Author Topic: Another Ports Saga  (Read 205 times)

Dolce_Vita

  • P323
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 519
  • Karma: 9
    • View Profile
    • S/V Dolce Vita
  • Model: P323
  • Vessel Name: Dolce Vita
  • City: Pasadena
  • State: MD
Another Ports Saga
« on: June 11, 2021, 06:32:43 PM »
This is how I dug myself into a hole.

One by one, all of my small ports in the V-berth and head (except the one I already rebedded), were developing small leaks.  They were small, annoying but managable. 

But the straw that broke the camel's back was when two of the fixed ports in the main salon started to leak rather badly too.  So back in September of 2020 I decided it was time to redo all the ports. 

For a long time, I've had my eye on some opening SS ports from Newfound Metals for the four small ports.  I had some cash in the boat fund, so I sprang for them.  This would require some modification of the openings in the cabinhouse walls, but it looked fairly straightfowward using a palm router and a template.  How much extra work could it be?   ::)

And while I would have all eight of the ports out, it really seemed like the right time to learn how to do 2-part linear polyurethane paint and redo the badly oxidized and worn bandit stripe.  After all, how much extra work could it be?   ::)

Turns out that the cabinhouse walls are too thin to mount the NFM ports without using their teak spacers, but the teak spacers are too wide to  clear the ceiling without some modification.  Oh well, I'd already have a palm router, but I'd need to get a bandsaw and a disk sander too.  Can't argue about getting new tools!  :)

And I ordered the reseal kit from Catalina to re-gasket the fixed ports in the salon.  So I was all set!

But by this time, it was already October, and it was becoming apparent to even my self-delusional thinking that this was shaping up into a project that would take some time, more time than I had good weather left. Especially with eight unprotected openings in the boat.

"No problem", I thought, "I'll just build a PVC pipe frame over the boat, and shrink wrap it, so I can work on it at my leisure regardless of the weather."  The yard wanted over $800 to wrap the boat while it is still in the water  :o, so I thought "I can buy the shrink wrap and do it myself!"

The saga of the shrink wrapping is a whole 'nother story in itself, but suffice it to say that, by the end of November, I had an ugly but functional blue "tent" shrunk over the boat without either falling in the water (barely), or setting the boat on fire.  I had chosen the blue film instead of the more usual white because it it is warmer.  This worked, but the blue light had the unfortunate side effect of making photography nearly impossible inside, so i wouldn't be able to photo-document the process.  :(

And the tent worked!  I was able to keep things up to 50 degrees inside with only a small electric heater.  As long as the sun was up.

And, predictably, everything took much longer and bacame much more complicated than expected, so that progress seemed to go at a snail's pace.  "At least I've got all winter", I thought.

Well, winter came and went, and I'm still not done.  The plan was to be done by the end of April, so I could haul out, de-winterize, and botom paint for the new season, but I've missed that deadline horribly.  I'm just hoping I don't lose the whole season!

At this point, I have all the openings reshaped, shimmed and epoxy filled,  the stripe sanded, primied, and painted (Its a "five foot" job), the teak spacers recut, reshaped, and varnished, and the four NFM ports all spacered, bedded and installed using "bed-it" butyl tape. 

The only thing left to do is the big fixed ports in the main salon.  They were a massive pain to get out, a massive pain to disassemble, and a massive pain to clean all the old silicone caulk off. But its done. I've gotten the frames back from the powder coater and they look great.  "Almost done!" I thought.

Shouldn't have said that.

Which brings me to my present problem.  I've got two of the port's gaskets cut, and have tried to dry fit them, and have a problem.  The gaskets go in very tight, and one of the corners of the frame halves is digging into the gasket and stretching it instead of allowing it to slide into the frame.  I'm stumped as to how to proceed.  I welcome all suggetions!
« Last Edit: June 12, 2021, 11:48:31 AM by Dolce_Vita »
@(^.^)@  Ed
1977 P-323 #42 "Dolce Vita"
with rebuilt Atomic-4

selene

  • P323
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 355
  • Karma: 6
  • Mighty Member
    • View Profile
  • Model: P323
  • Vessel Name: Selene
  • City: Redwood City
  • State: CA
Re: Another Ports Saga
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2021, 02:25:42 AM »
Not so much suggestions, as sympathy.

On the plus side, the NFM ports are great. I hope that you are as happy with yours as I have been with mine.
Like you, I filled the space between inner liner and cabintop with thickened epoxy, routed it out, and then bedded all the portlights (including the fixed ports) with butyl. I have to say, I am not sure the small machine screws holding the fixed ports in place are the most robust solution; the NFM design seems a lot more robust, but that is what we have...

As with you, there was no smooth insertion of the gaskets for me. I got sealant everywhere.

I ended up using two clamps to gently compress the glass, gasket and frame together, but as you said, I stretched the gasket. I pair a lot of attention tot he inside track (where the gasket seatc) to ensure it was totally smooth and clear of burrs. Liberal application of the sealant at my second attempt did help somewhat as it acted as a lubricant (which is why I got it everywhere), but I was still not overly happy with the result. Having said that, despite some stretching of the gaskets, the ports have remained watertight for ~6 years, and the gasket has shown no sign of deterioration.

Good luck, and please let us know what solution you end up with!

m_boone

  • P323
  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 38
  • Karma: 0
  • Pearson Yacht Enthusiast
    • View Profile
  • Model: P323
  • Vessel Name: Blue Sky
  • City: Philadelphia
  • State: PA
Re: Another Ports Saga
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2021, 10:35:57 AM »
The only thing that I can think of, and I'm sure you've thought of it, is to put the gasket (glazing) in the bezel first and then slide (?) the glass in the bezel/gasket half, then try to put the other bezel half on. Probably not a useful suggestion but your experience with this project has struck a nerve.

Each time I tackle an issue it seems pretty straight forward and my intention is to finish that project and then move on to another. This has not been my experience. : )

My original to-do list (partial) from 2019:
1. "Fix leaks" (haha) - Started with the hatches but in doing that noticed about 20% of the headliner was rotted
2. "Replace rotted teak and holly cabin sole pieces (v-birth and pc behind mast)" - almost done with that after a year
4. "Address the undersides" - Bead blast, barrier and finish reveled a questionable depth transducer bed - add that to the list along with the other Datamarine electronics
5. "Address rigging, mast, mast electrical (mast step is good)" - My thought: "I wont have to do a thing, my rigging guy will do everything." Add chain plates - since I have to re-bed those might as well re-bed other topside hardware. The area where the mast comes through the deck has cracks in gel coat and should be repaired before re-steppping...

I had to get that off my chest. : ) Anyway, Blue Sky is still on the hard this year. Hope to launch her next month. Despite this, I love working on her and seeing the fruit of my (and others) labor. 
« Last Edit: June 19, 2021, 10:56:42 AM by m_boone »

Alma

  • P323
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 323
  • Karma: 9
    • View Profile
    • GeneSmithStudio
  • Model: P323
  • Vessel Name: ALMA
  • City: Forked River, NJ
  • State: NJ
Re: Another Ports Saga
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2021, 02:39:57 PM »
I assembled them dry as they were done when manufactured. A little soapy water may help but adding silicone as lube and sealant wasn't my plan. I found a Workmate clamping workbench applied just the amount of even pressure to bring the halves together. It has been some time since I did mine but a friend with a 303 just finished a few of his and the Workmate technique worked for him too. You may mix it up and insert the glass into the gaskets then the extrusions or the gasket into the extrusion and then press that assembly into the frame. Just take your time and let the vinyl move to make a tight fit. Its important to label the little aluminum pieces that bridge the extrusions and get them beck where they were made. They are not interchangeable.

Dolce_Vita

  • P323
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 519
  • Karma: 9
    • View Profile
    • S/V Dolce Vita
  • Model: P323
  • Vessel Name: Dolce Vita
  • City: Pasadena
  • State: MD
Re: Another Ports Saga-- Update
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2021, 12:38:34 AM »
Well,  it's been a while since I last posted, but I'm happy to report that the ports are all reassembled and installed! 

The key to reassembly seemed to be stretching the gaskets around the curves, as Libations Too, Selene, and others reported.  This not only made them lay tight areond the corners, but also seemed to thin them out slightly, just enough to make a difference getting them on.  I found I had to stretch them a lot, between 1-1/2 to 2 inches of gasket, to get the effect I needed.

I used a pair of small bar clamps on the ones with straight sides, but had to use a different arrangement on the aft ones which have slanted sides.  There, I used one long clamp lengthwise to set the corner on the inside curve, and a short one to set the straight side.  Both sides of the gasket (window and frame) were set in a bead of Dow Corning 795, so EVERYTHING had to be taped up to avoid too big a mess.  I used gray, figuring it would blend in with the gray gasket, and this worked well.  The only place I switched to black was in the vicinity of the join between the two frame halves in order to avoid a gray line being visible.  This worked well too.  Since I was doing this at home, my wife & daughter helped, and we got all 4 frames reassembled in a single day!

Back at the boat, I bedded the ports with two layers of the gray "Bed-It" buytl tape sold by Compass Marine.  I had enlarged the openings in the cabinsides to allow the frames to fit straight in without having to do any jockying to get them in.  In order to insure that they stayed centered,  I superglued some spacers in the groove in the bottoms of the frames so that they couldn't slide down.  This was necessary because there was only about 1/4" of overlap between the frame and the fiberglass, and if they were allowed to slide down, there would be a gap.  And once again, everything was taped up to avoig a sticky mess with the butyl, which became quite soft and sticky in the 112 degree heat under the cover! (And this was with fans going!)

The last port went in on Wed July 21, and a friend and I took the cover down the next day.

Initial leak testing with a hose showed that all four fixed ports stayed bone dry, but all four of the NFM ports leaked badly!!  I pulled them off and found I had made a systematic error in applying the butyl tape, which was easily corrected.  I can't say enough good things about the butyl.  It made removing the ports a breeze, and I was able to rebed all four in one day!

Just retested them all today and they're all sealed up tight.  Finally!!  It's taken me as long to do this project as it takes to make a baby!  I am well and truly glad its over.

Now, I've got to get the boat hauled and redo the Poli-Glo on the topsides and repaint the bottom.  How much more work could it be?  ;)
@(^.^)@  Ed
1977 P-323 #42 "Dolce Vita"
with rebuilt Atomic-4

Dolce_Vita

  • P323
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 519
  • Karma: 9
    • View Profile
    • S/V Dolce Vita
  • Model: P323
  • Vessel Name: Dolce Vita
  • City: Pasadena
  • State: MD
Re: Another Ports Saga- More Photos
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2021, 12:41:57 AM »
More Photos.
@(^.^)@  Ed
1977 P-323 #42 "Dolce Vita"
with rebuilt Atomic-4

Dolce_Vita

  • P323
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 519
  • Karma: 9
    • View Profile
    • S/V Dolce Vita
  • Model: P323
  • Vessel Name: Dolce Vita
  • City: Pasadena
  • State: MD
Re: Another Ports Saga - More Photos
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2021, 12:47:11 AM »
More Photos
« Last Edit: July 25, 2021, 12:50:41 AM by Dolce_Vita »
@(^.^)@  Ed
1977 P-323 #42 "Dolce Vita"
with rebuilt Atomic-4

Alma

  • P323
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 323
  • Karma: 9
    • View Profile
    • GeneSmithStudio
  • Model: P323
  • Vessel Name: ALMA
  • City: Forked River, NJ
  • State: NJ
Re: Another Ports Saga
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2021, 06:08:47 PM »
They look great Ed! And mine are holding up very well with the Bed-It a few years now.

selene

  • P323
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 355
  • Karma: 6
  • Mighty Member
    • View Profile
  • Model: P323
  • Vessel Name: Selene
  • City: Redwood City
  • State: CA
Re: Another Ports Saga
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2021, 08:26:56 PM »
Yes, I am also a big fan of Butyl. And thanks Ed for such a comprehensive report - I am lousy at taking photos, but your record is both interesting and informative! I wish you dry ports for many years to come!