Swing keel vs Dagger ?

Apr 14, 2021
43
looking looking mobile al
I'm getting back into sailing after 16 years. Looking for a bot that my family of 4, kids are 16&13, that we can use basically as a camper on water.Sailing area is Mobile Bay, Pensacola bay and the Gulf barrier islands. Looking ta boats that are 22-28' in length but are trailerable. I found a 26D but i am worried with shallow areas that we may sail that a dagger board may be not be what we are looking for. My thinking is that less damage would be caused with a swing keel. Which means I would need to look for a Macgregor 25 or 26S. What are your thoughts? And advice or suggestions are appreciated.
 
Jul 7, 2004
8,032
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
I had a 26S and got to appreciate the swing keel in the shallows. I also installed a quick release on the rudder downhaul.
A dagger board will get you unstuck, but a swing board will keel it from happening.
 
Oct 19, 2017
6,951
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
I don't know a thing about Macs, but a dagger board and box designed well, can pop up on contact just as quickly as a CB. If you're looking at square footed designs, maybe not so much.

That said, I got a submerged rock with a Windmill's dagger board a couple of Summers ago and went flying over the thwart. Not a good scene. My son thought my leg was broken. Just a bruised shin with instant swelling.

-Will (Dragonfly)
 
Jan 19, 2010
10,024
Hunter 26 Charleston
The mac 25 keel is also the ballast. If memory serves me right it is 800#. It is not going to swing much when it kisses the bottom and because it is the ballast, the recommendation is to lock it in the down position when sailing in the event of a knock down. You don't want 800# of cast iron swinging into the keel trunk during a knock down:yikes:. They are nice boat for the money but given your concerns, I think you should scratch the Mac25. The 26S is water ballast and would meet the use criteria you outlined. Other water ballast boats to consider in that size range are the Catalina 250, the Hunter 26 (my boat) and the Hunter 260. I'd also recommend that you see if you can find a Rhodes 22. The Rhodes is a very large boat for only 22' and has a hybrid shole fixed keel with a swing dagger that will kick up when it strikes the bottom. The Rhodes is stiffer than water ballast boats and still has the kick-up qualities. It draws about a foot more than the 26S but you can still wade into the water and push it off of a sandbar if you need to. I've chartered a Rhodes for 4 days once and took my family of 6 all over the Albemarle sound (my kids were little then). It would definitly work for a family of 4.
 
Jan 19, 2010
10,024
Hunter 26 Charleston
Here is a 26S. It is about a 7 hour drive but the price is almost right. I'd ask to knock off $1,000 and buy the boat without the outboard. Then use the $1,000 towards a new Tohatsu 6 sailpro. Also ask to go on a test sail and really examine the draft of the sails. If they are blown, (strong weather helm in a modest breeze) ask for another thousand off. If you can get that down to $3K, it is a great deal. If the sails are in good shape then $3,800 is still good.



Here is a Hunter 26 near you that already has a nice new outboard. Again, take it for a sail. The Hunters are driven by the main so if the main is blown, you WILL KNOW IT and you will be fighting the rudder hard in a modest breeze. A new main from the SBO store is about $1,500 so if the main is blown ask to knock off $1,500... and if he talks you to knocking off $800.. it is a good deal.



There are two Mac 25s close to you. (well the second one is not so close) If you are okay keeping your eye on the depth guage and raising your keel as needed, the price is great and you can use the money you save to buy a new O.B. and sails.

 
Nov 30, 2020
69
Macgregor 22 Dania, FL
We love our Mac 22 with a 500 pound swing keel. One of the "tricks" is to put in the lock bolt BEFORE you lower the keel. This limits the down-swing to about 45 degrees. When, not if you find a sandbar the encounter is rather gentle.

Chip Veres
s/v Sand Dollar (they live on sand bars)
 
Apr 14, 2021
43
looking looking mobile al
Thanks for the tips. I did find a 26d very close to me for 4500 but needs work from what I can see just on the pics. I will keep my eye out for a 26s/d. Trying not to rush into buying something but it’s hard not to when they don’t come up that often in my area.
 
Jul 7, 2004
8,032
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
the Macs are pretty simple. Not much to go wrong except for abuse. Motor and sails are the expensive areas
 

RussC

.
Sep 11, 2015
1,530
Merit 22- Oregon lakes
Maybe I'm a "tad" biased because I own a Mac 25 ;), but that 26d that rGranger posted is a screaming deal. I'd be all over that if I was you.
the M25 keel is more like 650lb but regardless I've never seen the logic in locking down the keel in any place or weather that a sane person would be sailing in. I've been caught in some pretty strong conditions in our 25 and never felt anything even close to being knocked down to the point of danger.
The 26 has better sleeping accommodations than the 25 in stock configuration, but it's easy enough to modify the M25 v-berth for two adult comfort also.
I'm personally not a big fan of water ballast, which is the main reason I went with the 25, but there are pluses and minus for both (all) sailboats.

.02
 
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srimes

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Jun 9, 2020
211
Macgregor 26D Brookings
I'm getting back into sailing after 16 years. Looking for a bot that my family of 4, kids are 16&13, that we can use basically as a camper on water.Sailing area is Mobile Bay, Pensacola bay and the Gulf barrier islands. Looking ta boats that are 22-28' in length but are trailerable. I found a 26D but i am worried with shallow areas that we may sail that a dagger board may be not be what we are looking for. My thinking is that less damage would be caused with a swing keel. Which means I would need to look for a Macgregor 25 or 26S. What are your thoughts? And advice or suggestions are appreciated.
How shallow is it? Are you looking to sail where it's shallow? If so the S is a better fit. The D can motor just as shallow as the S. Both are great. The D is a little faster :biggrin:
 
Apr 14, 2021
43
looking looking mobile al
I’m trying to get in touch with the one in SC. Owner texted me back last night and now has gone silent. I’m sitting here waiting for him to let me know he’s available so I can drive up and view it.
 
Jul 7, 2004
8,032
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
selling and buying can get weird. I had someone ask me if I still had an item for sale. I replied "yes" and that was the last I heard from him. Then there's all the scammers out there making it hard for honest folk to buy and sell.
 
Apr 14, 2021
43
looking looking mobile al
And the hours i work make it hard for me to get away from area except every two weeks. So unless I can jump on a deal at the right weekend I miss out of the good ones.
 
Jul 7, 2004
8,032
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
the PHRF rating system for racing gives the D a 3 second per mile handicap over the S. That's essentially no difference is speed between the S and D. Don't think you'll have the faster boat if you get a D. Condition and skill will determine the faster boat.
 
Aug 5, 2019
91
Macgregor 26 S NJ
I got lucky in finding the 26S I have today (because I was looking for cheap $700-1000) and I'm most happy about it being a swing centerboard because I take it to several small lakes, some with some stumps in shallows. I've hit stumps on my Sunfish with my daggerboard and believe me that is not fun, I wouldn't want to know what that is like in a 26' boat, especially with other people on board. It's one thing to kiss the bottom with a daggerboard, another to strike something with the leading edge bringing everything to a sudden stop.
 
Apr 14, 2021
43
looking looking mobile al
Well I jumped on the chance that the one in SC would be in decent shape. Took a 8 hr drive to look at her and now she’s mine. Overall I feel I got a good deal. He came off the price only 100$ But there are 3 sets of sails. The original ones, a newer set- roughly 5-6 years old and then a NOS v25 set that was found in a warehouse the local yacht club was cleaning out. The outboard looks almost brand new under the cowling. It came off another boat that rarely used it. I was told it had less than 20 hrs on it. No way of knowing on this motor but it does look the part. Standing rigging looks awesome. Interior is good as well. She’s very dirty so a good cleaning is in order and I think I will take my time and do a light restoration on her for my piece of mind. To make her super ship shape and safe before we really start using her. So I’ll have lots of questions soon.