Port Lights

Sparkle Plenty - 1980 Mariner 36 (New Hampshire)

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Port Lights Bottom Electrical System Propane Locker Repower Main Traveler

Refurbishing the four large port lights in the main saloon and nav station was the first major INTERIOR project I undertook once SP was decommissioned for the winter in 2001. All four ports leaked and had damaged the teak fascia which a previous owner had painted white. Luckily, the water damage had not spread to the rest of the teak woodwork which was in excellent condition (except for one cabinet support frame). I also decided to replace the exterior aluminum trim rings with stainless steel. This added an additional $100 to the cost of each port.

After adding up the cost of paint, new Lexan, and the trim rings, I calculated that I could refurbish an existing port for less than half the cost of a stainless or chrome over bronze replacement port -- about $400 -- (not counting my labor). The five smaller ports did not leak. I had stainless steel trim rings made for these and purchased new Lexan for the lids. I plan to refinish these in place (sand, prime, had paint black).

Below is a chronology of the large port light refurbishing project. Click a photo for a larger view.

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Original Ports with facia rot from leaksOriginal Ports with fascia rot from leaks
The original ports all leaked causing rot in the white-painted teak fascia. So I decided to replace the fascia as part of the project.
Facia Rot DetailFascia rot detail
Removing the ports would have destroyed the fascia in any event.
Irv Prepares to Remove PortIrv prepares to remove port lid
My sailing friend, Irv, who owns a Pedrick 41 and is knowledgeable in the many skills which I must learn provided a great deal of assistance. Here Irv removes a port lid prior to removing the port frame. I also removed all the teak trim around the fascia eventually sanding to bare wood and applying five coats of satin varnish.
Stb Saloon with Facia RemovedStarboard saloon with port and fascia removed
We used a variety of chisels and finally a very sharp pry bar to dislodge the ports from the cabin side. Thankfully, like all other aspects of this vessel, the cabin sides are strong -- about 3/4 of of solid glass. This allowed me to use considerable force to free the port. Once the port was out, the damaged fascia came off fairly easily so I was able to salvage large portions to use a patterns for the replacement. It appears that the builders did not use adhesives. The teak trim and the port was what held the fascia in place.
Removing port in Nav StationWorking in nav station
SP has the separate navigation cabin layout. After removing the port and the fascia, Irv unscrewed the mahogany backing strip for the teak trim rail that runs the length of the cabin beneath the port. I only had to replace one of these one inch square strips (starboard saloon fascia) which had rotted from water damage and broke in two during removal.
Covering port openingCovering port opening
To seal the port openings, I used two layers of shower curtain fabric, one on the inside and one on the outside, secured with plenty of duck tape.
Port openings coveredExterior port openings covered
To protect the gel coat on the cabin sides, I first applied blue fast release masking tape as a base for the duck tape before securing the shower curtain fabric.
Tracing facia patternTracing fascia pattern
I used construction paper to trace a pattern for each fascia section. We then transferred the pattern to 1/4 inch plywood which we impregnated with West System epoxy on both sides. We then laminated the finished side with 1/32 inch crystal white Formica. Initially, I bought a 4 by 8 sheet of Marine ply for $50. When a second sheet was needed, I opted for exterior grade plywood for $15. I also ended up needing two 4 x 8 sheets of Formica at $40 each. I still have some left over which I intend to use for ceilings under the galley and under the bookshelves in the main saloon.
Facia patternFascia pattern
Since I planned on covering the plywood with epoxy, marine grade ply was actually over-kill.
New facia with port cut-outGluing fascia board to Formica
After cutting out the nav station fascia, we used the pattern to cut a hole for the port. After that, we left the cut-out for port installation time. Once the epoxy cured on the plywood, we cut and trimmed a piece of 1/32 inch crystal white Formica which we glued to the plywood as the interior finished side.

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