I aquired a 2002 26x last May. This is my first boat. I learned to sail her on the Hudson River near The Tappan Zee Bridge all last summer.
Like any small craft, under power she will get kicked around with an empty ballast in a moderate chop. Fill the ballast and drop the keel a little and she handles much better.
My sailing experience has always been with a full ballast in a light to moderate wind (5 - 12 knots). Sometimes I wish I had a heavy larger boat however, when I compare the pros & cons of a Mac 26 I feel very satisfied with my purchase. It is economical to operate and maintain.
Overnights with my wife are fun and romantic. We will cruise up river and tie up at a marina with facilities (shore power, showers. ect).
I believe one must experience a Mac to know a Mac. If you don't experience one how can you make a judgement. I have had friends on my boat that are avid boaters. One is a sailor for over 40 years and the other a motor cruiser. They both thought the Mac was a great choice adn both had wonderful outings aboard.
One other thing. If any of you are considering a new Mac26M, please compare
the cabin and cockpit of the M to the older X. I did and found the X had a better cabin layout and a larger cockpit. Plus I bought a 4 year old boat and paid a little more than half of what is was new.