Bow Inspection Port

Thread starter #1
I need to install a bow inspection port to glue down two of the styrofoam blocks located in the bow that have come loose. I have found instructions on how to install the port but I need advice on what diameter a port to install and exactly where to install it in the bow deck. There is already a port installed behind the splashrail but it doesn't allow enouogh access to reach the forward styrofoam blocks.

Any advice on the type of glue (probably expandable foam of some sort) to use? Where to find it?
What size is the splashrail port? I have found that a 6" port allows you to reach the mast well without to much trouble and almost to the front edge of the side blocks. If you really need the port up front, keep it at least 1 foot from the mast well and offset it from the centerline (Sunfish-Sailor on yahoo groups has pictures of the front and side blocks). Use a mirror to look forward to see how much (about 3" to the edge of the cutout). If you can, check out the ports at your local marine shop and see what size your hand fits thru, probably a 5" minimum. Great Stuff Foam-In-A-Can is a good choice to resecure the foam blocks. It is a closed cell foam. Make sure the interior is dry (both blocks and hull) before you attemp to "glue" the blocks back in place. Good luck.
Those inside pictures are located in the files section on Sunfish Sailor (Yahoo). Also check the file on drying out a Sunfish, it has a diagram of the approximate locations of the blocks.
Please remember that you can remove the port. This leaves a larger hole and will give you just a bit more reach. It may be enough to reattach the loose block.

I have been working on a boat that I recently acquired for free. There is an inspection port between the main halyard cleat and the mast well. This is within two inches of the mast well. Does anyone have a feel for potential problems this might cause? It appears to have been put in to repair the cleat.

Dave G
You could have a problem. The mast places a lot of stress in that area. Enough pressure to sometimes break the mast tube loose and possably damage the deck. I recommend removing the port and taping (masking) the deck surface to make this repair (it is going to get messy). Fiberglass (6 oz.) cut into 2" wide strips (or 2" 6 oz. tape) about 12" long, soaked in epoxy (wear your "rubber" gloves) and applied in a star pattern, 6" on the tube and 6" to the inside of the deck or hull. Like you are trying to tape the tube in place. 6-8 strips should work. Also add a couple of layers around the port opening to reinforce that area as well. Do the keel area first with the boat deck side up to get a feel for what you are doing. Flip the boat deck side down on some saw horses for the deck area and let gravity work for you. Reinstall the port and you should be good to go. Good luck.
Thanks Supercub,
At least I have something to do for the winter! This sounds like a good way to avoid trouvble in the future and get some practice with fiberglass in the processs.

Dave G
You are welcome. A couple of other points: Sand the area (tube and hull) to scuff up and clean the area and remove the dust (vacuum). Wipe the area down with acetone. Mix your epoxy (West, MAS, Raka, System 3 are the most popular) in you mixing container thoroughly and then pour into a throw away 9" x 13" pan. This will extend the "pot life" of the epoxy and is easier to work from. Roll your strips up when they are coated with epoxy to make it easier to get thru the port and apply. West Systems ( has a Users Manual on line that is helpful for further instruction. The only problem with any epoxy product is cost. Many marine dealers carry West System products. Good Luck.