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post #5 of Old 09-22-2004
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water ballast


My 1995 MacGregor 26 is water-ballasted, reasonably stiff, unsinkable, and trailorable. It has never been knocked down. It is self-righting at least to 95 degrees shown in the brochure pictures and has enough positive floatation that it is probably self-righting through 180 degrees, as MacGregor''s promotional claim would imply. They will float and sail (slowly) even when completely swamped.

They have their deficits and I would never expect to race one, but they are very big inside for a 26-footer. There is no standing room until you lift up the pop up cabin top (which the manufacturer says not to raise when under sail) but she does have an aft queen-sized berth under the cockpit and a miniature head compartment suited for a port-a-potty, not to mention a galley sink.

They are easy to rig and to sail and only draw 15 inches of water with the board up. Since the ballast is not in the keel, they lose no stability when you raise the board to beach her, which is something you may not want to do with a ballasted (esp. bulb) keel. Though "stable" can mean a lot of things to different people, I would say my MacGregor is very forgiving and safe to sail.

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