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Jolley Roger 04-26-2006 02:16 AM

Replacement 21 keel (Macgregor)
I am looking at an old (68) Macgregor 21 as a project boat to get my kids interested in sailing.
I can probably get the boat for a song, but....... it has a cracked keel. Is this something i can reclad in glassfibre, or do i need to get a new cast keel???
Either way I would appreciateadvice on
1 how to reclad
2 where to get a new one, and what the price might be. I Am in the Tahoe area (Nevada side)

Sailormon6 04-26-2006 11:52 AM

I assume the keel is cast iron, and that the rough spots are smoothed over with epoxy. If so, then the epoxy is probably loose and splitting. If that describes the problem, then you first have to remove all the loose material. Tap all over the keel with a hammer. If the material is securely attached to the iron, it will have a more bell-like ring. If it's loose, it'll have a dull sound. Mark the loose areas with a piece of chalk. Then use a cold chisel to cut out all the loose material. Don't cut away any more than you have to. You can easily make it a bigger job than necessary. Use a wire brush fitting on your drill to clean the rust off any exposed cast iron. As soon as you finish wire brushing, coat the exposed iron with Rustoleum, just to keep it from oxidizing until you get to the next step. Then coat all the exposed areas with 2-3 coats of VC Tar, to seal out moisture. Then fill all the exposed areas with Interlux Watertite, which is an epoxy designed specifically for use on underwater surfaces. Apply it as smoothly as you can with the applicator, because it's hard to sand it down. If you put on too much, I've found that a 4 1/2 " angle grinder will cut it down much faster than any type of electric sander. Then coat the whole keel with one more coat of VC Tar, followed by your choice of antifouling paint. Finally, I suggest you put a zinc or magnesium anode on the keel, just to ensure that stray electrical currents won't cause a reaction that will lift or loosen the epoxy.

Before you start, you should probably strip all the old antifouling paint off the keel. There's a paint stripper that is designed specifically for stripping paint off of fiberglass cars, such as Corvettes. You usually can't get it at car parts places, such as Auto Zone. You have to go to a specialty store where body shops buy their paint supplies.

While you're doing that job, you should probably replace the keel raising cable and pivot, and any other suspect parts. The parts shouldn't be too expensive, and there's no way of knowing how long it has been since it was done last.

It sounds like a nice project that the kids will enjoy.

Jolley Roger 04-26-2006 12:49 PM

Thanks for the detailed reply.
I spoke with Bill at Macgregor today. He told me that this particular keel was fabricated from steel and then had 2 contoured glass fibre shells bonded to the steel structure. He suggested that from the sound of my discription water had permeated the interior, caused the steel to oxidise and expand and this had most probably caused the cracks. He did not think a repair would be possible. UnfortunatelyMacgregor do not have replacements and he said that it is usually a broken keel which end the life of this boat. So I'm now wondering if I should even get this boat hauled into my yard. He is faxing over a print of the keel and suggested that i could get one fabricated from steel plates, and then coat it with glass fibre. I'm just a little concerned that this could end up looking like a dogs dinner, to say nothing of the cost of getting it fabricated.
He did tell me that any keel from a Mac 21 would fit so if I could find one I would be ok. However, I have not been able to turn any up on the web....yet.
Does anyone have any contact with a boat scrap yard!?!?!?

catalina3899 05-03-2006 11:06 PM

Hi All,
I was the proud owner of a 1978 Macgregor 21 that has been in storage for 14 years, great shape, bought for only $500.00. I was much to green and excited to heed the seller warning of chipping occurring on the bottom of the keel. Unlike Jolly Roger's issue my problem is at the very bottom of the keel as extended and is crumbling rather than cracking. Not sure if keel is steal or cast.

Wanta sail, please help me.

woodenu 05-19-2006 09:09 AM

Help is Here
I have repaired 2 of the glass /steel keels and both are doing fine today.
It is a job that can be done rather less $ if you want to put in the time.
Those that would like to follow the process .please get hold of me of the list . It is a long writting. IF not I can shorten it up to post here if you like. Most is common sence , use of readly available materials and your time.
It can be done and does not have to cost alott to get you the water.


davidminix 07-31-2006 09:00 AM

venture 22
keel on my v-22 is very rough. need ot be faired. please forward info. tks david minix. At

jhnblngr 11-13-2006 03:56 AM

i'm in texas and just got a 1969 venture that seems to have an ok keel but if you dont mind i'd like to get that info on refinishing the cb. thanks john b

ranrush 12-07-2006 07:24 AM

I'm afraid that I would have to disagree with Mr. MacGregor. Almost anything can be repaired with the right tools, a little forethought, and a lot of patience. I have a 22' MacGregor and am just beginning a restoration on it. It will need the keel rebuilt along with just about everything else. Here is a link to some information on keel repair.

DayStar04 05-07-2008 03:38 AM

WOODENU --- in your post that you said you had experience in repairing cast iron or steel keels... i have a macgregor 17 1968.. great condition. except for the swing keel... the end of it is cracking length ways.. like a hotdog bun... im more than wiling to put in the time and effort in fixing this, but dont really know how to go about doing it... i could email you some pictures of it if you're interested in seeing it... any information, tips, or ideas you could give me would be greatly appreciated.. thank you for your time in reading this...

sailormac2 12-02-2009 01:31 AM

Venture222 keel repair
Dear Woodenu

Yet another Venture owner needing help on the repair process of this swing keel. Any help on the removal and repair process is much appreciated!

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