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Old 25-01-2016, 05:34   #1
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Opening windows on the front of a deckhouse

Hi Cruisers,

In the attached photos I hope you can see the front of our deck house. Currently, of the three windows on the front, only the middle window opens. It opens outwards, hinged at the top. This is how most of the Swanson 42's with our particular style of deckhouse were built.

Unfortunately, the window can only open a few inches before hitting the mast. It is really weird. When we first bought the boat I assumed it was someone's beginner level mistake, but then I realised it was the norm, so that really got me scratching my head.

So I was looking at the setup tonight, and I realised that the opening centre window is pretty well kaput, so rather than rebuild it I thought why not make it a fixed window and make the two out-board windows openable? I would love the extra airflow through the deck house, and there appears to be plenty of room to allow the windows to swing out and upwards. But before I rush of and do anything, I am wondering what I am missing? Why on earth did they do it the way they did. It is not like the mast was ever in a different position (except in the very rare ketch version of the S42).

Any ideas?
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Old 25-01-2016, 06:20   #2
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Re: Opening windows on the front of a deckhouse

I think that it may have to do with the need for strength of the ports in bad weather. When green water is coming over the deck the mast tends to part it and protect the opening port. The lateral ports were built solid to withstand the wave. I would think that if you used deck hatches you might do ok with replacing the fixed ones with opening ones.

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Old 25-01-2016, 06:46   #3
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Re: Opening windows on the front of a deckhouse

Quote:
Originally Posted by GILow View Post
Hi Cruisers,

In the attached photos I hope you can see the front of our deck house. Currently, of the three windows on the front, only the middle window opens. It opens outwards, hinged at the top. This is how most of the Swanson 42's with our particular style of deckhouse were built.

Unfortunately, the window can only open a few inches before hitting the mast. It is really weird. When we first bought the boat I assumed it was someone's beginner level mistake, but then I realised it was the norm, so that really got me scratching my head.

So I was looking at the setup tonight, and I realised that the opening centre window is pretty well kaput, so rather than rebuild it I thought why not make it a fixed window and make the two out-board windows openable? I would love the extra airflow through the deck house, and there appears to be plenty of room to allow the windows to swing out and upwards. But before I rush of and do anything, I am wondering what I am missing? Why on earth did they do it the way they did. It is not like the mast was ever in a different position (except in the very rare ketch version of the S42).

Any ideas?
I don't think you are missing anything. My vessel has fixed centre and forward opening flanking windows facing forward. They have 5 metal closers each, all the way around, to form a strong watertight hatch. This is quite a normal configuration and is excellent indeed for airflow, either at anchor or else on a tradewind run. Going to windward hard and they're closed, and even with severe/high boarding waves in storms are perfectly sound. I'd just go ahead and do it.
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Old 25-01-2016, 07:17   #4
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Re: Opening windows on the front of a deckhouse

Quote:
Originally Posted by GILow View Post
But before I rush of and do anything, I am wondering what I am missing? Why on earth did they do it the way they did. It is not like the mast was ever in a different position (except in the very rare ketch version of the S42).

Any ideas?
There might be a reason. In case of green water comes over the bow it closes itself, maybe
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Old 25-01-2016, 10:45   #5
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Re: Opening windows on the front of a deckhouse

As long as they are built stoutly and can be dogged down well I see no problem. The original configuration may have been an economic consideration?
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Old 25-01-2016, 12:07   #6
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Re: Opening windows on the front of a deckhouse

GILow, I have seen some done as Muckle Flugga suggests. Another option is to install one in the top on each side. Open, they act like air scoops. Done that way, you only open them for ventilation, they can be smaller hatches, so less expensive, easily dogged down for keeping the rain and waves out.

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Old 25-01-2016, 14:19   #7
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Re: Opening windows on the front of a deckhouse

Hi Matt, is your deckhouse completely open (as in a dodger) or is it sealed with a bulkhead and a door (pilothouse style)?

If its enclosed then it's worth considering the downflooding potential of the two outboard windows, not that that would be a big issue on a very stable design like yours.. If its open aft then downflooding is not a worry.

Who knows why builders do stupid things, they probably forgot the mast was there while it was being built? Or wanted to put in a nice square hatch.

Anyway some random ideas to fix it would be to remove the hinge pins, or make the hinge removable. perhaps add a track or something so it can slide up onto the cabin top. It could also be made to open inwards, or made so only part of it opens, possibly adding a smaller hatch into the fixed window.

Having the hatches on the outside front windows would have some advantages to offset having to make (and stop leaking!) two opening hatches. The leeward one can be opened to reduce the amount of spray or rain coming into the boat. And one side can be opened as the "wet" side while the other side can be kept shut as the "dry" side.

I like Ann's suggestion of hatches on the top, as long as the boom would clear and it doesn't effect the solar panels.

Got any more pics of the dodger and hatch configuration?
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Old 25-01-2016, 14:37   #8
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Re: Opening windows on the front of a deckhouse

An easier solution might be to see if you can arrange for the movable panel to swing inward. My boat has a hard dodger whose front is one sheet of glass. I would run into the same problem you have were I to put in hinges to make it swing outward and upward. Would hit the vang. But I'm thinking about hinges that would allow the entire windshield or a section drop inward and down. Even a few inches would allow for ventilation.

By the way, the hatch on top does not do much good.
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Old 25-01-2016, 16:24   #9
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Re: Opening windows on the front of a deckhouse

Thank you all, some great thoughts and insights and by the sound of it and the tone of the responses, worth doing.

In no particular order, Ann, your dual small hatches idea is great, but I walk on the deck house to put away the sails, so I have actually removed the solar panels in those photos (both are very old photos) and I am working on putting a proper grippy working surface up there, making it all as safe to walk around as possible.

Ben, the deck house is "sort of" sealed. Not something I would like to see hit by a wall of a water, but our high stern affords it some protection. See photo below.

Great idea to use deck hatches, AnsleyS, I hadn't thought of that.

And Moody46CC, you might find that little hatch on top of your dodger, like ours, was just put there to help get the engine in and out of the boat. I leave it open for ventilation when the boat is in the pen, being the highest point in the boat makes for a good updraft, but that is because our deckhouse is effectively air-tight when the boat is not in use.

Matt
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Old 25-01-2016, 16:57   #10
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Re: Opening windows on the front of a deckhouse

Going back to why the center one was hinged: maybe when it was built the centre one was the size of an available hatch, where nowadays hatches come in a variety of sizes.

It would be interesting to see if Lewmar make one that could be the correct size.

Other considerations are that its not likely you would have them open at sea anyway. (Unless you were going down wind)

I don't think there's much of a problem with strengths with modern materials. But obviously hinged at the top so if a wave did hit while it's open it would slam it shut.

There is another solution and that's to put two hatches in place of the large middle one so they both open up and out. Obviously there would be a bar or somthing between the 2 for added support. Modern materials again
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Old 25-01-2016, 17:30   #11
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Re: Opening windows on the front of a deckhouse

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Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post



There is another solution and that's to put two hatches in place of the large middle one so they both open up and out. Obviously there would be a bar or somthing between the 2 for added support. Modern materials again

I like it! Seriously. Much less work than modifying two other perfectly sound windows, the protection of the mast as suggested above, and with our very dry foredeck safe to leave open in all but the worst conditions.

Matt


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Old 25-01-2016, 18:49   #12
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Re: Opening windows on the front of a deckhouse

Matt, FWIW we had a hard dodger on our previous boat, and we put an overhead hatch in that (Ann mentioned it earlier, I think). It was ~18 inches square IIRC, opened facing forward so it "scooped" air, and was quite effective for ventilation.

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Old 25-01-2016, 19:21   #13
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Re: Opening windows on the front of a deckhouse

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Matt, FWIW we had a hard dodger on our previous boat, and we put an overhead hatch in that (Ann mentioned it earlier, I think). It was ~18 inches square IIRC, opened facing forward so it "scooped" air, and was quite effective for ventilation.

Jim
We do have one, it is hiding there between the solar panels.(see arrow) It was put in to install the current engine, so sadly it is only 9 or 10 inches square.

Ann's idea of two hatches really grabbed me until I thought about the fact that I want to be able to walk around up there. Otherwise I'd put them in straight away, one above each of the side windows.

But I think MarkJ has found the solution. I am just waiting on getting down to the boat this arvo to measure up.

Matt
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Old 25-01-2016, 19:31   #14
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Re: Opening windows on the front of a deckhouse

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There is another solution and that's to put two hatches in place of the large middle one so they both open up and out. Obviously there would be a bar or somthing between the 2 for added support. Modern materials again
Reminiscent of the British built Fisher series of Motorsailers. Two narrow forward facing opening windows.
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Old 25-01-2016, 19:57   #15
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Re: Opening windows on the front of a deckhouse

I LOVE those Fishers. Only learned of them recently.


I had a quick look at some pictures, very nice lightweight horizontal bar... I might be wiser to come up with something a bit more robust, the Fisher windows are a lot further from a potential wall of water than ours.


I am thinking it should be possible to have both halve open outwards and forwards, and still clear the mast, thus taking advantage of the tendency for the window to be pushed closed should it be hit by a sizeable wave.


Matt
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