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Old 30-08-2018, 08:38   #1
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Sliding sailboat portlights?

So I have eight bronze portlights, each an oval of roughly 6 x 12 inches. They are chromed with varying amounts of wear, superficial corrosion, etc. Typical in appearance for being 40 years old.

I've thought through the standard options of doing nothing, stripping, painting, polish, re-chrome, etc. Asumming that I do any work on a portlight, I'm looking at $200 to $400 per hole.

I've Googled what I propose here but could not find it.

Doing some brainstorming I came up with idea that I'm sure is not new, but basically involves a simple captive (horizontal) slide mechanism backed up by force-applying compression ~dogs. All of this held against the inside of the hull/deck, potentially with no visible external fasteners, compression ring. Furthermore, a drip pan would cover the mechanism and catch-direct and leak out of the hull/cabin.

All together, I reckon you could build one sliding portlight for about $25. Materials include a piece of acrylic/glass, some angle aluminum to act as tracks above and below the opening, rubber seal, VHB tape, a sliding latch machism lateral to the window, two "bridges" (hard to describe) but sit proud to the sliding aluminum extrusions allowing a means to fit compressive dogs) with a "drip pan" covering the entire mechanism stuck to the inside of the hull/deck vertical surface.

The sliding mechanism would obviously allow for partial opening as well as the installation of a cheap actuator for the sailor who must have power windows (kidding aside, such actuators could be used to shut all ports, but that's a story for a million dollar boat).

Hard to describe, but I can upload some scratch drawings. Importantly, this design also allows one to modify the hole opening such that the external appearance about thr portlight has no (needed) visible hardware, bright work, etc. Low maintenance, looks good, costs next to nothing to build or replace. If it works, to me it's a no-brainer.

This by nature takes up cabin wall space lateral to the window, but in many designs there is space.

Before going further, has anyone seen anything like this?
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Old 30-08-2018, 09:00   #2
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Re: Sliding sailboat portlights?

I believe Herreschoff had a design for ports that used a pane of glass in a trough-like structure around the opening in the cabin trunk. Wedge-shaped pieces of wood in the trough held the glass shut, when desired, or open, depending upon which side of the glass you put the wedge.
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Old 30-08-2018, 17:24   #3
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Re: Sliding sailboat portlights?

Maybe I missed it but what is it you are trying to accomplish? What is the problem with the ports at this time? What do you estimate spending $200 to $400 bucks on? Do you wish to improve their appearance? Are they leaking?
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Old 30-08-2018, 17:38   #4
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Re: Sliding sailboat portlights?

Old fixed Lewmar size 1 ports could be rearranged as "sliding windows" by putting half the glass in the inner track of the aluminum extrusion and adding a couple of gaskets. Mine came that way in the head. It was old and always leaked. I converted it back to a fixed port. It's only two feet from the main hatch anyway.
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Old 30-08-2018, 17:56   #5
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Re: Sliding sailboat portlights?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orion Jim View Post
Maybe I missed it but what is it you are trying to accomplish? What is the problem with the ports at this time? What do you estimate spending $200 to $400 bucks on? Do you wish to improve their appearance? Are they leaking?
-they don't leak
-primarily the concern is aesthetic; I'm redoing the interior and exterior and the lights are simply in varying stages of dechroming, superficial corrosion
-I don't want the bronze look; either re-chrome, buy stainless, or something else. Best I can tell rechroming costs a lot per light and invariably will need retreat mentioned in the future.

Otherwise the sliding option would allow me to open up the window cut out to a little more rectangular shape (in the deck) while leaving a cleaner (to my eye) external, if not internal also, appearance vs the bulky bronze.

I'm happy to hear that there have been other users of removable/sliding portlights.
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