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post #1 of 8 Old 11-03-2013 Thread Starter
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p26 portlights

I removed the salon portlights on my '72 P26 yesterday. They leaked, and the previous owner did a repair that caused more problems; he had placed plexiglass cut to the dimensions of the outside of the metal frames (no overlap), then screwed it every 3" into the metal frame and "sealed" it w/ standard clear silicone. Needless to say, they still leak, but now the frames have holes in them AND the windows are opaque and ugly. I took them out (not near as bad a job as the online descriptions had led me to believe, thankfully), but I'm not sure what to do now. I think I can reseal the windows themselves in the frames, but the holes in the frames are a drag. I could fill them with tinted epoxy and learn to like the "fake rivet" look, I guess, or paint the frames... I don't know what else to do. I saw a listing for an article in Good Old Boat (I've been a subscriber for about a year) about a p26 refit where the owner added vented portlights. Where would one get them? They weren't, by some miracle, drop-in replacements that fit the existing cutouts, were they? I've searched all over the place and can't find replacement portlights for this boat. The ones I removed are irregularly-shaped trapezoids and match the curvature of the hull. How would one replace such a seemingly customized fixture?

Now that I have the portlights out of my boat, I see that the hull and the liner aren't really attached to each other around the openings. I've read that that's part of the problem, causing undue flexing and subsequent leaks. Should I just epoxy and clamp the two layers together flush, or insert some sort of spacing material between the two?

I've searched all over the place and I just can't find a source for these portlights, nor any real specifics about what to do if original sizes aren't available. I understand the removal (obviously... already did it) and basic installation process. Are new portlights available that fit these cutouts and the hull curvature? If not, can I have them made at a price point that won't double my investment in the boat? If the answer to BOTH is "no," then what?

Thanks in advance. With your help and some intestinal fortitude, we've solved every other problem as it's come up and actually enjoyed our first summer sailing, so I'm sure we'll solve this one too.

Best to all,

Barry


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post #2 of 8 Old 11-03-2013
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Re: p26 portlights

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Now that I have the portlights out of my boat, I see that the hull and the liner aren't really attached to each other around the openings. I've read that that's part of the problem, causing undue flexing and subsequent leaks. Should I just epoxy and clamp the two layers together flush, or insert some sort of spacing material between the two?
The correct fix there is to make a new plywood core insert that fits around the window cutout into that gap. There probably was such a filler originally, but it has either rotted or fallen out.

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I've searched all over the place and I just can't find a source for these portlights, nor any real specifics about what to do if original sizes aren't available. I understand the removal (obviously... already did it) and basic installation process. Are new portlights available that fit these cutouts and the hull curvature? If not, can I have them made at a price point that won't double my investment in the boat? If the answer to BOTH is "no," then what?
The normal approach would be to fit some new different port lights. You might be able to find ones that are slightly bigger than your current cutouts and then you would just increase the size of what you have. If you can't find that you would patch the existing cutouts back to solid glass (no portlights), then make new cutouts for the portlights of your choosing.

A friend recently did this, replacing 8 ports on his 30' boat with smaller but much higher quality ports from New Found Metals. He said that the project took about 60-80 hours total. Those ports are quite expensive, but you can find cheaper ones from Beckson, Lewmar, and others. If you are using ports that are the same size or slightly larger the project will take considerably less time.

This article summarizes these options and others:
Replacing Tired Old Portlights | Sail Magazine

It also lists two manufacturers who will make custom sized portlights.

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Re: p26 portlights

Thanks for the reply, Alex.. much appreciated. The more I work on this boat, the more I'm coming to the conclusion that the process is more... well... creative?... than working on my cars. For those, it's find the right part, no matter how hard it may be at times, then install it. On the boat, it seems like it's more like painting a partially-started canvas; what you do from there is pretty much up to you. Based on the article you linked, new sailboats, for the most part, are using readily-available ports, but the ones from my vintage didn't so any replacing isn't simply replacing; it's altering, at least in some form, the existing hull, whether by enlarging the opening, or the much more labor intensive process of filling the opening and recutting. Got it. Don't like it... ... but got it!

The old ports really have quite a bit of curvature to them; I don't see now ANY flat replacement port would work. Can Vetus, Bomon, or Mark Plastics make windows that aren't flat?

I guess I'm going to try and reuse the ports I have; that's by far the simplest, most time- and cost-effective solution, and I like the fact that they're glass and not plastic. Worse case scenario is that I'll waste some time and end up with leaky, ugly ports again if I can't patch the frames nicely, but that's what I had in the first place. Best case ... they don't leak and they still look much better than the crappy clouded silicone-gobbed plexiglass that was on them.

Thanks again, Alex.

Barry


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Re: p26 portlights

Catalina Direct sells replacement rubber seals for Catalina boats that in theory fit many Pearson boats. I have no direct experience with this, the later Pearsons like my 28-2 used Beckson ports that are still being manufactured. It would be worth finding a Pearson 26 specific user group and asking if others have used those seals with your ports.

I'd ask the manufacturers how much curvature their ports can handle. Beckson specifies this in their installation guides.

Older boats do take work. If the boat is one that you see yourself using for many years to come then this is really worthwhile. If you think you might be moving up soon then getting the existing windows to work and be better than how they were is a great improvement and a lot less work.

Edit: I realized that I assumed P meant Pearson. I suppose you could have a different boat. It might be good to specify.

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Re: p26 portlights

Thanks again, Alex. Sorry for the confusion; you did assume correctly. It's a 1972 Pearson (the regular model, not the "One Design" model). I'd read about the catalinadirect.com seal kits and took a look at them on their site. Now that I've got the ports home, I can get a better idea of whether or not they look like they'll work. I haven't been able to find a specific p26 group w/ any traffic. There's a p28 yahoo group where I've found some help, but the Pearson group over at SBO is pretty silent.

Barry


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Re: p26 portlights

I assume you've seen this:
Pyxis - Pearson 26

That references a Pearson-wide group on Google Groups.

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Re: p26 portlights

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The correct fix there is to make a new plywood core insert that fits around the window cutout into that gap. There probably was such a filler originally, but it has either rotted or fallen out.
Actually the gap was a running issue between Everett and the supplier of the portlights who told me of their arguments. I replaced the ports on the head and wet locker where the same gap exists. Quick fix is to fill the gap with spray-can foam, but better is to epoxy in marine plywood. then trim and mount with through bolts, barrel nuts, and caulk.

Joel Gruhn
Pokelogan, #1600
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Re: p26 portlights

Joel...

This thread is a couple years old.. I'm the original poster. Since then, I've completed the portlight repair on my p26. The Catalina seal kit works perfectly. On the P26, however, the advice to build in a plywood or fiberglass filler for the gap between the inner and outer walls isn't correct. I did so and was very proud of my newly-enforced, rigid walls... until I attempted to put the renovated portlights back in. I only inserted a 1/4" thick spacer, but the walls were now too thick for the portlights to fit; the inner and outer frames couldn't reach each other. Sigh. On the P26, the walls are pulled together and touch each other once you've got the portlights installed. Soo. I had to chisel out all of my carefully constructed filler material and go back to square one.

I guess you COULD epoxy the inner and outer walls together or put some firmly-curing sealant between the two, but it's just make the next portlight renewal project all the less enjoyable.

It's a P26. Just go w/ the Catalina seal kit, rebuild your portlights, and pop'em back in w/ the included sealant. Works great.

Best wishes,

Barry
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