The window challenge

So we are going to have to make a decision about our cabin windows. There are a lot of them (14). At least one of them leaks at the moment (many others show signs of having leaked in the past). Fortunately, while the leaky one is in the aft cabin where we sleep, it is on the side that Jane currently sleeps on rather than my side 😉

One of the windows, showing attempts to seal it without removing it.

To help us decide I removed one window (from the aft heads compartment where a leak won’t cause many problems). It wasn’t very good news.

condition of the window after removing it

The frame has quite a bit of corrosion.

Frame with corrosion

Two of the 4 bolts that hold the top and bottom halves together had the heads already sheared off.

These 2 bolts holding the 2 halves of the frame together around the glass came out ok, at the other end the heads just sheared off.

The screws that hold the window onto the cabin side are tiny. They don’t need to stop the window being pushed into the cabin as the frame lip does that. However, the recommendation is to use a sealing tape that doesn’t glue the window to the boat. That means the screws are more important than when a glue sealant was used.

Very small screw holding with window in place.

So it is going to be a lot of time consuming work to clean them up, drill out broken bolts,, reseal the glass, new butyl sealing tape and potentially through bolt them to the cabin sides for security. Even with all that the corrosion and cosmetic damage will still be there.

We don’t want to do this all in one go. If we remove all the windows to check and refurbish them all then we will be without windows for weeks and highly likely that we will get some water in. On the other hand if we do them one at a time then my nightmare is that I’ll do 12 and then the 13th will break completely as I remove it or when I try to remove the bolts holding the glass together.

We can’t get like for like replacements as boats haven’t used this style of window for decades (glass got replaced by acrylic and they are now almost always frame-less and are simply bolted to the outside of the cabin with sealant around the overlap). I can get everything to refurbish them but it will be time consuming (especially where I have to drill out broken bolts).

So the same supplier can provide bolt on tinted acrylic windows cut to the right size and neatly prepared (bevelled edges, bolt holes drilled etc), much faster, arguably looks and functions better. Easy to carry some replacements. But more expensive in money, much less expensive in time.

Fortunately, there is a very active Rival Owners Association so I’m getting support from people who have already had these problems. So far people have gone for the refurbishment route rather than replacement. Maybe I’m getting caught by a desire for perfection rather than being more pragmatic.

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