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Date: 24 January 2020. Inexpensive Draft Stopper.

janice142
 

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 that gap.
 

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.
 

Now the 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 luck.


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.
 

Side Note: My advice on how to get a bargain on eBay can be found in the Screening My Hatch (eBay advice) article.


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. Rollers run 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 article.


My aluminum cleaning items included the spray bottle of alcohol and a rag.

Additional tools required for the project were scissors to 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 enough.



The GLUED 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.

 

About Rulers: 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 doorway.
 

The VERTICAL PIECE of the door draft stopper is screwed and glued to the door.

Originally the back door had a strip of teak along the edge.
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 good...
 

 

Lessons from my installation of the door stopper:

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.


What tricks do you implement to keep out the drafts during these bitterly cold nights?
And,  just a reminder: Don't forget to plug up your sink drains on the boat. The wind can funnel in those things and really chill off your cabin.
 

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2020

Categories: Characters, Comfort, Gear, Money,

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