My 2nd sailboat was (actually still is) a MacGregor 26M, which is currently for sale
because we've upgraded. It's a 2011 and we absolutely loved it. We've trailered it from San Diego
to New York
Harbor and the Chesapeake on a family vacation
and it did just fine.
Firstly, if you're serious about the model you should start reading this forum:
That's the largest forum of actual owners.
I assume you already know the differences between the older 26S and 26D models, which are sail-only, and the 26X and the 26M/Tattoo 26, which are power sailors.
Firstly, these are very versatile boats. With the ability to power between 17 and 25 knots depending on what outboard they kick, you get really used to doing things like getting to Catalina
from Oceanside in four hours and then sailing once you're there.
For us and our 3 kids
, it was the perfect boat until they hit their teenage years and then it was just too crowded, which is why we upgraded.
These are not easy boats to sail, but a competent sailor can sail them well. If it's your first boat, expect that it will take you a season or two to really get good at sailing them, even if you come with experience. Read the forum above, there's a ton of good advice on how to handle them.
They are very tender
compared to a keel
boat, and they don't point very well. The biggest issue is the steering
, which has to work in both sail and power mode and winds up being very touchy when sailing. I strongly recommend getting and using an autopilot
so you can focus on trimming.
Invariably, someone will tell you that they're dangerous because they are water ballasted. In fact, if you put your sails up in a blow without water ballast, you can knock them down, although that's extremely rare. There is also danger
if you go full throttle with the daggerboard down, as that can cause instability. You'll immediately notice that problem however because of the additional drag.
, but enough to get the job done. Most people wind
up upgrading a lot of it.