It seems to me that everyone either hates this boat or loves this boat. The people who love this boat know that it is a limited boat, but love it because it is a good boat for an affordable price. I am not rich, so the price is important.
Here is a summary of the hates and my observations;
1. This is not a very safe boat for open ocean sailing in bad weather. It is too small, does not have a deep lead ballasted keel. You need to spend a lot more money to buy a big yacht with a deep lead ballasted keel.
I find this a perplexing claim since there are people who have sailed in same, similar or lesser boats through rough seas. Buck Graham sailed his classic Macgregor 26 sloop from California, through the Panama Canal, and up to Costa Rica: http://members.tripod.com/~lbucko/index.html
. Alberto Torroba sailed across the Pacific in an open dugout canoe carved out of a single log: http://www.atomvoyages.com/articles/albertotorroba.htm
. He did not use GPS and even did not use a compass! He sailed totally by Celestial navigation using a bob line! he did not even have charts!
2. The Macgregor 26M is too small for a family of 4 to go cruising in. You need a bigger, more expensive yacht.
Again, this is also perplexing since others have LIVED on a 27 foot boat. Adam Jenkins and his family of 4 people and 1 cat lived on a 27 foot boat that they cruise the caribbean with: http://web.archive.org/web/200111181...c97/belize.htm
. The Mac 26 lacks refrigeration, but it does have a porta-pottie, battery power, and a stove.
It seems like all the critics are just crticizing others for not spending enough money. Sort of like an owner of a Mercedes criticizing an owner of a Volvo. They're both safe cars that handle well and hold up well to years of use, but the Volvo costs 1/2 as much as a Mercedes. It's the snob factor. However, I could be wrong. So, if you have experience sailing in a Mac 26, I invite you to offer me some advice. I am considering buying a Macgregor 26M. I want to get one fully loaded, but with only a used 8 HP Honda engine. Then, when I save up enough money, I'll buy a 50 HP engine. I will not be buying another boat after this because I cannot afford it.
I do drive a Volvo, by the way.... I've had it for 180K miles and I'm going to continue driving it until they stop making replacement parts for it.
I would like to sail across the Caribbean with my wife aboard a Macgregor 26M. This is my dream.