Technical Article: #014

Title: Replacing the Forward Windows
Date Added: 26 January 2013
Article Author: Kevin O
Boat:
Hustler 30 – Whitecap

Replacing the For’ard Windows on a Hustler 30
Whitecap (formerly Seabrume) has been tucked up in the boatyard in her new Cornish home for a few months now. The extensive list of jobs that need to be done before her relaunch in the spring is steadily shrinking although it seems other things keep getting added to the bottom almost as quickly as other items are crossed off the top!
One of the jobs that definitely needed doing was replacement of the for’ard windows.

As can be seen from the photos below, they were in a pretty poor state, leaking badly, and suffering from obvious galvanic corrosion in the area of the fixings.
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Finding the Replacements
I had seen that the main saloon windows had already been replaced at some point and the glass had a company logo etched into it. With a bit of help from Mr Google I tracked down http://technauticmarinewindows.co.uk/ , a company based in Essex and asked them for a quote to fabricate some new ones for me. They came back with a cost of £87.50 each (in the end a total of £234.00 inc VAT and postage) for made-to-measure replacements. I didn’t think that was too bad given that they would be a bespoke size and would exactly match the previously replaced large windows. The price was certainly better than buying off-the-shelf Lewmar portlights or whatever that would have required drastic recutting of the coachroof to fit them.

Anyway, getting the old windows out wasn’t too bad a job but where the screw heads had corroded badly they had to be drilled out. Once out, they were wrapped up and packed off to Technautic for them to use them as a template (together with a small deposit) and the coachroof holes (that looked like they had been cut by Stevie Wonder with an axe) sealed over with plastic sheet, tape and a tarp.
Six weeks later Technautic told me they were ready, I paid the balance of the invoice and my shiny new windows arrived the next day.

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As can be seen above they came in three parts: the main alu frame with the toughened glass already mounted in a rubber seal; 2 internal frame parts (all pre-drilled with counter-sinks as required) and the stainless M5 interscrews needed for fitting.
Note… No mastic or any other kind of sealant was provided so I had to source my own. Research and my previous experience of using sikaflex caulking on the teak lockpit locker lids (soon to be revealed in another HOA article) helped me decide to try butyl tape rather than something messy in a tube. The black tape on the frames in the pic was just there to prevent scratching and was removed before fitting.

Fitting Begins
So, this weekend No 2 son and I braved the wild snowy weather and headed down to Cornwall to fit them. The old holes and gaps and cracks in the coachroof edges were cleaned up and filled with plastic padding which was sanded back flush when cured (In case of confusion, the line in the pic below is actually on the boat parked closely next to mine).

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Each window was offered up to the coachroof and the new hole positions marked accordingly.

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We drilled them out carefully and gave the whole area a final clean over and wipe down with acetone. We had sourced 12m x 15mm x 3mm white Arboseal GZ flat section, preformed butyl strip from Carlisle Glass (best price online – £4.90 +VAT etc at http://www.carlisleglass.co.uk/Arboseal-GZ-Tape.html ). Having also wiped the alu frames over with acetone to remove any contaminants we carefully ran a layer of the tape around the frame rebate, removed the protective non-sticky backing to expose the tape surface and located the windows into their respective positions. Sorry no pics, we had our hands full and got caught up in the task itself rather than recording the event for posterity.

Finishing the Installation
We positioned the frames and started to insert the supplied stainless steel inter-screws. Before fitting, each screw was pre-coated with Tef-gel to help prevent a repeat of the galvanic action between the alu frames and the screws http://www.tefgel.com/contain.php?param=tefgel_infor. It’s messy stuff but smears were wiped off with white spirit once the windows were fully fitted.

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The replaced Window with the last few screws to go!

Careful and gradual tightening of the fixings (a few turns taken on a screw, then the same done to its opposite number) until each was adequately tightened seemed to work best.
The butyl tape is gradually squeezed out of the edge so you know an adequate seal has been achieved. The plan is to leave them alone for a week or so then take a blade and carefully trim away any excess… the tape never ‘sets’ hard so this should not be a problem. We also noted that fitting the screws into the holes (and pushing them through the layer of butyl tape) was much easier and less likely to disturb the tape if it was done while the tape was cold (it was near freezing outside at the time) so it was less inclined to stick messily to the screw threads. It still stuck, which is probably good for achieving a watertight seal around the screws, but not as badly and it made the job easier.

So… job done… We think they look pretty good and are definitely much better than the old rotten ones were!

HOA NOTE: The article above is related to works that the author has carried out to their own boat at their own risk. This article is intended to share the authors experience with other readers only. It is not intended to be a comprehensive step by step instruction guide. Anyone choosing to do any work as a result of reading this article do so at their own risk. If there is any doubt about whether to conduct work on your own boat call a professional to assist.