The MacGregor 26 is built to outlast all of us. Each boat is built of individual layers of
fiberglass fabrics, laid in place by hand, in a carefully controlled process. Hulls and
decks are light, but strong, with extra reinforcement at all high stress points.
Most of our competitors use
"chopper guns" to build their boats. These are devices for spraying a mixture of
resin and very short strands of fiberglass. We don't use them, even though they reduce
cost. They do not, in our opinion, give adequate impact strength or controllable hull and
deck thickness. They result in heavy laminates with low fiberglass to resin ratios,
accounting for much of the excess weight found in many competitors boats. Light
weight is the key to easy trailering and to high performance.
We have stayed away from sandwich construction. Most of the failures of fiberglass hulls
involve the rot or delamination of balsa or foam core materials. We use only solid
fiberglass laminates in the 26's hull. If exposed to water for long periods, balsa coring
material can rot and literally turn to soup, causing major structural problems. Balsa is
fine, in our opinion, for decks and structures that are not constantly immersed in water,
as long as there is no balsa near holes for hardware. Foam cores are also widely used for
stiffening hulls, however, they offer less than 200 pounds of adhesion per square inch.
That is not much better than rubber cement. It takes over 2500 lbs per square inch to
delaminate the resin bonds that hold our hull laminates together.
Spraying gel coat (26x)
Production begins by spraying the
exterior color (polyester gel coat) on a highly polished and waxed 3 ton hull mold cavity.
The waterline and accent stripes are also sprayed on at this point. In building a
fiberglass boat, the first thing you actually make is the exterior paint job. The rest of
the hull is laid up against the inside of this paint (gelcoat) layer.
Initial hull layup (26X)
Alternating layers of fiberglass fabrics
are then applied. Each layer is saturated with polyester resin and all air and excess
resin is removed with brushes and squeegees. The resin is then allowed to harden before
the next layer is applied. One of the benefits of fiberglass construction is that the
thickness can be made to vary (by adding additional layers) to match the stresses that
each area encounters. For example, where the rudders and chainplates are attached, many
extra layers are added to distribute the loads thru the hull. The resulting laminates are
of the highest quality.
Removing hull from mold
The cured hull is then removed from the
mold. In the case of the hulls, water is injected between the hull and its mold to
literally float the hull free from the mold. Each part comes out with a high gloss and
molded in black stripes. All the fiberglass parts are built in precision molds in the same
manner as the hull.
Removing deck from mold (26X)
Here is the deck being removed from its
mold. The window accent color and the non-skid deck surfaces are molded in. the deck
liners have already been bonded in place. (This picture shows the deck of a 26X.)
Hardware installation (26X)
After the parts are removed from their
molds, they are trimmed. When the parts are moved into assembly, they are predrilled for
hardware, using elaborate hole locating fixtures. Hardware is then bolted in place. Most
hardware is attached before the hull and deck are joined together, to make for easier
assembly. Even so, you can easily get at all the nuts and bolts later on if necessary. All
items are thru bolted, with large backup washers under the nuts. You will notice that
other boats have lots of nuts and bolts showing on the inside, looking a bit mechanical.
On the MacGregor 26, the nuts are hidden behind small covers that match the interior gel
coat color. The result is a smoother, more finished interior.
The hull and deck are joined with 3/16" bolts on 4" centers. Top grade adhesive
is used to insure a watertight seal. Many builders use screws or pop rivets for this
joint. Bolts are better. Our bolted hull to deck joining system is strong, but compact,
and adds little to the width of the boat. Many of our competitors use wide joining
flanges, which contribute a lot to their beam, but add very little to strength or usable
Automated router sytem
We use automation wherever possible to
reduce costs and improve quality. Here you see a computer controlled router carving out a
wooden master "plug" from which rudder molds are made.
This is the full size mockup, or
"plug," that was used to make the production molds for the boat. The shapes were
cut on a computer controlled router. The plug has to be absolutely perfect. If there is a
flaw on the surface, the flaw will be transferred to the production molds and then to the
parts produced from those molds. Molds are layed up over the plug in much the same manner
as a fiberglass hull is layed up in a mold, except that the molds are much heavier.
This is the plug for the deck. It is
complete down to the non-skid surfaces that will eventually become part of the mold and
the finished production parts. One of the big tricks is to prepare the surface of the plug
so that the molds can be removed without damaging the plug. We use a lot of high quality
wax and thin sprayed on parting agents to permit easy release.
We are building and selling a lot of these boats. A new one comes out of the plant door
every 4 hours. They are being shipped in containers all over the world.
everywhere in North America. For International Shipments,
please call Sharp Industries at (949) 642-9491.
1631 Placentia Ave.
Costa Mesa, California 92627
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