One of the original items on my initial list of things to do involved dealing with the window frames in the cockpit that had peeling paint and other issues. The other related item I had to deal with is the glass in the cockpit. The glass was likely the original glass from 1990 and it was pitted, permanently marked with water spots and stained. Trying to see out was a real challenge. The window frames had peeling paint exposing unprotected metal to the elements. The button clip-ons that fasten the enclosure curtain to the window frames were all shot and in some locations corrosion had begun eating away at the window frame. On both side window frames there was an opening window wing but the starboard wing window was missing. The front windshield lays low on the front of the boat and since i’m standing most of the time when I drive, I am looking over the windshield but with that said, having a windshield and side windows that are difficult to see through are not optimal! Another issue I was experiencing was that the windows in the boat cabin leak. Until this year, SoCal had been very dry so leaking cabin windows were a non-issue. Last fall I took the boat to San Diego to work out of our Corporate office for a few days and I slept in the boat. Of course a storm rolled in the first night, dumped a bunch of rain, and I had to scramble to keep the dripping water off of me while I slept – not a fun night! Here are some photos showing the general state of the window frames and glass in the cockpit, although it is difficult to see the poor condition of the glass with photos.
Before (old paint peeling window frames)
My challenge with this project was that I had no idea where to start, what work I should do, and what work I should perhaps think about hiring someone who knows what they are doing. Lets start with the window frames. I had a plan on how to clean up and preserve the frames but I didn’t really think that I could realistically clean the frames in place without removing them given the amount of space between the console and the glass. The thought of removing the frames was not a pleasant one as 1) I didn’t know how they were attached and 2) I was reading about the difficulty people have getting them back into place. I decided to start with the plan of cleaning them in place and using a product that I had found on youtube to seal the metal that appeared to work quite well. After spending about a week trying to clean up the frames using everything from paint remover, sandpaper, and a dremel tool, I gave up on this idea. I could have gotten away with this method but the end result was not all that great even though it would have been much better than the current state. I ended up having the frames removed and sending them out to get powdercoated and sealed. My trusty mechanic Mike Nejad ended up removing the frames and putting them back together and installing them. After the frames came back from getting powdercoated and sealed, I tried to assemble them but all that did was waste 2 full days one weekend. I made absolutely 0 progress. The issue ended up being that the powdercoat was a little to thick and needed to be sanded a bit so the pieces fit back together again. Anyways, everything was installed and I am very very happy with the end result. You can still see the parts of the frame that had corrosion because the corrosion went a little deep but at least now, everything is sealed.
Before I started this project I went into the dealer that sells Grady White boats in Newport, Schock boats, and I enquired about the best way to handle replacing the glass. They gave me a referral to MDI, Marco Drovandi. I called him and he was very responsive. Marco came out and gave me an estimate. We discussed the details and he came out and measured the glass before I began work on the frames. While the work was getting done on the frames, we were waiting for the new glass to arrive. The day after the new refurbished frames were installed, MDI came out and installed the glass and resealed the 2 glass cabin windows in the front of the boat that were the primary leakers. On the side windows in the cockpit, I decided to eliminate the wing windows as these were never really used and one was gone anyways. Everything turned out better than I could have imagined so I am a very happy camper!
After (Refurbished window frames)
I had ordered some more Sea Dek in order to replace a few pieces that had been stained or damaged. A couple of the trim pieces under the steering wheel had some hydraulic fluid leak onto it when I repaired a leak in the hydraulic hose. The Sea Dek trim piece bubbled off so I replaced it. I had a large piece left over and decided to put some on the ceiling of the cockpit. First I cleaned above by using regular marine cleaner and then I cleaned with acetone as recommended by the instructions. I cut the piece to size, tested the fit and then applied the piece. It’s a small touch but it adds some character to the cockpit. The original Sea Dek has been on my boat for over a year. The only pieces that I have replaced have been pieces that had something spilled like oil or fuel additives or a couple pieces that got damaged from unusual circumstances. It’s much better to replace the Sea Dek than spend days with gel coat repairs! The most surprising result is that the Sea Dek I applied to the deck. After more than a year and a fair amount of traffic walking on it, it still looks great! I love this stuff!
From time to time, I like to spend some time dreaming about ‘what if’s’ with relation to the boat. While the engines currently powering my boat are in good shape, they are 2004 models that have been rebuilt. Last year I had an alternator go out on one engine and a couple of other small irritating things happen that required limping in on one motor. When you are 60 miles offshore, this can take a while! So ‘what if’ I re-powered the boat with newer engines? What kind would I want? My current engines are 2 strokes that require expensive DFI oil on top of fuel costs. “What if” I my “newer” engines were 4 strokes? My gas mileage on the 2 strokes are about 1.25 miles per gallon which sucks but ‘what’ if my “newer” 4 strokes were to get much better gas mileage? My current motors are very loud making conversation difficult when under power. “What if” my new dream motors were Mercury Verados which are very quiet? “What if” my new dream motors were white and matched the boat? “What if” my new motors were these Mercury Turbo Charged 300HP White Verados? Oh yes … it is fun to dream a little … or is this only a dream? Stay tuned!