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Old 06-30-2010
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Plexiglass hatch question

Got a question for you: On my 10 yr old 36' sailboat, the plexi deck hatches are badly "crazed" with tons of tiny little cracks/scratches; I assume from exposure to the sun over the years. To date I have no leaks, and they seem solid. But are they solid? Are they still structurally sound (as sound as they might be otherwise)? Canvas covers are in the making. Thoughts are appreciated.
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Old 06-30-2010
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No longer solid. Crazing is what it looks like, hundreds of fractures in the plastic. It is caused by three things: UV exposure, chemical exposure (petrochemicals in waxes and cleaners, etc.) and excess stress, caused by expansion and contraction in an unyielding frame.

Probably sound enough to keep walking on, just nowhere near their original strength. The only cure is to replace the glazing.
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Old 06-30-2010
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In some cases the crazing is superficial and the strength of the port glazing isn't significantly affected. In other cases, the crazing is deeper and the ports will be significantly weakened. If you polish the plexiglass and the crazing goes away, it is the former...if it doesn't, it is the latter.
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