I’m On A Boat- Solar Vent Installation

Before leaving on our trip to the Bahamas in 2011, we installed new solar vents on Velocir.  We had seen many older solar vents in boat yards still going strong after many years and much neglect.

The original installation required us to enlarge pre-existing 3 inch vents holes to 4 inches.  We epoxied the cored deck so that it would be water tight, and installed the vent.  It was great except that in heavy weather (crashing waves and spray) it would leak a bit., otherwise we love them!  This summer our starboard vent stopped working, so we replaced it:

Solar Vent Installation by Velocir

After taking the old vent out we waited a few weeks for a new one (free under warranty) to come in the mail.  Then, Amelia installed it by lightly chiseling off the old foam ring and Dolfinite sealing compound.  Mineral Spirits and kerosene also work really well at getting Dolfinite off.

Solar Vent Installation by Velocir

There are three main pieces to install.  The base (top right), the white ring is the interior trim piece, the foam ring is part of the waterproof bedding on deck, and then the cover piece with the solar panel and motor.  Since we already had holes drilled it was super easy to install.  (Note: Before drilling holes, make sure your vents have solar panels aesthetically going the way you like.)

Solar Vent Installation by Velocir

We put fresh bedding compound, Dolfinite, down before installing the base.  Contrary to what you might assume, Amelia doesn’t just use Dolfinite because there is a cute dolphin on the label.  The other advantages are that with age, the bedding compound is still easy to remove and reapply.  It doesn’t easily dry out under basic storage methods.  (It is messy to apply though, comically so, like peanut butter).

Solar Vent Installation by Velocir

The base fit right in.  The white part of the base slides up and down, allowing air in/out or cutting it off.  There is also a handy bug screen.

Solar Vent Installation by Velocir

And, Viola!  A beautiful new and working solar vent.  Aren’t warranties great?

P.S.  They are very quiet.  Every once in a while one will start to make a ticking sound, so we restart and silence again : )


  1. I still have a new solar ventone in the box from last year I’m deciding on installing. The problem is I don’t want to drill a hole in the coachroof and the forehatch has too much camber for a tight fit. Thanks for sharing your images. I’m rethinking this all over again. I sail a Hughes Northstar 600, otherwise known as a Hughes 26.

    Thanks for a great blog and thorough video clips. I followed every aspect of your Bahamas trip.

    Looking forward to your new excurion to the Great Lakes. I love ready about great trips in smaller boats. To me, the stories are greater adventures

    Derrick, Newfoundland

    1. Thanks for your comment, so glad you have enjoyed our blog! I looked at the Hughes 26 online (nice looking boat!) and definitely see what you mean about the camber. Just something to look into- in different areas such as our anchor roller and dodger we have used a mounting pad of starboard. It is easy to work with, cut/shape and flexes when heated, but as a downside seems more expensive than other materials. Best of luck with your project!

      1. I haven’t used any of this stuff, but I’m aware of the material. Thanks for suggesting it, I will look into using it as a mounting plate. Thanks

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