Cracks, crazing and scratched old windows needed to go.
Framed windows did not seem very safe for blue water cruising and we didn't want storm covers again.

 Replacing the windows


The work done thirty plus years ago by Islander Yachts was in general up to my expectations of a good factory built boat.
However; the worker responsible for installing windows sure was sloppy. I guess that the position of window installer must have been a position at the very bottom of the food chain. I doubt I have ever seen worse work on any vessel.
When we bought Flying Cloud the windows were at least thirty years old and over the windows were what Islander called 'Storm Covers'.
These were nothing more than 1/2 inch Lexan covers, slightly larger than the window frame and were thru-bolted to the sides of the cabin. They were yellowed, cracked and crazed. You could hardly see thru the windows or the storm covers.

When we got around to replacing this mess I used an approach I have used many times over the years.

Below are pics of the approach I tool.


NOTE:  In my Sign Business we used a wide variety of products. For our backlit electrical signs we generally used either Lexan or Acrylic.
Each has it's pros and cons. By the way; Lexan is a registered brand name. The true name for these plastics is, Polycarbonate.
Lexan is the key component used in making bullet proof glass. It is incredibly strong and flexible. Easy to work with using normal wood working tools.
However it has some characteristics that are not so good. It is hard to get any paint to bond and requires a special coating for any painting.  It tends to crack or develop small crazing marks when exposed to ultraviolet for a few years. In the past it was hard to remove scratches or repair any sort of damage. It is also very expensive.

Acrylic or Plexiglas as it is sometimes called has very similar characteristics to a point.  You can paint it (although it too requires a special coating) , it cuts and glues well and it can be formed using heat.  Scratches are easy to fix and the cost is much less than Lexan.
On the down side, it will brake with impact and that is my main concern.

Although it rarely turns yellow as soon as Lexan, it will eventually craze and given enough time the crazing will break the pane.
For me, Lexan was the logical choice.


NOTE: Since I first wrote this page I have discovered that this Lexan with it's UV Coating is good for more than ten years!!


For more info on polycarbonate go to this link:

One of the original 'storm covers' from Islander Yachts


The old windows were very difficult to remove. Then came the repair on the openings in the cabin
Removing the old windows proved to be more difficult than anticipated. Even after thirty or more years they were pretty solid and had to be broken out with a hammer in places. Once removed we used a small grinder to straighten up the openings. Who ever cut them should never have been allowed to work on a boat.
After trimming, I sanded the cabin sides and applied a coat of Awlgrip 545 epoxy primer. After sanding that down smooth, the surface was ready to accept the new, one piece windows installed on the outside.


I made patterns of all the windows and then extended the measurements a couple inches to allow for the Lexan to over-lap the cabin openings enough to take thru-bolts.

 The windows were cut out using a saber saw. Then with a belt sander I finished them to the exact shape I wanted them.
At this point I hand sanded all of the edges with 320 wet paper. Here is where I had to give some consideration to what might happen in the future.
If I used my propane torch to flame the edges, the edge would appear to be polished with a nice gloss. This is easy to do on acrylic but very tricky on Lexan.
On the other hand, if in the future I might have to re-seal these windows, it would be best to leave the edges sanded with 320. This would give whatever sealing compound I used, a little bit better surface to hang on to. In the end I left them sanded.

Here you can see how I masked-off the inside of the windows and painted a black trim around the outer edge.
This is a special paint available only from Sign Supply companies and adheres very well.


In this photo I have installed the front windows using 3M 4200 to seal them to the cabin.  The bolt holes in the Lexan are 3/8 inch and the bolts are 1/4 inch. This gives a little room for the Lexan to expand and contract. The black painted trim inside, conceals the sealing compound leaving a very clean appearance. The masking tape is to catch any sealer that oozes out during installation

One very important part is too go easy on tightening the bolts. I snugged them down, waited for the sealer to dry a couple days and then gave each another quarter turn.


This is most definitely a two person job

On the inside I used stainless acorn nuts and I am in the process of modifying the interior window frames to go right back in place. They will be painted a matt black.


\Our plan is to make Phifertex removable covers to protect the Lexan and reduce heat inside the boat.

 We decided to fill-in the window in the back of the cabin.

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