Day 347 Front window fitting
Installing the front window had to be carefully planned in order to maximize the time we have, and to take care of all of the small problems involved.

While I bent the frames and drilled them, Gena cut up the gaskets and made sure there was a good fit. She couldn't drill the holes until I had the frame welded together as this would be the template.

Bend in top and bottom of frame matched-      Cut angles marked while in place aligned with bolts
The planned window mount would be as shown in the diagram to the left. The only thing missing is a narrow (<1/4") strip of self adhesive closed cell foam between the lexan and the SS frame. This is primarily to stop scratching and will compress down to "very thin"!

Once the holes were drilled in the gasket, Gena noticed that it wouldn't stay in place and wanted to straighten out. We applied the butyl calk to the base frame and used bolts to hold the gasket, then used small blobs of "goop" to stick the gasket in place at the bolts so once they were removed, the gasket would stay. We had to wait a while for the goop to dry so I worked on the forward lip of the front hatch. It had a nasty sharp edge that we didn't like so I bent some flat bar then welded it on to get a softer point. ( below )

SS frame welded together smoothly

The frame also needed to be painted because polished SS just wouldn't have looked good, surprisingly! It looked unfinished... o

It had to be taken inside to dry well as the temperature was only a couple of degrees above zero.

The truss head bolts were inserted with a nylon washer so the paint would be protected anyway.

Frame painted with Tremclad
The top of the gasket was coated with a bead of clear silicone and the window was carefully dropped into place. We used a couple of long bolts with the heads cut off to stop it from sliding down and for frame alignment.

After some "cadjudeling", we managed to get the frame in place and tighten it down. after a week we will remove the frame and apply some silicone to the fill area. ( It takes silicone a long time to setup when between rubber and lexan we noted from experiments)

We were disappointed by the quality of this sheet as the steep angle creates a rather nasty distortion in view. The phot below shows this.  The poplar trees are actually quite straight, but look like a TV picture with poor vertical sync. I guess it'll have to do, as we're not going through that again! Using a sextant through this is a definate no, as probably would be using binoculars. The distortion was definitely in the glass itself -not because of the bolts. It was there before the bolts were even in.

Anyone trying this should request a "look through" before purchasing as I'm sure there is better quality (>$600/sheet?) materials than this.


Note the "wiggly" look from distortion in the Lexan.

Hopefully the distortion is ok for viewing buoys and markers etc. The side windows are great.

The oak center supports and edging can now be put back in, but no hurry on that! The window is remarkably rigid for this span. I dropped butt first onto it from a standing position and it was like steel (ouch I won't do that again!) and the supports aren't in yet. We're confident....

Finally in place, we noticed the inside of the pilothouse warmed up quickly with the heater, a welcome thought with winter on the way. Also the sound deadening effect was amazing. We had to yell to communicate through it!
To end the day, we decided to take Genas' new tender out. ( I say it's hers because she was soooo happy to buy it! ) The motor arrived last week so we're set to give her a try.

Gena proudly shows off the new tender!

Because the motor is brand new, we were only permitted to go to half throttle for the first few hours. Even at half, she moves at a fair clip, we forgot the GPS but I'd say 6-7 knots easy. Single handing in big waves would require some weight up front though as she wants to go skyward when opened up some.

An inflatable has pluses and minuses, but we like the idea of stowing when on a crossing to reduce windage, especially in nasty conditions where many people loose their tender from loose lashings and big waves.
The big minus is of course puncturing. This stuff is pretty tough but a sharp edge on a dock or coral/rock can do serious damage. The bottom has and inflatable keel under the aluminum floor that is very heavy rubber, but the sides are vulnerable being thinner.

The seats suck, we will be replacing those!




Day 347:
12 hours: Mounted front window! Tested tender. Day 346

Arcadia. Fellow Boat builder to the North! Day 348