26X vs 26M head size

NINEv2

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Jul 21, 2020
88
Catalina 250 Black Hills
Hello all. I'm in the market for a boat, and two of my candidates are the M26X and 26M. One of my hangups about these two is the size of the enclosed head. I have yet to view one in person (I'm prettly landlocked) and from doing some quick and dirty scaling off of cutaway diagrams I come up with compartments that are 2 feet or less wide? I'm relatively short but not small, 5'8" but I'm about 215, which means I have some shoulders that won't fit if the compartments are indeed that small.

So how useable are these enclosed heads really? Any opinions appreciated, and apologies if this has already been addressed somewhere else.
 
Feb 21, 2013
3,776
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
Others in the forum will have their own view..............My 2 cents is a boat's head would not be a deciding factor for me since most boat heads are small to begin. Most sailing days we never use it, except during overnighters. Look for features that differentiate each sailboat model as discussed in the excerpts below from the Sailing Magazine "MacGregor 26" article (link below), cabin, topside, cockpit, hull and bottom condition, motor size / condition, sail condition, rolling furler jib, bimini, etc.

When buying a used 26, decide whether you want an older X model or a newer M. The improvements evident in the M version can serve as an indicator for what to look for when buying a used X. For instance, the new model features a more traditional shearline and a smaller transom with rounded corners, making the 26M look more like a sailboat, or at least less like a powerboat. The M series' bottom has a deeper V, allowing for better tracking, and the rig is taller. The noisy and potentially leaky centerboard trunk was replaced by a daggerboard well. The latter has no metal parts, reducing concerns about electrolysis. The rudders are larger and more elliptical in shape for better control. The outboard was relocated to under the captain's seat rather than behind it, which made the cabin 15 inches longer. The cabin has four lights instead of two, and there are two rows of windows, allowing more natural illumination inside.

 
Feb 21, 2013
3,776
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
An article by MacGregor entitled "MacGregor 26M vs 26X" may answer your question about head size...............that by moving the head forward, they were able to gain access to the rear berth from the starboard side. The head occupied the most usable part of the old boat’s interior, and is now a lot less obtrusive forward of the mast. (The down side of this is a slightly smaller head with 2″ less headroom.)

 

NINEv2

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Jul 21, 2020
88
Catalina 250 Black Hills
Good stuff there, thanks for the pointers. It may sound a little silly, but access to a usable head is essential for us for medical reasons. I very much liked the layout of the 26 from what I've seen in pics but then did my back-of-the-napkin scale measurements and was pretty surprised. I expected small, but not that small.

Still plan on seeing for myself of course!
 
Feb 21, 2013
3,776
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
I fully understand.............my 1987 Hunter 31 head was small that we hardly used it, so was my 1984 Spindrift 56 foot Motor Yacht aft cabin head, albeit the forward guest cabin head was generously sized. My Hunter 386 single head was and now Hunter 46 two heads are very reasonably sized.
 
Feb 21, 2013
3,776
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
Correction ........my Hunter 31 was probably < 24 inches. Just measured the Hunter 46 aft and forward head width and they are 28 and 26 inch wide in front of the head, respectively. Doors measured 15 inch wide to both so we enter sideways.
 
Jan 7, 2011
2,912
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
Good stuff there, thanks for the pointers. It may sound a little silly, but access to a usable head is essential for us for medical reasons. I very much liked the layout of the 26 from what I've seen in pics but then did my back-of-the-napkin scale measurements and was pretty surprised. I expected small, but not that small.

Still plan on seeing for myself of course!
I was intrigued by the Mac 26M when I first learned about them. Finally got to look at one at a dealer, and was not impressed. the boat is small and very lightly built. Good for a trailerable boat perhaps, but not for my sailing needs on Lake Michigan. I decided that day that I would 1) buy a 30+ foot boat and 2) keep it in a slip.

You really need to see the boat in person.

Greg
 
Jun 25, 2004
1,108
Corsair F24 Mk1 003 San Francisco Bay, CA
Look at them both in person. A lot of Mac owners and dealers preferrred the layout of the 26X over the 26M. Perhaps a better place to ask questions is on the MacGregor website, where lots of Mac owners hang out. Better to ask them because they know them well.

Macgregor Sailors Website

In My personal opinion, they are not great sailing boats, nor great power boats, but they are a heck of fun on vacation. They are fair weather sailboats with big motors. You can trailer them anywhere - they go 60 mph to windward behind your truck. They’re floating RVs that can also sail, and there’s a lot to be said for that! I’ve got a few friends that have gone on some great Family vacations on them
 
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NINEv2

.
Jul 21, 2020
88
Catalina 250 Black Hills
Correction ........my Hunter 31 was probably < 24 inches. Just measured the Hunter 46 aft and forward head width and they are 28 and 26 inch wide in front of the head, respectively. Doors measured 15 inch wide to both so we enter sideways.
Wow. Thanks for doing that. That's an eye opener. That small on such an expensive boat?
I was intrigued by the Mac 26M when I first learned about them. Finally got to look at one at a dealer, and was not impressed. the boat is small and very lightly built. Good for a trailerable boat perhaps, but not for my sailing needs on Lake Michigan. I decided that day that I would 1) buy a 30+ foot boat and 2) keep it in a slip.

You really need to see the boat in person.

Greg
Totally intend to. Just a matter of when.
Look at them both in person. A lot of Mac owners and dealers preferrred the layout of the 26X over the 26M. Perhaps a better place to ask questions is on the MacGregor website, where lots of Mac owners hang out. Better to ask them because they know them well.

Macgregor Sailors Website

In My personal opinion, they are not great sailing boats, nor great power boats, but they are a heck of fun on vacation. They are fair weather sailboats with big motors. You can trailer them anywhere - they go 60 mph to windward behind your truck. They’re floating RVs that can also sail, and there’s a lot to be said for that! I’ve got a few friends that have gone on some great Family vacations on them
Yep, that's kind of the intention. Priority is a spot in our vacation area, and if I get hooked on the sailing, well, we can always upgrade.

Thanks again for everyone's input.
 

Jim26m

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Apr 3, 2019
579
Macgregor 26M Mobile AL
The 2013 M head is 27-1/2" wide; if you don't mount the tissue holder on either wall...

There is a step under the porta potti that raises it 5-1/2", making the 2-gallon porta potti the largest I can use without having my face on my knees. We have the other issue. Our crew is generally tall and thin, making the low headroom in the M head a challenge. The two gallon is plenty for Day sailing, but cuts it close for a long weekend for two.

Many owners mod the head to gain more leg room (remove the doors and use a curtain across the boat, or install a sliding bulkhead that accomplishes the same goal).

We don't spend a significant amount of time in the head, so I'm ok with low headroom. A marine head with remote holding tank, or composting toilet will remedy the capacity issue. One owner cut the step out to allow more comfortable use of a 5 gallon porta pot.

As @DrJudyB says, this is a compromise boat, that will do a lot of things adequately and a few things exceptionally. It isn't everyone's cup of tea. But, it is as close to what I want, as I can get, in the price range. It tows easily behind my Silverado 1500, and launches and retrieves as easily as a bass boat. I can motor at almost 20 mph with my Etec 60, 4 adults and no ballast. With ballast, that drops to around 17 mph. It sails pretty well by monohull standards. I don't have much trouble making hull speed in decent wind. It's no J-boat, so don't expect to be first across. PHRF is above 260 if I recall correctly. I obviously didn't buy it to race though.

Setup and tear down for trailering will take you some time to get good at. My best times are about 20 mins from parking lot to water, and about 40 mins from ramp to on the road home. An hour each would be a good starting point when you first start.
 

Jim26m

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Apr 3, 2019
579
Macgregor 26M Mobile AL
As @Tally Ho says, they are lightly built. They are meant to be trailered and launched easily. I've towed mine with an Equinox, but DONT recommend it. They can be used in very shallow draft locations (motoring). They can be used anywhere when the weather is nice, but it is not all-weather, ocean-crossing boat. Having said that, the boat is good for a lot more than you'll want to endure. I've been out in 20 knots, gusting to 40; small craft advisory weather. I have a roller main and roller Genoa. We had about a beach towel of each sail out. I'll admit that it was more of a job than a relaxing day sailing, but the boat did just fine.

Although many have gone open water cruising in them, their sweet spots are protected bays, rivers, and lakes.

It boils down to how you intend to use the boat. Perhaps you could elaborate on what you see as your intended outings - including what bodies of water you will be in. Trailer, or slip?
 

NINEv2

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Jul 21, 2020
88
Catalina 250 Black Hills
As @Tally Ho says, they are lightly built. They are meant to be trailered and launched easily. I've towed mine with an Equinox, but DONT recommend it. They can be used in very shallow draft locations (motoring). They can be used anywhere when the weather is nice, but it is not all-weather, ocean-crossing boat. Having said that, the boat is good for a lot more than you'll want to endure. I've been out in 20 knots, gusting to 40; small craft advisory weather. I have a roller main and roller Genoa. We had about a beach towel of each sail out. I'll admit that it was more of a job than a relaxing day sailing, but the boat did just fine.

Although many have gone open water cruising in them, their sweet spots are protected bays, rivers, and lakes.

It boils down to how you intend to use the boat. Perhaps you could elaborate on what you see as your intended outings - including what bodies of water you will be in. Trailer, or slip?
Happy to. We're looking at Flathead lake in MT, and we don't intend to sail in any other body of water. I want to use the boat as a camper really, one that we can take out on the lake and learn the basics of sailing. We would be paying for a slip and have the marina pull and launch the boat for us. I know it defeats the purpose of the whole trailerability thing but I dont own a truck or SUV. I'd like to spend <$15K. I like several things about the M26:

1. Price. Especially the X vs the M
2. Layout, again, prefer the X (rear berth access from both sides)
3. As a rookie sailor, I like a foam filled hull and a good sized motor to get me out of trouble.
4. W/T transoms on both

Some of the downsides:
1. We need an accessible head for medical reasons, and both the X and M are comically small from my scale calculations. I've looked at composting head$, and it'$ getting expen$ive.
2. I've read about "trunk slop" on the X, and the idea of the swing keel clunking away while we try to sleep is not appealing. The fixes I've read about seem marginally successful and time consuming. But again, rookie here.
3. I'm worried about the light build I keep reading about, particularly chain/mounting plates with no backing

I'm also checking out a couple hunters and cats, but a decision is not imminent and we wont choose until this 'rona issue is solved. So I'm reading these forums with much interest (and appreciation!)

Thoughts?
 

NINEv2

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Jul 21, 2020
88
Catalina 250 Black Hills
Correction, we get full rear berth access on the M, but I like how open the X is.
 

Jim26m

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Apr 3, 2019
579
Macgregor 26M Mobile AL
A slipped boat on a lake that you never trailer says you don't need a Mac. It will do this, but it's really not going to give you the head you want. Find a bigger boat with a head that works for you.

You are going to have to adjust your thinking on marine expenditures if you think a composting toilet is expensive. If you buy a used boat, you might have to spend over $1,000 on sails right off the line. Not to mention a host of other items. Hauling, storage, slip fees, bottom work - none of this is cheap. Suggest you get realistic pricing for these accommodations and make sure your budget can handle your strategy.

The term "Boat Buck", or one thousand dollars, is jokingly used to soften the blow of marine expenditures. Actually, it's never helped me that much...

Good luck with your search. The head requirements should be doable, but may take a bit of looking. Now that everyone knows the usage plan, I bet you'll get better suggestions.
 

Jim26m

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Apr 3, 2019
579
Macgregor 26M Mobile AL
Correction, we get full rear berth access on the M, but I like how open the X is.
Not really. The rear berth is the best spot, but it's not easy to get into. Also, you will need to reinforce the area under the mattress (and likely get another mattress or at least a mattress topper), to have a satisfactory berth. The cheap plastic access covers under the mattresses slide around leaving holes to drop through. You'll need to make a plywood underlay, or similar, for the berth areas.