• Mobile App For Android Now Online!

    Download it here. The app is searchable in the Google Play Store under Sailboat Owners.

    Sorry iPhone/iPad users, we are still waiting on Apple. :(

    Click the X in the upper right corner to make this go away

Fell in love with the MacGregor 26M, but...

Jim26m

.
Apr 3, 2019
579
Macgregor 26M Mobile AL
@Benny17441 brings up several good points. The big cabin area in my Waterbago isn't used much during sailing. Most of the day is spent in the cockpit (kids like to go on deck). You say that you are not a sailor, but you didn't discuss your tendency to get seasick. Spending time below on a good sailing day can separate you from your last meal pretty quickly if you have motion trouble. Of course, that depends on the local conditions. Where I sail, if it's blowing good, it's also rolling good.

All of that to say, 4 big adults in the cockpit is about the top number for comfort. We carry 6 fairly trim adults when the whole crew is in town. But, the son-in-law and oldest daughter like rail meat seating, so 4 in the cockpit can spread out comfortably. If you are looking at numbers like 6 or more, you need to look at the owners manual and check the capacity. And, bottom line, that big cabin is just windage unless you're dining/visiting at anchor or sleeping in it. Maybe different in colder climates.

@Hunter216 brings up a great point regarding max motoring speed. I have a 60 Etec. With 4 trim adults and no ballast, I run right at 20 mph (rigging up). With ballast, speed drops to about 17.5. With proper loading, the M and X can be motored without ballast. So, when you're shopping, look for boats at, or over, 60 hp if you want to tube with several adults aboard. Some owners are over 100hp, with several running 90's. A lot of them were sold with 50's, which would probably not meet your needs as @Hunter216 suggests.

Looping back to @Benny17441 comments regarding water ballast respect. You need to take that very seriously when you load a water ballasted boat with a lot of people; much more so if some of them are a scale factor above normal. Water ballasted boats are very safe with the ballast in. They range from reasonably steady to downright frightening with the tank empty. You only need to think empty and full, because as @Benny17441 says, partially full is very bad. You need to make sure you understand what your boat is like BEFORE you put it in the water on your own. While the M can be motored safely without ballast, that is only true if lightly and properly loaded. Ditto the X.

As @kloudie1 posts above, Sumner is a legend among Mac owners. His mods and cruises in his 26s are incredible. You can really get a grasp of what trailer sailing can be from reading his posts, blogs, etc.
 

Jim26m

.
Apr 3, 2019
579
Macgregor 26M Mobile AL
So probably 350-400 lbs of motor and a big hole in $10K ! I can see why you would choose 60hp! :)
YOWZAH! The other issue is powerhead size. Swim ladder is on the stern and the M helm seat is over the powerhead. So, swim access can be an issue with a big powerhead. A big powerhead won't tilt all the way up with the stock helm seat down. So, you can be left dragging the foot, or removing the helm seat. With my sailing skills, I certainly don't need to drag half an outboard behind the boat.

Full disclosure: the 60 was on the boat when I bought it. The claims that a 50hp will do 20 mph are overstated in my opinion, but I didn't know that when I was shopping. Just dumb luck that the boat I found had a 60. I wouldn't go much bigger on a repower though. It's plenty fast for the way I use it. I am disappointed that BRP quit making them, though. I hope parts and tech support will be around for awhile.
IMG_2088.JPG
IMG_0241.JPG
 
Last edited:
Jan 7, 2011
2,829
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
I was enamored with the idea of the 26M when I first started thinking about a boat. I sail on Lake Michigan.

I finally found a new one to look at a dealer, and I thought it was really lightly built.

I then found a nice guy to take me out on his 26X (water ballast like the 26M, but different type of foil - the X uses a centerboard, the M uses a dagger boar).

I sailed the 26X and did not like the sailing characteristics. So I asked the owner to crank up the engine (I think he had a 25 or 50 HP). The boat did not get up on a plane, and seemed to wallow in the water a bit.

I made a few decisions that day...
1) I don’t want to keep a boat on a trailer...too much time wasted setting the boat up, launching, etc.
2; I want a real sailboat, with real ballast for sailing on Lake Michigan.

My advice is to sail on one before making a purchase,


Greg
 

Jim26m

.
Apr 3, 2019
579
Macgregor 26M Mobile AL
@Tally Ho brings up some great points from the other side of the force.

1. If you can afford the slip fees and maintenance associated with keeping a boat in the water, and weather is not likely to destroy your boat before you can take action to prevent it, do it. You will use the boat more. Trailering every time is not easy on a 26 ft boat - even with light rigging. As I said earlier, I'm around 20-30 mins setup, and 40-50 mins takedown after 5 years of honing. I don't go for a 2 hour sail. If the boat were slipped, I probably would. 4 hours on the water minimum, or I don't go.

2. Greg went out on a power sailer that wouldn't plane. This gets back to my earlier comment on motor hp. If you want a power sailer, get enough power to use it like you intend. I don't know why the boat didn't sail better, maybe old sails or inexperienced captain, but the X should have sailed better than described. If you buy a used boat, sails are likely an expense you need to plan for. Think several thousand dollars for good sails. When you buy a used boat, you can take your sails to a good loft and have them checked and tuned up. A good loft will tell you if it's time to get new sails. I had work done on mine right after I bought the boat to correct bolt rope shrinkage on the main (common problem). The loft said I had a few more years on the sails, and replaced the bolt rope for $150. The sails were only 3 or 4 years old at the time.

3. Lake Michigan can probably get pretty rowdy. A big boat with a heavy keel will likely be a much nicer ride in large bodies of water.

4. Evaluating the boat underway, preferably in waters at least similar to your intended sailing grounds is solid advice. Also, if you could participate in the rigging setup and takedown process on a trailer sailer - that would be helpful. There is a lot of climbing and walking about on deck through a tangle of rigging. All done 8-10 ft off the ground. You need to be reasonably physically fit to trailer sail a boat this size. There isn't a lot of heavy lifting (you will need some sort of gin pole or mast raising system), but a good sense of balance and reasonable strength is required.
 

Giro

.
Jul 23, 2019
62
MacGregor MacGregor 25 Monterey
My wife and I own a MacGregor 25 that we had built back in 1983 and had completely restored in 2019. I’m sure that most of you would consider us to be completely nuts to have spent the amount of money we spent on having her restored but, oh well. We’re past the age of wanting to trailer her, step and unstep the mast and launching and retrieving her from the waters we enjoyed exploring the inland California lakes and coastal waterways and bays like San Francisco, Moro and Los Angels Harbor including the channel between San Pedro and Santa Catalina Island.
We were fortunate to be able to obtain a slip in Monterey Bay and, for the last couple of years, she’s been sitting pretty In a well protected slip that we visit as often as we can. Which brings up my reason for responding:
The slip next to ours contains a MacGregor 26X and is often admired by both my wife and myself because of our knowledge of that the 26 has ample headroom and that our 25, while I believe has all of the traits of a true sailing vessel, is simply not as comfortable to accommodate us for sleep aboard, overnight visits.
It all depends on your needs and wants.
 
Sep 20, 2020
9
Venture 21 Lake Pleasant
As I've not experienced a water ballasted boat yet I have a couple of questions. I hear how the 26x and 26M both heel very easily and are tender (due to the water ballast mostly?) Is that true for the 26s as well? I haven't heard of the 26s being 'tippy'. Or is it a different hull shape that prevents this? (I know the hull of the 26x and 26m are shaped more like a powerboat.)

Therefore.....does the 26s feel more 'steady' and not as scary? I know this is not a power sailer, strictly a sailer......all of the posts here have me considering other boats that we can use as a weekend (or longer) trailer boat ...but I do really love the cabin room, head room, space and enclosed head of the 26M.

I do wish I had the ability to check these all out and compare them....but we don't know anyone who has any of these boats. And....we are in Phoenix where I may struggle to find someone who does. When the time is right though, we are willing to go to SoCal to do so, as it's only 6-7 hours away.

Thank you again for your input, and patience with me if I am using terms incorrectly...I will learn for sure!

(I did notice the 1988 Beneteau First 23.5 has most all the qualities/amenities I love, (strictly a sailboat) but alas...not very easily towable, that I can see due to keel. Also my SUV's 3500 limitations, altho' I have an AWD mode. Same story it seems for the Catalina 25 and the Hunters.
Keep heading back to the Mac.)
 
Last edited:
Jul 7, 2004
7,914
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
The classic 26's are tender also but not scary. Takes a moment to harden up. The ballast in not deep like a keelboat.
 
  • Like
Likes: SailFan1
Jan 1, 2006
5,989
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
The First 23.5 does have a surprizing spacious cabin and I think head room for 6'. The one I've sailed on was owned by a guy who is 6'4".
 
  • Like
Likes: SailFan1
Sep 20, 2020
9
Venture 21 Lake Pleasant
The First 23.5 does have a surprizing spacious cabin and I think head room for 6'. The one I've sailed on was owned by a guy who is 6'4".
@shemandr I know! It does! It captivated me when i saw it...but I don't know if it comes with a swing keel or daggerboard at all. Sadly, I don't think it does.
 
Nov 8, 2010
11,385
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
The 235 on a trailer will be about 4000 lbs. but a compact tow. The wing keel (95% of them) tows and launces easily.

Well designed space, but 5'4" of headroom.

I owned one (loved it) and did a review about a thousand years ago.

 
Last edited:
Jan 1, 2006
5,989
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
Well 5'4" is almost 6' - not. I've been below on one. I don't remember stooping very much but I got along pretty well with sitting headroom on my Mark 25.
 
Sep 22, 2018
1,869
Hunter 216 Kingston
The 235 on a trailer will be about 4000 lbs. but a compact tow. The wing keel (95% of them) tows and launces easily.

Well designed space, but 5'4" of headroom.

I owned one (loved it) and did a review about a thousand years ago.

Is the mast easily stepped? Could one “normal” person just manhandle that up or require ginpole?
 
  • Like
Likes: SailFan1
Nov 8, 2010
11,385
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
Is the mast easily stepped? Could one “normal” person just manhandle that up or require ginpole?
The mast is long for the size for the boat, and cannot be laid flat with the base attached. I always used a jin pole, but I had a very good one. I know many that manhandle it up. I know very few boats this size that one person can do; with or without a pole.
 
Sep 22, 2018
1,869
Hunter 216 Kingston
The mast is long for the size for the boat, and cannot be laid flat with the base attached. I always used a jin pole, but I had a very good one. I know many that manhandle it up. I know very few boats this size that one person can do; with or without a pole.
Thanks. Good to know that you don’t need a crane to step, just a few friends and the right gear. :)