Inspection ports

Thread starter #1
Ok. I've come to the unfortunate conclusion that I'm going to have to put in inspection ports into my 1960's sunfish. I will have to probably apply 3 to get all of the backing needed to put all of the hardware on and secure. My question now is if the inspection ports are flat how do you apply them to a deck of a sunfish that has a curve to it? Do they make special inspection ports for sunfish?
 
#2
I don't know that they make any curved ones, but they might. but for a normal flat one, just don't screw the screws/fasteners in so tight that it warps the port trim/flange piece and makes it difficult to thread on the inspection port. usually the gap would be small enough that 3M 4200 (or caulk) will cover it up.

cheers,
tag
 
#3
Ok. I've come to the unfortunate conclusion that I'm going to have to put in inspection ports into my 1960's sunfish. I will have to probably apply 3 to get all of the backing needed to put all of the hardware on and secure. My question now is if the inspection ports are flat how do you apply them to a deck of a sunfish that has a curve to it? Do they make special inspection ports for sunfish?

The trick is for the curved areas that you will probably want to access, like the back of the cockpit wall and maybe the aft deck, you will want to use smaller ports like the four-inch or even three-inch Dicksons. The Dickson-type rims are pretty sturdy and won't tend to bend like some more flimsy ones. The holes for those smaller size ports are plenty big enough to work with for adding reinforcement or even doing a rudder conversion. Just do the work after you cut the hole but before you install the port. For flatter areas and where you feel you need better access you can go with a larger size.

Here is an example of a '60's Sunfish with three ports, the two rear ones just for access for the rudder conversion and installing a reinforced hiking strap. The forward port is larger, in this example. The advantage to the three ports is that, as in this example, you get excellent ventilation (and a shot at restoring your '60's boat back to its typical 120 pound original weight), plus you can reinforce pretty much everything that you want.

Note that the cockpit port in this example is mounted high on the wall - always a good idea for in-cockpit installations for those times when you end up with some water sloshing in the cockpit and can't get it bailed right away.

Here are some pictures of that '60's example:

sunfishport1.jpeg sunfishport2.jpeg

I was joking just last week with someone with a 150-pound hull that this boat, which I was pointing out on the racks as an example in a similar port discussion, looked like Swiss cheese. But it's back to its under-120 pound original weight (we can see from the photo that the interior foam looks almost brand new), so there's nothing really unfortunate about them.

But the key to your concerns is sticking with smaller ports where possible. And as always, consider using at least one clear plastic cockpit cover that you can see (fogging on the plastic indicates moisture inside, without having to actually check).
 
Thread starter #4
The trick is for the curved areas that you will probably want to access, like the back of the cockpit wall and maybe the aft deck, you will want to use smaller ports like the four-inch or even three-inch Dicksons. The Dickson-type rims are pretty sturdy and won't tend to bend like some more flimsy ones. The holes for those smaller size ports are plenty big enough to work with for adding reinforcement or even doing a rudder conversion. Just do the work after you cut the hole but before you install the port. For flatter areas and where you feel you need better access you can go with a larger size.

Here is an example of a '60's Sunfish with three ports, the two rear ones just for access for the rudder conversion and installing a reinforced hiking strap. The forward port is larger, in this example. The advantage to the three ports is that, as in this example, you get excellent ventilation (and a shot at restoring your '60's boat back to its typical 120 pound original weight), plus you can reinforce pretty much everything that you want.

Note that the cockpit port in this example is mounted high on the wall - always a good idea for in-cockpit installations for those times when you end up with some water sloshing in the cockpit and can't get it bailed right away.

Here are some pictures of that '60's example:

View attachment 10290 View attachment 10291

I was joking just last week with someone with a 150-pound hull that this boat, which I was pointing out on the racks as an example in a similar port discussion, looked like Swiss cheese. But it's back to its under-120 pound original weight (we can see from the photo that the interior foam looks almost brand new), so there's nothing really unfortunate about them.

But the key to your concerns is sticking with smaller ports where possible. And as always, consider using at least one clear plastic cockpit cover that you can see (fogging on the plastic indicates moisture inside, without having to actually check).
Thank you for the help I'll post some pics when complete
fiorefish
 
#5
I'm poking around boat supply sites, because we'll be needing inspection ports - good idea about the clear lids! I think we'll be getting 4 or 5 inch ones, but comparing between sites is a bit difficult. Some seem to make you buy all the parts of the port separately (o ring, screws, etc.) & some do not make it very clear. What are some of the better sites to get inspection ports from when it comes to quality and making sure you've got all the pieces you need? I've looked at Sunfish Direct, Intensity Sails, and Sound Boat Works (Viking & other ports) for starters. There was another one, but I can't remember the name.
 
#6
What are some of the better sites to get inspection ports from when it comes to quality and making sure you've got all the pieces you need? I've looked at Sunfish Direct, Intensity Sails, and Sound Boat Works (Viking & other ports) for starters. There was another one, but I can't remember the name.
I haven't used them personally, but this place is recommended often here:
http://www.duckworksbbs.com/hardware/hatches/index.htm

cheers,
tag
 
#7
In this part of the country we are fortunate enough to have West Marine stores, so it's often the convenient option and if they have what I want in stock (hit or miss) I just pick up a few. It's a few bucks more, maybe, but unless you are placing a larger order of gear anyway, shipping from the mail order resources often is a high percentage of the purchase price.

I've purchased from the first two but not the third:
1. http://www.apsltd.com/c-4513-InspectionPorts.aspx while they don't carry Beckson (my favorite). I used to shop APS (or Layline, even more) all the time, before Intensity and other options. I don't usually buy small sporadic orders because of the shipping. These guys advertise on this site (that ad at the top) if that counts for anything.

2. http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/SiteSearchView?Ne=2050688&Ns=Most Popular|0&beginIn They have Beckson. They also carry a nice bag for the deck or cockpit, if interested some day.
http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wc...=11151&productId=43918&langId=-1#.UGW5RZjA_Jo

3. http://www.discountmarinesupplies.com/product.cgi?group=71426&product=103878
I haven't used them, mainly because of the small-order shipping costs.

There are plenty of others of course.

If you happen to have a hole saw, or can borrow one the right size, it can make the job a snap (see photo, and the neat fiberglass cut-out is at the bottom.). That clear port is the Beckson, which is beefier than the other brands. The other in the picture is an RWO, I think -- those and Vikings are fine also, but on Becksons the threading is deeper and the two tightening slots are also deeper with flat sides - helpful if it gets stuck shut and you have to (gently) tap it open. Whatever you do, don't mix and match too much if you add boats -- nothing is more frustrating than not being able to find a unique port cover in your gear.

ports.jpg

Now I would be remiss (and tag would quite appropriately remind us) if I didn't put in a plug for the class-preferred vendor - Peg Beadle's Sailboat Garage. http://www.sunfishclass.org/dealers/tsg.htm
If someone knows if they have an on-line catalog that would be helpful.

Few people have done more, more selflessly, for the Sunfish Class than Peg and her husband. This is a home garage-type operation, but if you want to meet the patron saint of Sunfish while you still can, at ground zero of the Class' universe, this is it. If you decide you want official class numbers, for example, Peg's the person. Need a last minute favor of a class nature - she's the one. Unfortunately, I don't have their little catalog handy, and don't know if they carry ports.
 

minifish2

Active Member
#8
Stopped by a big new West Marine in these parts and was impressed with their house brand 'West Marine' inspection ports, which appear to be well-made clones of the Becksons -which they didn't seem to carry in the store any more. More than just a casual clone, by the way. I took the lid from the new West Marine port and screwed it into a old Beckson base, and got an absolutley perfect seal. At about $11 or so for the 4-inch solid and $14 with the transparent covers, the new ports looked good, so I pretty much bought them out in that size. So much for having to stick with one brand -- which I presume was West Marine's objective. Either they struck a private label deal with Beckson, which I assume is the case, or some patent folks are going to be busy.
 
#9
Either they struck a private label deal with Beckson, which I assume is the case, or some patent folks are going to be busy.
Apple will keep them busy for awhile, so West Marine should be safe. ;)

Our plates should be in Tuesday. We don't have a West Marine, just a motorboat place that ordered the plates for us (no worries about shipping!) for $8.99 each (not counting the screws). I'm not sure of the brand, since I can't remember the catalog's title. The store does carry West Marine products, so at least I know we can get them there in a pinch, but I felt like there was a definite premium tacked on (they've got to pay their bills). It's time to make a spreadsheet of parts & materials with prices and shipping from around the web!
 
#10
It's time to make a spreadsheet of parts & materials with prices and shipping from around the web!
If you are looking for Sunfish specific parts (made by the manufacturer), the pricing is usually about the same no matter where you look. I did this same research a few years ago (and blogged about it here).

bottom line: for Sunfish parts, use your local dealer if they have them in stock. I'm pretty lucky in that the people that run the Sunfish class live fairly close to me in southeast Michigan and they run the Sailboat Garage for Sunfish parts.

if you aren't a Class-racer and you don't need original parts, then Intensity Sails is a good place for replica FRP daggerboards and rudders, practice sails, and various other Sunfish and small-boat sailing parts.

cheers,
tag
 
#11
I meant Sunfish-compatible parts if not the OEM manufacturer (tho they are included in the sheet along with Intensity). We don't have a local dealer, just a motorboating place that looks like we could order most stuff through that are general for boats, not Sunfish specific (like sails). They seemed pretty confused that we had a sailboat and not a motorboat. :rolleyes:

We've found quite a difference between pricing on some parts and relatively no difference on others. No real pattern. So weird ...
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#12
Old thread, but recent discussion brings this up with a search.

I needed to replace a sun-weakened 6" bayonet Holt & Allen, only to find them NLA.
:(

So I bought Viking, a Chinese-made clone. 'Very flimsy, so I'm going to have search through my collection of older, US, ports, and give up on the bayonet mount.

Another manufacturer, besides Beckson, is found on Hobie catamarans. "Ipsos"-brand--maybe? Something like that, beginning with the letter "I".

.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#13
Curved inspection ports via thebeachcats.com:

Need 4

Installing—from the above site:
"Old trick to shape the hatches to the deck, JB weld, or any other epoxy putty, just apply around flange, press into deck hole, scrape off excess, wait to harden, drill fastener holes and go sailing. I did this on my Tornado and worked just fine."
 
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