My boat, a Downeaster 38, has 4 very windows in the cabin and I am at a loss on what to do with them. I removed the old windows and frames which were very cheap plastic, not through bolted, and the glass was cracked/crazed. A slight breeze would probably have collapsed them if it hit at the right angle. They are approximately 13" x 44".
I want to upgrade the windows to give better structural support for the deck, provide better safety for offshore sailing and protection against boarding waves, and possibly enhance the looks & ventilation (if I go with opening ports) of the boat.
So far I am contemplating the following options, in order of my current preference:
1. Glass in the large holes in a similar method as described here
. Then replacing them with smaller fixed or even smaller opening ports (replacing all of the small ones with opening ports already).
2. Buy stronger replacement windows from a place like Bomon, as a Downeaster 45 did as described here
. They seem strong and look good, but I would still be worried about such large windows and possible boarding waves.
3. Build some sort of supporting frame as discussed here
. However, this is way out of my carpentry skill range and I would need to spend some time learning how to do it. Not that it is a bad thing, but I am learning how to rebuild this boat one step at a time and this might derail me for a while.
Other options people have mentioned are to just bolt on some lexan, make an interior trim ring and call it a day. I've also read I could use storm panels, but I haven't looked into how those work yet. Doesn't seem like you could easily throw up storm panels at sea while you need to worry about battening down everything else, reefing, etc.
If you were me and had this boat completely stripped to rebuild, what would you do? Things to keep in mind:
-I'm on a budget, but will not sacrifice safety and quality to save a buck
-I am doing all the work myself. I don't know what I'm doing, but am learning as I go
-I plan on sailing the boat far and wide, but mostly in the tropics. I wan't to cross oceans, so this isn't a coastal cruiser.
I don't have many pictures of them before I took them out, but here are a few so you can get an idea of what I'm talking about
This is one of the smaller windows, but it represents what the frames were like for all of them: