Review on the Macgregor. I am a Macgregor owner, have had one for about 3 years. That said I am looking to go to a bigger boat. Here is my detailed analysis for those looking to purchase a Macgregor.
Very easy and cheap to maintain. Not a lot of costs.
Very easy to modify. You can add or modify things easily and cheaply.
You can trailer it anywhere.
Shallow draft so you can get to places most can't.
50HP engine so you can get where you need fast.
Sailing, ok, good for tooling around something like the Chesapeake Bay.
Lots of space and features: two births, galley, dinette, head.
The Not So Good
Sailing is ok at best...good for lakes, bays, and for those getting started with sailing (i.e. less then a few years experience.)
While almost impossible to flip or sink, it rocks around easily in waves.
Probably not the best if you are saiing longterm with more then one person.
In the end my experience as a newer sailer has been good with the mac. I'd recommend it for anyone who is new to sailing or has less then 5 years experience. I would also very much recommend it to anyone who wants a boat that is cheap and easy to maintain, dosen't want big bills or large expenses. No fees for haul outs, storage is cheap as it sits on a trailer. also great if you want to explore many areas....you can sail the Chesapeake one week, drive it down to the Keys the next, visit the great lakes the third, then sail to Marthas Vineyard the fourth. It's a good family expedition type boat. People even regularly sail these to the Bahamas. It's also very good for entering shallow areas and getting into secluded areas that other boats can't. Also very nice to kick on the engine and be back at the marina in a few minutes.
If you simply enjoy boating on the weekends and want some that is easy, cheap to maintain, and can go just about anywhere in sheltered waters then the mac is a good boat. If you want something for more longer term cruising, offshore sailing and rougher sailing or are very much into sailing big, then probably not. It's also good for first time sailers as these boats hold their value VERY, VERY well, and sell almost as fast as you put them up. This means that if you are newer and end up not liking it or want to upgrade within a year or so you probably wont have any trouble selling it and will probably loose little or no money on the deal.
The Macgregor is really in a class of it's own so trying to judge it based on other boats or simply throwing your nose in the air is not at all fair. It's like trying to compare a ford mustang to porche 911 or a lexus to chevy. It's right for what it is.
All that said I love the features of the mac, but am compelled to upgrade soon...in the next couple years because of the follwing reasons: Need something bigger. Need something more stable. Need something that sails better.