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Old 17-12-2007, 07:18   #1
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Newbie - MacGregor 26 or ???

Hi all!

Newbie here looking to tap into your collective wisdom . I'm looking to buy my first sailboat. Tired of powerboat noise and ever increasing fuel bills. Pretty inexperienced sailor. A few years ago did some fun lessons and racing of dingies and lazers, so will certainly be getting a refresher course at the local sailing club.

Anyway, during my inital searching thus far the MacGregor 26 has really jumped out as a versital boat that could fit my needs well and I'm wondering what other boats I may be missing which you think would also fit well.

So here is my situation:

First, I live in Cayman Islands (Grand Cayman) and live on a canal that leads into North Sound (see on this map http://www.caymanactivityguide.com/i...aps/Cayman.jpg). North Sound is where I'd spend the majority of my time. It is very protected but isn't that deep (6 feet of draft could be serious problem in many areas). So draft is possibly my biggest concern. Cannot be a fixed keel with deep draft.

Other items of note:
  • As I live on the canal, the boat will basically always be in the water. So the trailorability of the MacGregor doesn't really buy me anything.
  • I'm not a speed freak, but ability to go out on calm day and still get around 10 knts via power would be nice.
  • Cabin space and ammenities is VERY important (need the wife to agree to any purchase )
  • Size I'm looking for is around 25-30 ft.
  • While I realize any boat that matches above requirements could never be a true blue water boat, I would be nice if it could handle the 90 mile open ocean trip between Grand Cayman and little Cayman in nice weather (though this is VERY low priority).
  • Oh, and my wife has my budget set around not more that 30k USD
The MacGregor 26 seems to fit many of these pretty well (especially draft and speed under power), but I'm wondering if there is anything else out there I'm missing which may fit even better since one of the main MacGregor things is trailorability which isn't an issue for me. Maybe a small catamaran would have the cabin space with little draft? Any ideas are MUCH appreciated!
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Old 17-12-2007, 20:18   #2
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I am not a fan of the MacGregor. It is a compromise boat. Ok if you want that but I don't.

A couple of weeks ago one of the (pretty new) MacGregors here capsized. I don't know the whole story about ballast and all - I heard rumors - but she went completely turtle. She was holed during the recovery process and as far as I know may be a write off.

I met the sailors but didn't press for details.
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Old 17-12-2007, 21:01   #3
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I wouldn't touch a McGregor either. It is just my opinion but there must be more solid trailer sailers over there.
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Old 17-12-2007, 22:57   #4
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I will toss in my experience. Several years back, when I was looking to buy my very first sailboat, I came across the McGregors. I was enthralled. I joined several lists and studied the boat ad nauseum. I was seduced. Given my lack of experience, Macs were just perfect. I was all set to order one, when I ended up doing some traveling and putting it off.

Like you, the boat really jumped out at me as well -- in a big way. I am still not sure why it did, but I was so "there". I dunno -- in hindsight all I can say I just was not threatened by the boat. To me, she was cute as a chubby puppy and very accessible. I wish I could explain the seduction better, but I cannot -- I know I had a bad case of "I gotta have one, she is perfect for me and she does not scare me in the slightest!"

I held off on purchasing the Mac. I spent a lot more time at marinas, at shows, visiting brokers and telling them I was broke but could I look anyways. As I did so, I would go back at look at the used Macs for sale at marinas. I saw a great Mac out in Oxnard.... It was wonderfully done up. However, the more I looked at Macs and the more I looked at other used sailboats in your price range (which was my price range), the Mac clearly was no longer a good fit for me.



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Old 17-12-2007, 23:11   #5
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"While I realize any boat that matches above requirements could never be a true blue water boat, I would be nice if it could handle the 90 mile open ocean trip between Grand Cayman and little Cayman in nice weather (though this is VERY low priority). "

In fairness I also have to add that the MacGregor here was motored from bali so the 90 mile trip in good weather should be no problem.

My personal opinion is still to decide on a sailboat or a power boat.
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Old 17-12-2007, 23:30   #6
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Here is a couple threads you may want to read.

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...egor-8152.html

MacGregor 26?
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Old 18-12-2007, 04:00   #7
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Thanks for all the input! This has been kind of my worry. The MacGregor sounds almost too good to be true :-) My biggest problem thus far is I just haven't been able to find anything else which meets the combined needs of myself and my wife. Little draft, decent cabin, etc. On my old powerboat I would often get depth readings of 4-5 feet where I want to go and even off my deck (where it would be kept) at low tide I don't have much more than 3 ft of water depth.

I guess my real problem thus far is after a fair bit of looking, I haven't been able to find any real alternatives to the MacGregor which seems to fit. So if anyone has thoughts on that it would be much appreciated. Like always I suppose local knowledge is best, so this weekend I'll run down to the local sailing club and chat up some people to get thier input as well.

Again, if anyone has any ideas of a good solid boat around 25 ft with little draft and decent cabin room I'd love to hear it. Again trailerable isn't really very important though I guess it would be nice those couple times a year a hurricane is threatening to just be able to pull it out and secure it on land. When hurricane Ivan came through a few years ago just about every boat had serious issues (trailored or not though my trailored powerboat got very lucky and had no damage). There were a scary high number of boats left on the water that ended up in peoples living rooms or even one must have been around 60 foot boat ended up about 1/2 mile from the sea in a parking lot on top of a bunch of cars (though not to hard to explain since that entire part of the island was under a few feet of water during the storm).
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Old 18-12-2007, 05:41   #8
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Everything in life is a usually a compromise. One of the best boats I have ever owned was a 1986 Cornish Crabber 24 the Mark II varient. These are british built gaff rigged replicas of turn of the century fishing smacks. The little boat is built like a tank, breathtakingly beautiful, sails well and can handle weather that most people won't be out in. The really cool thing about this model is that while it had a full center line keel to a skeg hung rudder it only draws 2.5' with the iron center board up. The vessel also has small bilge keels that allow you do ground the boat out. One drawback is that the cabin is crouching headroom only, however the living space is so charming and efficiently laid out for a boat of this size that was not an issue for me. My cost for this vessel in 1995 was $19,000, I sold it in 2001 for $26,000. At the time there was only thirteen of these wonderful boats in the US. If you feel that you may be interested I could help you find one.

Cornish Crabber 24 archive details - Yachtsnet Ltd. online UK yacht brokers - yacht brokerage and boat sales
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Old 18-12-2007, 05:49   #9
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Old 18-12-2007, 06:21   #10
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I was looking at a MacGregor a few months back. a 22 foot model. The thing that turned me off from it was the lack of a barrier coat below the waterline. I don't remember if the 25 had one or not, but since it's meant to be a trailer sailer, i'd guess not. This means, from what I hear, is that you couldn't leave it in the water for more than a couple of weeks without risking various types of damage, most common I hear is osmosis causing blisters. And after a couple of weeks, you'd have to take it out and give it a good long chance to dry out before you put it back in.

This is all under the assumption that the original premise was true. And a barrier coat may not be a big deal to have applied. It just put an otherwise relatively nice boat for the price out of my price range while I was looking at it. But, my budget was only a fraction of what you have to work with.

Edit: I wish I could remember the link, but while doing research, I found a nice forum full of macgregor owners which helped me with the decision a lot. You might be able to find it, or a similar one if you search around a bit.

Edit again: With your budget, just keep looking. You'll find something that'll work for you eventually. I had a much smaller budget, and it took me 3 years, yet I eventually managed to find something.
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Old 18-12-2007, 07:21   #11
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cburger, that boat certainly looks like it could work. Upon first look my concern is being a sailing newbie that those are a lot of sails to deal with :-) Is that an unfounded concern? Is it still easy to deal with?

sluissa, yeah the 26 doesn't seem to come standard with that either. Unless I found a used boat where that is already taken care of I'd probably have to plan for 2-3k on a good epoxy barrier and antifouling paint on the hull to allow me to leave in the water as much as I'd like.
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Old 18-12-2007, 07:47   #12
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I wouldn't want a Mac.

You might look at a Cape Dory 25D. 31/2' draft, can be trailer (5120lbs disp) and can cross oceans.
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Old 18-12-2007, 07:57   #13
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What appears complex is actually very simple. The gaff rigged cutter at the end of the last century was the "State of The Art". The smacks where used in the North Sea some of the worlds most challanging weather. The fishermans livelihoods depended on being able to get to the grounds year round in all kinds of conditions. The headsails are all roller furling, with a low aspect mast. The idea with this type of sail plan is that it easy to manage and shorten sail. Also if you are truly interested in learning to become a better seaman this vessel will allow that for many reasons. I think if you are truly interested we can make arrangements to speak via phone.

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Old 18-12-2007, 10:46   #14
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One more "Please, NO!" for the Mac.

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Old 18-12-2007, 11:24   #15
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