I belong to the San Jose Sailing Club, and we have several McGregor 25s, and 26Xs. I have a Catalina 250 Water Ballasted. After sailing with them all, I can tell you the 26X is not very good as a sailboat. It doesn't point worth a damn. It doesn't reach very well. It has too little sail area to go down wind very well. The 25s and I walk away from them every time.
It's also a very dangerous boat. One of the things they recommend you do when motoring is to dump your ballast. One of our members did that with a full cocpit, hit a wake, and turned turttle in the Alameda Esturary. The combination of the empty ballast tank, and the high cockpit filled with visitors, just flipped it.
1. You loose the keel, but gain a BIG motor, so weight wise it's about a wash.
2. I've never had an occasion where I had to run for it. Although the 26Xs were good at the raft-up to send for Ice.
3. They're fairly cheap rudders. The same guy who fliped his boat snapped one off going out of the gate. (Golden Gate that is)
4. No the 26X has standing head room. You pay for it however with large freeboard. It's comical to see one trying to get into a cross wind slip.
5. The centerboard pivots up into the hull.
6. Storage is fairly tight, from what I've seen. They filled most of the spaces with foam.
7. The mains are different, but may be adaptable. The Jibs look similar, and I'm sure you can use the spinaker, but I'm not sure you want to.
All and all your 25 is a better sailboat than the 26.
1995 C250 WB #164