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Home » Sailnet Boat Reviews » M - Boats starting with 'M' » Mirage
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Mirage Mirage
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15 1674 Wed May 2, 2001
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Description: Mirage
Keywords: Mirage
 


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administrator

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Registered: January 2000
Location: maryland
Posts: 1888
Review Date: Tue February 3, 1998 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

The 26X provides great mobility - easy to trail/rig and launch single handed for a 26' boat. Drawing only 9" of water (with an empty ballast tank) makes it a great gunkholer. Filling and emptying the ballast tank is easy.

The versatility of sailing or powering at 20 mph really increases your range once you've trailed it to the body of water of your choice.

Excellent use of interior space, provides standing (6' headroom) at the galley area and lots of storage.

No exterior wood means all fun and less work. Access to all areas permit installation of whatever options the owner desires.

Handling the boat at low speed under power takes some getting used to: the flat bottom allows yaw at low speeds which can be compensated for by lowering the swing keel and in windy/current/tide conditions the twin rudders can also be lowered adding a lot of control.

After 2 seasons, I can't wait to get it in the water again. Its been great, and very forgiving for my learning curve.

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Registered: January 2000
Location: maryland
Posts: 1888
Review Date: Wed March 11, 1998 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

I have sailed my 26X for three seasons and still like it although it does have a lot of freeboard and I have had some problems with the steering. Macgregor apparently got a lot of complaints about the steering and I notice that they have made some changes on the current models. I have rebuilt the galley, added an electric water system, bimini, an AM/FM cassette deck, and VHF radio and would be glad to share ideas with anyone interested. I would also like to get ideas from others who have modified theirs. Happy sailing!!
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Registered: January 2000
Location: maryland
Posts: 1888
Review Date: Tue May 5, 1998 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

The MacGregor 26x is fine compromise trailerable sailboat. It will allow sailing in variety of locations, it can be beached, it sails well and it is very comfortable for two adults. As a compromise boat it does a lot of things well, but nothing exceptionally well. For instance, the lightweight makes for great trailerability, but not great stability in waves of three feet or more. We got the boat to give us flexibility in selecting a variety of sailing conditions. In this regard, we are very pleased. We have sailed in lakes and the Gulf coast. We sailed from Naples, FL to Key West. As long as weather conditions are monitored carefully and good common sense is used, this is a fine coastal boat. One day soon we will get a blue water cruiser and do some serious sailing. In the meantime our MacGregor is giving us priceless experience.
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Review Date: Mon February 1, 1999 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

I've had my 26X for 1 year. Sail on Lake Lanier, Ga. Very happy with the boat, no problems. It's been in the water since new and the bilge still has dust in it.
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Posts: 1888
Review Date: Mon March 8, 1999 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

For modification ideas, check out my website at:
http://www.island.net/~harbro/windarra.html
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Review Date: Sun July 4, 1999 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:


Quite a number of 26x owners swear by them. I owned one for a year, and had a lot of problems with the boat. I had to make a lot of modifications to the boat to make it suitable for the type of sailing I wanted to do, and to fix some of the problems. In the end, I decided I was throwing good money after bad, and that the boat would never be able to do what I needed it to do. I want to explain this: I needed a boat that could handle extended coastal cruising throughout the Sea of Cortez. The Mac 26x was not that boat.

My evaluation of the 26x is this: The 26x is, at best, a compromise. It attempts to be both sailboat and powerboat, but does neither very well. It is a perfectly decent lake cruiser, but I do not feel it is adequate for anything beyond very short range, protected coastal cruising in salt water. Let me preface some of this by saying that I have heard that a few issues that have been addressed by MacGregor in recent models (I will address this as I go), but my evaluation of the boat has not changed dramatically.

Living space: This is the 26x's greatest strength. It has the most space I've seen on a trailerable 26 footer, and it has standing headroom. It also has a very large, comfortable cockpit.

Accommodations: I separate this from living space, because I have some real criticisms here, and this is one of the places you have to put a lot of effort into to make the Mac acceptable. There is a lot of sleeping space, and under-the-seat bulk stowage, but other than that, there isn't much else. The head is just a tiny room to put a porta-potty, and is pretty cramped. This wasn't a big problem for me, I'm only 5' 8" and weight 150 lbs, but it can be an issue for some people. There are no real water tanks. The system that feeds the sinks is just hand pumps connected to cheap $5 collapsible water jugs that are not secured. I put a 15 gallon Plastimo tank into mine. The quality of the hand pumps is very low, by the way, mine leaked and one broke clean off and had to be replaced. There is plenty of sleeping space, but the cushions are very thin and the apholstry work is shoddy at best. The fiberglass pop-up dinette table is too thin, it flexes and mine became curved over time. The interior liner is paper thin, by the way, and this makes securely attaching things difficult. The head door is made of laminated particle board, and mine warped so severely, it had to be replaced. None of the wood in the boat (which is used for stowage covers, cushion backs, the head door) is marine grade plywood, or even decent grade plywood. On my boat, the tile counter work on the galley (tile????) was really poorly done. The big, one piece fiberglass companionway hatch board is really a pain in the rear to stow.

Ventilation is very poor. You will have to add some opening ports, because there is a lot of air volume in the boat, and circulation is really needed. An opening port or vent in the head is an absolute must.

Sailing performance: The MacGregor can get some pretty impressive performance off the wind. Its flat bottom will even plane occasionally when under sail in decent winds on a beam. However, its to-weather performance is atrocious. I didn't really understand just how bad it was, until I started actively sailing other boats. The boat suffers from excessive freeboard combined with light weight, so not only is its performance into the wind poor, but it tacks across the wind poorly as well. This is a common complaint even of happy 26x owners, though I know a few who will adamantly deny it. The water ballast system makes the boat very tender, with a lot of initial heel before the boat stabilizes. I did not like the water-ballast valve arrangement on my 26x, but this has been fixed in more recent models.

Powering performance: I had a 50hp Tohatsu engine, the one that Mac was selling with the boat (it turns out that that particular Tohatsu is not recommended for salt water, by the way). MacGregor's claims of 25mph (not knots) under power is misleading. That number is based on power the boat without mast and rigging, with one person and no gear beyond, perhaps, a bear in hand. For every 100lbs you add to the boat, the speed drops by about 1mph. I found that 15-18mph was pretty much tops, depending on how many people and provisions I had on board. It did steer pretty smartly under power, however reverse was pretty bad. Fuel tankage is provided through one or two 9 gallon EXTERNAL fuel tanks. The 50hp engine will suck that gas up pretty quick if you are speeding around a lot. Don't plan on a lot of range under power.

Steering: This is one of the 26x's weakest "features". The wheel on the wheel steering is way too small. The steering helm, or gear box, is the cheapest powerboat helm you can buy, and is completely inadequate even for a powerboat the size of the 26x, much less a sailboat that has to deal with feedback. I literally destroyed the helm of my 26x in rough weather. I ended up replacing the helm with a heavy duty steel model (the stock helm is cheaply milled aluminum) that could handle just about anything. However, that was a $700 modification! The dual rudders don't perform so well, and could not handle substantial follow seas at all. NOTE: MacGregor has changed the design of the rudders to improve their performance, though I do not know by how much. Also, they have improved some aspects of the steering hardware, related to the rudder/engine connection, but I am not aware of any improvements to the steering helm. They have replaced the crappy cast rudder gudgeons (mine broke) with proper stainless steel hardware. One other note: There is no provision for an emergency tiller if the wheel steering fails.

Construction quality: I really got into the guts of the boat, so I think I have a pretty good understanding of how well they are built. Not very, is my evaluation. As I said before, the liner is paper thin. The hull is only a little better. The hull will flex by simply pushing your hand against it. The deck can flex from just walking across it. NOTE: I have heard that with this years model, MacGregor has changed the design of the deck to reduce flex. I do not know how well the design change works. The fiberglass work in my 26x ranged from barely adequate to really crappy. There were many voids (including a HUGE one in one of the rudders). The thickness of the fiber glass varied enormously, and I'm not talking planned, gradual thickness changes here, I'm talking thin spots were there should not be thin spots.

The trailer: If you buy a 26x, take the $700 credit they will give you on the trailer and buy a decent one. The stock Mac trailer is a piece of junk. It is a single axle design that is completely inadequate for a boat that size, and it is so poorly built as to be laughable.

Value: With a 50hp engine, and options you will spend, right off the bat, anywhere from 22-25k on a 26x. For those kind of bucks, you can get a really, REALLY nice used sailboat that will actually perform like a sailboat.

In conclusion, you need to seriously evaluate just what you plan to do with your new boat. The 26x can be a fun boat to party on at the lake, but if your plans go beyond that, you need to be looking at other boats.

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Registered: January 2000
Location: maryland
Posts: 1888
Review Date: Tue August 3, 1999 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

This is my third season with the boat. I discovered after I bought it that some of the early ones (mine) had only 1100 lbs of water ballast capacity. Dealer and factory are vague about why the change to 1500 lbs, but I think mine will capsize easier. I am extra careful. Trailer is cheap, but I have towed it probably 5000 miles and it is holding up. You can put a 6 gallon outboard tank and a 5 gallon rubbermaid gas can in each storage well. I also get a 6 under the captains seat in front of the steering arm. This was neccessary for cruising Lake Powell. I wasn't able to sail at all, but what a great place to explore. The shallow draft let me in areas many other boats could not go. A cheap tarp over the boom lets you leave the hatch open. With the bimini and the tarp we were fine in 105 degrees.
It had leaks from the hull/deck joint. Cleaning and carefull caulking with silicone has fixed it, but it will have to be redone every year or two. I pull kids in a tube behind the boat, they have a blast. Tie off a line between the lifeline stanchions and the tow line in the middle of that over the outboard. It pulls better from a high center point. 2 kids at a time is possible on one tube. I have not tryed water skiing but may sometime.
A floor jack will lift the boat off the trailer at the rear and the middle. block it up and paint with vc-17. You can remove the center board and paint it as well.
I keep it in a slip at Lake Perry, Ks. I am happy to discuss the boat via email.

Steve
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Review Date: Sat October 23, 1999 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

Excellent boat, my first large sailboat and I have no complaints. It does come rather plain and basic but with time, imagination and a bit of puttering one can customize it into exactly what they want. Looking at a new boat I was struck by how stripped it was. Now I am having a blast adding my own special touches and setting it up just the way I want it.
I am very happy with it and plan on sailing it to the Bahamas next year. Thats how confident I am in it.
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Location: maryland
Posts: 1888
Review Date: Sun July 16, 2000 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

Got hullaballoo Feb 99 and used it extensively most weekends during the season. Sailing area the Solent in UK (Southampton/Cowes), mainly "sheltered" waters but did have a couple of 20-25 mph winds and 4-6 foot waves days, both times reverted to motor and got the 50hp working to get us out of the wet stuff fast.
Accomodation is fine for me but the first mate really needs to be in marinas for showers etc. Longest stay on board last year (99)was 3-4 nights.
This year we trailered her across to France (Gulf du Morbihan) and had a week with five other Mac's.
Again the 50 hp came in useful as there are 10kts plus tides in the gulf.
The week also included some anchorages and the accomodation was fine for just the two of us but one night we had another couple onboard and it does become a little restricted space wise.
Sailing wise I feel she sails like she is, a compromise, I would not want to race in her but cruising, it has been delightful, though downwind without a genoa or cruising chute she wallows somewhat.
Am I glad we got her, you bet, will we keep her, unless someone else comes out with a bigger better appointed design that sails well and can motor at 15kts plus, then we stay with hullaballoo.

Cheers

Morris & Rita

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Location: maryland
Posts: 1888
Review Date: Sun October 1, 2000 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

"FOREVER" was purchased second hand in July 1997. Sails look like new. Had never been in salt water. Has a 13 gallon aluminum fuel tank in port fuel storage area and 9 gallon portable fuel tank and lube oil tank starboard storage area in the cockpit. Have a 50 HP Johnson O/B. No jib furler. Two batteries, starter + household.

It's all the boat I ever wanted for sailing Lake Mead, NV. Been out in a full gale with only the working jib flying, and she kept her head. Eventually, lite off the O/B and headed for the marina. The boats weakest point is the steering. Mine has gotten very heavy to steer and needs to be replaced. Everything else works as designed. Not a so called "Blue Water" boat, but then who going to sail to Hawaii on the weekend (check out Mike Dunn's Mac26X at www.planetwave.com) It is a great pocket cruiser for several days or a long weekend. Just remember to keep the water ballast tank full after launching. Motor power in close quarters with twin rudders down and 2' of centerboard (4" down on the centerboard line). Power at 15 MPH with full ballast, rudders up and again with 2' centerboard to hold a straight course. Allow for high freeboard on the bow when coming across the wind (back wind the headsail).

Cube space inside greater than some power cruisers. Water system Mickey Mouse designed. Have purchased pressure water system to install. No bilge pump, but never had any water in the bilge except for rain coming down shrouds and their chainplate. Sealed with silicon.

BEST Buy for weekend sailing and coastal vacation sailing.
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Review Date: Wed May 2, 2001 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

When a deal failed in getting a Yamaha 30 and me living a 800 miles inland, I happen to pick up a book "Sailing Big on a Small Sailboat" by Jerry Cardwell. This opened a whole new world of sailing for me and after many studies I settled on a Macgregor 26X. Since then I have sailed on many lakes. Then eventaully progressed to the coast to do 30 day cruising & sailing out of Bella Coola BC in the familiar waters of 60 years ago.
My brother came with me who had 17 years of sailing on his Columbia 27
and after a few days sailing on my Macgergor 26X he came to the conclusion that the Macgregor 26X was better then he had anticipated and was sold on how it sailed through many channels and sounds in all kinds of weather conditions that came on us. We sailed most of the time and did 600 miles in 30 sunny days highly unusual in this area.
My brother and I are planning a repeat trip this year in July 21st to August 20th.
Why we leave from Bella Coola is that we are quickly up coast where all the good solitude adventuress sailing is as the alterntive of getting up the coast is by cruising
only due to tides and currents that can cause many delays and no time sailing.
I love my boat and would recommend the Macgregor 26X to people that would like to start sailing and can sail anywhere.
Fred Scott

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mark101266
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Registered: September 2001
Posts: 2
Review Date: Fri September 7, 2001 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

My wife and I have owned a 26X for about 6 months now. When we first purchased this boat, we were intrigued about the fact that we would have the best of both worlds - powering at 18 - 20 knots and sailing. Since we were new to the boat owning thing, this seemed like the perfect boat.

Well... we are now in the process of selling her. The boat does not perform well at all under power with empty ballast when there is even a little bit of choppy water. Sailing perormance is only acceptable in medium winds. It is extremely tender in high winds and a poor performer in light winds. Its high freeboard and flat bottom will cause you to get thrown around from both the wind and the current / wake of other boats.

If you are looking to buy one of these, I hope it is for a lake or small bay that does not get too crowded or too rough. For the right conditions, this is a GREAT boat, but don't fall into the trap that you will be able to enjoy this boat on a large bay or ocean. You will not. Do yourself a favor and choose to sail or power and buy one or the other. You'll sacrifice performance on both ends in the MAC26, and there are limited conditions where this boat shines.
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Review Date: Sat April 6, 2002 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

Want to sail, want to cruise, want to pull the kids on a tube, want to speed to the best spots or out of trouble, want to take the boat with you on vacation. Want to do all this cheaply.

The Mac26X is a fine compromise boat allowing you to do all these things at a very affordable price.

That being said there are some things it is not. Its not a competitive sailboat but it sails well enough and is quite forgiving to begineers. It is not a luxury cruiser. Think of it as a tent trailer to a moterhome. Its comfortable but doesn't have all the conveniences of home. You could add them I suppose. Like you could add stuff to a tent trailer. Its not a speed boat. The boat with the recommended 50HP engine will go 14 to 17 knots depending on loading. That is ultra fast for most cruising sailboats but not a speed boat by any stretch.

The boat is light (in total weight) and has a shallow draft (when the centreboard is up). In confused seas and around large wakes it can be tossed about a bit. Lowering the centerboard a little improves tracking and the sense of control.
The basic sail plan is adequate. Many opt for a 150% Genoa for light wind performance increases. Most places have light to moderate winds most of the time. This is too much sail for strong winds and the boat will heel too much and be difficult to steer when close hauled. Strong weather helm may cause the boat to round up in suddenly gusts with this larger sail plan. Experienced sailors will have no trouble with this. They will reduce sail and adjust the center board to balance CLR with COE. Begineering sailors should stick with the standard jib until they understand that last sentence.
The boat is quite safe in nearly all situations. It won't sink nor will it stay knocked down with the ballast in. Its also very tough to knockdown. Few would recommend it for blue water cruising though.
There is one somewhat dangerous situation -- the half full ballast tank. This it has in common with all water ballasted boats without tank baffles. This is easily avoided and should never pose a risk as the ballast tank can be filled early and there is never a cause to empty it when conditions are unsafe. The boat even be put on the trailer with the ballast full and emptied on the hard.
There are few boats that give you all the flexibility that this boat provides. With flexibility comes compromise. If you demand peak performance at sailing, powering, cruising, and trailering then you need 4 boats. The Mac 26X is an all-in-one at a great price that will give adequate performance and meets the needs of the average boater.
Like any boat it has ideosyncracies that the owner will need to understand and compensate for. After using this boat for three years, I think I made the right choice to buy this boat. Knowing what I now know about her, I'd buy her again.
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Review Date: Mon June 3, 2002 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

Check this out before paying a dealer's mark-up!
2002 Mac 26X PowerSailer, custom trailer, 2002 Honda 50 H.P. outboard, main, jib, spinnaker, sail covers, auto-furler, sun shade, mast raising system, boom vang, alcohol stove, installed port-a-potty, fully equiped with anchor & chain, PFD's for 6, dock lines and floats.
Used once for 2 hours on the Delaware River. Must sell.
Available in Philadelphia area. Asking $28,000.
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Review Date: Tue February 24, 2004 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

Very nice week-ender sailing boat.
26' long 8'wide
great boat for family of 4 and would accommodate 4 adults for a week cruse.Small privite head with port-a-pot,alcohol stove,minisail plus jib.
water ballas plus keel.
Boat will handle any motor from 9.9hp to 50 hp.
boat comes with trailer and is very easy to load and unload
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