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Inspection ports for ventilation and/or hiking strap?


New Member
So I bought this 1982 fish, in a hotel parking lot with no time for inspection, because it was in a town I was driving through and 1982 was my high school graduation year. It was cheap and presented as "sail ready", and it literally had water still in the mast step from being sailed the previous weekend.

However. It is fairly banged up, with a lot of bad repairs and more that need to be done. Spider cracks all over the hull, bottom and top both. I weighed the boat and it is about 40lbs over the 1982 spec. So I know I am in for a drying out period over the winter, and at least two inspection ports.

The most often advised spots to put them, seem to be at the bow and stern ends. But I am considering a third 4" port right behind the splash guard, because then I would have the chance to put in a backing plate for a hiking strap. On the other hand, I'm not sure whether I can reach the stern end of the cockpit for the other backing plate.

I guess my question is, how many of you have added a hiking strap to a boat this old? I learned to sail on Lasers so I instinctively look for one, but it might be better to learn to sail this boat without, if it's the normal thing. If I have to accept it as my learner/ cruising boat, and not try to rig it out for racing at all, I can deal.



Active Member
I just recently installed a hiking strap in my 1985 sunfish. I added an inspection port in the front wall of the cockpit which made it very easy to install the backing plate for the hiking strap.

An added benefit was that the inspection port came with a dry storage bag so I could store keys and my cell phone. I didn't need to install a backing plate for the stern end since I drilled through the lip of the storage compartment.

One piece of advice which I think Tag suggested was to use a Dremel with a multipurpose cutting bit. It made the job much easier than using a jigsaw.

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
A hiking strap is a very good idea. For drying out and hiking strap installation purposes, I'd put one port right behind the splashrail. You can reach back from there to put in hiking strap backup plates (a piece of poly cutting board is a good thing to use.) The port is also in perfectly good spot for airflow. Put the other port on the rear deck just an inch or two in from the stern. You will have to removed some foam that you will hit, but once that is removed you can get good airflow. As Danpal says, put in the back of the hiking strap by through-bolting the cockpit lip.

BTW front strap mount should go up high on the cockpit wall.


Active Member
DiMoCa this is not my picture but this is the way we use to upgrade boats for hiking straps that didn't have them. Port so you can get a fitting in the front and through bolting to the lip in the back.