Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Anatomy of a Beckson Port

Breakdown courtesy of
One of my favorite bloggers just wrote a post about Project Recursiveness, the idea of one project opening the need/want/necessity to multiple others. It's a topic I've broached on this site multiple times, a theme that recurs with alarming frequency. So it was with the "rebed port # 10 on Kintala today. Yes, I have them numbered on a port map in my project notebook, mostly because we can't really remember which ones we've rebed since we bought the boat and which ones we didn't, a problem I hope to rectify this time around. When I started to remove the port this morning, my intention was just to do the leaking ones, and let sleeping dogs lie.

As removed before cleaning. All of the previous sealant must be removed
in order for the new sealant to stick. It takes a couple hours per port to
get it all out of the little nooks and off the fiberglass on the boat.
After cleaning. I loves me some Dremel tool...
The weather was perfect this morning behind the cold front and associated storms from yesterday, so working on the deck was a pleasure. The outside ring of the port came off pretty easily, as this was one of the ones we had rebed sometime in the last 5 years and we had used Dow Corning 795. DC 795 is our favorite bedding material for a lot of things on the boat, like ports, any hardware, sinks, faucet, etc. We love it because it stays flexible, is easy to clean off your hands and tools when it's wet, it cures quickly, and comes off much more easily when required than silicone. Our other go-to bedding compound is butyl tape which we use for everything else like stanchions, winches, hatches, handrails, and so forth. The inside portion of the Beckson ports has wide flanges and after popping it out, it was plain to see that the teak under the flange was shot. It shredded in wet sawdust and, after vacuuming it out, left a space about 3" x 2" with no wood adhered to the fiberglass. My single project - check rebed port #10 off the list day - instantly went down the drain.

While eating my sandwich, I Googled "fix rotten teak around portholes" just to see if anybody had come up with some interesting solutions to the problem. There were many, all of which involved completely disassembling the interior of the boat and removing all of the teak and replacing it. Not an option when you live full time on the boat and have no where else to go for the 2 months it would take to complete that project. I did come upon a post in a forum where a guy refurbished some bad teak he had on his boat by fairing in the bad spots and painting it. It looked great, and started an idea in my head. If I remove all five ports on the starboard side at once, clean them up, repair any damaged teak with fiberglass, and paint it the same off white as our headliner, it will salvage the teak, finish the project in something approaching manageable time, and brighten the interior as well.

While I was looking at the deteriorating teak under the port, I decided to look at one of the other items on Tim's list, that of the leak above his settee that sprouted a few months ago when we were under way to Bradenton and didn't have time to fix it. It was a small leak, and only presented itself when it rained very heavily. Unfortunately, it was under one of the 5 headliner panels that are installed the width of our boat. In order to find the leak, two of the panels had to be removed. In order to remove the panels, 12 pieces of teak trim, the hatch screen, and a ceiling light fixture all had to be removed. The screen had to come down anyway to be refinished (another item on Tim's list), so all the hardware on it had to be removed so I could sand it. Of course, all the "stainless" screws on the hardware were rusted and two had to be drilled out.

The leaking bolts under the headliner.. The bad part of the furring strip
will have to be cut off and a new piece scarfed in to hold the headliner up.
After the screen was ready for sanding, the light fixture was next. Of course, the wire for the light fixture was too short to set the fixture aside somewhere, so I had to cut the wires and install quick disconnect connectors so that in the future we could remove it more easily. It definitely pays to be living in a boatyard with a really great parts department and an even greater parts department guru to run it.

After the light fixture, the panels were easily unscrewed and removed. The leak was instantly visible. The culprit was the cheek block for the main halyard when it's run into the cockpit. We don't use it at the moment since we have the halyard at the mast, but we may change that in the future so we still need the block. Tomorrow will start out by rebedding the offending block and replacing a very moldy and rotten furring strip that held the headliner panel up. My guess is that the rebedding of that block will also morph into an all day removal of wet core and subsequent glassing before it can be reinstalled. Just a hunch.

So assuming the weather gods are feeling kind to me over the next 10 days or so, you will find me sitting on deck with my trusty putty knife and rubber mallet and an ever-growing pile of Beckson Ports. If you're bored and just can't live without developing an intimate relationship  with Beckson's finest, please stop on by for a visit. I promise you won't be disappointed.

The window pieces and the hardware to install them

The hardware to install the window onto the port frame

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