Date: 24 January 2020. Inexpensive
There is a
large gap at the top of my cockpit door into the boat.
During the winter cold winds come into the boat via
Frigid weather has arrived here on
the west coast of Florida. Fortunately just last week I installed a
draft stopper on the cockpit doorway. I have upgraded from the
previous version described in the
Draft Prevention using Foam
article. The newest method is far better.
Today I'll describe the $5 solution for my drafty boat.
Draft Prevention article
is fine and dandy. The problem is that it required effort on my part. I wanted a more permanent solution
that did not cost a lot of money. I found it! Rather than stop the
wind on the inside, I decided to prevent it from entering the cabin.
For that I needed something flexible and wide.
Ten-plus years ago my friend Dale
Jenkins (see the
Birds and my friend Dale the Welder
article) had two spools of rubbery stuff that was a couple inches wide.
I wanted to attach it to the sides of the doors, thus preventing
drafts. Though I was
interested in acquiring some, I never asked. Then Dale had a stroke.
For many years since then I have
tried locating something similar. Alas, I had no
Last November I was shopping
on eBay. While perusing a Hong Kong seller's offerings I spotted
door stopper. It had potential to prevent those awful drafts around the
cockpit door. Best of all, a 6' section was just less than $4.
That's my price range so I ordered it.
My advice on how to get a bargain on eBay can be found in the
Screening My Hatch (eBay advice)
The search term I used for the product I bought is:
weather stripping silicone draft stopper
This is a door stopper.
↓ It is approximately 2" wide.
The part with
adhesive is under the 3M strip.
I saved the leftover strip after my project.
The silicone is flexible. It is not brittle.
Initially I cleaned the
aluminum track above my doorway with rubbing
alcohol. I keep a small spray bottle of 90% isopropyl alcohol on the
dinette table. It is
normally utilized for cleaning my eye glasses each morning.
The aluminum is a U-shaped track.
on that track. That's how my door opens and closes.
Above you can also see the black hand-hold I created.
Details on that
project are in the
Windlass Debris becomes Handhold
My aluminum cleaning items included
the spray bottle
of alcohol and a rag.
Additional tools required for the project were
cut the door stopper, a measuring tape plus a screwdriver.
The silicone was not long enough to
entirely seal the gap when I attached it to the top of the aluminum
track. That would have required a 3" wide door stopper. Alas, the
one I bought was just 2". I was making do, and in retrospect should
have bought wider or bought two and *double stacked them.
*Double stack: In retrospect I
should have placed the wider 2" strip far enough down the aluminum
so it overlapped the top edge of the door. Then, above that piece I
could attach a second strip to cover the top of the lower/bottom
piece. It would have looked nicer to hide the entire aluminum track.
Instead I adhered the sticky part to the top of the
door. The rest went upward, covering the bottom of the aluminum
frame. Frankly I would have preferred to cover the entire aluminum
part. Alas, the silicone door stopper I purchased was not wide
↑ SECTION is below the
red line. The part that seals the gap is above (note
the GREEN arrow).
I made a mistake when measuring. I
have a tape
measure from Walmart with a Self-Lock feature.
For me, I prefer a tape measure that stays open until
I push the button. Then it retracts. This is easier for me to handle
by myself. You no doubt noticed Seaweed written on the ruler in
permanent marker. I write my boat's name on almost everything as a
way to easily identify what belongs to me.
Even with a spiffy
ruler made a mistake
when measuring for
the draft stopper at the
top of the doorway. It was cut too short.
I did not account for where the
door doesn't quite
reach the edge. There is a
SMALL ↓ GAP. Argh!!!
Though the gap from the outside looks unprofessional, actually no
air gets in due to the framework on the inside. Still, it is a
source of irritation. Please be smarter than I was should you do
this project aboard your boat.
In addition to the horizontal piece I attached to the top of the
door, I also screwed a strip onto the side of the door. That part cuts
out a small draft that I experienced along that top corner of the
PIECE ↓ of the door
draft stopper is screwed and glued to the
Originally the back door had a strip of teak along
The screws were left over from where the wood used to be.
Though not perfect, this is
better than my previous solution. Like all things involving a
boat, over time changes are made. What was once a-okay, later becomes
out-dated. Improvements are continually being made. I enjoy making
tweaks to Seaweed. I want her to be the best she can be. So far, so
Lessons from my
installation of the
Measure twice and cut once. I should have made the
horizontal piece 1" longer for aesthetics. Also, although the
width at 2" is ideal for the side of the doorway, a 3" wide door
flapper at the top would have been ideal. I do suspect the top
part will flop over at some point necessitating me to repeat the
project up there.
Obviously this draft preventer installation is not perfect. It is
however Good Enough for the interim. Rather than being
Paralyzed by Planning,
I chose to give this project a whirl. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
When the top part fails, and I do anticipate that happening, I will
update you. I believe the quality of the materials is such that
this upgrade should last out the rest of the winter. By summertime I hope to
have acquired 48" of a 3" flapper to cover the entire aluminum
track. That item is now on The List.
There is always an ever-changing list
of boat projects. New boaters can easily become overwhelmed by the
shear magnitude of desired projects. Really though, almost nothing
is Absolutely Necessary. Most of the things I do simply make my life
better, nicer, easier or more decadent.
This is life on the west coast of Florida. I am very glad to have
finished this project prior to the cold front coming through. Thanks
so much for reading. Stay warm.
Comments welcome and encouraged on the
Inexpensive Draft Stopper
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