Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Dorade Box Inspection Ports | Making Gaskets

I had reached the stage of the build where I would soon need to plan the installation of the Dorade boxes for the ventilator cowls, and I was wondering what to do about access to the boxes from inside the cabin.

This would be required for the installation of hardware on the side of each box, such as mooring cleats, and the ventilator cowls on the top.

The drawing shows circular inspection ports, port and starboard.

I did briefly consider butterfly vents, which could be opened and closed. I have seen nice stainless steel examples on other blogs. But they would have to be completely removed to gain access to the boxes, which seems pointless.

So inspection ports seemed to be the best solution, as already installed in the centreboard case and the storage compartment.

The drawing specifies a 4" port, so I purchased a pair from my favourite chandler.

(As an aside, why aren't any inspection ports included in the hull hardware pack? It's not as if you could build the boat without them - they are not optional!)

I was slightly worried that 4" might be too small for me to get my hand inside the boxes, but in practice they are fine. Another builder recommended 6" ports, but they would be too big and would look out of proportion to the rest of the boat.

I purchased the same make as the other inspection  ports, and of course had the same problem with the depth of the fittings i.e. the flange and the fitting screws will intrude into the Dorade box unless a gasket is fitted. No problem - this is what I did before and knew what to do.

First I fixed two pieces of 6mm ply together with the glue gun, to make a ply sandwich, and then marked out the opening for the port. As here.



Then I cut the centre out with the jig saw, like this.



I then marked out the outer circumference of the gasket, using the port fitting as a pattern, and cut out the gaskets as a pair.

Here they are after cleaning up and finishing with three clear coats of resin.


Now they are ready to go when I get to the Dorade box installation!

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