Saturday, July 8, 2017

Glass Windshield from Dorsett Catalina

The Dorsett Belmont has a unique patented feature that allows the boater to tilt the window back and climb out over the bow.

In 1960 the windshields were made of plexiglass and over the years mine had developed scratches and cracks.
The old plexiglass windshield had several cracks and was scratched.

This winter I finally bought a glass windshield for the Belmont. I was given the sellers number when I bought the boat but $300 seemed like a lot of money to pay for an "accessory" for a non-operational $1200 boat. Five years later the price went up to $500 but somehow based on the amount of fun we've had the price seemed like a bargain.

In 63 Dorsett started using glass windshields that were held closed with levers where
my plexiglass windshield has thumb latches mounted further out.
I called Eduardo (the seller and another vintage glass lover...) and verified the beam on the windshield was the same as my Belmont's plexiglass windshield so pulled the trigger. My friend Tom was visiting UC Davis in Sacramento for a class at on setting up a wine tasting room and agreed to bring my prize home with him.

The windshield arrived in perfect condition, but it presented a dilemma. The brackets on the glass Dorsett windshield were longer than the brackets on my plexiglass windshield.A normal person would have just drilled new holes for the brackets but since I
  • a) didn't want to drill holes in the boat and 
  • b) I didn't have the mounting brackets for the glass windshield 
I decided to make my own and match up the windshield to my original mounting points.

The 63 Dorsett windshield has longer brackets that are cast and appear to pivot on a ball.

The plexiglass windshield had aluminum brackets that wrap around the glass and pivot on a shoulder screw.
I made a cardboard pattern and split the difference to line up with the pivot point.

I bought a sheet of .10 aluminum which was a little thicker than the original but could still be bent.
Buy some good blades, the aluminum is soft and it gums up the jigsaw teeth.

I made the first bend in my vice, the second bend required clamping the piece to my workbench with a 5/8" thick piece of wood and then bending over the wood. The top is the original bracket, the middle my new bracket, then the template and what was left of the cast bracket once I liberated it from the glass windshield. 

The new bracket on the glass windshield with the original mount location. Stainless 1/4-20 button head screws with stainless acorn nuts hold the windshield bracket in the 3 original hole locations.

Two happy campers can see clearly now. 

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