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Old 07-25-2013
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PLEASE! Buying Advice: MacGregor 25 or 26S

Edited...see below.

Last edited by Lomcevak; 07-25-2013 at 01:00 AM.
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Re: PLEASE! Help Me Decide: MacGregor 25 or 26S

Greetings, All! This is my first post to the forum.

I've been yearning to get into sailing for several years, and I'm finally in the position of considering purchasing a boat.

After having learned a bit I was really keen on getting a MacGregor 26S (or D) for the fact that it was light to trailer. I am NOT interested in the "motor sailor" version.

My limitations are: I wanted it to be light enough to tow with a 1993 Mazda MPV (about 3500 lbs is the max I wanted to tow, but would have preferred much lighter). And secondly, I wanted to not have to spend more than about $6000.00.

I have seen 3 MacGregor 26S's (all early 90's models) here in B.C. that are all asking about $6500 to $8000. But the one that may actually move to buy is a 1983 MacGregor 25.

This particular Mac25's hull appears to be in GREAT condition. The gelcoat in the freeboard area (sorry don't know much terminology, yet) is original (though in need of a good cut-polish), but below the waterline has a recent anti-fouling on it so I can't see any previous damage. But what is really amazing is the deck: there are NO stress cracks around ANY of the stanchions, fittings, hardware, etc. and no 'crazing' in the outer hull (above the waterline - can't tell what's under the anti-fouling under the waterline) and no crazing or anything really untoward in the deck. The forward hatch has a bit of stress fracturing near the hinge line but THAT'S IT!!

The standing rigging looks like it's new - all shiny and everything, but has probably been on there for at least 3 years, or probably longer. The keel looks like it's in ok condition (just a bit of surface rust), but I don't know if it's cranking up and down properly.

The interior is appears to be mainly all stock (with one exception I'll get to in a bit). Again it LOOKS good, no cracks, crazing, or anything untoward. The wood trim that goes around the seam is pulled out in a couple places, but I don't think it's anything to worry about. Other than that all the fibreglass inside appears unstrained. Unfortunately both the floor AND the ceiling are covered in carpeting, so I can't see if there's any rot under the stanchions, etc. The only major concern inside the boat is that he has filled most nooks and crannies with blocks of styrofoam, but the real concern is that under the V-Berth he has used foam block filled to the top and then used expanding foam to completely fill it.

While that foam MAY be hiding something like damage, there is no way of knowing for sure. However, anywhere else that we could see to the inside bottom of the boat (is it all called the bilge, or is just a particular area called the bilge?) all the fibreglass appeared sound. Summary, the hull, to the best of my knowledge is in VERY good condition.

Maybe the thing that provides the most value for the boat is that it has a 2007 15 HP engine on it that he has assured is in very good working order. He added a SECOND engine mount on the right side to handle the larger engine, and he says the transom has 4 (or was it 3) extra layers of glass for strength.

It has several sails, all of which appear to be in good condition (one has just a few mildew spots along one edge). I think the jib may not be in the best condition, but whatever). The tiller, is in good condition, as is the rudder.

Now for the bad parts:

-All the wood bits on the deck are dried out and cracked and will need to be replaced in short order.
-I have no way of knowing if all the blocks, hardware, etc. are present.
-He claims that all the wiring for the lights is fine, but it didn't appear to be to me. It really seemed like it would have to be completely rewired.
-There is a VHF, but I doubt it works, and he also said that the antenna cable was broken.

The worst part: THE TRAILER.

While it is a dual axle, and is structurally sound, the wiring and lights are pretty much non-existent. But my BIGGEST concern is that it has electric brakes and he refuses to give any assurance that they are working. Also, at least 2 of the 4 tires need to be replaced.

So here it comes down to my question: Is this boat worth $4500?

I ask the question in light of the fact that even the 26s aren't selling for $6500.00 - $8000; boats which have been listed for 8 weeks, and have roller furlings, radios, are in ready to sail condition, etc. The 26s is a more attractive boat for me due to it's shallower draft and lighter weight. And that equates to easier, and likely MORE usage than the heavier Mac25.

I won't be towing much more than about 100km (60 miles) at a time, as I'm quite close to the coast. And I know from the MPV forum that the majority of guys were towing 3500 to 4000 lbs. and the vehicle has a rating of 4500 lbs. But will I be able to get it up the ramp at the boat launch?

The way I see it, I'd probably have to put $500 into the trailer and at least $1000 - $1500 to upgrade the electrical in the boat, and get a roller furling, fix the wood, etc. and all the work time involved to get it to be in the condition of the 26s boats I'm looking at. But, then, the hull is in such great condition, maybe it's worth it. But then I think even these newer -more desirable (to me, at least)- versions aren't even selling at the prices the guys are asking and I wonder if this guy is out to lunch at the price he's asking. And so the battle rages on in my mind. Are these guys unrealistic in the current market conditions asking the prices they're asking?

Please help me out with your thoughts. Thank you!
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Old 07-25-2013
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Re: PLEASE! Help Me Decide: MacGregor 25 or 26S

Hi,

and welcome to the forum. I do have a Macgregor 26S which I dearly love. But please don't in anyway think I am biased.

To my knowledge all of the Macgregors have foam flotation built in. Difficult to stay what was intended to be achieved by spraying in expanding foam by the current owner.

Try not to decide by looking through the "new boat goggles". A shiny hull with no spider cracks is great, but these are in no way anything dangerous or do impede the sailing performance. Think of the time and money you have to put in before you can go into the water. First of all the trailer. How are you going to move the boat from the seller to wherever you will want to fix her up. I take "refuses to give assurance that they are working" as a nice way to phrase that they are not working at all. So for the moment look at it that you don't have a trailer. Add costs for moving the boat or storage where she is located now to your expenses. You've already mentioned that you think the wiring of the boat needs redoing. Interestingly you also write that the seller states its ok. If it really is an obviously bad state then the seller might be hiding a few more things that he "thinks are fine". The VHF areal cable needs replacing. If the boat electrics aren't safe than the boat isn't either. Think about going onto the water without navigation lights, VHF, depth sounder etc. You also write that you don't know that all the blocks are available. Again, this may all quickly add up to lot of boat bucks and without the boat is not functional. The seller states that the engine is in good condition, do you have any proof he is right ? Any service records ? Have you had a chance to see the boat in the water, the engine running, the sails up ? If I remember right, the 25 has a metal keel. Is the lifting mechanism ok and what state is the keel itself in ?
If you are really planning on buying the boat, you should ask a professional to survey the boat. Not sure how much that cost in your part of the world, though.
In summary, from your description, the seller wants $4500 for a shiny hull, that will not be able to be trailered and is not sailable or safe in the water. I'd stay away from it.

There must be other Mac25 in your area in a better state that still are cheaper than the 26 classic or there must be some "classics" that have had a bit of neglect (i.e. are dirty but are otherwise sound) that you can get for a better price.
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Old 07-25-2013
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Re: PLEASE! Help Me Decide: MacGregor 25 or 26S

For what it's worth, we had a 1986 Mac 25 which we bought new and sailed in the Pamlico Sound. It was a great boat, fast and versatile. We paid $9,000 and sold it 10 years later for $4500. $4,500 still doesn't sound outrageous to me. I agree with previous poster that a survey should be done. It will help put your mind to ease. Our trailer was a single axle job which I towed with a 1979 Delta 88. (350 C.I.D.) When we moved to Ohio, I came up through the Allegheny Mountains. I never had a bit of trouble towing the boat, ever. Let us know which way you decide to go.
Jeff
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Re: PLEASE! Help Me Decide: MacGregor 25 or 26S

FinallySailing,

Thank you for your well thought out response. As you may have surmised I am VERY new to sailing (though I learned a lot as a teenager sailing a Laser quite a few years ago). As a result of my inexperience it is very difficult for me to assess the state of the boat. My father did do fibreglass repair on boats at a boating store in my town for several years - MANY years ago. He came out to look at it, and feels that the hull is in very good condition; or "sound" as you would say. Though I'm not sure that when you used the word if you meant the hull itself, or everything overall.

I guess my point is, if the hull is in very good condition, then isn't that a great place to start? I mention that I don't know if all the blocks are available simply out of ignorance. I just don't have the knowledge to know what it all needs. I do kind of assume that they're all there, but I just can't say.

The boat is in a storage yard, where I might be able to work out to continue storing it there (at the lowest monthly rate I can find in the area, no less!). I'm not worried about rewiring the lights on the trailer, that's really not a big deal at all. The electric brakes, on the other hand, is a different story - I don't know anything about maintenance for them and I'll likely need to have a mechanic do the repair. (I have used a mobile RV mechanic in the past who is reliable, not necessarily cheap, but he'd fix it up). So, yeah, by the time I rewire the trailer, have the brakes repaired, and get new(er) tires, I'm probably up to about $500 bucks.

As for hidden issues, aside from under the V-Berth, and the carpeting and the ceiling liner, you can see a fair bit of the interior hull. Really, it's pretty spartan in there, not much to it; so can it really be hiding that much, can it?

In regards to the wiring, there's not much to it, either, is there? Cables going to the panel from the battery, and then from the panel to the, what, 4 lights? That should be pretty easy to fix up, no? I've got a good soldering iron.

And, no, there are no other Mac 25's or 26's within my province that I can find for any better price. In fact, other than a totally beat up one this is THE lowest price I could get for a Mac 25 or 26. I've contacted a number of sellers, and none of them are willing to drop to a reasonable price, and yet they are not selling their boats. Granted, I could wait until the winter, but I'm not likely to do that. The whole point is to be sailing this summer. I saw one 26 but he'd made so many hacked modifications that I didn't feel comfortable with it. Hard to explain, I guess "shoddy" modifications is more what I mean. And on that boat where all the access holes in the inner hull are for getting to the bolts on the outer hull, ALL the access holes had many (like six) cracks emanating from each hole. The other 26's are 5 hour drives away (with one involving a 2 hour, $70 - EACH WAY - ferry ride). Though one of them sounds in incredible condition, he actually RAISED his price during our discussions. I truly believe all these guys are going to be left holding their boats until the winter when (if) they drop their price.

Maybe it boils down to this: Do you think the hull and the 15HP engine warrant the price? Owner claimed he paid $3700 for the engine alone 3 years ago.

Last edited by Lomcevak; 07-25-2013 at 04:27 AM.
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Old 07-25-2013
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Re: PLEASE! Help Me Decide: MacGregor 25 or 26S

Lomcevak,

looking at the list of things that you know need doing, are you sure you'll manage to get it all done this summer to get her sailing this season ?

The engine, is it a two stroke or four stroke ? I just checked on the Yamaha website, they list the four stroke for CAN$ 3499. I guess that is without tax. Still, I am doubtful that the owner in 2011 paid the price of a new one for what was then a four year old engine. I just wonder if the vendor is quite truthful with his information.

Yamaha Motor Canada :: Products :: Outboard Motors :: 4-Stroke Portable :: F15

At the end, a boat is worth how much you are willing to pay for it. As long as it will provide you with the fun and excitement that you've hoped for and doesn't make you regret what could otherwise be the greatest and most exciting hobby ever.

Reading between the lines I guess, you've been seriously bitten by the boat buck. We've all found out things later after we've had the boat for a while that turn quickly into ever growing boat bills. Make sure you've got all the right documentation from the vendor including servicing, have a survey done and go for it if she is worth it to you. There is a big community to help you later on with advice how to fix things and how to learn getting her onto the water.

If you do go for a Macgregor, have a look at MacGregorSailors.com . You'll be able to find a lot of dedicated Maccers on there as well.

All the best,

FS
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Old 07-25-2013
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Re: PLEASE! Help Me Decide: MacGregor 25 or 26S

the motor is too big for the boat. 9.9 or less is sufficient 15 hp is just a waste of fuel.
the trailer is too big for the boat. Mac's typically trailer on single axle trailers.
You are paying, in this instance for stuff you don't need, and that you may need or want to replace.

This is the first boat you have looked at. it shouldn't be the first boat you buy.

As mentioned above, don't wear boat goggles. Print out the inspection trip tips found at the top of the page here and use them.



I advise you to change your approach. instead of replying to ads for boats for sale, post "Boat wanted" ads on craigslist and kijiji and the similar sources in your area.

"Wanted: Macgregor 26D or 26S sailboat. Looking to sail now. Have cash. No projects Ph: Email:"

You will likely get a response for owners who haven't advertised their boats yet, and you may also get a repsonse from the sellers of the $6500 - $8000 boats... don't be afraid to see those boats, and don't be afraid to offer less than they are asking. the worst that can happen is they say "no."

if the boat has been on the market for a while and has had no action because it is overpriced, you might be surprised that the buyer is ready to consider a much lower offer.
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Old 07-25-2013
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Re: PLEASE! Help Me Decide: MacGregor 25 or 26S

I usually agree with bljones, but in this case I defer (love your chronicles BTW). The 15 is a bit big for a 25 and probably accounts for about half of the asking price. That being said, I would much rather be over powered than under in an emergency situation. As for the trailer, Macs come with single axle trailers from the factory. If you plan on towing much, one of the first mods you do is to add another axle. Its just a good safety measure. As for the electric breaks, if the trailer hasn't moved in a while I don't blame him for not promising they will work. Most likely they are full of rust and will need maintenance. Personally, I would replace them with disk breaks regardless. Just a Mac owners .02 worth... Good luck on whatever you decide and welcome to the sailing community.
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Re: PLEASE! Help Me Decide: MacGregor 25 or 26S

I was considering selling the motor for $2000 and getting a 9.9 for $1000.00. Does that sound reasonable? That way I'm now down to $3500. Yay or nay?
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Old 07-25-2013
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Re: PLEASE! Help Me Decide: MacGregor 25 or 26S

Don't count on being able to sell the motor, or on picking one up at the price you've indicated. What if the motor turns out to have a burned out water pump and is only worth $300 in scrap/parts to someone?

I agree with the others, keep looking. Or, after doing an in-person inspection and careful review of the boat, look at the average selling prices on NADA, or ask BoatUS for an average selling price. Subtract off of that the cost of anything that might make the boat "below average," then make a low-ball offer and see what the seller will take.

$6-8000 for that boat sounds really high to me, but I may be off.
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