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Old 16-05-2010, 09:40   #1
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Fiberglass to Fill Big Window Openings ?

I am considering several different boats and so far the front runner is a Downeaster 38. The DE38 has one drawback though, these big @ss windows. I dont trust them to hold up well and the 2 starboard are right over the nav station where I would want to mount expensive electronics.

How big of a deal would it be to fill these in solid or at least leave an opening for a portlight the same size as the others on the boat?





Thanks in advance for any replies!
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Old 16-05-2010, 11:18   #2
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seems like thats part of the design. There are more exposed and larger panels about. how well its installed is probably more important then rebuilding. If thats not done right what else is week. I dont like large exposed glass but enjoy natural light. From the pictures it doesn't seem like a large risk given the location and low profile. Was it built well?
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Old 16-05-2010, 11:57   #3
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Make up some storm boards that fit over the outside of the ports. The most primitive ones are made of painted plywood. The nicest ones are made of thick Lexan that allow light through.
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Old 16-05-2010, 12:31   #4
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Original question, yes totally feasible. Following basic fiberglassing principles the modification would be sound. Would really change the feeling of the interior losing all that light.
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Old 16-05-2010, 12:47   #5
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Aloha Jim,
I'd go for David M's option. You'll appreciate the light below once you've been aboard awhile. Storm boards of lexan are really quite nice looking and you can find other places to mount equipment. If not just make a temporary cover for the inside to mount things on. Also, if ever you were to sell your dreamboat (God forgive) the new ownere will want those large portlights.
Again, this is just one opinion.
Want a large liveaboard? Look at Cal 2-46. My friend has one for sale that needs quite a lot of work but the price is very right.
See you soon.
Kind regards,
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Old 16-05-2010, 13:53   #6
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Hi John, glad to read you made it through your delivery ordeal! You are quite correct, the Cal is priced right! I think it is too much boat for me though.

Stormboards! Excellent! I like the idea, thanks guys. I am glad to hear that it is feasible to close them though, thanks forsailbyowner. I would not loose that much light if I choose to replace with say 8"x18" SS portlights ( New Found Metals - Portlights, Stainless Steel Standard ) that can be opened to allow air flow.

After thinking about it, glassing them in completely would make it gloomy inside, especially in a storm. Not to mention doing this would probably lead to a headliner job too.

Thanks for the replies!
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Old 16-05-2010, 16:01   #7
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What about replacing the glass with real thick safety glass?

I really like this boat but am also concerned about the picture windows.

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Old 16-05-2010, 16:11   #8
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That's a really nice looking boat Tim.

I like your idea of putting in thicker plastic or thicker laminated glass. ...or weather boards before you know the weather might be getting snotty.
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Old 16-05-2010, 16:23   #9
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Quote:
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What about replacing the glass with real thick safety glass?
Not a bad idea but personally I would want a window that will open and can be dogged down when closed. Would be nice if the glass in those are strong as well.

If I do buy a boat with big picture windows, I would sail it about a year before making any decisions so that I dont fawk it up.
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Old 16-05-2010, 18:31   #10
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"Would be nice if the glass in those are strong as well." Plain lass, by any definition, is going to be weak compared to other glazing options like Lexan. Or laminates. I think we can rashly presume that sapphire glass and bullet-resistant laminates are out of your budget, which brings us back to polycarbonates or a poly+glass laminate.

Either one, properly engineered and fitted, will be as strong as the hull it is attached to.

Sadly I was en route to someplace else and couldn't stop to trash pick, when the bank branch down the block from me was being renovated. Yes, the INCH THICK BULLET RESISTANT LEXAN PANELS from the tellers' windows was being replaced and literally tossed out into the trash bin. I hate to think of what it would cost to buy that kind of glazing brand new, but if you can find a similar renovation site--that might be one way to get some very good material on the cheap.
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Old 16-05-2010, 20:16   #11
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Yes, 46 is too big for me too plus I don't care for center cockpits. Great liveaboard though. More like a condo down below. Too few handholds though. The Downeaster is a pretty boat and it looks much like my old Mariner. If you can find some large opening ports then that would be a good change but they are very expensive and I'm a true believer in living with the boat you buy without changing it too drastically in the first six months. I've seen too many new owners rip into a boat and make some significant changes which they are very sorry for in the future. Sometimes the original is designed a certain way for a very good reason. I do, however, agree that opening ports are very nice in the tropics if that's where you are headed.
regards,
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Old 16-05-2010, 22:16   #12
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I replaced old plastic framed non opening with somewhat smaller opening. Yours do look big. I'm thinking you could get away with replacing the 4 you have with 8 ones you'd appreaciate a lot more. It seriously modernized my boat.

One thing I love is passing provisions thru after a shopping trip. Sounds like a small advantage, but not in my book. The cross breeze thru the cabin is of course nice too. Oh, and yammering thru an open window when you're ... not presentable.
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Old 16-05-2010, 23:25   #13
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Quote:
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I would not loose that much light if I choose to replace with say 8"x18" SS portlights ( New Found Metals - Portlights, Stainless Steel Standard ) that can be opened to allow air flow.
We just installed one of those to replace a larger RV-style aft facing sliding glass window. We had the job done professionally because it needed serious FG work with expert gelcoat matching to fill in the larger hole. The NFM portlight is beautiful and RUGGED. We also got seven 4x14" to replace all the plastic opening portholes. We ended up returning four out of the seven teak spacer rings for replacement because the routing was awful and the wood grain had been shredded rather than cut. The portholes themselves are gorgeous and there was no question when we said we wanted replacements for the poor quality wood products.



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Old 16-05-2010, 23:48   #14
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This is an old photo and a lot of things have changed since then. But if you know what Islanders look like, you see the difference my new portlights and hatches made.
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Old 17-05-2010, 09:43   #15
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Quote:
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This is an old photo and a lot of things have changed since then. But if you know what Islanders look like, you see the difference my new portlights and hatches made.
I was just looking at Islanders right before I checked this thread. I have to say that your modifications are a serious improvement.


Quote:
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We just installed one of those to replace a larger RV-style aft facing sliding glass window. We had the job done professionally because it needed serious FG work with expert gelcoat matching to fill in the larger hole. The NFM portlight is beautiful and RUGGED. We also got seven 4x14" to replace all the plastic opening portholes. We ended up returning four out of the seven teak spacer rings for replacement because the routing was awful and the wood grain had been shredded rather than cut. The portholes themselves are gorgeous and there was no question when we said we wanted replacements for the poor quality wood products.
Thank you for sharing the pics. Looks great and I think you were wise to have a pro do the work and of course the results tell the story. I am happy to hear that NFM is easy to work with as well.

Its good to know that large, ugly picture windows can be replaced with something else safely. Thanks everyone for all of the great info.
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