A CASE FOR ACRYLIC
Most designers agree that glass glazings will never completely replace materials such as clear acrylic, polycarbonate and vinyl, particularly on smaller boats. In fact, Grady-White now equips its Fisherman 216, 236 and 257, as well as the Canyon 271 and 306, with tinted, thick acrylic windshields that wrap around the consoles and extend up to the hardtop.
“We used acrylic because glass cannot be physically formed to the geometry needed to wrap around the helm,” says Christian Carraway, new product engineer for Grady-White. But this is a special acrylic, the same material used for the canopies of Bell helicopters. It also receives a hightech coating that resists scratching. Grady engineering tested the acrylic coating extensively using sand and steel-wool pads. “We could not scratch it,” Carraway says.