Sum, you should work for MacGregor. You are a great salesman! Is there a way to access the ballast tanks?
You say your boat was in Florida (in salt water I assume) for two months and you had no green or brown things growing in your ballast tank? How about on the hull, keel, or rudder? Any marine life there? How do you check the tank and add bleach, if needed? (My wife loves bleach.) Is there one or two tanks?
As for performance, how well does the M26s point into the wind? (That is more important to me than downwind performance.) Do you ever race the boat? If so, how does it do? Have you ever sailed with, or against, a water ballast Hunter or Catalina? How do they compare?
How does the boat do off shore in ocean swells? We get fairly large swells occasionally off the so. Calif. coast. What do you do about a motor? Do you need one for docking? How do you get your boat out of the water and up the ramp?
Is there a boat owners association, or some other place, where I can get the opinions of some other boat owners? (I prefer to talk with people who actually own and sail a boat rather than someone who's information is second-hand.)
Thank you for your comments,
Well CalebD did a really good job of answering most of your questions and I appreciate his comments a lot. I'll try and answer a few others.
Ruth and I just started sailing about 3-4 years ago and are strictly cruisers, actually we think of ourselves more as explorers and the boat gets us to new and interesting places. So saying that we don't race and even though we have new sails and such would probably be beaten by about anyone. There are a number of guys/gals that do race their D's and S's and a lot of them sail in your area. In fact the factory is south of Long Beach and interesting to visit and see how they make the new M's. If you follow my links at the bottom of the page or go here...
Macgregor - Venture Sailboat Links
...you will find links to lots of info on the boats and there are 3 main forums with a lot of activity on them where you can learn more about them. Still I want to emphasize that I'm not trying to sell everyone on a Mac, but there are now and have been thousands of happy owners.
We didn't have any problems with growth while in Florida as I had ....
Macgregor 26S Outside Mods page 39
...barrier coated the bottom and put on a good anti-fouling paint. If you don't leave the boat in the water that isn't necessary.
The ballast tank is a non-issue and just doesn't give problems and can be bleached if you so desire as mentioned above. Also most owners open the ballast valve once the boat is on the trailer and just start pulling out and let the water drain. We have never blown ours, but some do.
As far as racing the other boats look at those ratings and compare them to others. It will get you in the ball park, but there again who has the newest sails, who knows what they are doing, etc.. The boat points very well even for someone with limited experience like Ruth and I. It is an easy boat to sail. We added a furler, reef lines, lazy jacks, and a traveler to make ours easier, but I still go to the mast for some of that. We added lots to our boat and it now sits about 2 inches lower in the water when we take off for a month or more. For us that is good as that helps it going into waves and such. We've given up speed in some circumstances, but have picked up comfort in rougher water. Our needs though are a lot different than the average trailer sailor.
You need a motor and we bought the boat with an older 8 HP Honda, but after a bad deal on Lake Powell....
08-09 Sailing Lake Powell page 9
...where I was hurt and Ruth couldn't start the outboard and we sat in a side canyon for a few days until I could we now have an electric start 9.8 HP Tohatsu. Still we used the dinghy's 5 HP Nissan on it once and it would easily push the boat to over 5 knots on less than full throttle into 20+ mph winds.
Hope to see you on some of those sites and here,
Our 37 Endeavour --- Our 26 MacGregor --- Trips With Both