Updated: Jul 26
It's been a long journey and we are thankful to clients who have supported this initiative, particularly Dickie Bird and his Dufour 32, as well as Lewmar who have shared their knowledge and parts with us.
The image below shows a Dufour small port (~size 1) lens 334 x 132mm. The darker unit is an old Mk2 and the lighter unit is a new Mk3 in GREY tint (9T21), ready for fitment.
What's the big deal?
In a nutshell, while Lewmar stock Mk 3 acrylic replacements for Mk 2/3 catalogue NS ports, they do not manufacture replacements for custom sizes. Also, they did not previously allow anyone outside of Lewmar to source or bond the hinge/latch mouldings required to complete a replacement part. But we've changed that and are now authorized by Lewmar to create replacements for Clients with custom sizes.
What about NS Mk1?
We're awaiting delivery (big thank you to Declan O'Sullivan) of some Mk 1 ports to experiment with and hope to have news on this in due course. The Mk 1 ports (~1997-2000) have bent-over fixings for the hinge/latch mounts (unlike bolted alloy fixings on Mk2/3) so the challenge is to be able to modify the outer frames to accept the bolted Mk3 mounts. If successful then we will also be in a position to provide acrylic replacement kits for Mk1 units.
How do I check what I have now?
Send us details of your boat (year/make/model) and the lens code (codes are stamped on the lens from 1997). Mk2 units use M4 fasteners (eg hinge pin) where as Mk 3 use M5.
You can also check the differences between Mk1, Mk2 and Mk3 in our Blog article - Lewmar Opening Portlights - Old, New and Versions
If it turns out you have catalogue sizes (0,1,2,3,4,4L,4R,5,5RE,7) we can supply these for you direct from Lewmar. If custom and Mk2 then we are the only option. If custom and Mk3 these may be available from Lewmar, but if not, with permission (Lewmar) we can manufacture.
What's in the replacement pack?
Each pack contains the following, shown in the image below;
New 8mm CNC machined Acrylic, bevelled edges c/w bonded Mk3 latch/hinge mouldings
Mk3 latch pin and handle (2) - pre-fitted to latch mouldings
Mk3 alloy hinge mounts, plastic infill piece (centre) and M5 hinge pin c/w nyloc nut (2) - pre-fitted to hinge mouldings
Mk3 alloy latch mounts (2)
M5 hinge/latch mount machine screws (4)
Latch mount spacer (2)
How much are custom replacements?
These are custom units made in small batches so clearly will be more expensive than an off the shelf unit from Lewmar. Our standard pricing policy is to take the current RRP of the nearest Lewmar catalogue unit and add 50%. This is for one unit in one size. If you buy three or more of one size we give 10% discount. If you get together with other owners and buy ten or more of a size we'll give 20% discount. Note that the discounts don't work across sizes as to us they are different units requiring more setting up of the CNC.
A small delivery charge will apply to less than three units. Three or more units (any size) get free postage.
How can I order?
For now, email us with your details and those of the boat and ports. Remember to specify whether you want CLEAR or GREY tint (Beneteau GREEN is available as a special order).
If we don't have the sizing on file (as a CAD drawing) we may require you to send in one of the current acrylics for us to use as a template.
How do I fit them?
Realistically, this will be so much easier if you remove the outer frame first. I know several clients have already baulked at this, but the fact that the alloy fixings (which screw to the outer frame) have small lugs, which have to go around the frame flange mean that swapping out in situ will likely cause a whole lot of pain. The Mk3 versions are physically different too (see right, Mk2 on LHS) so Mk2 cannot be retained or reused, even if you bore out the Mk2 M4 pin mouldings to Mk3 M5.
So our advice is remove the whole port, swap over the acrylics and fixings, check operation and then refit. New bedding compound is sensible at this age anyway.
If you want us to replace the closing seal at the same time then why not just send in the whole unit. Contact us for a price.
Note that Lewmar supply some spacers (see above) to adjust the latch position. Check this before putting the units back. Some clients have also opened the jaws of the alloy latch mounts (with pliars) to make closing easier.
What guarantee do I get?
The 'risk' is in the bonding of the mouldings to the acrylic. We use the same adhesive as Lewmar and prepare both mouldings and machined acrylics as they do, just in a bespoke manual way rather than an automated production way. We have tested the bonds (we strung up a sample , attached a loop to the acrylic which I stepped into and swung. That's 80+ Kg static load on one hinge block - all good) and are confident these will not fail under normal operating conditions. The Acrylic we use is the same brand (Perspex) and specification (thickness/cast/tints) as Lewmar use.
Dickie Bird tested the first units and tells me the results are excellent. We trust this will be your experience too. If not then of course we will make good.