Since the windows were leaking and there is no way to reliably stop leaks without dismantling and reassembling, I took the windows out. Since they were a tight fit and they’re aluminum frames, the frames are now bent, and I’m not very fond of them anyway. So I’m looking at replacing them.

There are four choices that I can come up with. They are, in order of increasing expense:

  • acrylic or polycarbonate cut larger than the opening and through-bolted
  • make my own deadlight frames out of wood or plastic or epoxy
  • purchase aluminum or plastic deadlights or portlights
  • purchase stainless or bronze portlights (haven’t found a source for stainless or bronze deadlights yet)

This is also roughly in order of appeal to me – although I might prefer my own concoction to aluminum or plastic – hard to say. The amount of work would be considerably more for that – I think (could be wrong) that the amount of work for each of the other options would be about the same.

Given the type of sailing I do and the waters I do it in, opening portlights are not really a priority (except the one in the head, of course). Nova Scotia is seldom so warm that the two large hatches and companionway won’t be enough to keep things cool down below. So the extra cost of opening portlights is pretty hard to justify. That said, I have eventual plans to take this boat somewhere warmer, I think.

I do sail on the ocean, and don’t ever want to find myself wondering if my windows are up to the task.

I have never sailed the boat, and find it a bit suspicious to spend a lot of money on it before I do get to sail it. Granted there will be quite a bit spent regardless, but going fully overboard seems like a bad idea.

I could do the cheap and dirty option for a year or two, and replace later with a better solution.

I’m painting the decks anyway, so maybe this is the time to do it right?

I’ve ordered the new windows – and new hatches too, for that matter. I decided to go with the Man Ship portlights as recommended by David Browne, for a number of reasons.

My criteria were that they needed to:

  1. look good – suit the boat
  2. stand up to serious use – hold out green water during a knockdown or when getting hit by a breaking wave
  3. keep water out and be maintainable
  4. preferably open
  5. be socially responsible – preferably made locally
  6. be affordable

And I feel that the Man Ship portlights managed all of these except the socially responsible one. The one manufacturer that achieved that one along with most of the rest – Spartan Marine – didn’t offer any portlights that suit the Yankee – they’re all too small. There is a photo of a Yankee with 5 portlights per side:

but somehow she doesn’t look quite right to me. More like a CS Yacht than a Yankee.

So I was stuck with – and went with – the Man Ship ports. I have ordered all 8 – four 5×12 and 4 7×22, which will match the originals almost exactly. I additionally requested that the tempered glass be 3/8” thick rather than the usual 3/16”, which will give an extra measure of safety. Here’s a link to the supplier and the ports.

I think they’re going to be fantastic. They’ll look great on the boat, will give her great ventilation, will keep out the weather and let in the light, and should give me service until I am done with the boat – which I intend to be many years from now.

The other thing I ordered while I was at it is new hatches. The originals were in tough shape, and even if they were restored to their original glory they would never be as robust as new ones. The new ones are low profile stainless hatches with hinges on both ends so that I can ventilate at anchor even in the rain, by opening them toward the back, or have them scoop in large volumes by opening toward the front. My last boat had double opening hatches and while most of the time they were set to be forward facing for the front hatch and aft facing for the saloon hatch, I appreciated the ability to switch them from time to time. These ones, with their more modern hardware, will be even easier to switch, thus even more useful. And with a 1/2” acrylic pane protecting the interior from green water, we should be able to weather storms with them. Here’s a link to the hatches.

Another thing knocked off the list of decisions!

Another update:
This update is long overdue – the Man Ship portlights didn’t work out. Not because of anything inherent in the manufacturer, but Blue Water Hardware fell on hard times and was not able to complete the order. After quite a bit of back and forthing I got my money back and went back to the drawing board. As of this writing I’m essentially back at the beginning as far as deciding what to do (I’m currently leaning toward Spartan Marine ports and ordering Man Ship hatches direct from the factory), so I won’t speculate any further just now. Suffice it to say that I still need to fill the holes in the side of the boat’s cabin and I’m not currently sure how that will be happening.


Your thoughts?

  1. Be sure to check out Hood ports. Their oval ports would be a stainless steel equivalent of your aluminum ports:

    David Browne · 27.05.09 · #

  2. I actually have called Hood to check them out – turns out that they’re made in China the same as Newfound Metals. Not that that necessarily means they’re not good, of course – but it’d be nice to support a business a little closer to home. Still quite undecided – but since I’m slowing the project down (next year to launch) that’s alright.

    Chris · 27.05.09 · #

  3. Chris, The Hood ports are actually manufactured by Man Ship in Taiwan which was started by Ted Hood many years ago.

    They build really beautiful ports and hatches all in 316L stainless and bronze, all CE certified. The Newfound Metals ports are made by a small Red Chinese foundry, of questionable processes and best practices and not CE or ISO certified (can I say Chinese dog food, Chinese dry wall, etc). I have the Man Ship ports and a custom hatch for my Bristol and the workmanship is very impressive.


    David Browne · 27.05.09 · #

  4. Interesting! That certainly does make a difference – although it’s still lacking the locally made element. Good to know, though, if I do end up going the solid and heavy route (which I like).


    Chris · 27.05.09 · #

  5. I was considering putting four New found metals port lights on my mk1. any opinion on that?


    — Jon · 30.01.10 · #

  6. Hard to have an opinion when I really haven’t had any experience with them, but I have done research on the ‘net and have concluded that most people are very satisfied with New Found Metals product. My understanding is that they have their own factory in China where the manufacturing is done, and that they do have good quality control and a good product. I have heard of a few people who weren’t satisfied, but that can be said of pretty much any product – and of course you generally get the sour grapes writing on the internet, and the satisfied customers telling friends in person when asked, so it’s hard to judge from the internet.

    I chose the Man Ship portlights and hatches that David spoke of in his comments above – I felt they best suited what I was looking for (custom sizes, very heavy duty, competitive price), and I hope to be happy with them. One problem I’ve experienced so far is time to deliver – it’s going to be at least 7 months when after ordering when I finally get them, assuming the current arrival date of 2-3 weeks from now turns out to be correct. That’s quite awhile to wait. Fortunately it’s winter here now so it’s not actually slowing down the project.

    Which windows are you replacing? I’m sure you’ll be happy with new, opening ports, no matter which ones you decide on.



    Chris Campbell · 31.01.10 · #