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Home » Sailnet Boat Reviews » M - Boats starting with 'M' » MacGregor
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MacGregor 26
Reviews Views Date of last review
14 12231 Fri August 17, 2007
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Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
100% of reviewers $14,500.00 7.7












Description: MacGregor 26
Keywords: MacGregor 26
 


Author
administrator

Administrator

Registered: January 2000
Location: maryland
Posts: 1888
Review Date: Wed September 18, 1996 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

My M-26 MaxiMac is slooped rigged with features such as
1200 lbs water ballast & kickup centerboard and rudder. This
allows me enter shallow areas, as little as 24 inches, or place the nose (bow) right up on a soft sandy beach. With both centerboard and rudder raised I can motor in 24 inches
of water.Ventilation is good to excellent depending whether
the poptop is raised. Some sailors have scoffed at how fra-
gile the boat looks but believe me after I replaced the original fore & back stays with a heavier gauge I do not hesitate to head off shore. I am very satisfied with the way
the boat handles and the speed is more than adequate with the jib,genoa and spinnaker. I've attained 14 kts using the
spinnaker on a broad reach in a 20 kt blow.
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administrator

Administrator

Registered: January 2000
Location: maryland
Posts: 1888
Review Date: Wed January 22, 1997 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:







The MacGregor 26 is a great trailer sailor, relatively stable, fast-especially in light air against more expensive boats, tows and sets up easily, basic boat is very basic so owner improvements add a lot to the craft. For its size and price it has a lot of capability. Lots of good storage area makes for pleasant week long cruises. Ease of trailering opens up many adventures on inland lakes and coastal waters. I've personally been out on Lake Michigan in 8 ft. waves with no problem and sailed it in gale force winds on smaller lakes ok too, but that's getting a little hairy. Reducing sail early is important on an M26 as it is easily overpowered and heels too much due to the lack of a keel. The stock main sail needs an inbetween reef point, and both main and jib need to have the halyards led to the cockpit for better sail handling; also jiffy reefing needs to be set up on the main because you will need it. The boat balances strangely, under heavy winds I often resort to jib only for best performance and best balance. It will develop killer weather helm if too much main sail is up, leading to rounding up if it goes too far and the rudder stalls. While it can be balanced, it never sails hands off for very long. An autopilot (which I don't have) is very useful to singlehanded Mac 26 sailors. I've owned mine since new and am delighted with it. I've made many modifications to improve comfort and convenience and we sail it a lot in different places, we always trailer each sail. Shoal draft has let us explore many gunkholes and beach it. We don't have or need a dinghy. Positive flotation is reassuring on a boat too small to carry a dinghy or life raft. Our boat is the daggerboard type and we've hit a few things with it and it has sustained some damage, but it is cheap to repair or replace and it has not transmitted damage to the hull. We use the daggerboard as our "depth meter" in shallow water - bump - then tack... or pull the board up. A swim ladder is a must. One cannot get back aboard without one if one is in the water. Weak points, very tender (tendency to heel quickly, particularly in puffs - see reefing comments), can be tricky to dock due to size versus limited power available from otbd motor and lack of keel - sometimes its like paddling a canoe from the stern in a strong wind. Winds over 30 are too much for any amount of sail. No real good place to store anchors... but I've made a good place by building large hatches under the vee berth. Cockpit is a little uncomfortable but tolerable. Boom vang is needed, traveller is not. MacGregors are often bad mouthed by owners of more expensive boats as being cheap and flimsy. I have sailed the hell out of my boat and it has never let me down. Only structural problems have been as the result of mishandling on my part. All other owners I know have had the same experience and are highly enthusiastic about their boat, few would trade it for anything else. There are truly few boats that can do everthing a Mac 26 can do, much less for the low price. Get one and ENJOY sailing, not big payments.

Specs for 1990 version: Previous models similar specs.
Length 25'10"
Waterline 23'6"
Beam 7' 11"
berths 6 (but where would you put their stuff?)
Sailing wgt 2850 lbs (ballast 1200 lbs)
Dry wgt 1650 lbs
Trailer & boat 2200 lbs (plus all your junk)
Draft Board Up 15" (knee deep water @ mid boat)
Draft Board Down 6' 4" (Daggerboard version 4' 6")
Mast Hgt Abv H2O 32' 3"
Mast wgt 38 lbs
SA Main & Jib 236 sq. ft.
Genoa 176 sq. ft.
Spinnaker 360 sq. ft.
cockpit length 6' 4"
headroom, top up ~ 6' down ~ 5'






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administrator

Administrator

Registered: January 2000
Location: maryland
Posts: 1888
Review Date: Sun February 2, 1997 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

This is a good trailerable economical boat. It does well for close to shore sailing. I would not suggest that it be sailed in heavy seas. We have sailed it on a weekend trip to the San Juan Islands in Washington. It does very well. The down side is that it is not self contained with hot and cold running water and a heater. This could be added.
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administrator

Administrator

Registered: January 2000
Location: maryland
Posts: 1888
Review Date: Wed April 8, 1998 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

First water ballasted sailboat. Sleeps 4-6. Poptop lifelines. Very good value for space and features. Lead to the development of Hunter and Catalina water ballasted models. Water ballast is a real advantage 90% of the time. Tends to be a little tender in 20+ knot winds, but manageable. Later models have swing keel. Mine is daggerboard. See Macgregor-list@sailnet.com for user group.
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marrack
Junior Member

Registered: July 2000
Review Date: Mon August 10, 1998 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

Simple and easy to sail and maintain. Less maintainance than most dinghies. Superb for inexpensive family sailing and cruising, more internal space than any boat of the same size or price. Water ballast makes for a somewhat tender boat in gusty winds. Over canvassed with full genoa and main sail in winds over 10kt. Sails over 5kt with genoa alone in 15kt winds at 60 degrees off the true wind. Mast easily raised by one able bodied man if no genoa bent on. Can be launched by one person. Weather helm much reduced with mast bent forward and forstay moved forwards. If you wish to cruise various areas or cannot afford docking fees there is no better boat. Overall I would buy this boat again for what it has done for me. I spend twice as much time sailing compared to tinkering than my friends in more conventional boats.
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Review Date: Tue December 28, 1999 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

I bought my M26 new and proceeded to learn the hard way that this boat can be miserable to sail if it is not balanced correctly. On the other hand, this boat sails sweet with a few minor modifications and an understanding of her limitations. I started out on San Francisco Bay - big mistake. The Bay is tough with a larger boat and the MacGregor can get in over it's head pretty easy in winds over 20 knots. The problem with this vintage is that the outboard rudder post can "twist" as you are trying to keep the boat in a straight line. The weather helm becomes extreme and you round up. The solution here is to stiffen the rudder post. You can box it in with sheet metal or install a wood block in open area. While you are at it, bolt through the rudder so the kick up feature is no longer an option. Same deal as before, the kick up wire stretches and you have progessively less rudder in the water. The other really big deal with the M26 is to reduce mainsail early and often. The high ballast does not allow for full main in winds approaching 20 knots. The head sail is different, I routinely sail with a reefed main and a 150 % genoa. No problem, the large headsail keeps the boats nose down. After a while I moved on to lake sailing and really love it! With a couple of modifications these boats are fun and fast. Once you get the feel for the boats rather tender balance point they compete with boats costing 3 times as much. I would buy one again (but maybe not their X boat)

Mike Haberski
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markkruger
Junior Member

Registered: June 2001
Review Date: Sun June 17, 2001 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

I have owned this boat for about six years and have had a lot of fun whith it. The water ballast Macgregors are light weight sailboats that bridge the gap between the daysailer and the costal cruiser. Water ballast sailboats do not have the level of stability of ballasted boats so you have to pay attention to the amount of sail flying. The boat is easily towable, even with a small car. The mast raising system is a breeze. The headroom is lacking because of the area taken up by water ballast. Overall the Macgregor is a good starter sailboat for people who want a decent size boat without the usual costs.
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caribeanbound
Junior Member

Registered: February 2001
Review Date: Sat July 7, 2001 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

I have sailed my Macgregor 26 in the Sea of Cortez, Florida Keys, Lakes of New Mexico, and finally 800 miles through the Bahamas. They are a very fast and easy to sail boat. I have weathered seas up to ten feet without problems. While they originally came with no frills, these can be added along the way. I will miss my 26 when I upgrade to a larger blue water boat. While they make great pocket cruisers they are not for long passages. You can't go wrong with one of these extreamly competent pocket cruisers.
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ThomasTralee
Junior Member

Registered: April 2003
Posts: 2
Review Date: Mon April 14, 2003 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

We have had a Macgregor 26 for about 8 years. We would like to get out more on it but up until now time hasn't allowed it. I like the ability to trailer a light boat to lakes and inland waterways. It came with average equipment since we bought it used. We have added a spinnaker, grill, rewired, bimini top, screens, lights etc. and like trips of about a week or so with comfort. It has an 8 horse outboard that moves it along pretty well, 6-7 knots. We really like the boat and being able to keep it at home saves on docking fees and insurance costs.
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pcuty
Junior Member

Registered: January 2005
Review Date: Thu January 27, 2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

I purchased my 26 Macgregor new in 1994. She has been a very reliable vessel. I am retired from the CG, a lic'd Captain and deliver vessels worldwide. Having said that, I have operated many different vessels. Many people turn up their noses at Macgregors because they are a production boat and water ballasted. I bought mine because the CG transfers frequently and the boat was easily trailered to my next duty station. From my experience and opinion, they are solidly built and seaworthy. My wife and I have sailed ours from the Mississippi Gulf Coast to Key West and back. We hove-to in relative comfort during a force 8 gale for a few hours off of the Dry Tortugas and entered an inlet near Key West with 8-10 ft breaking waves on a strong outgoing tide with an opposing wind. The cabin was a mess, but the boat did great, and was dry. It is built light for trailering, but it is not weak. It has positive flotation so it won't sink-even if pooped. It is also less likely to take on water if the hull is punctured because the water ballast tank makes up most of the hull below the waterline and serves as a double hull, preventing water from entering the interior of the vessel. It has a king-size berth aft, full berth amidships and V berth forward. I challenge any boat the same size to trailer more easily. Oh, and under power, 24 inches of water is all you need to get around. Although not endorsed by Macgregor, I put a bilge pump in my water ballast tank and can pump out the ballast if necessary so the boat can operate in 15 inches of water - I did this because the tide went out on me once and left me hard aground. Now I pump the ballast to get off bottom and refill in deeper water. (DO NOT do this if you are inexperienced with vessel stability). We anchor in the shallows and you barely get your knees wet walking ashore, leaving many sailors envious. The mast is also simple to raise and lower, even underway. There is a mast raising device that uses the winch to raise the mast, but I usually do it by hand. It takes 15 minutes to rig and raise, and 25 minutes to secure for trailering because you have to loop and tie the standing and running rigging. Getting under a bridge is as simple as pulling one pin and lowering the entire rig. Only the forward stay is removed for lowering or trailering. All other rigging stays in place. The Negatives? Water ballast robs storage below the sole, but I find there is ample storage for a weekend cruiser. The rig is light, but you can fix that with a minimal investment in heavier standing rigging-but why would you want to?-you're not talking about a world class cruiser here-it's tough enough if you know when to remove sail. Lack of headroom, but who wants to be inside standing up anyway? Head is enclosed, but tight if you are a big person-I'm not. Outboard is hard to reach, but most are anyway-thank goodness it handles well... Anyway if you only stay coastal and want a quality boat you can easily trailer and afford, I highly recommend it. Also, I don't work for or sell them... Happy Sailing!!!
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cosmicinsane
Junior Member

Registered: January 2005
Review Date: Thu February 3, 2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

When I purchased this boat I had never owned a boat, pulled a trailer, or sailed. This is an ideal starter boat if you are interested in sailing. It is easy to trailer and rig. One major shortcoming, however, is the factory rudder. It is very poorly designed, resulting in severe weather helm. The boat becomes overpowered and rounds up way earlier than it should. I replaced the factory rudder with an aftermarket one for 250 dollars, and it is an entirely different boat. Much easier to control at all speeds, and the weather helm is almost non-existant. I am very, very happy with this boat and would definately buy one again. It is not a blue water boat by any means, but someone of my experience shouldn't be attempting major passages anyway. I would recommend this boat to others without hesitation, just as long as you replace the rudder.
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Review Date: Thu March 23, 2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Affordable, fast and fun, good accomodations
Cons: Balance under sail, rudder

We loved our swing centerboard Mac 26. The water ballast is a snap and never gave us a minute's trouble or worry about stability. Beachability was a huge plus when sailing with kids. Roomy cockpit and cabin for the boat's size, weight and cost. Affordable and forgiving starter boat with enough speed and sailing ability to keep the experienced sailor interested. Ditto the comments about excessive weather helm and twisting rudder. Usually a reef in the main or dropping it altogether in 15+ mph winds made the boat behave better. We sailed often under 150% genoa alone. Maintenance is minimal, but these boats come pretty bare and are begging to be customized. Stern lazarette is huge and interior storage is generous, although you need to lift up cushions to get at the inside lockers. The queen-sized berth under the cockpit is glorious. Headroom with the pop-top raised greatly adds to liveability although you still have to duckwalk forward to the head and V-berth. The enclosed head is a nice feature and is a great hanging locker for wet stuff as well. The galley is awkward but usable as long as you don't mind sitting next to the stove and sink.

MacGregors usually offer a terrific value. Don't listen to the critics. These boats are lightweight but they are strong where they need to be. They rarely fail and ours handled everything we every asked it to. I found our Mac to be much more trouble-free than bigger boats that sailed the same lakes. We miss our 26 and recently downsized to a smaller boat (a Mac/Venture 17) due to demands of work and family. I'll get another one someday...
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Anonymous
Review Date: Tue May 2, 2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $6,000.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: light, easy to trailer, lots of room
Cons: not good in light winds, a pain to steer, careful of shallows

The Mac swing keel 26S has a lot of room for the money. A good coastal boat but not a good small lake boat; where I tend to do most sailing (Alabama). It has a high profile fiberglass front (bow) that tends to "catch the wind" on tacks and jibes. Therfore, you loose a lot of ground on these manuvers. If the wind is up 15+mph- you do much better. But in light winds, it makes a long day accept for your down-wind runs.
This boat is a pain to steer. The standard rudder is not big enough to make course changes- esp. in reverse while docking. It has a wide turning radius, here again, the rudder is not responsive enough for size of boat.
If you get into shallows, and have your rudder tied down- you will snap the steering cable! (and you must tie down the rudder to get any decent responce from the tiller). This leaves you practically helpless untill you go overboard and attach a new cable. (if you buy a boat like this- go promptly and make spare cables.)
Because the outboard is in a "motor well" and not attached to an outside/rear motor mount, using the outboard to "motor home" is almost impossible. The motor well allows for limited turning radius. This can cause much stress on captain and crew as coal barges bare down on you. They can't stop on a dime, and you can't turn enough to get out of their way.
If you can get over it's short fall in agility- it's great! lots of storage room for people and gear.
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MSN2Travelers

Badger Sailor

Registered: September 2006
Location: Milwaukee
Posts: 176
Review Date: Fri August 17, 2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $23,000.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Price, easy to trailer, interior room
Cons: poor performance in light air, undersize rudders

I can echo nearly all of the remarks above. The newer model Mac (26M power sailor) has six foot of headroom inside, a queen size berth under the cockpit and the galley slides aft out of the way to create a large, open cabin area. The recommended outboard (50 hp) will get you out of trouble or back to the marina in a hurry. (I've had my Mac motor at a steady 17 mph with three adults and no ballast.)

I race (crew) on more traditional sailboats and take the lessons learned back to my Mac. Getting the mast rake and shroud tension right lead to significant improvements in overall handeling and pointing. It's a little tender in big puffs but the wife is getting used to it. She's already talking about getting a bigger boat but I'm having too much fun with this one (and I can take it just about anywhere I want.)

------------------------------
Paul
`99 Beneteau Oceanis 352, #282 WiTCHCRAFT
Milwaukee, WI
Sailing Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes
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