on installing the port holes on the New Found Metals site.  Here is a blog by Compass Marine on “Installing New Found Metals Stainless Port lights” that is very good.  I watched these videos several times and then it was time to start.  I will mention a few things that I learned now in case you don’t read all of this.

  • Buy quality tools. I purchased a cheap trim router from Harbor Freight thinking I would just toss it when I was done. It didn’t last pass the first port light. I went to Home Depot and bought a replacement trim router but this one also started having problems with the power switch (it was so stiff I could not turn it on). I returned it to Home Depot and got a replacement trim router and that one has worked so far.
  • Plan on wearing out your router bits and drill bits. Fiberglass is really tough and wears them down fast.
  • Clean the template after every port light.
  • Plan that each port light will take at least one day. I had high hopes of doing the whole job in 8 days. frown
  • Adjust the port light BEFORE you mount it. It is a lot easier. There are adjustments on the dogs and hinges to adjust the seal.
  • Clean, clean, and clean. The mounting area needs to be clean. The port light needs to be cleaned.
  • Use [amazon:B0006Q7H2M] on the end of the screw and [amazon:B000CPJMZW] on the washer where it seats on the port light. I also use [amazon:B000CPJMZW] for my wenches.

After trial and error I think I have the process down. The first thing I do is remove the temporary covering from the hole in the hull. This went better if I let the hull warm up a little in the morning sun. Then I clean the hull and the existing cutout in the hull. This allows the router to slide smoother along the hull. First I would remove the glue left behind by the gorilla tape using a product from 3M called [amazon:B007ILB9UE]. This removes the glue but does nothing to remove the silicone. Next I would wipe down the silicone with [amazon:B000C013JU] to soften it. Using [amazon:B000KKMY5O] I scrape the silicone off until I can see no trace of it. This may require wiping the silicone down with Mineral Spirits and then scraping it again with the razor blade multiple times. When I can see no more trace of the silicone I lightly sand the area with a fine sanding block.

Now that the hole in the hull is clean it is time to mount the template on the inside of the hull using clamps. I liked the [amazon:B00002244S]. They have soft pads where it contacts the port light. Now that the template is mounted it is time to get the router out and install the [amazon:B0009H5PP4] into the router. Be sure to get it very tight. Now with the router UNPLUGGED place it on the hull and set the depth so that the bearing is riding on the template. Check this in multiple locations along the path the router will be taking around the template. Sometimes the hull thickness changes. After I have set the depth I plug in the router and start routing out the new port light hole. Be sure to wear protective clothing and use an approved containment system for your location.

The first picture above is how we sealed the port light while I was routing out the new hole. First we lined up the template and clamped it in place. Then we used a plastic trash can liner and taped it to the bulk head around the hole. Also we taped the bag open so the router bit didn’t catch the bag. The second picture is the block we put over the other hole near by. It is nothing more than a piece of cardboard from the packing materials for the port light. We found out the hard way that EVERY opening into the boat must be blocked. All you need is a light wind and the natural drafts that draw the air through the boat will bring in all that fiberglass dust. The last picture is both of the openings in the salon on the port side just before routing them out.

Routing out the new hole is probably the messiest part of the job. There should be 3 clamps holding the template at all times. That leaves little room for the router. Also it is a lot easier if the top of the template is lined up with the top of the hole and the deepest cutting is on the bottom where the drain holes are. Sometimes this is not possible as the openings are not very straight

After you are done routing out the hole it is best to clean up the shavings. Also there will be a lot of fiberglass dust in the trash bag. carefully remove it from the bulkhead and dispose of it properly. Do not remove the template. Go inside and using a drill you must drill the 8 holes for the through bolts. Sometimes a long bit will work or a shorter bit on a right angle drill. If all else fails then you will have to remove the clamps and template. Go to the outside of the boat and reinstall it over the hole carefully lining up the opening. Then you can drill the holes from the outside. The template is symmetrical and can be flipped. When you are done drilling out the holes, either from the inside or the outside, remove the template.

Now take a piece of cardboard and cover the hole from the inside so that nothing comes in during this step. Take the piloted counter bore bit place a little white lithium grease on the pilot bearing so it doesn’t seize and drill out the holes from the outside. Don’t go through the hull but you do need to go deep enough so the bolt castings on the ring don’t bind.

Congratulations the messy part is done. Now the tedious boring part is starting.You are about 2 hours from completion of this port light.

If you purchased the screens now is the time to adjust the port light. Start by releasing the port light dogs and opening the window. Place the screen in from inside and gently tuck the edge in so it is on the outside. To make the adjusting easier place some light machine oil on the hinge adjustment screws and the dog adjustment screws. I had most the problems with the hinge adjustment screws being very stiff. Now loosen the top hinges so that when the window is closed it just touches the gasket of the screen. Now with the window closed loosen one of the dogs until you can latch it easily. Now adjust the other dog until it latches with the same force as the first dog. Now check all around the window and make sure there are no gaps (see pictures below). After you have the window adjusted then remove the screen and set it aside.

Now you need to clean the port light. Get a clean white rag and moisten it with acetone and wipe all the surfaces that are not chromed. Now with a new clean white rag do it again and keep repeating until the rag is clean after you have wiped down the port light. This is to get the oil left on it from the manufacturing process. The rag in the picture is what comes off the port light even though it looks clean.

Using a new rag moistened with acetone wipe down all the surfaces on the boat that you are attaching the port light to so they are clean. Especially wipe down the part you just routed.

Now it is time to put some Butyl tape on the port light. I only used Butyl tape to seal the port lights and I only put it on the outside and between the port light and the hull. I did not put any on the inside flange as I wanted any water that were to leak through to come right out where the leak is. The pictures above show how I wrapped two layers of butyl tape around the base of the port light. The gap between the port light and the hull should be more than the thickness if the two layers of tape. The butyl is very sticky so be careful with long strings of it. If it touches itself it is very difficult to un-tangle.Just save it for later when you are packing the space between the hull and the port light. You will also notice that I folded the flat butyl tape over. This result is the tape is rounded on one side and sort of flat where the seam is. On the outside ring I put the flat portion pointed in toward the center of the trim ring. I wrapped the screw posts first, then I laid a bead around the inside and finally laid a bead around the outside.

Now should mount the port lights to the hull. I use two clamps that have rubber pads. I use a couple of blocks of wood so that the clamp clears the edge of the port light on the outside. You won’t need the wood on the inside and the pads will keep from marring the finish.

After the port lights are mounted its time to start packing the area between the port light and the hull. By wrapping the two layer around the port light before mounting you saved yourself quite a lot of work. Now using something similar to what is in the picture above, I used a allen driver, start tamping down the butyl down so it is tight between the hull and the port light. You don’t have to press very hard but you do want to get it all pushed down. Now take some butyl tape and fold it over as in the picture above. Start poking it into the gap until the gap is completely filled and just slightly higher than the hull. The last picture above shows how I would stick the end of the butyl tape to the clamp so it doesn’t flop around and get stuck to itself.

Finally you have all the butyl packed in. Now it is time to attach the outside ring. Remove the clamps, the port light should be very secure in the opening, and put the outside ring on and clamp it down. If you have someone helping you have them test fit a couple of bolts onto the ring.I used 25 through 40 mm bolts depending on the hull thickness. Always put a washer on the bolt to go between the port light and the end of the bolt. A little grease on the washer helps the bolt turn smoothly. Also be sure to put anti seize on the threads of the bolt.Tighten until snug. Don’t try to force the butyl out. A constant steady pressure will do the job and it allow the butyl to “flow” into all the cracks making a solid seal. I did not clean up the butyl until I was done tighting the bolts which took about two months.

The above are what the finished port lights look like when completed.

I started with the aft port lights in the master cabin bunk area. This portion of the boat curves and is also only a half inch thick. I started by removing the tape and plastic from the hole and cleaning up the silicone that had been applied to seal the old port light. If you don’t know it, silicone and fiberglass should never come in contact with each other. The silicone is absorbed into the fiberglass and the only way to remove it is to sand the fiberglass until the silicone is gone. After cleaning up the hole I attached the template to the inside of the hole. The template will bend a little and this allowed it to be clamped down tight to the hull. A word of caution, when you are routing the hole out you MUST check the clamps every few minutes to insure that they don’t loosen and allow the template to slide. If the template does slide then the router will just continue on whatever course it is headed on which is a bad thing. After routing out the holes and verifying that they are good I had to trim the spacer to fit. This required taking 7/16 to 9/16 of an inch off the ends and shaping the back side in a curve so the port light was flat on the inside. I used a belt sander mounted to a table to do this and after buying the yard a replacement belt that had some “grit” on it it went a lot faster. After the spacers were shaped and I had verified that they fit properly it was time to “dry” mount the port lights. I was able to gently bend the outside ring to fit the hull. This allowed us to determine the proper length of bolt to use for mounting the port light. By this time it was getting dark so I left the port light dry mounted. This would keep out the little critters and cold for the night. Next morning I bedded the port lights in as I explain in more detail below.

This is what the old portlights looked like.
If the knobs were actually on they would crumble when turned.

 

This is the old portlight.
This is the new portlight.
Notice the size difference between the old and new portlights.
Notice how much beefier the new portlight is.
This is what the portlight looks like installed.
Another view of the new portlight.