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Old 05-10-2018, 05:57 PM   #1
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Windshield openings, Smiles vs Frowns

Before too long I'm going to have to be replacing my Fly bridge enclosure. I have seen a few boats around with "frown" zipper window openings in the front windshield panels. Frowns would open top down rather than bottom up as "Smiles" do. I think opening from top down would have some advantages, one could lower them a bit to get some air flow without cool air bowing directly on the persons sitting at the helm, to take photos or use binoculars just stand up to the opening. There may be some disadvantages I am not aware of maybe strain on the half opened zippers and others.
I'd like to hear the opinions of others on this, especially anyone who has used them.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-10-2018, 06:29 PM   #2
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My frowns

I had a new, complete, bridge and aft enclosure made up with the frown zipper openings on my Marine Trader Tradewinds. My reasoning for that choice was to extend my boating season. I could control how much I opened for airflow. I used 0.040” gray tint Strata Glass. I did need to make drape rods as the glass was very heavy. (see photo) If I were to make or have made a new enclosure. I would do the same way.
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Old 05-10-2018, 07:00 PM   #3
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I had smiles on the original side panels on my Mainship Pilot 34. I think smiles are better because the plastic can be rolled up and out of the way at the top. For frowns, the roll will always be at the bottom in your way. If you roll down half way, you have the roll right at eye level.

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Old 05-10-2018, 07:11 PM   #4
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As you can see there are +\- of both.
All comments are valid so you need to think about the position, how you will be using the panel, preferred storage up vs down, etc.

Only additional comment I would make is that in iny experience smiles tend to leak more through the zips than frowns.

OK to do mix if you want and the positions can accommodate roll at top / bottom.
If cool you probably don't need partial openning on all panels... a couple will probably do. If rainy multi small opennings may be an advantage.

When I have made replacement panels for friends I try to walk them through +\- and let them decide.
Another consideration is whether you want a double or single pull zip slider. .. single less bulk and less likely to hang up if you will only zip from one side (be sure to specify inside or out)
Double provides inside + outside access but has another pull to possibly catch and hang up.

I have also seen window panels that zip completely out... zip runs completely around an oblong window w a small overlap. Made for a very neat top when removed but you need a place to store them. This option good for a thicker more rigid but clearer helm position. I have also seen a removable rigid polycarbonate panel w a wiper and 12V plug.
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Old 05-10-2018, 08:28 PM   #5
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Plus or minus so will add my 2 cents
If you open up bottom to top you can have air if it rains, the opposite you could have rain instead of air, see what I mean?

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Old 05-11-2018, 08:06 AM   #6
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Do you want a happy boat or a sad boat?
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Old 05-11-2018, 10:11 AM   #7
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One negative to smiles is the tight roll at the top causes scratches if there's any dust or grit on the vinyl. A workaround is to put a snap at the bottom, and snap it somewhere above and out of the way. Not always room for that.

I'm really happy with the frown on my forward helm curtain. I can pull it down just a little for air underway, or farther to see out above it but still have it partly closed. Fully open it sits neatly out of the way on the "dashboard" in front of the helm, with just one gentle fold (no scratching.) Plus, it's much easier to open, close or adjust. No straps or rolling.

One pet peeve of mine is that canvas shops often install straps that are too short, and you have to roll the smile up too tightly. Not only is this a hassle to do underway, but it causes more scratching.

So, my answer would be, a frown anywhere that you have a place to lay the vinyl when it's open, and a smile when you don't.
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Old 05-11-2018, 11:20 AM   #8
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Clearly it’s time to think outside the box. I want to be able to do both. Think about it. It can be designed. You would move away from curved zippers to an 8 zipper panel that would allow you to open in any direction. Wish you guys had brought up this discussion 2 years ago when I did the canvas. I never event thought about the different possibilities.
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Old 05-18-2018, 11:26 AM   #9
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Smiles done properly with binding shouldn’t leak. Consider a pull on both sides of Strataglas in case the zipper jams.

The Admiral just finished our camper top on a 36’ Albin, and she has become an expert on zippers- especially when seam stick tape has been used in construction.

Also to the comment on strap length- make them long enough. Strataglas rolled too tightly over time will get “memory” and tend to deteriorate quicker.

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Old 05-18-2018, 11:27 AM   #10
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Windshield openings, Smiles vs Frowns

Quote:
Originally Posted by islanddreamer View Post
smiles done properly with binding shouldn’t leak. Consider a pull on both sides of strataglas in case the zipper jams.

The admiral just finished our camper top on a 36’ albin, and she has become an expert on zippers- especially when seam stick tape has been used in construction. It is easy to do smiles the wrong way. Another consideration is a straight zipper down each side secured with velcro at the bottom. Less places for water to pool and intrude.

Also to the comment on strap length- make them long enough. Strataglas rolled too tightly over time will get “memory” and tend to deteriorate quicker.

Mike


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Old 05-18-2018, 12:53 PM   #11
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Forget vinyal and use Lexington type polycarbonate. Open windows and smileys u or down and fasten with Velcro or twist locks. Lexan can even be curved around the corner to avoid frames. After15 years it still is clear.
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Old 05-18-2018, 01:17 PM   #12
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We use smiles on previous boats. Put a twist lock fastener in the bottom of the smile and it will hinge up and lay under the bimini with a small strap to the twist lock fastener. No scratching, no coiling memory problems. On our current boat when I fabricated the enclosure I made patterns of the front panels and one panel on each side and had them made out of EZ2CY. The center 3panels hinge up and store under the bottom of the hardtop.
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Old 05-18-2018, 02:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Forget vinyal and use Lexington type polycarbonate. Open windows and smileys u or down and fasten with Velcro or twist locks. Lexan can even be curved around the corner to avoid frames. After15 years it still is clear.

Pictures and prices?
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Old 05-18-2018, 06:54 PM   #14
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These are photos of the front panels that are EZ2CY in the hinged up position. The photos are from when the boat was in the barn and covered with a tarp so thet aren’t too good. Of course the photos uploaded upside down. If I remember the 7 EZ2CY panels cost about $2800. I made the rest of the enclosure so it cost about $500 in materials.
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Old 05-18-2018, 07:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Comodave View Post
These are photos of the front panels that are EZ2CY in the hinged up position. The photos are from when the boat was in the barn and covered with a tarp so thet aren’t too good. Of course the photos uploaded upside down. If I remember the 7 EZ2CY panels cost about $2800. I made the rest of the enclosure so it cost about $500 in materials.


The idea of not rolling is good- thumbs up.
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Old 05-18-2018, 07:32 PM   #16
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Quote:
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The idea of not rolling is good- thumbs up.


Hard To Top hardtop?
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Old 05-18-2018, 08:04 PM   #17
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I used smiles/frowns in the past and just didn't like them. My most recent canvas job to accommodate a new hardtop over the helm to match the one over my rear deck I took a different approach. First I installed a track onto the inside edge of the hardtop's support metal and into which I fit a header about 7" wide with sewed (to mate with the tops of each curtain) on the bottom.

Each of my curtains tops zip into the the header. When we want to open the boat I have options. I can either open an entire curtain or in most cases, I only open the top along with one side zipper. This allows 1/2 of the curtain to be open with a 45 degree angle between that section open and the closed section.

I like to go with two side curtains at 45 degrees and the center curtain fully folded down. We each have our own likes and dislikes.
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Old 05-18-2018, 08:19 PM   #18
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I had curtains on a boat with a hardtop and used the smiles. I never rolled mine. I added snaps at the zipper area and lifted them up and snapped them to opposing buttons fastened in the top. With the bimini top that I have I also have a slot that flips up to the crossover pipe with button snaps, since it lands at the pipe location. But you can add a strap too to extend your length if the crossover pipe in the top is back further than where the smiles hit.
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Old 05-18-2018, 08:38 PM   #19
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Hard To Top hardtop?
Yes, it is. Love it.
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Old 05-19-2018, 07:23 AM   #20
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I’m guessing that open / closed depends on how much air you like moving on the flybridge. Even when it is cold I like air moving, which makes me unzip the bottom of the smile a few inches and let fresh air in.

The canvas does create a significant amount of windage making docking much different than without it even with everything open.

At the risk of thread drift, I’ve been asked a number of times from passerbys that don’t know she sewed it how much we paid, and have no idea what to answer. What would it have cost if we didn’t do it ourselves? I do know that I learned new cuss-words from the Admiral while she was fabricating, but since this is a family forum, I won’t post any of those here....
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