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Protecting windows and portholes during heavy weather conditions



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What is the issue?
Hull openings, hatches and so on are vulnerable in storm conditions. Should the vessel fall badly off a wave, or a heavy broaching wave should fall directly upon the window, it is possible for the weight of water could smash or drive a window or porthole through, letting in great volumes of solid water.

Why address this?
The breakage of a window or porthole breaches the vessels watertight integrity placing the vessel in grave jeopardy in any sort of seaway. The windows have to be sealed up as quickly as possible.

How to address this?
Make a set of two to three emergency weatherboards, also known as storm boards or shutters, with bolts, wingnuts, topping off acorn nuts and strongbacks to fit the largest windows on the vessel. Have these emergency plywood weatherboards at standby during heavy weather conditions in case of trouble.

Weatherboard boards for storm breakage
Photo: Tony Gibson


Predrilled 12mm marine ply is ideal for the purpose but add a rubber mat to help to create a seal. Place the weatherboards in a location that is easily accessible should they be ever called upon. Have some acorn nuts to fit over the exposed bolt ends to prevent any cuts to skin or clothing. If you have to live with the boards for anytime take a hacksaw and cut the bolt off short and replace the acorn nut. The end of the bolt sticking out is just asking for someone to fall against it when going forward, or for a line to snag on it.

The precautionary boards may also serve a double purpose of being a planned part of a makeshift jury rudder Experience.

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.
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