Travis Xtaero

The impossible requires the unthinkable.
Mar 8, 2015
This essay lays out why boaters in SoCal should not buy any more boats with aft leaning windshields. So why does anyone want an aft leaning windshield in SoCal? Here is a bogus argument. Because they look better. This is akin to why people are attracted to the wrong mate merely because that mate looks good. The wrong boat, like the wrong mate, can kill your spirit, pocket book, and in so doing erase your list of friends. Let’s look at aft leaning – or backward sloping – windshields and discover why they’re a bad idea.

Looks: Backward sloping windshields are normal in SoCal and warm climates like Florida and Gulf of Mexico. Sleek lines may look good sitting at the dock, and, sadly, this is where the list of pro’s ends.

Space: Cabin and headroom: An aft leaning windshield pushes the roof line intersection and the top of the window frame backwards on the boat and in many boats this puts that intersection right about where a normal person’s head wants to be while piloting the boat. This usually prevents comfortable standing. A ‘forward leaning windshield’ puts the base of the window frames in front of the helm and the windows rises and extends slightly forward thus creating ample headroom by moving that intersection forward and up, away from your head. This is a much more comfortable way to use the boat. The majority of aft leaning windshield boats wastes the space from the lower window frame to the top window frame. For forward leaning, the same space can be used for wiper motors, usable cabin space, and full stand-up walking all the way to the front of the cabin.

Visibility: Visibility is a huge part of enjoying the water and being safe on the water. Several things limit visibility. A big one being your position standing in the boat as it relates to line of sight through boat features. Aft leaning windshields create sun glare that often requires a visor that is impractical because a visor can’t hardly go forward far enough to prevent all the glare and the sun magnifies through the glass and UV rays damage whatever is on the dash or behind the windows. Forward leaning windshields allow you to have your eyes much closer to the window in the first place and by virtue of the top frame of window being further forward than the lower frame there is a built in frame, and if a visor is desired it can be much smaller.

By the same token, considering that forward leaning windshields have smaller square footage of glass needed to get the same or more net viewable area, the sun and water spray don’t hamper visibility as badly as aft leaning windshields. As spray hits the aft leaning windshield its slope becomes a cooking surface for cooking the salt spray onto the window. If you have wipers installed, they will need to be larger, work more often and therefore wear out. In aft leaning windshields there is an annoyance factor of having huge wipers swiping across your view, plus they need to be working more often and making a much larger sweep than in forward leaning designs.

Strength: Aft leaning windshields require more structure and usually support gussets or stanchions that further reduce usability and practicality of the aft leaning windshield. Forward leaning windshields usually have a nearly vertical orientation and there is almost never a need to add additional supports, meaning a clean unobstructed area to operate just behind the windows.

When considering these factors, it doesn’t make sense to look only at looks when investing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars into a boat, just like into a mate. The boat, and mate, must bring something to the table that makes your life better and create an easier time through the day. Be it better visibility, stronger roof or more comfortable piloting, when you pick a forward leaning windshield on your boat, you will begin immediately reap respect by your friends for a wise decision, the mates in your life will see and reward your conscientious investment.

On the water your better visibility will allow you to catch more fish, you will be more shaded and therefore less exposure to sun rays. Forward leaning windshields are of much higher value because of all these factors. Next time you see one, think to yourself, “Now there’s a boat that makes sense! That owner must have understood the laws of boat windshields.” Go ahead and buy them a beer and take them boat shopping with you.

Aft Leaning With Brow.jpg Aft Leaning With No Brow.jpg Forward Leaning With Brow.jpg Forward Leaning With No Brow.jpg Windshield Stick Drawing.JPG
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brokeass boater

I Should Upgrade My Account
Feb 23, 2010
Norcal's Brentwood
24' Skipjack w/Pilothouse, 21' Marada, 15' Boston Whaler
This may be one of those " you go to your church and I'll go to mine " converstations. Some hulls because of their lines will look better with one style over the other. I like the forward leaning windows on m Skippy, that's why I built the PH with that style in mind. Just a note on windshields from my experience. I intended to add wipers to the front windows and when I fab'b up the PH made allowance's for them but after using the boat here in Norcal's slop and windy offshore conditions I found that they aren't needed with the use of Rain X. The forward slope of the windows and coupled with RainX water beads off surprising fast, haven't gave wipers another thought,,,gregg
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Sep 29, 2004
Orange County
21' Custom Half Cab
Mine doesn't suffer from all those negatives. Strong enough to hop onto, plenty of shade, the ergonomics are awesome and no need wipers. You couldn't hit your head on the front windows if you got on your tippy toes and stuck your tongue out. Halelujah!

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