Join Date: Jan 2010
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As an owner of a Macgregor 26C who has sailed it the length of the chesapeake bay, across Lake Erie, and throughout the florida keys, I can say something about this version of the boat. I have raced it against water balasted and non waterballasted Catalinas and Hunters and it was clearly faster when compared to cruising boats of similar size. It cant catch a J24 but I wouldnt enjoy trailering or sleeping on one of those boats either.
Traditional boat owners who complain about the macgregors are stuck within 20 miles of their dock. A trailer sailer cruises down the highway at 60 mph. You launch it where you want to. Also with no keel, the macgregor anchors in shallow water and can be beached. You never need to worry about dragging anchors or running aground. Unlike most trailersailers, you can sit up inside the boat comfortably and it is 8 feet wide and about 2200 pounds so you dont have to worry about getting a ticket trailering the boat.
I have it down to a system. I can launch the boat in about 10-12 minutes. The rigging is light because compared to similar sized boats it is lighter and the sail area is smaller. This light rigging is wonderful. I can rig and sail the boat easily singlehandedly - this includes putting up the mast - by hand - you dont need a crank. It is easier that the 17' mobjack I used to own.
I have had this boat in lake erie in pounding weather where many others would fear to go. It wasnt comfortable but I wasnt worried about the rigging. I kept up with a full keeled 27 footer with a reefed main and working jib. No problems, and we were beating up 7 foot waves. It wasnt that comfortable, but the people in the full keeled boat werent comfortable either.
So to the people who insist on heavy rigging and heavy keels, more power to you. but enjoy your 20 mile radius. Once a year maybe you can go farther when you get a week off. But if you like to really explore with your boat then get a macgregor. You can sail without worrying about grounding, you can beach the boat so you dont need a dinghy, and you can rig the boat by yourself so you arent swearing and sweating for an hour before you launch. And if you get the nonpower sailer version like mine, you can race it against far more expensive yachts of similar size and often win.