Macgregor 26s leak

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chadwiseman
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Macgregor 26s leak

Post by chadwiseman » Sun Sep 19, 2021 4:31 pm

I had a 26s in the water today to look at it’s condition. I did notice a small amount of water in the bottom of the boat (not enough to pump however it was only there for about an hour). Could seem to see where a leak was coming from, but even noticed a little water on the top of the ballast tank. Just curious if I should expect the boat to be bone dry, or if a small amount of water is too be expected.

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NiceAft
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Re: Macgregor 26s leak

Post by NiceAft » Sun Sep 19, 2021 5:40 pm

It depends on where.

To be honest,I don’t have familiarity with that boat, But, water on top of the ballast is sending off alerts. Is that surface area accessible to water from above. The only way I know of determining if the water is from above, or from the ballast, is to put bright food coloring in the ballast.

Old boats have a tendency to have seams leaks. Some leaks though are more difficult/expensive to repair.
Ray ~~_/)~~

svscott
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Re: Macgregor 26s leak

Post by svscott » Mon Sep 20, 2021 3:44 am

I have a 26D and there is almost always a little bit of water under each side bench. My water comes in mostly at the chain plates... I'll be fiberglassing in some reinforcements and/or making a stronger cover plate to minimize the leaks in those spots. Most of the water I take in can be eliminated with a sponge and bucket. This year, I've been super busy with other things and used the shop vac to remove about a gallon per side. It took 4 or 5 months to accumulate that much water.

As far as water on top of the ballast, I've only had that happen if I didn't tighten down the air vent rubber bung enough and it was obvious where it came from. Though I think I've read that the S has an access plate to get to the centerboard pivot bolt. That could be a leaky spot
1987 26D - Three Hour Tour; 1998 26X - to be named

Interim
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Re: Macgregor 26s leak

Post by Interim » Mon Sep 27, 2021 6:55 am

There are indeed access points to the center board bolt, and water could come from them. But for it to get above the level of the ballast tanks would mean that water is also coming into the ballast tanks, perhaps from the valve at the stern.

I get water in the bilges every time it rains. A little bit, like you describe. Not a problem, but frustrating. I have sealed the chain plates, and now currently suspect the hull-deck joint. But that is a couple gallons for an inch of rain.

--john

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March
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Re: Macgregor 26s leak

Post by March » Wed Sep 29, 2021 5:31 pm

Just try sealing the windows, too. You don't have to remove them--you can find a goop at AutoZone (or equivalent) that will seal the edges pretty neatly (I used paper strips to make sure the goop stays in the groove). Used to have water in the head and couldn't tell where it came from--the winches? the stanchions? But once I sealed the window, the problem disappeared

OverEasy
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Re: Macgregor 26s leak

Post by OverEasy » Thu Sep 30, 2021 2:17 am

Hi Chadwiseman

I’d avoid using glues, adhesives and silicone if possible.
The windows were designed to be replaceable and to be sealed with butyl putty which generally will out last and out perform those others for possibly decades.

Glues and adhesives eventually dry out or fail due to UV exposure and make replacing a window into a giant pain in the rear quarters of an elephant.

Silicone has similar problems but also tends to look even worse over time and clean up is a pain in the posterior of an elephant.

Window leaks are not uncommon on boats as they get older and accumulate time on water and sun.
Everything expands and contracts slightly differently due to differing materials and patterns of exposure.

The “factory windows” were put in using Butyl putty and that actually works pretty darn good and can last decades if done right which isn’t hard to accomplish if one is patient and methodical. The advantage of butyl is it is actually relatively easy to apply, lasts a long time, conforms to a variety of surfaces and is relatively easy to remove and clean up. The MacGregor windows were designed to work with this material as ALL windows should be viewed as potentially needing to be replaced at some point.

There are countersunk screws on the outside and two piece plastic capped nuts on the inside.
Often the only problem is the nuts have loosened over time and just need to be snugged up.
Carefully pop the domed cap off with a flat blade screw driver.
This will expose the nut which is in a shallow plastic cup.
GENTLY tighten TO SNUG UP the nut with the appropriate sized socket wrench on the inside while someone on the outside holds a Phillips Screwdriver STILL in the screw head. Just turn the nut!
>>>DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN! More is not better! You want to maintain a good layer of material and not squeeze it all out or distort the window or structure.<<<
Progressively go around the window to each screw/nut GENTLY SNUGGING them up.
It should take about two circuits of going around the window.

Repeat for each window as what has affected one has probably affected others over time.

Generally this will stop any minor leaks you may be experiencing.

Test by gently flowing water, NOT SPRAYING, over each window and look for any seepage.
Repeat as needed.

For more substantial leaks you may need to remove, clean and reseal a window.
I’d highly recommend one do this one at a time to minimize confusing parts/locations and inadvertently having multiple openings exposed should it rain….( Murphy’s Law)
Carefully remove the interior caps, nuts, washers and cups.
Carefully BACK OUT the screws using a hand screw driver to avoid damage.
Gently push around the perimeter of the window from the inside while someon on the outside acts as a backstop/catcher to avoid dropping the window once it is free. (Sometimes gentle heat from a hair dryer on low to warm the perimeter will help loosen a persnickety window or location.
AVOID CRAMMING A SCREW DRIVER AND PRYING. THIS WILL INEVITABLY DAMAGE EITHER THE WINDOW OR THE STRUCTURE.
Once the window is free throughly clean the window and frame structure of all materials and dirt. Use Windex or Isopropyl alcohol and SOFT rags. A SOFT VINYL plastic scraper can help sometimes. Look for flatness of the window and frame. If distorted you may need to apply extra butyl to those regions.

Butyl putty generally comes in wide tape form in either grey or black.
Wear latex or nitrile gloves.
I generally take a section, wad it up, working it till pliable then roll out a 1/8 to 3/16 inch diameter string to apply to the frame that will be covered by the window making a loop (or two) inboard of the screw holes. Then make a donut around each screw hole. Finally make a loop around the area outboard of the window.
Gently position the window using two screws to act as guides into the frame opening.
Gently insert the remaining screws.
Holding the screws still from the outside install the plastic cups, washers and nuts.
By hand gently tighten the nuts finger tight.
Progressively tighten the nuts a little at a time until you have about a 1/16th inch gap uniformly all around the inner perimeter between the window and frame. Some of the butyl putty may have squeezed out which is ok.
Wait a bit to let it flow/set and re check the nut tightness
Clean up the excess with a soft vinyl spatula and Windex and a soft cloth..
Test after a day or so with gently flowing water. (Adjust tightness of nuts if needed gently as you do not want to over compress the seal.)

Now you should have a sealed window that a pro would be proud of and that will last for decades and still allow a window replacement in the future without a lot of @#$&€£¥§!!!@ of whoever attempted to “permanently” glue in place a replaceable item like a window!

Hope this helps you deal with any window seal issues you may be incurring.
Best Regards,Over Easy 😎😎🐩🐈

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Be Free
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Re: Macgregor 26s leak

Post by Be Free » Thu Sep 30, 2021 4:48 am

That is a great write-up! It makes me want to re-bed my windows and they are not even leaking.
Bill
2001 26X Simple Interest
Honda BF40D

OverEasy
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Re: Macgregor 26s leak

Post by OverEasy » Thu Sep 30, 2021 8:26 am

:D :D

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Stickinthemud57
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Re: Macgregor 26s leak

Post by Stickinthemud57 » Thu Oct 07, 2021 3:38 pm

Not sure what activities you might have engaged in, but do be sure to put a nice, tight bilge plug in the ballast vent hole to prevent overflow of ballast water.

Interim
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Re: Macgregor 26s leak

Post by Interim » Mon Oct 11, 2021 6:49 am

I did confirm that I'm not getting the water from the ballast plug. It also looks like water is not entering the bilges from the ballast inspection ports (where we access the centerboard pivot bolt). I will have to figure out a test to confirm, but if so, I presume that means there is a crack in the fiberglass somewhere.

My centerboard cable has two wires broken. I suppose it is possible the lightning did this, but I'm not sure. So now I have to replace that, as well as find my leak.

Anyone know the length of the wire from centerboard to rope on a Mac 26s?

--john

WinSome
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Re: Macgregor 26s leak

Post by WinSome » Mon Oct 11, 2021 6:46 pm

For a wee bit of water and to buy some repair time: get a tube spongy water gun that is loaded by sucking up the water. Use occasionally until you have time to sit out a rain storm and watch for the leak. Enjoy the sail

OverEasy
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Re: Macgregor 26s leak

Post by OverEasy » Mon Oct 11, 2021 10:20 pm

I believe you can find the cable/rope you are looking for at Blue Water Yatchs….

Reasonable costs and generally ends up saving a good chunk of time and hassle chasing it down on one’s own….

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Stickinthemud57
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Re: Macgregor 26s leak

Post by Stickinthemud57 » Tue Oct 12, 2021 4:56 pm

OverEasy wrote:
Mon Oct 11, 2021 10:20 pm
I believe you can find the cable/rope you are looking for at Blue Water Yatchs….

Reasonable costs and generally ends up saving a good chunk of time and hassle chasing it down on one’s own….
+1 to this. Very reasonable price, well offsets the time and effort making one yourself. Buy a replacement and a spare, and a few rudder cables while you are at it. Especially the rudder cables. Can be difficult to really difficult to sail without one.

svscott
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Re: Macgregor 26s leak

Post by svscott » Sat Oct 16, 2021 5:18 am

Overeasy's write up is really good but I don't fully agree with him about avoiding sealant/silicone. Do not use regular 100% silicone as it didn't hold up. I use Dow Corning / DowSil 795 by the case for commercial windows projects.
It is a commercial window sealant that is chemically stable to use with acrylic and has great long term elasticity and UV resistance and is often used to seal the gap between large panes of glass on curtainwalls (the all glass facade for high rise buildings). I rebedded my 26D windows the first time in about 2006, using 795 black and ten years later when the plexiglass started to craze and crack, the windows were still leak free and the 795 silicone cut away very easily, almost like a vinyl gasket.
To be fair, I always have several tubes of 795 on hand and I haven't used butyl tape on my boat... but I have a good bit of experience using it on old window systems. I've found many windows where the butyl dried up and separated from the frame.
1987 26D - Three Hour Tour; 1998 26X - to be named

Interim
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Re: Macgregor 26s leak

Post by Interim » Mon Oct 18, 2021 6:21 am

The weekend brought first hope, and then renewed mystery.

Quick description for non-26s owners: Under the sink is the line that lifts the centerboard. It goes down through a fiberglass tube that is raised about 4" from the sole. This tube goes into the top of the centerboard trunk, which lies between the ballast tanks. Thus, the tube has direct access to the lake. From the top of the fiberglass tube, a rubber tube is attached and extends upward another 6" or so. It overlaps the fiberglass tube and is secured with a hose clamp. The rope line from the salon runs under the counter and sink, connects to a wire line, which is turned 90 degrees through a sheave and down these tubes to connect to the centerboard.

***
The lightning charge caused some level of sparking from one of my batteries, stored under the sink. This sparking superheated the gelcoat, and melted it around the fiberglass tube, and on the raised portion of the sole which makes room for the trunk. There were a couple cracks in the gelcoat, so I was hoping these were my water leak areas, but I ground off the gelcoat and didn't see any damage to the actual fiberglass. I did glass over the ground out areas, just in case.

New theory (which I need reactions to): The heating of the gelcoat on the fiberglass tube distorted the surface so it is no longer a smooth surfaced cylinder. Perhaps this broke the seal with the rubber tube, allowing water to splash up the tube and leaking between the fiberglass and rubber tubes. Recall from my previous posts that this would need to be 3-4 gallons a day.

I think this theory first depends on the waterline. Does anyone know how close the top of the fiberglass tube is to the waterline? (Yes, I could have checked had I thought of this before pulling the boat out). Any other ideas, concerns?

--john

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