Portlight maintenance?

One of Calypso’s winter projects is replacing the glass in all the portlights. This involves removing the inner ring (which holds the glass in place) from the portlight. It’s been 25+ years since those 2 metal rings (screwed together) have been apart.

Has anyone else tackled this project and maybe has some good ideas to share?

Many thanks,
Nica (Calypso BCC 006 and Mischief BCC 067)

1 Like

Hello Nica and Jeremy,

I did the same thing last year. I suggest soaking the threads with PB Blaster or similar penetrating oil. Let it sit a few days or a week, respraying as needed.

I borrowed a nice large spanner wrench from another BCC owner. However, you can make a quick wrench with a piece of flat stock iron and two screws.

I sourced the glass from Sailboatstuff.com and the glass fit perfectly. I bought the gasket materials from Grainger (part #38G849) and used Gorrilla Glue (super glue) to make the gaskets cut at a 45 degree angle.

As for cleaning the bronze, I tried catsup, cleaners, and found white vinegar with a piece of tinfoil and salt worked the best to gentle turn the bronze black and then easily polish up with Flitz polish.

Good luck!

Little Wing #107
Uploading: 9C71C609-BC05-4872-AA99-D4451C624257.jpeg…
Uploading: 5FA1365E-3748-4D07-ADCE-9289B16231B2.jpeg…
Uploading: 7AE9F520-AC5A-40CB-983E-4292D7DCB52E.jpeg…
Processing: F33A67C6-5A25-4F5F-BDE2-2A92E3B3C71C.jpeg…
Uploading: 4AC65FBB-CFA1-4945-B324-2B4390B72D33.jpeg…


I did the same thing with my FC #33 (Finesse). Unlike Peter, I had no issue unscrewing the ring from the frame, and I had no need to use any penetrating oil. Sailboat stuff is where I got my glass, and I also got new rubber gaskets from them. If they still have the gaskets, you might not have to fabricate them, like Peter did. When I installed the glass, I put a bead of silicone adheasive around the frame and pressed the glass into it. The result was a leak-resistant portlight, but I still had some drip marks in the teak paneling below, from some years of dripping.

The tool … after extensive searching for a large (I think that it was 8-in) spanner, I fabricated one from aluminum bar stock and pressed in the right-size (can’t remember the dimension) stainless dowel pins, with some temporary Loctite to hold them in place. I also drilled out a channel to adjust the size of the spanner, locking it in place with a pair of carriage bolts and wing nuts. This tool worked great for me, and I belive that this spanner is the secret to an easy glass replacement. I did six portlights in one afternoon.

Sadly, I sold Finesse last year, and I no longer have a use for this size of spanner. I would be glad to donate it to the SLM forum for others to use on a lending basis. Perhaps the moderator could be the keeper of this tool and lend it to forum participants, as they need to replace their glass.

BTW, you might want to try Seapower metal polish on the bronze. It worked great for me.

-Tom Frenock


I need to do the same. I will try some of the other ideas included here, but I’m curious to hear how your project goes.


Thanks, @Peter. Jeremy tells me he actually tried Deep Creep last winter to no avail (apparently I forgot that), though we didn’t have any kind of adequate wrench. Great tip on sailboatstuff thanks.

We’ll see how excited I get about polishing the bronze. Hah.

@tomfrenock -awesome explanation of the tool you created. Thanks a million The idea of a lending library of tools is an intriguing one - any idea how it might work?

@michaellaguardia welcome to the forum!

Cheers to all


1 Like

Hi, Nica. If you want to use the spanner, I would be glad to send it to you … if you pay the postage. It will come with some additional SS dowel pins, if any fall out and get lost. Then maybe you can be the holder of the tool.

Yes, a lending library would be an interesting thing for those rare tools, like this spanner. I don’t know how to make one happen, but whoever the moderator is might have an idea or even be the person to coordinate the use of these items. I would say that whoever wants the tool should pay for the shipping, then use it. Maybe it could work this way …

  1. A tool is held by one of the SLM folks (me for this spanner)
  2. The tool holder lets the moderator know what the tool is and provide a brief description of what it is used for and what its limitations might be
  3. The moderator can set up a tool library with this info and the user name of the current tool holder at any time
  4. A new user (you for this spanner) would write to request it and pay shipping to get it
  5. The person shipping the tool should notify the moderator of where the tool is being sent so that the moderator can uodate the library (maybe the sender could do the update if the checkout system is set up to do so by the moderator)
  6. The new user has the tool to use, then that user should store it until the next person needs it
  7. The next request causes the process to go back to step 4, above

I uploaded some pics from my glass project, and there are some of the tool in there. Probably ended up with 5 duplicates, but I’ll weed them out.

I think that BCC portlights are bigger than those for FC. I can drill out some new channels to accommodate the larger size, but let me know what the distance is between the tiny slots for the spanner pins.

BTW, here is a link to the page to order your replacement glass and gaskets …


Thanks for all the ideas! That tool looks pretty fabulous for sure. Any idea on dimensions and weight for shipping?

On the library - I’m thinking even simpler. We could create a forum list of specialized tools and who owns them, along with rough shipping weight and a history of shipping costs. If you want to borrow one, you pay shipping to and from the owner.

Many cheers

Good Afternoon Team,
I’ve seen several posts where folks used silicone between the glass and bronze frame, but I’m wondering if anyone who has used sheet rubber to make the gasket recalls what thickness they used?
We’ve got new glass on the way and I want to get the other materials heading this way as well.

Hello Michael,

I was able to source gasket material from Grainger. I cut the square rubber at 45 degree angles and glued them together with Gorilla Glue (super glue) and they have worked flawlessly for 3 years.


The gasket material was 1/4” Buna Rubber Cord from Graingers.

Thanks Peter, I appreciate the quick reply. I was actually referring to the gasket between the glass and the bronze frame, not the o-ring. My apologies for not being clear.


Just a note that we got an email from Sailboat Stuff.com that they are out of replacement glass for the ABI portlights (at least the 7 inch) and just haven’t updated their website.

In completely different news- if anyone knows a good alternate source of supply of replacement glass, I’d be grateful!