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Old 17-07-2013, 10:06   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Los Angeles
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Upgrading Hatch Covers & Windows

I'm about to buy an '81 Cat38. I don't care for the solid forward hatch (no light) and I'd sure like to replace the windows with more contemporary and operable ones, like what they're putting on the newer Cats. Has anyone done any updating in this department? I'm not looking to retro-fit. I want to up-date.
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Old 18-07-2013, 13:16   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Massachussetts
Boat: Cheoy Lee 47 CC
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Re: Upgrading hatch covers & windows

I've owned one Catalina of that vintage and bought and sold a couple other Catalinas of that vintage. I can tell you that the original windows (ports) were made by Catalina and as such may not be a standard size or pattern that would fit an aftermarket opening hatch, except the forward smaller ports that are the smaller ones. Those are around the same size and shape as some ready made opening ports.
You might try actually calling Catalina, when I have contacted them in the past their customer service and technical support is excellent, although I have not had contact with them for some time.
Otherwise, the more modern versions of those models used lexan parts mounted to the outside of the cabin top and through bolted.
I replaced the older ports on my wife's boat this way by making patterns, buying a 4x8 sheet of tinted lexan (3/8" thick) and making a set, then mounted them to the boat, they look good and don't leak.
The original aluminum frames on the Catalina's were a bugger to get water tight. I eventually found that using plate glass window silicone, like used on office buildings worked well with the seal of the port glass to the frame (they used tempered glass at that time).
The frame to cabin top seal worked best with the rubber tape used on RV windows, it has a slightly sticky side that facilitates mounting it on the frame and stays pliable once in service. It's the only thing I found that lasted 3 or more seasons with no drips or dribbles. Otherwise I had to reseal the windows every other season and I tried every marine sealant made for that purpose but found that the RV butyl rubber tape worked best.
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