I am looking to purchase a 32 to 36-foot boat for living aboard and cruising. I am attracted to pilothouse models for their qualities at the dock, but worry that all the glass will make them unsuitable offshore. Is it possible to make a pilothouse boat safe for bluewater sailing?
Sue & Larry respond:
Yes, itís possible to fabricate and install storm shutters over large expanses of glass like those frequently seen in pilothouse boats. The storm shutters are usually stored below and only installed for times when you go offshore in extreme conditions. Acrylic sheets that are three-quarters to one inch thick are cut slightly larger than the glass you wish to cover. These are fastened to the cabinhouse by means of machine screws that fit into threaded stainless steel or brass inserts spaced around the perimeter of the glass. The larger the window, the thicker the acrylic should be.
A spacer is sometimes placed at the fastener to create a gap between the acrylic and the glass. This allows you to hose the glass window off if it becomes encrusted with salt.
Good luck in your search for a boat.