Windows day 5, the end

Who would have believed that you could get nearly 5 dry days at the end of October in North Wales.

Today, just as we were finishing the last of the windows light rain just started.

As it was warmer today I took lots of pictures of the process. The condition of the sealant (and how many different attempts had been made to stop leaks) varied. The window openings where we have fitted opening portholes needed to be slightly bigger (with a very tight gap for the bolt holes).

As the cabin top it quite low at the forward end we needed to remove the plywood “ceiling” to get access for the bolts.

Anyway enjoy.

First, collect together tools and coffee m
Then have a look to see how bad the sealant is
Remove the tiny self tapping screws
Prise off the window in it’s frame
Oddly, the vinyl lining wrapped right out of the window opening and into the sealant area. No wonder they leaked.
First pass (of about 5) cleaning up the area around the window opening.
Looking a bit more ready
Jane attacking the plywood “ceiling” to provide enough access to the top of the window openings in the forecabin.
The “ceiling” has been relocated
Cleaning off the remains of the headlining
After the ceiling removal
Part way through making the window opening bigger for the opening porthole
Nearly ready to start fitting new windows
Test fitting to try for a reasonable alignment
The “interscrews” fitted into 6.5mm holes in the cleaned inside
This is what the interscrews look like from the outside (ignore the holes from the old self tapping screws, they get filled by the butyl sheet)
My dust mask might need cleaning before I use it again
The last wash and dry before fitting
Masking tape so the excess butyl sheet can be removed
Apply butyl sheet. This way there are no joints around the edge of the window
Cut out opening from the inside (keep butyl to use for deck fittings)

This is where the rain started threatening and then began, so few pictures.

Next remove protective film from the window and wipe clean) and from the butyl sheet.

Mark 2 of the bolt holes through the butyl (I used a small drill bit).

Put the window in place and fit all the bolts.

Here is the final look!

Finished 7 portside windows.
Finished 7 starboard side windows.

We are very pleased with the results and very pleased we have been able to do all 14 windows, at the end of October, while camping on board.

It is looks like every window had leaked at some time. Some were surrounded by soaking wet headlining. Replacing them was the right decision for us. Refurbishing would have taken ages all while water was still getting in. The aft cabin is noticeably drier in a morning with no condensation drips.

Hopefully no more window blog posts 🤣

The headlining experiment

So we hadn’t planned to remove the headlining and we certainly hadn’t planned to replace it yet (the memories of doing this on our old Hirondelle Catamaran still haunt us). However, as we have been replacing the windows (days 1, 2 and 3) we have had to remove a lot more headlining than we expected (mainly because it falls off and because so much of it is very wet).

So we now have lots of headlining fully removed and a lot more sagging. Plus we don’t know how wet the remaining headlining is from other leaks (hatches, deck fittings).

Where we can we will probably leave it alone (sleeping dogs and all that).

However, we have decided to, sort of, follow the example of Kika and Dan on Sailing Uma. See this video in which they insulated Uma ready to cross the Atlantic to that well known cold spot – the UK.

We are going for a different product. Sheets of closed cell polyethylene foam with flame retardant additives (although of course as we plan to cook and heat water + space with electric there are not going to be any naked flames anywhere.

This is going to be very much an experiment. Probably going to try using a combination of velco and battens to hold in place so that it can be removed. Also going to experiment with paints as we don’t want a black interior and we couldn’t find fire retardant closed cell foam in any other colour. We don’t want to cover it with Vinyl (environmentally terrible stuff and labour intensive). Also we don’t see the point in adding layers of plywood, foam and vinyl all over the boat that hide all the bits we might need access to .

Hoping this will add warmth and reduce condensation as well as looking reasonable for a lowish price. At the minimum we will be able to line all the lockers even if we can’t make it look good enough anywhere else.

More when we try it out!

Windows day 3

Today was quite daunting. We have got used to the process of fitting the new windows after two days and 4 windows. However, today was forecast to be a lot windier and a lot colder. Plus we set ourselves the challenge of fitting 3 windows, because that is one side of the saloon and so they are all on the same “wall” with a common piece of headlining to remove. We decided to start with the starboard side, where the chart table (our temporary galley is) as we knew there were definitely leaks there (plus it was slightly sheltered from the wind by the cabin).

The day started with the first big challenge being to clear everything out of the main cabin, our temporary galley, our bags of food, any other bags we hadn’t put anywhere, tools etc etc.

Then we started on the headlining. First, we had to remove some vinyl covered strips of wood around the edges. Plus a couple of grab handles (disappointed that 50% of the bolts snapped when trying to undo them). Then as before the actually lining almost fell off, and it was very wet, waterlogged even, in places. Here are two pictures of the very wet fibreglass and wood above the chart table.

A mixture of scraping with hand tools and attacking it with a wire brush drill attachment improved things to this point:

and you can see here that the holes for the bolts have also been drilled (and the right hand window above the chart table has been cut out slightly for the porthole.

In this next picture you can see where we go to by lunchtime. The three new windows are held in temporarily by one bolt at each end. All the holes have been though drilled and the interscrews (a special form of nut that is knocked into a hole and grips with splines around it’s edge) fitted to the inside.

After this we can draw around the windows, remove them, apply masking tape, the butyl sealing sheet, cutout the inside of the sheet, remove the protective film from both sides of the window, bolt the window on securely, trim the butyl sheet around the edges and finally remove the masking tape.

Here is what it looks like when all three windows were finally fitted.

At this point we were half way. 7 windows fitted (over 3 days) and 7 windows remaining. 3 windows with portholes fitted and 3 remaining. However, we do feel we have done the most difficult windows (the first as we learned how to do it and the two aft ones with portholes due to the clashes with bulkheads which both get in the way and increase the thickness of the fibreglass – so that the interscrews have to be indented for the bolts to reach them).

Anyway, it wasn’t quite half past 4 so we pressed on and have managed to do lots of preparation for tomorrow, all the headlining has been removed from the port side of the saloon. This include-d some sections that were even wetter 😦

We then spent an age vacuuming up all the mess in the saloon, hopefully tomorrow we will be able to fit the remaining saloon windows quickly and make a start on the 4 that will be left (2 with portholes for the forward head, 2 plain for the forecabin).

We are very, very pleased with how they look from the outside. On the inside we get a lot more light and view because there is no frame and of course the potential ventilation where we the portholes. They look a bit rough at the edges at the moment due to the lack of headlining. However, we have a cunning plan for that 🙂

By the way the windows are all supplied by Hadlow Marine who were really helpful. They supplied everything we needed and exactly as specified (and the specification was tricky because all the windows along a side are different sizes). We have changed the shape of the outside of the windows so that all the ends are semi-circular to match the Vetus portholes. Before that each corner was the same but the vertical distance between corners varied.

Windows day 2

So 2 windows fitted yesterday and two today. Aft cabin now finished.

This time we had to remove the headlining from the aft cabin sides. It just fell off when we took the old windows out. One side had loads of black mould behind it. All cleaned off.

The two windows in the aft cabin improve the view out because they have neither a frame nor a porthole. Much more light in as well.

We have also temporarily sorted the two leaking deck cleats (one into the aft heads compartment and one into a locker above our bed). Need some replacement bolts for these and a new backing plate for one of them.

While we were “playing” in the aft cabin we also emptied the composting loo for the first time. A very easy and not at all unpleasant process. We are complete converts to composting toilets, absolutely fantastic!

Worn out now, so a gentle evening planned. Hopefully over the next couple of days we can also do the 6 windows in the main saloon.

Two windows in one day!

We finished our 2nd window, but after dark. These first two windows were not just our first but also probably some of the hardest. The bulkheads got in the way and meant that the fibreglass was too thick in places for the length of our bolts. Also the both have portholes in them (6 out of 14 have portholes). Hopefully tomorrow we will make a bit faster progress 😊 Although we are very happy to have managed this.

Added comfort and luxury

So we now have some LED lights (mains only) in the aft cabin and the corridor/tunnel to it. Got them from Costco, 3 individual strips with one of them as the controller. Wave your hand in front of it to turn them on or off. Going to be very useful for boatyard winters, especially until we have got the 12 volt wiring installed.

Plus we also have our new infrared radiant heating panel installed. Just need to get some batteries for the wireless timer/thermostat. Time will tell if it is as efficient and effective as the very bold claims.