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Old 08-09-2014, 01:30   #1
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A Macgregor on the Ohio and Mississippi?

I have a notion of getting a Macgregor 26 in a couple years, when I should finally have both the time and money, and towing it to some fun places to explore, like up around Seattle, Powell and Lake Mead, Santa Barbara and the Channel Islands, and maybe even parts of the East Coast or Chesapeake. But also the idea of doing 500 or even a thousand miles or so on the Ohio and Mississippi sounds appealing. I would like to hear from some Macgregor sailors what they think of those places, and I would especially appreciate comments from people who have spent time on the Ohio and Mississippi as to how they think a Macgregor would do, and what starting and ending points might be best. It would be a one way trip on the river with the vehicle and trailer getting retrieved and picking up the boat at the end. The river trip could last several weeks and get extended to over a month if it remains a pleasant adventure.
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Old 08-09-2014, 06:28   #2
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Re: A Macgregor on the Ohio and Mississippi?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Joe.
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Old 08-09-2014, 06:49   #3
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Re: A Macgregor on the Ohio and Mississippi?

Sounds like a great adventure. We have a friend who cruises a Mc 26, he takes it all over the Canadian Gulf Islands, Desolation Sound, and beyond.
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Old 08-09-2014, 07:26   #4
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Re: A Macgregor on the Ohio and Mississippi?

I have done some cruising on a MacGregor 26 and I think this would be a great choice for the trip you describe. There are lots of places along the Mississippi where having a retractable keel, such as that in the MacGregor, would let you explore areas that you could never do in a "traditional" sailboat. These screenshots show the bottom contour of a southern area of the Mississippi river. You would be able to explore much closer to the shoreline without having to use a dinghy.



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Old 08-09-2014, 16:01   #5
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Re: A Macgregor on the Ohio and Mississippi?

Aloha and welcome aboard!
Look around at all your options and don't make up your mind now what you might want to buy in 3 years. Do some research and go aboard some boats and see their features and what you might want. There are a lot of trailer sailers that would do what you want.
Have you taken sailing courses and got some time on the water done yet?
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Old 08-09-2014, 16:25   #6
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Re: A Macgregor on the Ohio and Mississippi?

When you talk about a Mac 26 are you talking about the newer powersailers or the 26? Big difference between the two styles. The classics can sail circles around the powersailers but then the powersailers can do over 15 knots under power.
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Old 11-09-2014, 00:49   #7
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Re: A Macgregor on the Ohio and Mississippi?

I first learned to sail in an El Toro on Lake Merritt in Oakland as a kid over 40 years ago. I crew on some beer can races for my 87 year old uncle who has been racing for over 50 years, the last 20 years on a Tartan 30. He recently took a bosun chair ride up to work on the top of his mast. I have a knock off Sears version of a Sunfish that I get to sail only once in a while, and enjoy getting out on my brother's 16 foot catamaran once in a while. I have never been over night on a boat, but am looking forward to it. I also learned about weak bulkheads a few years ago when taking another uncle's Cal 21 trailerable for a sail after it had sat idle for 15 years. The chain plate ripped right up through the deck and the mast toppled over like a lumberjack was taking out a tree. So I have enough experience to get a sailboat to go where I want it to go. But I have no clue about spending weekends or weeks on a boat and how comfortable I need it to be for what duration. If I enjoy the boating life exploring American waters for a couple years, then I would probably move up to a big boat I could take to Alaska and Mexico. I understand the older MacGregors sailed well, but they lost a lot when they went to 50hp motor sailors. But then the older ones did not have too much head room. So I'll have to check them out and see what feels best for me, headroom and speed, or nice sailing. I have been in a new MacGregor at a boat show, and was surprised at how big it felt inside, but I have no clue about other trailerable sailboats that might work better for me. All of your input and suggestions are welcome.
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Old 11-09-2014, 06:46   #8
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Re: A Macgregor on the Ohio and Mississippi?

I strongly recommend that you look at several different makes and models of boats before deciding on one. This is the second Macgregor my wife and I have owned but I've never been on one of the power-sailers. You're right about the older Macgregors not having a lot of head room. The pop-top does give a little over 6 feet of standing head room in the saloon but my wife and I have to crouch down to get to the head or the V-berth. Compared to my friend's Cal-20, our Mac 22 was big. Compared to either of them our Mac 26 classic seems huge so everything is relative. Another friends Catalina 25 has almost 6 feet of standing head-room and is quite comfortable inside. My wife can stand up straight in it but I can't. Spending a week or more on our Mac 22 was really cramped. On the 26 it's not so bad. After saying that, keep in mind that the vast majority of the time on the boat will be in the cockpit, not the cabin.

If you've ever been camping and spent the night in a small tent then you know what it's like sleeping in a small space. Add some gentle rocking in calm weather or a lot or rocking in stronger waves and that's what it's like sleeping on a boat.
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Old 11-09-2014, 17:24   #9
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Re: A Macgregor on the Ohio and Mississippi?

It sounds like you've got some on the water experience. Now for getting aboard as many boats as possible is the next step. Check out their layout and their build quality. Look at rigging size and the way its attached. Before purchasing make certain you look for the boat that's had the best care and maintenance and check the sails. A new set of sails for a 26 footer can run a couple thousand.
Good luck in your search and your sailing goals.
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Old 11-09-2014, 17:41   #10
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Re: A Macgregor on the Ohio and Mississippi?

Hi Joe,

I raced on a Tartan 10 which I suspect is the same as a tartan 30. I also live and grew up on the Mississippi/Illinois rivers and Other than the keel issues I'd see no problem with a boat of that size, and a MacGregor has the keel figured out for the river.

Anyway, I'd suggest you get a cruising guide for the Miss, and there are a few web pages dedicated to it as well. I'm planning to do the same thing with my kids in a couple of years, but I am looking at the sails as providing auxiliary power and the motor being the prime mover. If wind and WX prove otherwise that will be great, but IMHO nothing sux more than making plans to sail somewhere and not having weather cooperate and you have not planned in any other alternatives.
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