Monday, March 5, 2012


As anyone who's lived or even stayed on a boat for an extended period of time will agree, you can never have enough ventilation! One of the best improvements we inherited from the previous owners' modifications were opening ports. While not part of the original Andromeda design, Phoenix currently has 14 Beckson 512 ports -- 8 in the main cabin, 4 in the aft, and 2 in the head. A 15th is in the works, and will be installed in the passageway to the aft cabin.

Some people frown at the Beckson's plastic frame and prefer stainless, but so far we have no complaints. We painted the trim rings so they essentially blend into the cabin sides, and opening and dogging them down are a breeze. The gaskets are very secure, easy to put in/take out for cleaning, and all in all seem to be much better than the ports we've had on other boats. Plus replacement parts, if we need them, are pretty accessible and relatively inexpensive (as far as boat parts go).

The open ports do wonders to improve airflow down below when the weather is nice, but the main and aft cabin ports can allow some water in during heavy rains. There's nothing worse in warmer weather than waiting out a squall down below with the boat completely buttoned up and no airflow. Very steamy!

We don't really like the look of external port shields, so pretty much ruled out that idea. We did, however try to keep the rain out by adding a Beckson Internal Rain Shield in one of the ports but the results were unimpressive. The theory is that the Shield's louvered plexiglass insert will allow you to keep the port open in the rain. Well, perhaps, but the water hits the lower body of the port, bounces, and then splashes right up the louvers and into the boat! And the insert definitely cuts the airflow down in good weather, so this experiment was a bust!

external rain shield

Beckson internal rain shield
The jury is still out on our Breeze Booster Port Ventilator that we picked up for next to nothing on Craigslist. This is essentially a wind scoop for your ports, and when installed lays against and perpendicular to the cabin top. Designed more for light air days at anchor than heavy weather, it could help on those hot days, but won't really do much for us in a storm. We haven't played with it a great deal yet, but since we love our wind scoop, we figured we'd give it a try. Could be a bit more of a trip hazard than we'd like on deck, but only time will tell...

Breeze Booster port ventilator

And since we're not completely satisfied with the ready-made options out there, we've begun playing around with some custom designs that will hopefully serve both purposes and help maximize airflow regardless of the weather. It will be another B and E orginal, so stay tuned to see how this experiment unfolds this spring! 

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