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Inspection port placement old rudder style

wjejr

Active Member
Hello fellow Sunfish owners.

My Sunfish has the old style rudder, and I am wondering where to place an inspection port near the stern On the new style rudder boats everyone seems to locate the ports on centerline a few inches in from the stern. With the old style rudder I cannot do that since the bronze strap is there. I would think locating the port forward of that in front of that would have me cutting into the foam block. As I don't want to replace the rudder, do I just flip a coin and pick one side or the other.

Thanks for any help in advance.
 

minifish2

Active Member
Hello fellow Sunfish owners.

My Sunfish has the old style rudder, and I am wondering where to place an inspection port near the stern On the new style rudder boats everyone seems to locate the ports on centerline a few inches in from the stern. With the old style rudder I cannot do that since the bronze strap is there. I would think locating the port forward of that in front of that would have me cutting into the foam block. As I don't want to replace the rudder, do I just flip a coin and pick one side or the other.

Thanks for any help in advance.
Just curious. Why put a port in the stern if you are not replacing the rudder system? The stern deck not the usual place for ventilation, fitting reinforcement, hiking strap installs, etc.

You don't want two ports in the stern and chances are good that someone someday will want to update the rudder anyway, so I would make sure that if I did put a port in back, that it would still be in a suitable location for the rudder change anyway. In fact if the boat is in decent shape I would count on some future owner eventually wanting the rudder upgrade.

Check out the archives here for foam block placement. Off the centerline you can hit foam, so I would not cut until you know where it is. Plus keep in mind you don't want deck interference with the tiller so check that out before you commit.

My best recommendation if you are set on a stern port, and If I can find a picture of mine I'll post it , is a smaller port on the back wall of the cockpit. You get decent ventilation, it's out of the way of the tiller sweep action, and from there you can install a hiking strap when you are ready for one.

Do you have other ports in the boat already?
 

wjejr

Active Member
Hi minifish2. Thanks for writing back. To answer your question, I was planning to put a 6" inspection port behind the splash rail and another smaller one in the stern. The reason for two ports is that I am anticipating the boat being waterlogged (old boat, salt water, crack/hole in keel) and would like to provide for cross-ventilation for drying. Some of the threads have mentioned this strategy, and it seems like a good one.

The boat is a 1971, it has the rear storage compartment, so installing a port in the back of the cockpit might be difficult. I have a hole saw that would probably work. Can that be done, or will I be hitting a foam block?

This boat was given to me, but there is much work to be done, including the aforementioned fiberglass work. I am trying to keep a budget inline with a "free" boat.
 

sailcraftri

Well-Known Member
I would put it on centerline just forward of the brass fitting. You should be clear of the foam or in worst case you may interfere by an inch and have to cut away a little bit of foam.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I'd put it just forward of the bronze deck plate like sailcrafttri mentioned. That way you can reach backer blocks for deck plate, latch plate and bridle eyestraps. Keep in mind that there is a wooden backer block under the deck fitting that will stick forward an inch or two, avoid cutting into that. Leaving room for the port outer ring should be enough, one or two wood screws might be needed in that area to secure your port into that block.

Losing a little foam is not a big deal, I trimmed some out to replace bridle eyestrap backer blocks on Merci.

Tips: If your deck is nice and you use a jigsaw, put down blue tape on the deck to protect it from saw foot plate scuff marks. Also tape over raw edges of the hole while working inside the boat and wear long sleeve shirt, avoid fiberglass rash :)

Good luck!
Kent

Pics are from a 1978 boat we just picked up, it is 40 pounds overweight and I am going to try and dry it with one port by coaming.
 

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emilikins

Maniac
We put a port just in front of the brass fitting on one of our old boats, because we could tell she was heavy and we wanted to get as much ventilation as possible with two ports (one in the bow). We did have to cut through foam, but it wasn't a big deal. If we ever decide to do a rudder conversion, I'm hoping we'll still be able to do it from the port hole.
 

67stang

Member
I had put in an inspection port in front of the old style ( 1964) brass hardware for several reasons, the hull was very wet, I had to re secure the lower blocking for the lower brass plate, and I had to fix a blocking for the traveler clip. The amount of foam block that had to be cut into was minimal. Also, I was able to keep an eye on things in the future.
 

FishingAgain

Ready to come-about
On my ~1972 SF, I installed one behind the coaming and one forward of the brass plate as discussed above. I used a Dremel rotary tool with cutting bit and router attachment, with painters tape to protect the deck. It worked perfectly but helps to have someone with a vacuum to get rid of the 'dust' to keep the work area visible.

I had to take away a bit of foam under the stern hole to install the port. A picture taken inside the hull through the stern 'hole' looking forward does suggest only minimal opportunity for airflow under the storage compartment and cockpit to the bow; other than the 'bilge' channel. However, the temperatures fell here recently and the underside of both port covers were well covered in condensation, suggesting they will vent off some moisture over time both fore and aft.

Tip: I have two sets of port covers. One solid, to use under-sail, and another with holes drilled in with vent plugs (or "vent louvres") inserted. It allows for some continuous ventilation when leaving them entirely open isn't feasible, while (hopefully) keeping mice and bugs from starting a hotel in the hull. I found smaller louvre plugs at Home Hardware, down to 1" diameter size.
 
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