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Turn Your 26C Into a 26R: Parts Guide

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Dec 28, 2011
193
MacGregor 26D Boston
Turn Your 26C or 26X Into a 26R With A Rotating Mast!




Parts List to Turn Your MacGregor 26C into a 26R (Rotating Mast)
Why do this?
1) The boat goes faster
2) You hold a course closer to the wind. TampaMac has reported about 5 degrees closer, maybe a bit more.
3) The boat will lean less. TampaMac reports: "I was out in winds up to about 20 mph, yet I did not ever heal more than 15 degrees."
4) The rotating mast makes a difference. Again, according to TampaMac, "It got stuck at the wrong angle, I manually rotated it to the correct angle and the boat shot off at a knot or so faster."
5) It makes your Mac special, different form all the rest.
6) Higher resell value
7) The guy who built the fastest MacGregor, Mike Inman, did exactly this to his 26C.
8) The Brains behind MacGregor, Roger MacGregor, deemed it important enough to make it standard on the newest version, the 26M
9) Because you know you want to beat your friends at next year's Trailer Sailor Race at Lake Havasu!


Please Note: The mast base plate will not attach directly to your 26C mast without some minor modifications Unless you use the mast from the Tornado Catamaran as it is identical to the 26M mast and it would accept the Mast base plate perfectly with no modifications needed.

Two places to buy parts:
1) The MacGregor factory in California will stock all parts for their newest boat, the 26M Since the parts you need is from the newest boat, you can get them from either place. MacGregor Factory: (949) 642-6830. The Sales Manager, Mike Innman (nice guy), has himself put these 26M parts on the same boat, a Mac 26C to make it fast. Therefore Mike is the best expert you can talk to if you have any questions so I recommend you buy your parts from him as you're going to eventually need his advice. For example, Mike said once completed, rig your backstay to only have a tension of about 2 (loose) instead of the normal tension. This is so the mast can rotate freely.

2) Blue Water Yachts in the state of Washington: 206-282-4261
They stock parts for almost any age MacGregor including the 26C. However, Gale and the rest at B.W.Y.'s do not realize how many have successfully completed this modification so they will discourage you from this modification saying things like, "You've been mislead, don't listen to Mike." The fact is, Mike Inman and at least 4 others have successfully completed this Mod and all of them love the results.

Item.............................Quantity............Price
Side Angle Brackets.............2.....................29.90 (Buys you both).
Mast Base Hinge Plate.........1......................66.00
Mast Base Bottom Cap.........1.....................41.50
Mast Ball Bearing................1......................20.00
Shipping...................................................20-50
Total: $177.40
*If your mast does not have spreaders, you'll have to add those at an additional cost of $144 from Blue Water Yachts

Threads From Completed Rotating Mast Modifications:
1) John, (username: "Right On!") has a (MacGregor 26C) and has, like me, also used a Hobie 18 mast and boom. He bought each of the 26M parts from the MacGregor factory that I have pictured above:
http://forums.macgregor.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=142896

2) Bob (username: "r.oril") also has a 26C and has also made his boat have a rotating mast. He did not use new equipment from the MacGregor factory. He modified his current equipment to make it work.
http://forums.macgregor.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?p=936943#post936943
and Bob's 2nd thread with more info is: http://www.macgregorsailors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=20003&p=238292&hilit=rotating+mast#p238292
and his 3rd thread is here: http://forums.macgregor.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=139211

The 26X is a newer version boat that allows for a larger outboard, but the rigging is the same as the 26C. The following threads detail owners of the 26X that have converted to the rotating mast like the 26M, so their lessons will apply to the 26C as well.

3) This guy converted from a 26X to a rotating 26M mast: http://macgregorsailors.com/modt/index.php?view=564
4) TampaMac converted form the 26X mast to a rotating 26M mast: http://macgregorsailors.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=3046&highlight=
5) Switching from 26X to 26M is also discussed here by sdsailman: http://www.macgregorsailors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=19994&p=238374&hilit=rotating+mast#p238374
 

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Last edited:
Nov 23, 2011
1,999
MacGregor 26D London Ontario Canada
Thanks for putting all that together MacNCheese! That makes things allot easier to figure out.
 
Dec 28, 2011
193
MacGregor 26D Boston
Thanks for putting all that together MacNCheese! That makes things allot easier to figure out.
Thanks Finding41!

By the way, I completely got you confused with "RightOn!". That's why I kept asking you about the Hobie 18 mast :redface:
 

r.oril

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Oct 29, 2008
586
MacGregor 26D and Catalina 30 26 - 30 Lancaster, CA
I have had my rotating RM now for about a year. It is the single best mod you can do for your Mac. The very first time I raced my 26D, I waited until all of the other boats had passed the start line and then raised sails and because of the pointing ability, was able to pass all but one boat and take second place. I would have caught him also but my skills of round the mark need improvement.
I got all of the needed parts from MacGregor and Mike was my GoTo Guy! I did use my stock mast but had to move the hounds.
You will see the power, speed and control first time out. I now sail on just the main and hit 6 knots as normal. Add the furling jib(PVC home made) and you haul butt!

r.oril@verizon.net
 
Dec 28, 2011
193
MacGregor 26D Boston
I have had my rotating RM now for about a year. It is the single best mod you can do for your Mac. The very first time I raced my 26D, I waited until all of the other boats had passed the start line and then raised sails and because of the pointing ability, was able to pass all but one boat and take second place. I did use my stock mast but had to move the hounds.
You will see the power, speed and control first time out. I now sail on just the main and hit 6 knots as normal.
Thanks for posting Bob! How did you find the new location for the hounds?

I'm assuming you added the spreaders yourself? Would you be willing to post any pictures of the spreaders or describing how you added them?
 

r.oril

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Oct 29, 2008
586
MacGregor 26D and Catalina 30 26 - 30 Lancaster, CA
MacNCheese said:
Thanks for posting Bob! How did you find the new location for the hounds?

I'm assuming you added the spreaders yourself? Would you be willing to post any pictures of the spreaders or describing how you added them?
I removed the stock spreader attachments, used the spreader bars as they go right in the new rotating spreader hound from MacGregor. I did a lot of measuring/guessing where I thought they new holes should go. I did not have the money to change out the stays. The side stays needed to be shortened because the hound has a drop down attachment point. The forestay needed to be extended and so did the back stay. Those were easy.

For the new rotating spreader hound, I really gambled. I made the new spreader a sliding one with wire holding it to the mast and a wire attached to the top lift. I calculated where I figured it would go, adjusted the wires and stepped the mast. With no wind, it worked fine. The baby stays really helped and I had the original side stays attached to the new hound. It took two tries to get the right position on the mast. I crossed my fingers and wished for luck and drilled the new holes. It worked!

Call me if you like. 1-661-917-1478
 

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walt

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Jun 1, 2007
3,421
Macgregor 26S Hobie TI South Park, Colorado
I can sure see a good mast raising system being very useful if you’re doing this mod.

I put a rotating mast on a 15 foot planning monohull (which meant raising and lowering the mast many times) and ended up sailing it a lot this summer on a small Denver lake where there is a lot of sailboat racing. I didn’t join the racing but of course you always get in plenty of drag racing.

I basically thought the rotating mast had its largest influence in conditions where the main sail would be sheeted out more and this of course is also where the fixed mast creates the largest inconsistency in the transition between the mast and the sail cloth. For example, if your really pinching upwind and have the main really sheeted in tight (even past center with a traveler), the non rotating mast position isn’t that far off of ideal. However, as you do more of a reach or even some downwind where the boom tends to move more off center, the rotating mast really comes into play. Also, the higher the winds, the more you tend to have the sail at a higher sheet angle (since the apparent wind also shifts with higher winds) and I thought the rotating mast also helped considerably in the higher winds.

The RM also made a big difference in the usefulness of the main sailed by itself. Im not sure why but before I made this mod, I would always get this nasty vertical bag shape just behind the mast in higher winds and I think made the boat harder to control. After the mod, I would almost never get this and it seemed to also result in better control of the boat.

An M owner (Capt. Kermie) had a suggested for a mod that basically allows you to force the mast rotation to its max position and in my case, this was a key thing in making the RM work.

It was definitely fun to use in the drag racing that goes on.
 
Dec 28, 2011
193
MacGregor 26D Boston
r.oril said:
The side stays needed to be shortened because the hound has a drop down attachment point. The forestay needed to be extended and so did the back stay.
Call me if you like. 1-661-917-1478
I appreciate that Bob and I will take you up on that when I run into a tough area.

Does anyone know if the current spreaders on my Hobie 18 mast would need to be changed to the rotating MacGregor 26M type? My Hobie speaders do not rotate like Bob's do but the Hobie mast was intended to rotate so why would the spreaders need to be modified?

One other question, I saved the Hobie mast step that my mast was intended to rotate on and plan to mount it between the current side angle brackets. It will be mounted carefully in a position where the bolt can still run through the hole of the side angles and theough the corresponding hole in the bottom of the hobie mast plate as you see here:

ForumRunner_20121122_080439.jpg

ForumRunner_20121122_080505.jpg

Underneath it, I will add a 1&1/2" wooden piece to raise this Hobie mast step to it's proper height from the deck. You can see here how this mast step was attached to the Hobie pontoons and how I've removed the top of the mast step to be used on the Mac:
ForumRunner_20121122_081021.jpg

Does anyone forsee problems with this arangement?
 

r.oril

.
Oct 29, 2008
586
MacGregor 26D and Catalina 30 26 - 30 Lancaster, CA
Spreaders don't move

Hey Mac,
My spreaders do not move, the mast rotates. That is why the stays are attached to the center of the hounds. The stock ones were attached to the sides of the mast. I did use the stock spreader bars.
Try to zoom in on the spreader hound to see the lowers attached to the front of the spreader.
See page 4 on the 26M Manual.
http://www.macgregor26.com/instruction_manual/OWNERS INSTRUCTIONS.pdf
 

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