Yes, last week we had two of those days that Seattlites brag about. The kind of day that brings out crowds of bicyclists, joggers, shoppers crowding Market Street and boaters swarming the docks. As soon as the temperature edges above fifty degrees they are out in shorts and tee shirts with dreamy smiles on their faces. It was a startlingly beautiful Seattle standards; the kind of day that would have my Hawaiian friends huddled around electric heaters and wrapped in blankets. But here the locals were frantically flocking to the beach parks and stripping off their clothes to absorb as much sunlight as possible before the cold rains returned.

When the happy coincidence of Laura's day off, temperatures warm enough for sealant to cure and no rain coincided we installed two of the four polycarbonate portlights I had fabricated in Dave's workshop on San Juan Island back in November. We are hoping that the stars and sun align again and give us another day like that before the Vega Rendezvous in July so we can install the other two.

That will complete the replacement of the original glass windows held by rubber gaskets, automotive style, with through-bolted three-eighths inch polycarbonate. The replacement of the windows was the last major upgrade we had planned. Vega owners are aware of the weakness of the large main cabin windows that can be knocked in by the force of a sea striking the side of the boat. This solution makes the windows stronger than the cabin itself and eliminates the annoying black smudges that come from the oxidized rubber gaskets. We had replaced the two large main cabin windows in Port Townsend with the help of the Shipwright's Co-Op. After going through it with them, I had the confidence to make the small ones for the forward cabin myself.

Port Townsend: Completed installation of the large windows.

Fabricating the large windows at the Shipwright's Co-Op in Port Townsend

Shipwright Bene Hoffman and me making holes in the boat.

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Comment by Orvil Newton on May 1, 2009 at 8:35pm
On the advice of the Port Townsend Shipwright's Co-op, we used Sikaflex for the large windows. I now think that was a mistake but they are the professionals and have their own priorities. They do a lot of fishing boats that way. I was told by one fishing boat owner that he had to cut his Sikaflex bedded ports out with a saws-all when they needed replacement. Sikaflex is much like 3M 5200: Permanent. You can't take them off and re-bed them if they develop leaks.

I used white silicone for the small ports because it makes more sense to me for plastic to plastic seals.
Comment by Larry Wilson on May 1, 2009 at 8:07pm
what did you use to bed the ports? (windows,deadlights)
Comment by Orvil Newton on May 1, 2009 at 6:54pm
We used Makrolon, a brand that is available in a scratch resistant variety. I don't know how this will work out long-term but the large windows in the photos were installed in October 2007 and still look like new.
Comment by Liv on May 1, 2009 at 5:48pm
Lexan is what we used, Orvil.
We too cut our own windows. The stuff scatches easily though.
Comment by Orvil Newton on May 1, 2009 at 2:13pm
The windows are made of 3/8 inch clear polycarbonate. Lexan is one brand name. It is very easy to work with ordinary woodworking tools. I made them using a band saw, table router and drill press but you could conceivably do it with hand-held power tools. I have video of the entire process of re-fitting that I will be putting up eventually in a new series, after I finish the Across the Pacific logs.
Comment by Suky on May 1, 2009 at 1:57pm
Orvil - thanks for all the details, extremely helpful. what are the windows make of ? guess, I missed that ?
Comment by Suky on May 1, 2009 at 1:56pm
whatever you need to sail Liv.. I see you raising the sails woman !* Happy Mother's Day !~*~!*~*!*
Comment by Liv on April 30, 2009 at 6:35pm
We also just finished installing both of our new windows, which we cut ourselves. That, besides a long list of to do's, which included caulking the toe rail and installing a new compass, plus building shelves and cupboards. and and and...:-) . We're still not finished but I would like to have the boat launched by mother's day. A gift to myself.. LOL Will we be ready is the question.. I guess we'll have to raise hell and high water.
Comment by Orvil Newton on April 30, 2009 at 5:03pm
The forward Deck hatch opens but there is only one opening port in the after bulkhead. Ventilation is handled by a four inch passive vent over the head, a four inch solar day/night vent in the forward hatch, a four inch 12 volt exhaust vent in the forepeak and a three inch mushroom intake vent in the cockpit that is ducted into the forward cabin. There are also two three inch mushroom vents on the after deck ventilating the lazarette. We have found that the boat is kept very comfortable in the tropics by erecting full length awnings and leaving the companionway and the forward deck hatch open.

In the high latitudes we have been keeping the boat closed with the active vents working to remove moisture. Keeping the boat dry while living aboard in cold weather has been a challenge but increasing airflow and ventilation seems to be working. If you look closely, you can see the active vents in the second photo.

More at
Comment by Suky on April 30, 2009 at 4:09pm
how about any that open ? only opening hatches ??

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