Opening Port Replacement

By John Peterson

From Yahoo Groups/Watkins posts


I went through the same dilemma in finding appropriate port lights and found the exact same ports.  First off I have an 82 Watkins 27. On the 79 I think you have two opening ports on each side and a large fixed port that does not open.   First off your ports may say Gray manufacturing on the bottom of the trim.  Those ports are made by Bomar now and are referred to as the Bomar Gray series….but they are plastic, not steel as you desired. The front ports are 5X12. (Measure to make sure you have the same ports) The small ones should be G512-AD28 for the 5 X12 size. (G512 stands for 5X12) AD28 is for tinted windows, AD 27 is for clear. I would recommend the tinted. Measure the inside and outside of your portlights to be sure. The outside diameter they talk about includes the frame. I also used goof-off in the pint cans to get the old ports out. My stern opening ports are 8X18 (Bomar # G818-AD280) which will not fit older W27’s with fixed rear portlights The Bomar ports are manufactured by Pomanette company. Their web site is  I was going to order my ports through them at a price of around $130 each for the 5X12s until I accidentally stumbled across the same ports on for $83.88….almost $50 cheaper…saved me $300!


I did a lot of research on installation only to discover the removal was the hardest part of the job.  The factory put the original ports in with 3M 5200…or something just as tough.  I had gel coat breaking off the cabin exterior when I was removing the trim rings!  I purchased some expensive de-bonder through West Marine. Name was AB Debond or something like that at $10 for 5 ounces…ouch. After going through two bottles of that I bought a large can of professional strength Goo-Off for general clean up for less than $5 a can.  By the time I got to my last port I separated the trim ring enough to let the Goo-Off soak between the trim ring and the cabin and gently pulled the trim ring off!  Once the trim ring was off getting the windows out were another challenge since they were “mortared” in with 5200.  Once again on my last window I soaked the old caulk with the Goo-Off and the port actually started to fall out. On my first ports I was driving a putty knife with a hammer between the window and the cabin to get the old window out. 


I had to do some fiberglass repairs where gel coat had broke with the trim rings and I also filled voids between the outer and inner cabin liner with fiberglass filler. I was surprised the core was not solid. Then I painted epoxy on the core to form a seal between the outer and inner cabin.


To install the new ports the Bomar instructions says to use 3M5200.  Don’t!  After consultation with my West Marine dealer and a great article about sealants in Good Ol’ Boat Magazine last fall I went with 3m 4000.  I probably over did it but I filled the cut-out with caulk, then “squished” the port through to insure there were no voids in the caulk, screwed the ports in from the inside (old screw holes matched perfectly) then filled in from the outside with excess caulk and a putty knife….There was lots of caulk to wipe away but I got a good seal which was more important to me than sparing the caulk.  I put a bead of 4000 under the trim ring and did not screw down the exterior trim because I did not want to risk water leaks. The 4000 adhered the trim ring real well. (My old exterior trim rings were screwed in which I filled with epoxy). Once again lots of final wiping and cleanup with Goo-Off and denatured alcohol which was a wonderful cleaner….and you can use the left over in your stove.


For the price difference between steel and plastic I think my new plastic ports will last as long as I own the boat. I really did not think they would solve my water problems and thought I had other leaks around toe rail, stanchions, and chain plate, but my boat is now DRY!  I had wood wet and rotting in the stern corner of the galley and now it is dry after heavy rains.     


Sorry this is long but thought someone else might benefit from this and I will be showing them off at the 2005 Watkins raft up in Hampton 4th of July weekend.


John Peterson

82W27  s/v Dream Date



I took all six ports out first. Then duct taped the old ports back in to keep the weather out. Actually I had to put them in backwards, they fit back in easier. The boat was pretty ugly for awhile.  It took a good hour to two hours to get the window out and all of the old caulk removed. On my first port I took a screw driver and started prying off the trim ring without any debonder.  That got pretty ugly. By the time I got to number six I was a little smarter so I hope I can share my knowledge with others.


Then I took West System filler and filled the voids and exterior screw holes and repaired the gel coat that had busted off. 

Fortunately except for one spot, all the gel coat damage was underneath the trim rings. Then of course sanding to smooth out the epoxy.


Then I reinstalled. It took about an hour for me to put each port back in then clean up all the caulk that oozed out.  The important part is getting a good fill of caulk between the window and the cabin. That is where the water can come in. The trim ring is just for decoration but I completely caulked it in as well.


I'm a slow worker and the entire project took almost three weeks, I'd stop by the boat after work and take a window out, put one in, etc.


Dealing with Sailnet was great. Only one port was in stock and the other five were backordered. They came in within two weeks.


The new ports sure look nice compared to the chipped and broken ones. Several of my buddies on the pier took my old ones for parts for their boats.


My next big job that has to done before sailing season is replacing my fuel tank. I had fuel filter failure three times last year. I am replacing the 19 gallon with a 12 and pulling the engine to get the tank replaced.  I am also intending to replace the motor mounts which look like they run around $100 each while the engine is out.



s/v Dream Date