In August 2003, we had gotten fed up with not being able to see out of our side and rear ports. The existing Lexan had become so cloudy over the course of the boat’s 18 year life that it was almost impossible to see through. Light would come in, but that was about it.
We had held off on this job because aside from the cosmetic aspect, the ports were fine – they were completely watertight and nothing leaked. We worried that if we messed with the existing setup, we’d create more problems than we solved. But after three years of living with the cloudiness, it was beginning to make me claustrophobic, so we dove into the job.
There are two fixed ports each on port and starboard, and three ports on the stern. We considered replacing the Lexan with plexiglass, but the curvature of the windows made that difficult. Guy removed the bronze frames, and popped the old windows out. We used the old windows as templates for the new ones, bringing them to a local shop so they could cut the new Lexan for us. That was the easy bit.
The hard bit started when we wanted to put everything back in. The new Lexan was bedded with two compounds. The first is a grey bedding compound that comes in strips. This compound is used industrially on high-rise windows to seal them and keep them in place. We obtained it from a local plastics store. The second is regular 3M bedding compound which we used to fill in the gaps in the frames. Guy then polished the bronze window frames until they were shiny again, and attempted to put them back on. This is where things got tricky, since the window cutouts in the deck were not properly shaped in the first place, and it was difficult to rebed the bolts for the frames so that they had any purchase. Guy was obliged to build some of the cutout areas back up with epoxy just to put the frames back on.
So far, we haven’t noticed any leaks.