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Old 27-05-2008, 14:59   #1
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An opinion question about my boat

I want candid, but informed opinions on the seaworthiness of my boat. I have a very solid '77 Macgregor 25. I have had the boat for a couple of years and sail it on a moderate sized lake and have sailed her on Mobile Bay. Although I am sure that opinions will vary, I think she handles well and I have had no problems. I have only been out in heavy weather on the lake a few times, I try to stay clear of winds in excess of 25 kts just to be as safe as possible, but sometimes summer storms blow in unexpectedly (and unforecasted), and I have weathered a couple of those. I do not have any experience in open water. Sorry to ramble, but my question is: do you believe that my boat is suitable for open water sailing, I have had many local people tell me that it is only suitable for protected waters. Also if you believe it is seaworthy do you have any recommended first outings in the Gulf of Mexico that would not be too risky, as my 12 y/o son will be on board. If the answer is to buy a different boat that is something I would want to know before getting my family into a dangerous situation. Thank you for any advice.
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Old 27-05-2008, 15:18   #2
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Quote:
Sorry to ramble, but my question is: do you believe that my boat is suitable for open water sailing
If you mean the open ocean then the answer is no it is not. They are designed and built for exactly what you are doing with it and speaks to why you like it so much. You have acquired a boat suited for it's purpose and love it. It's a great thing but it's not more than that.

You could sail the boat in any conditions similar to what you are doing now and avoiding strong winds and storms as you have been. You already know those limits. That does limit your range but not your fun. A day sail close to shore where access is quick to protected harbors can include the ocean but not any more than you already do. Having salt in the water won't make it more dangerous but the size of the problems do get much larger.

Large bodies of water can create their own weather and this is the part you can not control as easy as on inland waters. You need keep within the boats limitations but you already seem to understand those limits. I only mean to agree with what you already know and add there isn't much more you could do that you don't already understand.

I would not attempt more than 1/2 day sized trips out and back. You need to be able to get back to some place should the need arise beyond your own ability to judge the weather. Weather predictions for wind and storms are as you know not perfect or even reasonably accurate. The risks you take need to have some conservative estimate attached to them. You won't be able to handle the boat in a quickly brewing storm in large open water with larger waves. Shallow coastal regions can stand up with waves quicker than the open oceans in terms of frequency. Even coastal areas have their own unique dangers.
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Old 27-05-2008, 15:44   #3
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Thank you for the quick reply. Would you say that I would need to step up to a newer (Mac 26m is what I have been looking at) or larger boat to make a crossing say to Bimini from Key Largo, also any advice on short coastal area day trips off of AL, MS, or LA would be appreciated... if there are any good destinations for snorkeling or SCUBA in those areas that would be within the range of my current boat.
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Old 27-05-2008, 16:37   #4
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Thank you for the quick reply. Would you say that I would need to step up to a newer (Mac 26m is what I have been looking at) or larger boat to make a crossing say to Bimini from Key Largo, also any advice on short coastal area day trips off of AL, MS, or LA would be appreciated... if there are any good destinations for snorkeling or SCUBA in those areas that would be within the range of my current boat.
Neither newer or larger is what you necessarily need, IMO. What you need for crossing to the Bahamas is a more heavily built, seaworthy boat. Think in terms of, at a minimum in terms of quality, Catalina, Hunter, Beneteau... those kind of builders, but the boat has to be ready for ocean sailing with regard to the soundness of rig, sails etc. and of course no defects in the hull or deck. Other names that are no longer around but well built: Ericson and Islander.

The size is a function of the duration of your cruise, the number of people on board, and how much comfort the crew needs. For single handing, 25 ft. is probably OK. But I think a 25 footer is too small for a couple. Remember, for a longer cruise, you need more tankage and more storage for food and supplies.

As for your local area cruise destinations, get a copy of the Cruising Guide to the Northern Gulf Coast by Young.

Amazon.com: Cruising Guide to the Northern Gulf Coast: Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana (Cruising Guide to the Northern Gulf Coast): Claiborne S. Young: Books
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Old 27-05-2008, 16:53   #5
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They have been sailed and motored off-shore around here. One was motored from Indonesia to Singapore. Unfortunately it was rolled shortly after arriving here.

I personally wouldn't go offshore in one but I am biased by my extremely limited experience with them.

The MacGregor forum might host people with first hand information whio could give real world information - MacGregor Owners.com for owners of MacGregor Sailboats

Good luck...
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Old 27-05-2008, 17:29   #6
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I emailed the company when I was planning an open water voyage with my MacGregor Venture Newport 23. They respnded that it was not built for open water.
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Old 27-05-2008, 18:00   #7
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Thanks for all of the input. Can anyone recommend a trailerable make of boat that would make the passage from from FLA to the western Bahamas, while still being shallow enough to be used in my local lake.(many anchorage areas we like to overnight in are 4-8 ft deep although channels and my marina are deeper) Also if there is a keel variety or general type of boat I should stay away from. We are a crew of 3, and we are avid backpackers so storage and tightness of sleeping quarters are not as critical as is safety. Is the 25-30 foot range too small? We are to the point where we want to start reaching out to the sea and I am afraid that my current boat is not going to be the vessel we need. Also has anyone sailed around out in the northern gulf coast in a Mac 25, I do not want to take unnecessary risks by taking my family out even on daytrips if the boat does not handle the larger swells and the pass out of the bay well. Thanks
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Old 27-05-2008, 18:21   #8
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MacGregor 26?

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...egor-8152.html
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Old 27-05-2008, 18:27   #9
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A friend of mine just bought a parker dawson 26 which is an older boat with a center cockpit and an aft cabin and a ballasted centerboard.A guy sailed one in the solo transatlantic race back in the seventies and while he didnt come close to winning he did finish in a storm swept year which had many withdrawals and without much drama,it has a large comfortable cockpit,suprisingly large aft cabin and is self righting even with the keel up,trailable and ramp launchable,i think it was designed by Bob Finch who did the very popular Islander 30,as you may have guessed im rather impressed although i havnt sailed it yet,it has a fairly active owners group online.
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Old 27-05-2008, 19:52   #10
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Originally Posted by jerjotim View Post
many anchorage areas we like to overnight in are 4-8 ft deep although channels and my marina are deeper

A lot of larger boats have a shoal draft keel that would work in those circumstances. In 1987, Catalina -- just f'rinstance -- introduced a 34 footer with a 4-foot 3-inch wing keel.

And there are others.

Not sure I would want to make a major ocean passage in a Catalina 34 (although peolple have, I believe ) but it should certainly be able to go from Florida to the Bahamas.


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Old 27-05-2008, 23:54   #11
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Your boat is terrible and is not suitable for conditions other than a bathtub.

That is not really true, but have you ever been in a 25 foot boat in the ocean? If you ever try it you will understand the ridiculousness of your question.
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Old 28-05-2008, 10:24   #12
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A Mac26 would be just fine crossing to the bahamas. I would likely motor across and sail once I was there. I have made the crossing from wpb to west end at least a dozen times in small power boats. Just watch the weather, pick a day and leave early. and prepare to have your teeth rattled loose.
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Old 31-05-2008, 04:22   #13
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have you ever been in a 25 foot boat in the ocean... you will understand the ridiculousness of your question.
Although your cautionary words have certain merit when applied to modest trailer-sailors designed for lake/inshore recreation, I’d submit there are far too many exceptions to the blanket assertion to employ it generally… a very good friend of mine has many thousand sea miles and wouldn’t be caught dead in open ocean in most vessels discussed in this forum, of course his experience is based on 30-years on aircraft carriers – some folks just prefer floating cities, some don’t…

That there are numerous seaman-like voyages in 25-footers (or less), seems to contradict rather convincingly…
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Old 31-05-2008, 06:05   #14
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We see McGregors in the Bahamas almost every year. The trickiest part is getting a good weather window to cross the gulf stream from Florida.

I am not saying she is an open water boat but the Bahamas can be done as "near shore" sailing. Just make sure you have good weather information and don't go out in big winds or seas.

We also see trailered trimarans in the Bahamas every year.

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