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post #1 of 11 Old 08-09-2004 Thread Starter
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what about water balast ?

I am in the market to buy a 26ft trailable sail boat, can someone share with me their experience with a water balast boat like the Macgregor. What are the pros and cons? Does it tilt alot under sail because there is no keel? I notice that the draft is 9" is that true? Any comments or advice will be greatly appreciated. I didn''t mention that this will be my first boat ever so you will have to talk to me like I am four years old.
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-09-2004
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what about water balast ?

AC
You might specify where and how you want to use your boat. Macs are light construction boats perhaps most suited for smaller lake use. If you want to sail on open water areas, consider a more strongly built boat. A S2 7.9 is a favorite of mine.

Figure out what you want and then pay the cost to get a good example, skip the search for any bargain boats - the most you can hope for in buying a boat is to get at least what you pay for.

Good luck.
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-10-2004 Thread Starter
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what about water balast ?

I live in west palm beach florida and the aim is to sail to the bahamas. I wonder if the Mac is capable boat to do it in. Whatever boat I end up buying will need to be trailerable and on a low budget. Or should I think about buing an older boat that is sturdier that is a fixer-upper. If not a Mac then what? What some options in my situation?

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post #4 of 11 Old 08-10-2004
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what about water balast ?

The Mac is intended for and best suited to protected inland lakes. The thought of even a moderately rough gulf stream crossing in one makes me shutter. There are many trailerable boats that would do the joib better.
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post #5 of 11 Old 08-11-2004
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what about water balast ?

I would have to agree that the Mac''s are not very well suited to making often very rough passage to the Bahama''s. I would suggest that you look for a more robustly constructed older boat.

With regards to water ballast, the issue with this type of water ballast is the same as with all forms of low-density ballast. If you compare water to lead, water is approximately one tenth the density of lead. That means you need ten times more volume of water to equal the weight of lead. This means that you will end up with some combination of either:
- The water being higher in the boat resulting in a higher center of gravity and less stability than the lead,
- More water ballast to overcome the higher center of gravity meaning a heavier boat (Remember weight, in and of itself, does nothing positive for a boat and does have a lot of negatives.),
- Appendages that are shaped to hold water rather than to be efficient as sailing foils,
- More dependence of form stability which means a less comfortable motion and a poorer ultimate stability,
- Less interior storage or no sump for bilge water to sit,

The bottom line a well-designed water ballasted boat will always be an inferior sailor when compared to a properly designed fin keelboat. As in all things in sailing there are trade-offs. In my book, even if water ballast reduces towing weight (which is questionable since the retractable bulb keel boats do not have to weigh that much more than a dry water ballast boat), I really think its too much of a compromise in performance and safety for my taste. There are people who are perfectly comfortable with water ballast, but having been aboard a variety of boats from 20 to 41 feet that have been knocked down to close to 90 degrees I see water ballast as too much of a risk for my taste.

There are other more pragmatic issues. Water ballast tanks when used in salt water tend to build up marine life in the tanks. These produce some really awful odors. If you search the archives there was a discussion about this problem perhaps 3 or 4 years ago. It was such a serious problem that one fellow cut his tank apart and poured in concrete.

Jeff

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post #6 of 11 Old 08-12-2004 Thread Starter
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what about water balast ?

Jeff thanks for all the info. It is very helpful in my search for a boat I certainly don''t want to make a mistake in buying the wrong one. Water balast are out. Now I am looking into Hunter 26.5.
Let me ask you another question is a 9.9hp motor on a 26''boat enough power if I want to cruise to the Bahamas from West Palm?
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-12-2004
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what about water balast ?

That is a little bit of a tough question because not all 9.9 hp engines are the same. Prop size and type, length of the shaft, gearing as well as 2 or 4 stroke comes into play. In a general sense 9.9 hp should be more than enough in flat water. Any outboard is next to useless in short chop and unfortunately, the Gulfstream and the Bahamas can dish out some of the worst short chop there is.

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what about water balast ?

OK thanks again so more horse power doesn''t mean better mobilty on a sail boat.
So what does one do in short chop crossing the Gulf Stream?
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-13-2004
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what about water balast ?

If there is adequate wind, you simply sail. Under sail, the wind in the sails gives the boat a steadier motion. If there is not enough wind to sail and you are stuck in a residual chop you have a real problem with the typical outboard installation since the prop will be near surface or even out of the water, much of the time which is hard on the engine and on your nerves. I personally believe that inboards are the only way to go on a cruising boat, but of course there is a real diversity of opinion on this subject.

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post #10 of 11 Old 08-14-2004
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what about water balast ?

Even if there is no wind or very little wind having the main sail up will help steady the boat when powering in in choppy water.

I have had a boat with an outboard on the transom and it can get up out of the water, but usually once it digs in and the boat is moving it will stay under. On a trailer boat you most likely are not going to have an inboard although I have seen them on a Com-Pac 20 and I think a Seaward 24 or 26 maybe.

I also have seen websites of people going to the Bahamas in McGregor 26''s. Some of those I would call good at weather windows and some I would call lucky.

Ken
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