This article presents options for the perfect look and fit for those challenging yacht windows. A bit of experience will help, but don’t be daunted by the encounter; just reading this page likely means you have already overcome obstacles for other areas of vessels that were once demanding. Entire lines of blinds and shades are available that can be custom built for any windshield, pilot house, stateroom, galley or any other window area you can imagine.
You can take your experience in working with a range of fabrics and combine it beyond your scope for custom window treatments and applications—from drop-down roman shades to fully motorized systems, nothing is beyond your expertise. The real challenge is offering solutions that appeal to your customer’s vision, space and budget. Custom window treatments made with a precise fit distinctly enhance the value of the interior of your customer’s yacht.
There are a large variety of products in a vast assortment of colors and finishes for window treatments. And there are several companies that offer services for blind and shade needs. No matter if you are doing the patterning, fabrication and installation or using the services of a highly trained manufacturer and installer, you need to make sure every window treatment and component installed is of marine quality to withstand the harsh conditions of the sea.
Unique products and features
Whether your project is a trapezoid, triangle, parallelogram or otherwise, it should be accomplished successfully to function reliably and be of exceptional appearance.
The Internet is at your fingertips to source ideas, solutions and suppliers. There are numerous boat shows held throughout the United States, including the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, IBEX and the Miami International Boat Show. These events showcase current trends as well as various sources for manufacturers of window systems.
Exceed expectations with some of the most popular styles:
- Sheers, horizontal and roman shades
- Windshield blinds and shades
- Wood blinds and aluminum blinds
- Hunter Douglas products such as Silhouette, Duette, Pirouette and Vignette
- Honeycomb shades
- Pleated shades
- Hatch shades and fly screens
- Ocean Sheer products
Options to consider for installation
Wire retention system
Yacht blinds should come with a stainless steel wire retention system that prevents blinds and shades from swaying as the vessel moves. The wire itself should be coated in a Teflon clear coat that protects both the cable and blind/shade from being damaged over time.
There are two methods for securing the stainless steel wire. The first is the deck mount. It is primarily used for inside mount window frame installations. The second method is standoffs, used mainly for an outside mount or out of the ordinary applications.
All wood and aluminum yacht blinds should have the stainless steel wire retention system running through the routing holes and fasten to a standoff. They are mounted directly to the frame to avoid punching extra holes for the wires. On other types of blinds, the wire might have to be placed in a different location.
Standoffs and hold downs
Standoffs can be manufactured from stainless steel, teak, wood dowels, plastic, polished or unpolished aluminum, bronze or plated nickel; they can match any style you are looking for.
Having a stable standoff or hold-down is important for both blinds with either tension or wire retention systems. Standoffs can give clients an easy installation alternative when they want to install the blinds themselves. This way they can save money on installation and still have it look like it was professionally installed.
Window treatments use different brands of motors. Basically all window treatments can be motorized based on your clients’ needs. Motors are available for Silhouettes from Hunter Douglas. Check with an authorized dealer, familiar with a marine installation for motors such as Somfy or Lutron.
Styles to Consider
Blinds and shades
The Hunter Douglas Silhouettes (a luxury horizontal sheer) has become a popular choice within the yachting community, and although they are a great product, sometimes there is just not enough room to mount them. However, Poseidon has come up with a solution, Roller Only Ocean Sheer. Most yacht owners know window depth can limit their selection of viable window treatments. With a roller-only application, you can mount beautiful blinds with a minimum of 1⅞-inches window depth.
Poseidon has more than 20 years of experience manufacturing blinds and shades for the marine industry, and they are a Hunter Douglas dealer. Even though I have not had the opportunity to use this company, they advertise that their knowledge and experience allows them to adapt their products successfully to any yacht window. They can incorporate various operating systems and other applications into Hunter Douglas products. Their flexibility to fit any blind into any window, with all types of window treatments, provides clients with many options to fit their style and needs.
Writing from experience, I know installation is what really scares most fabricators. Poseidon has streamlined the installation of their blinds and shades so that anyone can install them like a professional. Their easy-to-mount brackets and wire-retention systems are thoroughly tested and proven to be easy to use and install. Along with written instructions they can also walk you through the process on a videophone like Skype, if needed.
Roman shades have always been my favorite and they have become quite popular on boats and yachts. Many owners request them because they give a yacht interior a very soft yet refined look. Shades can be operated manually using a pull cord or they can easily be motorized. You can offer either option to your customer as well as a wide variety of colors, patterns and fabrics.
These shades are a very flexible product and can fit most windows, doors, windshields and hatches. They give a boat a clean look, are highly durable, easy to use, and the cells come in three different sizes: 3/4, 3/8 and 9/16 inch. They are available in single, double or triple honeycomb and come in a variety of opacity levels. There are more than 50 fabrics and colors to choose from.
Windshield blinds for pilot houses
Every yacht’s pilothouse gets hot during the day, their windshields getting blasted by the sun. Honeycomb shades, 1-inch wood blinds, aluminum blinds and pleated shades are options that not only keep pilothouses cool, they maximize visibility by using a top down or bottom up system. Motorization can be added.
The single most effective window treatment for a yacht interior is the covering of the windshield.
Affordable alternatives for unique spaces
CloZures® (formerly Peek-a-Boo) shutters are for irregular or non-opening port lights; when curtains or shades just don’t work. They offer 100 percent UV protection.
Shutters are attached to the glass via 3M low-profile Dual Lock (a Velcro-like material). They are easily removed for cleaning.
Shutters are available in three colors: White, Sea Shell and Chocolate (room darkening). The room-darkening shutter is dark brown on the inside and white on the outside.
Ocean Air’s PORTSHADE is an ultra-slim cassette roller blind, suitable for even the smallest port lights. It can be used for vertical or horizontal surfaces, with the added benefit of being well suited for curved surfaces.
The Ocean Air SKYSCREEN roller surface is a combination fly screen and shade system suitable for boats with no headlining or thin decks. It requires no recess or cavity and can be easily fitted to existing hatches. The soft-edged low-profile design uses low-weight plastic extrusions with integrated screw covers and a simple and reliable magnetic catch system.
The Ocean Air SKYSOL is ideal for curvatures, a day or blackout pleated blind for large sunroofs.
Many yacht owners may think they have windows on their yachts that cannot have properly functioning blinds. As skilled marine fabricators, it is our role to offer solutions for unique shapes of windows as well as windows with a curving radius. These windows may look beautiful yet planning a system that operates reliably and matches the other blinds of the boat can be intimidating.
There is no denying the complexity of fabricating such specialty shaped blinds, but they are far from impossible. Through experience you can develop a system to offer window solutions that function properly and enhance your customers living quarters onboard their yacht
Terri Madden owns Sand Sea and Air Interiors Inc. in San Juan, Puerto Rico.