Join Date: May 2002
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I haven't looked at a Chrysler 26 specifically, but am familiar with swing keel boats generally.
Check the mechanism that raises and lowers the centerboard. The cable goes through a hole in the bottom of the boat. There might be a hose attached to the through-hull fitting. There are two ways water can get through there.
1) If the hose is loose or rotted, water could come through the hole in the hose. This requires either tightening the hose clamps or replacing the hose. The boat probably has to be out of the water to replace the hose. This should be checked right away, because it could open a big hole in the bottom of the boat, with all the attendant consequences.
2) When you put the engine in reverse, often the prop wash causes water to blow up through that hose, creating a momentary geyser into the boat. If that's the problem, cover the top of the tube in some way to prevent water from coming out. Some people have stuffed a sponge in the top of the tube. To see if this is the problem, have someone watch the tube while you back the boat down hard. This won't cause the boat to sink. It'll just be an annoyance until you plug the hose.
Those are the more likely causes. If it's not that, then you need to start checking all the through hull fittings and valves for leaks, as well as any hoses attached to them.