Closing the Bug Gaps
By Kevin Alles
After replacing the screens that fit the opening portlights on our Bayfield 32, I noticed a narrow gap around the perimeter of the aluminum frame, between the screen and the portlight frame. The tiny gap was large enough to let the ravenous mosquitos through to feed on us while we slept.
To remedy the problem, I forced thin cord into the gap. This did the trick, for a while. After time passed, it got wet, it turned green, and it fell out of place. Cue the return of the mosquitos.
Drafty windows at home provided an idea for a solution. There I’d used caulking to successfully stop drafts. (I used LePage No More Drafts Removable Weather Stripping, but if not available, a similar product will work, such as DAP Seal ‘N Peel Removable Weatherstrip Caulk) I decided the same product would be ideal aboard the boat because it is easily removable and doesn’t take the paint off with it! I used it to neatly fill the gaps around the opening portlight screens. When I need to remove a screen or do other work around the portlight, off it comes, no problem. Exit mosquitos!
Kevin Alles is an elementary school teacher who relishes his summer freedom to go sailing with his wife, Janan, aboard their Bayfield 32, Sea Alles, out of Cedar Island Yacht Club on Lake Erie. When the stars align and their two adult children have some spare time, sailing is a family affair. Kevin looks forward to more extensive sailboat cruising after he retires.