Most small to medium sized sailboats can be sailed by one person. I have done so with boats ranging from 12', 15', 22', 24' and 30'. The key to sailing alone safely is setting the boat up for it. Also, starting out with sailing in light winds, smaller sails and in sheltered areas. The 26' Macgregor is somewhat under canvased so should be easy to set up for you to sail it solo. If you send me your e-mail address I'll send you my published article about setting your boat up for solo sailing. Also, where are you located and where do you plan on learning to sail?Duane "Novelman"
I would say to try not to learn everything at once - sails, rigging, motor, boat handling. I think the first thing would be to get a roller furling jib and learn how to sail with just that. You can easily reduce or even furl the sail and that can get you out of trouble quickly. Also, watch the weather. Where I sail, the wind is usually stronger than predicted so I allow for that. Also, except in the summer, the fronts are when we get stronger winds, so be aware of the next one. In the summer, we get squalls that can form quickly so you need to be alert and watch the horizon.
Even though Duane said it all with - "The key to sailing alone safely is setting the boat up for it."I'll still share my experience, I have none!! LoL!!!But, I am in the final stages of setting up for it. Like you I have a 26M, mine is an '03 model. First I got an Autohelm, Raymarine ST4000 MKII+, then I ran all lines aft. This spring I just installed my Schaefer Snapfurl rollerfurler and luff conversions and now I am getting to the finishing touches with a Harken LazyJack system.Then it will be a couple practice runs while having my crew (wife) on standby. Once I am confident that I can leave the slip and get under way alone, hoist the sails, sail a bit, then take everything down and dock again on my own I will start going out alone. My wife needs to see it done so that she doesn't have to fret while I am out there.The Autohelm is the real convenience, we both really like it, but I think the Snapfurler will also rank right up there. It is a bit expensive to do what I did but I wanted the whole package so I spared no expense. Now I just have to get out there and try it all, first splash of the season is next weekend. Amazing how much money one can spend on a boat!!
I own a 2006 Mac 26M. I understand it is an easy boat to sail shorthanded, although I've always sailed with another. We sail in deep water off SoCal.I know several people who sail their Mac 26M's solo.Once I am more proficient, I may become a solo sailor.I offer these comments for a solo sailor:Always wear a PFD, (Life Jacket).Recommend that you are tethered to the boat. This boat will not sink.Use a lanyard connected between your body and the pedestal to turn off the outboard if you are MOB.If you must leave your helm, tie the wheel down to a cleat, so that it will not rotate.If you're going far offshore use an E P I R B.Organise all of the lines. Its an easy process.Have Fun!!!Dennis
Simple answer, yes very easily. Once you learned the ropes to basic sailing you should. In my opinion, you "really" learn to sail and get the feel for your boat when you are alone at the helm. Use the mainsail only the first few runs(spend hours until comfortable) and work your way by adding the jib. Use the Genoa when you really feel comfortable using the jib w main. Having the motor on neutral on your first few runs may help you alter your mistakes. I suggest you start with light winds 10 knots or less. Good Luck!