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Old 13-07-2014, 08:55   #1

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Raised saloon with plexiglass windows

Is a Raised saloon with plexiglass windows an issue in big seas? Would this be considered more of a coastal cruiser? It's a 35' seafarer sloop
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Old 13-07-2014, 09:31   #2
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Re: Raised saloon with plexiglass windows

How big an area will the plexiglass be? Laminated safety glass is better - think minimum 1/2" thick. The structure also has to be robust enough to handle a knockdown/falling off a wave. Large unsupported plexiglass is not likely sufficient. Too prone to scratching anyway.
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Old 13-07-2014, 10:22   #3
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Re: Raised saloon with plexiglass windows

Is this a raised salon IE open into the rest of the boat interior or a raised pilot house that is more like an enclosed cockpit?

If large Plexiglas windows are linked directly to the main interior space of the boat without any intermediate hatches or companionways to isolate then windowed area then yes I would consider that a significant potential risk for offshore. In this situation break the window will flood the boat. Google the sinking of Trashman from this exact cause.

I would make the decision based on the planned usage. Bahamas, Caribbean outside of hurricane season, sure. Crossing oceans I would think about it. Consider reinforcing the windows, replacement with something very strong or building storm covers out of heavy ply or similar solutions.
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Old 14-07-2014, 08:08   #4
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Re: Raised saloon with plexiglass windows

Plexiglass windows with direct interior access? No way, as stated in the previous post at least bonded and layered safety glass or tempered glass. Then make sure the frames are up to the task. Structural rigidity in the support frames is just as important.
Any large area window would need to be able to take a large amount of force without stoving in. My preference would be storm covers, but it doesn't seem too many builders are doing that these days.
I've asked several builders, including some high end builders about this at boat shows and have gotten varying replies, some were quite honest and sighted engineering numbers behind the materials and design used in their boats, others were a bit condescending and avoided the answer.
I was supposed to transport a pilot house boat back from Bermuda years ago that had a large pilot house windows, it never made the first leg, during the trip to Bermuda they took a knockdown in a storm and one of those large ports popped out and the boat was partially flooded, knocking out all the battery power and the motor. Unfortunately the captain made the decision to abandon ship and then made a series of bad decisions which ultimately lead to his demise, otherwise the hull and rig were intact and the boat was secure. The remaining amateur crew stuffed sail bags into the open hole, bailed the boat (nothing faster than a scared guy with a 5 gallon bucket) and were able to maintain the boat until the coast guard arrived the following day, the first mate survived 17 hours afloat in his lifejacket in that storm until the coast guard plucked him from the water.
Since that time I've been quite careful when considering any offshore boat with large, unsupported ports. Some I've looked at were pretty stout, some were pretty scary, it depends on what you decide to do with the boat.
The boats name was Almeisan, I believe someone released a book about the whole incident recently. I still have the operating manual the captain handed me prior to shoving off, it was pretty detailed except there was no safety section in it, I should have picked up on that one item. It's made me a much more critical individual when looking at boats.
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