Sunday, April 24, 2011


June, 2009

I despise mosquitoes. Seriously. We inherited some window screens from the prior owner that have mostly kept the bugs at bay (pun?), but they haven't been doing the job lately.

The old screens were pretty simple - just fabric screening with velcro borders sewn in, and self-adhesive velcro strips attached to the inside of the window frames. The velcro was no longer staying attached, and whenever we took the screens down, the velcro on the frames wasn't very pretty.

The window frames on Mariner II have a recessed track on the exterior, so I decided to try to fit real screens in that track. I had my local hardware store fabricate one aluminum-framed screen as a test. The trick is to have the screen large enough that it will sit in the track without coming out, but small enough that I could wiggle and flex it into place. My test on the starboard side worked out ok, though I reduced the measurements just a bit for the port and aft windows.

For the side windows, it helped to unscrew the vertical support, which allowed me to pivot that support outward while slipping the screen into place (see last picture). The aft window was more difficult because there was no way to pivot the vertical section; I had to flex the screen frame quite a bit to bend it in, but I managed to do it without breaking it. If I were to do it again, I'd reduce the size even further, maybe another 1/4 or 1/2 inch. The only real downside that I see here is that we can't easily get to the opening section of glass from the outside, so there's no good way to clean it. We just hose it down aggressively, and that seems to keep it reasonably clean.

It was tricky getting them in place, but it worked and they look nice. They were cheap, too -- only about $20 per screen. You can say that about very many boat improvements!

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