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Old 08-07-2013, 07:07   #1
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About the Macgregor 26: Easiness, SAILING speed

Are there any boats of the Macgregor 26 (M, X, D, or S) series that could be a good starter boat?Also, how fast does the Macgregor go UNDER sail at it's fastest (Please GIVE RELIABLE STATISTICS IN KNOTS,PHFR, or SA/D, and SPEED OF WIND ASSOCIATED)? I think they are probably good racers because they are light weight and they have a fast powerboat hull.Are they wroth good racers? Which of the series is best in terms of sailing speed? For the easy part, which boat of the 26 series is the easiest to take around and maintain? Are there any good selections of these boats for less than $30,000? Which boat of the Macgregor 26 series is easiest and best to sail for the beginning sailor? Which of these boats BEST QUALIFY THESE WANTS LISTED ABOVE?
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Old 08-07-2013, 16:40   #2
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Re: About the Macgregor 26: Easiness, SAILING speed

I had a 26m for a couple of years. We were landlocked and on a budget and this looked like the ticket. However, they are a compromise. They have many great features but I would not say they are an entry level sailboat. I think that in retrospect, if I had been a more compentant sailor, I could have made the boat work better. It is extremely tender and will round up in a heartbeat, and broach faster than you can say it. The admiral and I scared ourselves silly in it and it is amazing that she still sails. It never went completely over and in will hold its own in heavier seas with a little sail up and motor running but is not fun. Owning it made me realize that I wanted a sailboat and not a hybrid. It motors okay but the 50hp is not quite big enough to plane the boat loaded with no ballast in the tank and actually quite a bit slower loaded which added to high fuel usage, which is gasoline in portable tanks. These boats are good for getting to lakes and the coast from time to time and going for a bit of weekend camping. Getting back to boats sailing ability, if you want to sail and you want a trailerable boat, I would look for something more traditional. They will sail better and safer. I know there are a legion of followers but I'm not one of them anymore.
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Old 08-07-2013, 16:51   #3
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Re: About the Macgregor 26: Easiness, SAILING speed

There are some beautiful little trailerables on Yacht World. Search for 19-25ft between 20 and 30 thousand day sailors. Most of these are more than day sailors but thats what I used for search criteria
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Old 08-07-2013, 17:25   #4
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Re: About the Macgregor 26: Easiness, SAILING speed

The very first boat I ever wanted was a MacGregor. Boy am I glad I never got one. I have seen a lot come and go in our trailer sailing club and they soon leave due to them not being able to keep up or point to wind either in club races or club cruising.
The inside of these boats are fantastic. Just like a caravan and very comfortable. A really great living space from a boat hull.
They are nice and light to tow and easy to launch and retireve. The mast raising system works well amd the rig is simple.
The best model for sailing is the 26C as it is more like a sail boat.
The MacGregor's are there to fill a hole in the market and do that really well but I wouldn't call them fast. Great family fun and quick to get home if needed.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:30   #5
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Re: About the Macgregor 26: Easiness, SAILING speed

I heard that there was controversy whether the X/M's displacement powerboat planing hull makes the boat go faster or hampers the speed performance. I got convinced from both sides that while a powerboat hull gives a lot more speed opportunity for the Macgregor 26 X/M and that these boats sail much faster than traditional sailboats,which are restricted to normal cruising speeds because of their traditional hulls, there are reports and reviews that the powerboat planing hull compromises and hampers speed performance. If you had a Mac 26 X or M, did it sail really fast or slow? Give conditions associated with these sailing performances. And what are any reflections in regards to the Macgregor 26 X or M's TRUE sailing performance? And I DO NOT MEAN SPEED BY POWER, I MEAN SPEED ALL BY SAIL.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:57   #6
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Re: About the Macgregor 26: Easiness, SAILING speed

Okay, It is slower in both cases. A traditional sailboat will sail circles around it. The very best speed I ever got out of it under sail was in calm water with a breeze of 10 knots with a 150 genoa. I managed 5.5 knots for about 15 minutes. With the 100 jib I was never able to get it over 4 knots and reefed before 15knots of wind otherwise we would be heeled like crazy and not going anywhere. If you are looking for speed under sail, this is not the boat that will do it. There is just not enough ballast or a big enough keel. In fact if it was blowing 15 you couldn't even get it to tack through the eye. For messing about in 10knots of wind, great. If you want good performance under sail, a traditional boat is designed for it. On my 34 under full sail in 15 knots, I can average 6+ knots all day, comfortably. I am not bashing the boat, this was just my experience. It did take us places, all the way to Desolation in fact, but I would never consider it fast.
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Old 10-07-2013, 11:41   #7
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I don't like Macgregors (though admittedly I've never sailed one). They're a compromise, and they seem designed to lure in people who want to sail but don't know where to start. There are lots of nice old boats out there that would probably suit you just as well.
"They'll get out of the way. I learned that drivin' the Saratoga."
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Old 11-07-2013, 04:48   #8
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Re: About the Macgregor 26: Easiness, SAILING speed

It's neither fish nor foul. Never owned one but have "sailed" one,if you can call it sailing.
If you truly want to learn to sail, this boat will disappoint in no time .If you are so enamored with the interior or "one size fits all" concept ,then learn to sail on a proper sailboat and then go back to the Mac and test sail one to see if she is still for you

Do I like trailerable Boats ? Yes!

Do I think Beauty is is in the eye of the beholder? Sure!

Do Macs make good pwr boats? I guess so.

Do I think Macs are a great concept? Yes!, great concept ,but a HUGE compromise in sailing ability.

Are Macs fast race boats? It's possible that they can sail quite quickly downwind in flat water while going sideways in a gale.

Can you have fun on one? You betcha!

I have posted before that boat ownership has its analogy in long term relationships............Marry in haste and repent at Leisure.
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Old 11-07-2013, 06:30   #9
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Re: About the Macgregor 26: Easiness, SAILING speed

As with any boat purchase I think, the first place to start is your intended use...not the specs of a given boat...then match the specs to your use. Does the McGregor fit your intended use? If so, then it's good for you.

Your OP has a lot of performance references in it....none of the Mac 26's are performance boats. They do a good job of fitting a niche for weekend family trailer sailors, but they are not performance boats. Good starter boat...probably, performance

I bought a hurricane salvage 26M (think it was an "M") years ago for about $2,000. We repaired the hull, gutted the interior, and re-rigged it for about $1,500 and used it for sail training. Sailed reasonably well for what it was and fit the need at the time. The boat produced good revenue for about 5 years and then I sold it for what I had in it -- worked for me.

Re speed. The compromise "powerboat hull" you mention is actually a speed detriment under sail (increased wetted surface area and thus drag), not an advantage, since there is no way a Mac 26 can sail fast enough to plane...short of hurricane conditions. You won't be winning many races in any of Mac 26's, but at $30K you have a lot of others options. For example, you could buy a used Hobie 33, a legendary performance boat, for under $30K. They are trailerable and WAY fast. Official max speed from Hobie Corp is 17 knots, but I've seen them pushed to over 20. Their windward ability is absolutely amazing (official polar numbers are something like 23d apparent). The Mac 26's windward ability is not what I would call "amazing"...mediocre at best. If racing is part of your plan, as it sounds like it is, then I would go with the H33.

Accommodation spaces on the H33 are a bit if weekend camping is part of the plan then the Mac 26 wins in that category.

I am about to head back home for the off-season and am excited about getting to sail my H33 again....if it was a Mac 26 sitting at the dock I don't think my heart rate would change much.

Specs for the Mac 26 are available at this link (and others) SPECIFICATIONS. From the specs there you can easily calculate SA/D, theoretical hull speed, etc...

Info and specs on the H33 can be found here: Hobie 33 North American Class Association. One clue, there are much more detailed performance specs on the H33...because it is a performance boat.

Good luck.
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Old 11-07-2013, 16:19   #10
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Re: About the Macgregor 26: Easiness, SAILING speed

I have a Macgregor 26S that I keep at my lake house. There are lot's of things I wouldn't do in a 26S but for its intended purpose as a small inland lake sailboat that I can beach when I want to it does pretty well. Don't know much about the 26M, X or other powerboat hulls as they are a totally different boat. The 26S sails pretty well for what it is. I can get 5-5.5 Kts in a medium breeze and it's fun for when I'm on the small lake. I wouldn't spend anywhere near $30K for one however. For that money there are much better choices.
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Old 22-05-2014, 08:30   #11
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Re: About the Macgregor 26: Easiness, SAILING speed

I get annoyed by people who criticize a boat they have never sailed on. A few weeks ago I raced my Macgregor 26 C against a range of PHRF boats in a moderately windy day. Boats ranged from an 18 foot cat to a 33+ foot C&C. There were 2 J-24s. Drysailing I beat one of the J boats and was close to the other. This doesnt always happen but with a very slim 6 foot centerboard the M26C (not the power sailor) outpoints most boats when sailed properly. It is very tender at first due to the water ballast and hardens up once it is heeling, but believe me, it points and can go fast under the proper conditions. GPS wise I have hit 6 knots upwind, which is better than average for most 26 footers.
I singlehandedly can raise the mast and launch and be sailing the boat in about 20 min. the small sailplan- appropriate for a light boat is easy to handle and the boat once reefed is stable enough at 25 knot breezes to put a smile on your face.
Yes it is light. so you can pull it with your car, yes it is waterballasted- so you need to expect it to heel quicker than other boats. But find another boat that points that well, is so easy to keep in your backyard and launch and, can be so much fun with kids who really like stopping and beaching the boat and sailing-only as a path to get there.
No keel so no worries about running aground. light sailplan so no need for a crew if you want to singlehand, beachable so no need to bring a dinghy
turns on a dime, yet in strong winds minimal weather helm.

Now the power sailor doesnt point like the C does but people who buy that version arent interested in racing and most dont want to pay dockage fees for heavy keel. When the hurricane came to Virginia my 26 footer was safe at the house, many other boats at the marina were destroyed

You have to decide what you want - a keel boat that only explores 10 miles from its mooring or a trailerable that is easy to launch, and can go anywhere. Mine has been in Lake Erie, all up and down the Chesapeake, in lakes in MD, OH, VA, FL and all over the keys.
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