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zemaniak 03-26-2008 12:19 AM

hunter 212 vs. US 21 vs. First 235 vs. MacGregor 26s
Hello all,
1st post, long time lurcher. For the last year, been quielty shopping, gathering info with the humble (realistic?) objective of getting the best possible boat for my needs.
Basically, that means an easy to sail (1st time owner) weekender that has enough necessities to spend 2-3 days on, with capacity of customizing it to my needs, and with enough sail qualities that I could improve on the boat's performance as my capabilities improve (i'm a bit of a spped freak/competitive personality)
Here's my short list:
2000-2002 Hunter 212
1983 US Yachts 21
1988 First 235
1993 Macgregor 26s

Anybody have comments on these? suggestions? things to look for?

sailingdog 03-26-2008 07:29 AM

If you're a speed freak for performance under sail... ditch the Macgregor 26. Most Macgregors have pretty pathetic sailing performance due to the compromises made to have it be a decent power boat.

Personally, if I were you and looking to get a first sailboat and as competitive as you seem to indicate you are, I'd recommend getting a boat that is raced at a club level more. AFAIK, none of the boats you've listed is raced much, and none are all that good in terms of performance. Of them, the First 235, if it is a Bendytoy First 235 might be a good choice.

It would help if you said where you would be sailing this boat...since different waters will often have different requirements.

The Cal 21 or 25 would be a much better choice. The Cal 25 isn't really a trailerable boat however, so would probably be happiest in a marina slip.

chucklesR 03-26-2008 08:10 AM

I agree with Saildog, those boats you have listed do not match at all what you have said you want.
The only one that would be good for 2-3 days is the Mac 26 - it's also low maintenance and of course sails like a powerboat with waterballast trying to act like a sail boat.
Mac's are good 'toe rail in the water' boats - all you have to do is sail without the ballast :).

Not a single one of them is a speed demon. Speed demon's at that size do not have accomodations for overnight.
Pick one.

Jeff_H 03-26-2008 09:35 AM

I would agree with ChuckleR and S.D. on the Hunter 212, US Yachts 21 and the Macgregor 26s. I respectfully disagee in the case of the Beneteau 235 was actually sails very nicely and can easily be used for PHRF racing. With a PHRF rating of 195-198, the 235 has a rating that is only 6 to 9 seconds a mile slower than a one-design J-22. Not bad for a boat with the amount of accomodations found on the Beneteau 235. I have always found these to be nicely detailed small boats and one that has appealed to me whenever I have been aboard one.


T34C 03-26-2008 10:14 AM

I have to agree with Jeff on the 235. It provides a nice amount of space/ammenities below for a boat of its size and is relatively quick. I think it is a good combination of roomy/trailerable without getting too big to be practical.

zemaniak 03-26-2008 11:05 AM

Well, I unfortunately can't afford a mini Transat or ultimate 20 ;) (nor a 40 footer for that matter), all of which might very well be overkill on Lake Champlain, btw...And I do need accomodations, if not for me, at least for the missus, so I can't get a Melges 24 ;)
Of course I can only speak about things in theory here, as i don't have the experience you have, but I took the liberty of comparing PHRF, which, even if not fullproof, seems in general to be a good indicator of speed?
PHRF (straight from
Beneteau WK: 195
Hunter 212: 216
US 21 (i.e. Pearson Triton 21): 201
Macgregor 26: 228 (not sure if S model would have same rating or lower)
Cal 21: 255
Cal 25: avg 220
J22: 177

So the impression I get here is thin is fast, even if sail plan is not large (j22), unless your boat can plane, then it's the best, but it needs big sail plan and good ballast for stability (mini transat and the like).

______________weight______length______sail plan_______Ammenities
Beneteau 235____2500_______23.5________250________Galley,Cl sed head
Hunter 212______1800________21_________213________porta, galley opt
US 21__________1700________21_________224________port a, galley
Macgregor 26S___1850(*)_____26_________234________galley, clsed head
(*) w/out water ballast

Most small boats have higher PHRF ratings than the ones posted above, plus they are often older, have smaller sail plans, so I assume slower, more maintenance, less interesting ammenities, hence limiting my choices to these 4, w/honorable mentions to the Merit 23 and Kirby (22?).

As for speed, well I don't plan on racing anytime soon, or scare the living crap out of my GF at first, but if I can friendly pass other (bigger) sail boats on the lake, that would put a smile on my face. I know the Beneteau can do this, I've been on their fan site, but it seems bigger/heavier than what I feel I need/want. the M 26S looks nice and sleek, but I'm concerned about the boat's sailing abilities and speed (this is not the powersailor model though). The Hunter seems easy to learn/sail while still reasonalbly fast, has a nice big cockpit, and with flat bottom, and option to get a bigger headsail or spinnaker, seems capable of being far faster IMHO, but interior is limited and since newer is usually expensive. That leaves the US/Pearson 21, which at first glance seems to fit the bill nicely (heard it's very fast), but it is the oldest model of the bunch and they are quite rare...

sailingdog 03-26-2008 12:46 PM

Another good boat you might want to look at is the Kittiwake 23.

JohnRPollard 03-26-2008 01:08 PM

On your list I would also vote for the Beneteau 235. See JeffH's comments. A nice package, representing good value and decent performance. Clever dual-use nav-station/head. My least favorite aspect is the outboard motor, but that's common in boats this size and has some advantages too.

Jeff_H 03-26-2008 01:26 PM

Two quick comments;

There is nothing particularly fast about the US21. They were loosely based on then popular IOR era designs and so the deep keel version went to windward pretty well for a boat of that era but are not all that fast on any other point of sail.

And S.D. I don't know why you threw out the Kenner Kittiwake 23, but have you ever sailed one of these old girls? With a PHRF rating of 270-276, there is nothing fast about a Kittiwake. They were also a design that looked great in a brochure, but in real life everything from the length and width of the bunks, to the galley sink and icebox, was scaled down to a minature of real life so as to be next to useless except for people who are perhaps seriously height challenged. On Lake Champlain known for light air mixed with square waves and very big winds, the poor sailing abilities at either end of the wind range would nix the Kenner, as it would the Mcgregor and Hunter as well.


sailingdog 03-26-2008 01:37 PM

The outboard isn't really a problem IMHO. If you had an inboard on a boat this size, you'd lose a lot of the space used for accommodations. Having an outboard also means it is simpler to winterize or troubleshoot. :)

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