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Old 18-07-2014, 10:10   #1
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Living Aboard a MacGregor 26

We have been thinking of buying a MacGregor for years, mostly because we live right on the Intracoastal at a place that the bridge over the inlet does not raise (a MacGregor would let us lower the mast so we could get out to the ocean without having to sail 3 hours to the next inlet that has an opening bridge).
This past week we sailed a few day sails on a friend's MacGregor (see photos and map of sailing location below) but it was on very flat water (river in Quebec).
Has anyone sailed this boat in larger seas? Has anyone lived aboard for more than a few days? We would use it for 1-2 week trips to the Bahamas.

Thanks!!







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Old 18-07-2014, 10:18   #2
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Re: Living Aboard a MacGregor 26

Regarding live aboard, it all depends on your personal tolerance for small spaces and limited headroom. I once met two couples that lived together on a 27' sailboat. They sailed it from Europe and had been in the Caribbean for 6-8 months. I have also met people that felt cramped on a 40' boat.

As far as sailing in larger seas, how large and how good a sailor are you? I met a guy that sailed a MacGregor solo from FL to the VI and back. I would not want to take one out in waves much bigger than a few feet.
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Old 18-07-2014, 10:23   #3
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Re: Living Aboard a MacGregor 26

I continue to support the idea that smaller and less robust boats can cruise the Bahamas from Florida; however, the added time waiting for suitable weather for the MacGregor would likely be many times the three hour extra time to get the larger boat out of port. This may be even more important selecting the suitable inlet for the weather when returning to Florida.
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Old 18-07-2014, 10:46   #4
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Re: Living Aboard a MacGregor 26

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Originally Posted by Hudson Force View Post
the added time waiting for suitable weather for the MacGregor would likely be many times the three hour extra time to get the larger boat out of port. This may be even more important selecting the suitable inlet for the weather when returning to Florida.
But you could motor the Mac26 at 10kts....so that gets you around some other weather window problems.

I had a Mac26 for a few years before we moved up to larger boats and we loved it. Loved the ease, loved the fast motoring if we needed and wanted and loved the easy sailing. Now did it sail great...well faster than my Hundson Force 50...ha ha ha...but I wouldn't want to be on a Mac26 in big seas and foul weather!

It's in the plan of my son and I to buy a Mac26x and trailer it down to the Sea of Cortez for our summer break. We could live aboard for months at a time and be comfortable on the Mac26. Remember when in "paradise" the point isnt to sit down below at the chart table or salon all day surfing the web but to get out "In" paradise right!

I can hear the naysayers now...
It isn't a real boat.
You will die.
The construciton is too light.
It isn't blue water.
Bla Bla Bla Bla

go over to http://www.macgregorsailors.com/
Because there are folks there that have spent the season in the Bahamas and are still alive to tell the story.
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Old 18-07-2014, 10:47   #5
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Re: Living Aboard a MacGregor 26

The good news is, yes, you can take your mac 26 to the bahamas. I met one a few years ago that had come from the west coast of florida.
The bad news is that 1 to 2 weeks is very minimal for a sailboat. Plan on going to bimini and back.

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Old 18-07-2014, 10:55   #6
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Re: Living Aboard a MacGregor 26

I second what Hudson Force said: Certainly some water ballast boats cruise the Bahamas. I've also seen many turn back. It's all a matter of how willing you are to wait for weather, what comfort (or discomfort), you are open to, etc. For a while I had a slip next to a couple and their infant living on a 22-footer. Personally, I want standing headroom in any cruising boat.

People have crossed the Atlantic on windsurfers, in row boats, in a kayak, in a canoe and in a 10-foot sailboat. There is however a difference in what some people have done and what other people are comfortable doing.

Having cruised the Bahamas many times, I personally would not choose a MacGregor. That said, if that's what allows you to chase your dream, it certainly can be and has been done.
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Old 18-07-2014, 10:58   #7
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Re: Living Aboard a MacGregor 26

We sailed the Caribbean and Bahamas for a year on a 40' Beneteau. We were comfortable but part of that comfort was knowing the boat would handle big seas. Has anyone experienced real seas in a MacGregor? Last week we only experienced wake and honestly, it was a little scary thinking what the boat would be doing in larger seas.
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Old 18-07-2014, 11:02   #8
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Re: Living Aboard a MacGregor 26

Actually after living aboard now for 7yrs, my 16yr old son plans to buy a Mac26X to live aboard on during Collage. If that gets him off of our boat so we can get back to Mexico…heck, I will help him buy it!

1996 MacGregor 26X

Then there is the part of me that wants to sail the Mac26X 750nm from San Diego, CA down to Cabo San Lucas and across to the Mexican mainland just to drive the "bluewater boat" folks crazy and you just know it would..ha ha ha
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Old 18-07-2014, 11:03   #9
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Re: Living Aboard a MacGregor 26

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Originally Posted by SV THIRD DAY View Post
But you could motor the Mac26 at 10kts....so that gets you around some other weather window problems.
...........
'good point! With that speed you could travel from the Hypoluxo area to West End in about five or six hours with flat water. Bimini, as the other post suggests, would be much further and a greater battle against the current from the Lake Worth area. In addition, the MacGregor would open up many of those less travelled areas between Walker's Cay and Moraine Cay that many people can't enjoy because of their draft. Still, once you're there, you can't be committed to a return time without considering weather, but there's always that factor with larger boats too.
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Old 18-07-2014, 11:27   #10
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Re: Living Aboard a MacGregor 26

MACGREGOR 26 50 MPH WINDS, 18' SEAS - YouTube
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Old 18-07-2014, 11:33   #11
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Re: Living Aboard a MacGregor 26

MacGregorSailors.com • View topic - how far would you go ?? Caribbean cruising ?
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Old 18-07-2014, 11:52   #12
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Re: Living Aboard a MacGregor 26

The one in your pictures is the 26X as opposed to the other Macgregor 26 sailboats. There are a couple of those around here where I keep my boat.

My impression of them is that they are basically a power boat with a sailing rig stuck on top of it. In that regards they have the ability to sail, but primarily would handle most situations like a power boat would.

So with that in mind I think you would find cross seas or quartering seas much more uncomfortable in a Macgregor 26X than a dedicated sailboat of the same size due to it's underwater profile and hard chines. Also, the sailing rigs on the ones around here, which I believe are factory rigs, are quite light in their construction so I doubt they would handle much of a pounding. So you'd probably have to drop sails and become a power boat in situations with higher winds and waves such when you're away from your home waters and you can't risk something failing.

But the good thing is that they are fast like a power boat under power. One of the ones around here (maybe both?) have a 50hp outboard motor and can travel in excess of 20kts. So that would make getting to and coming from the Bahamas very fast compared with a sailboat, and there are plenty of small power boats that go between Florida and the Bahamas.

As far as a 26 foot boat in general, living aboard would be cramped for extended travels. I've sailed a Cape Dory 28 on week long ocean trips and when the weather is rough and you have everything jammed into the cabin so you can get around on deck to handle the sails you wish for more space. In port where the stuff can be left on deck and the dock and such you forget how cramped it is at sea when everything you have has to come with you. And cramped is somewhat dangerous because if something bad happens you don't want to have to move a bunch of crap to get to what you need to get to, on deck or in the cabin. That's why I bought my larger boat. The Cape Dory 28 is a strong seaworthy boat, but it's a whole other world when everything has it's own out-of-the-way storage place.

Like it was said earlier, it's all about your comfort tolerance.

-Dave
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Old 18-07-2014, 11:53   #13
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Re: Living Aboard a MacGregor 26

Quote:
Originally Posted by onestepcsy37 View Post
The bad news is that 1 to 2 weeks is very minimal for a sailboat. Plan on going to bimini and back.

I missed the 1-2 week comment in the op. Very good point. When I was between boats I chartered a 45' sloop for 10 days.

Spent hours planning and trying to make it work differently (really wanted to do some diving on the east coast of Andros) but at the end of the day it became obvious that to go any further that Bimini (taking into account travel time, clearing customs, weather, etc) would have meant spending most of the trip motoring or sailing and very little time hanging out, diving, etc.
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Old 18-07-2014, 12:00   #14
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Re: Living Aboard a MacGregor 26

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Interesting video. The boat looked pretty good in pretty rough weather.

However I saw nothing that came close to claimed 18' wave. Maybe one rolled through at some point but nothing on the video.

Also all the sailing videos showed the boat on a nice reach. Wonder what it would have been like trying to beat into the wind?
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Old 18-07-2014, 12:02   #15
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Re: Living Aboard a MacGregor 26

A couple of posts have touched on this so I think worth pointing out, there are two very different 26' MacGregors.

The older version was a pure sailboat where the newer model can take a large outboard and plane or semi-plane. No personal experience, strictly speculation but thinking the older version would be better in nasty weather.
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