What in the world is crazing? And why is it happening to my windows? I never heard of crazing before I started cruising, but then why would I? The windows in our house are made of glass and, even though glass shows its age through fogging or discoloration, it does not craze. The windows on our boat are Plexiglas/Lexan or acrylic/plastic-based material. These windows get a foggy look and discolor as well, but they also get this crazy cracking or material breakdown of some sort, which I am sure is from UV exposure and possibly even from the stress of the twisting movement in the boat. This breakdown makes it difficult to see out of the window when the sun shines on it, rather like a severely pitted windshield on a car.
All of our windows have crazing to some degree, but it is expensive and time consuming to replace them, so we only ordered the two sides of the salon to be replaced for now. We previously replaced the windshield of the cockpit at Grenada Marine because it cracked when we blew our jib block going into Guadeloupe last season.
It took the guys from Custom Fit Marine two days to remove the starboard side window. This window was problematic long before we bought the boat. We can tell it leaked for a long time from the discoloration of the wood work on the side of the freezer. I know we tried to patch the leaks and I am sure the previous owners did as well and this may have made it more difficult to remove. You can see the crazing a bit in this picture. By the way, my fellow boat friends, we were informed not to use 5200 or 5150. This gets hard like car tires and loses its flex, cracking and pulling away from the gelcoat and/or window and causing the leak to worsen. Where it does not pull away, it is very difficult to remove. They said to use Sikaflex-295 UV. If you can’t find that exact one, at least make sure it says UV.
This picture shows the crazing better. If the sun had been shining right on it, you would have barely be able to the boat beside us.
Once the window was out, they took it to the shop to use as a pattern for the new window. They taped paper over the window slots to keep out the majority of the rain. It has been raining off and on, just enough to add a challenge.
Fortunately the port side window came out much quicker, only taking about four hours. However, our Florida registration sticker was attached to that window. The guys cut that piece off and gave it to us, but we were not sure what to do with it. So when Dave is in doubt, he throws it out. I hope we didn’t need it. The old windows were temporarily taped back in for the night.
I’ve been practicing vegan recipes in case our friends Matt and Sheila come visit us and made a curried summer vegetable stew. It is an awesome recipe and turned out just as good the second time I made it. We had Gwen and Guillaume from Slow Waltz over for dinner, then dinghied over to Lagoonies for the jam session.
We arrived to very loud hard classic rock music, which offended our poor cruiser ears. But we stayed anyway and grew accustomed to the volume. They were really good and there was one little gal that sang her heart out to Mustang Sally. She had a big, gravelly Janis Joplin voice and she absolutely rocked it! We would have been happy to listen to her sing all night. But, alas, she only sang the one song while we were there.
Once the windows were out and all the old foam and silicone were scraped out, the new started to go in. It was very interesting to watch the process. They claim that once they install windows, they never leak. That is exactly what we are hoping for!
This was just a teaser. It was Friday and the windows needed time to set before they do the final seal. They won’t be back until Monday to finish the job and it is not until then that the paper comes off. They already look good, but I can’t wait to see through them sans crazing! We’re getting close!