Tartan 27' owner
Join Date: Jan 2008
Thanked 115 Times in 107 Posts
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The Mac 26S is NOT the same as a 26X
Everyone loves bashing the Mac 26 as if they all carried 50HP outboard engines and were really motorboats imitating a sailboat. The older versions of the Mac 26 (the 'S' model for instance) do not have a transom that will hold much more than a 10 HP engine AND you can not empty the water ballast (once filled) as you can in the motor boat models (X and M - which will plane after emptying the ballast with 50 horses pushing it along).
I have sailed on the Mac 26 S and even though am not crazy about the way the boat looks I must say that it sailed pretty well for its size. The headsail (jib) is a bit undersized on my friends 26 S but it needs to be as the boat is still a little tender even with the water ballast full. This gives it some weather helm which is a little unpleasant for long runs.
As far as comfort goes, I doubt any of the other model boats you are considering can match the Mac 26 S. Room enough between decks to sleep 6, enclosed head compartment, byo galley, pop top allows standing room for most. Another advantage this boat might have on Lake Champlain is that with the centerboard up it draws around 1 foot so you could explore more places with thin water. I think that this boat makes a pretty good camping platform and it is trailerable without a powerful truck given short distances.
I would not want to get caught on this boat in a howling wind or derecho on Lake Champlain but for normal light air use it is a decent boat - IMHO.
"The cure for anything is salt water~ sweat, tears, or the sea." ~Isak Denesen
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