I cannot claim to be an expert, but the MacGregor tends to get strong reactions from sailors, not necessarily because of its comparative build quality (although I understand that it is not so good) but because of its design. Many feel that by trying to be both a power boat and a sailboat, it is satisfactory as neither.
You may be aware that most sailboats do not plane under power and thus their maximum speed is limited to their hull speed, which is limited by their water line. A MagGregor 26 is designed so it can plane like a powerboat and therefore far exceed its hull speed under power. The compromise is that by making the hull suitable for planing, it becomes far less suitable for sailing. It will not point high. It will be more inclined to slide sideways on a reach. And I do not not know much about water ballast, but I have often heard that it is less stable and safe.
All boats represent compromises that accommodate verious design objectives, but I am not aware of any others that fall into this hybrid category, which seems to uniquley offend a lot of dedicated sailors. Of course, they have their staunch defenders as well.
I guess you do not know your X and M's from your S and C's.
"Has anyone crossed on a Macgregor 26 S/C? How did you outfit your boat for crossing? Suggestions appreciated."