The Portlight Issue

The Whitby has a dozen opening portlights. Plus three hatches.

In the bright, tropical sun, it can get warm. Really warm.

The previous owner had curtains. We took those out because they’re dust and mildew catchers. 

We tried to make window shades from HDPE board. If you’re careful, you can cut a piece of “ Laminated Polyethylene (HDPE) Corrugated sheet” that fits the lens of the Beckson Portlight, and wedge it in. It cuts most of the light. 

Yes, they get old and brittle. But they’re cheap! $12 fills all of the portlights with a shade.

We’ve decided to try some SOLYX window tint film. CA got some samples. They have patterned privacy films and different levels of transmission for UV protection.

Unretouched image of film and no-film.

She also bought SOLYX’s little installation kit with the fancy squeegee and box-cutter. We had a squirt bottle to mix up soapy water — this is essential.

Also, they talked about using two pieces of tape to separate film from backing. There’s a knack to this. Once you figure it out, you can use two pieces of masking tape and — with only a few false starts — get the plastic to separate. While you’re peeling, squirt it with soapy water until it’s so slick it will slide all over the window. She squished it on, and then carefully used the razor knife to trim the edges.

It’s exacting work. Stressful because the material is so fine, it’s hard to make a clean cut that doesn’t involve tearing some part of the file.

We had to take a stress break to make espresso after doing the six portlights in the main saloon and v-berth.

We waited until the next day to do the aft cabin. Once that was done, we could mess with hose clamps and other ordinary chores.

We think we want to add some more LED light bars. About eight years ago, I bought a really nice “Tigress” red/white LED strip. Back then, it was the state of the art. They’re not made anymore because simplistic red/white has become kind of dumb.

LED light bars nowadays are either bright one-color, or they’re RGBW with a color-mixing control that allows you to pick any color you want. Or let it do different sequences of fancy color displays. The shopping is excruciatingly complex.

We also want to replace the counter-top.  Something like Green Building Supply’s Recycled Paper Countertops looked really cool. But they’re thick and heavy and expensive. We only need a tiny (36″×18″) piece. This is difficult to buy, because the pieces tend to be huge. They don’t seem to offer a cutting service.

Instead. We’ll go with a big sheet of HDPE. Essentially, a cutting board. A little silicone goo to keep water out, and we may have a better countertop. Boring white, but without a seam and a leak.

  © Steven Lott 2017