I bought a 2002 26X after keeping a traditional trailer sailor for a few years. It's a great boat for a family on a budget that wants to do a lot of different things...sailing included.
We've loved it and my family and I have spent more time in the water in the last year than we spent combined in the previous 3.
However, a lot of non-sailorly types do buy and use these things as cabin cruisers and I've helped other new (to them) owners with similar issues you describe.
. The first four hours were just rigging the boat. I've never had any experience with this boat before. It is supposed to be the older model, maybe an X not the newer M, if I got that right..
It should take an HOUR tops for the first time, most people can get it down to 15-30 minutes. Check for the black stripe, if it has 2, it's an M.
To raise the main their are two very short stays maybe 4' long in line with the tabernacle. Do they typically stay rigged while sailing or only used for raising the mast?
Those are there to support the mast while you're raising it, they don't have to be in place once the mast is secured, but unless you're planning to go forward a lot, I'd leave them in place just because it's a pain to secure them elsewhere.
The line to the block and pulley system to raise the mast was connected quite low right on top of the cleats. I'm thinking it would work a little easier if it was put just above the baby stays. Is that right?
The mast raising system should attach to a harness on the mast and to the forward cleat. A gin pole helps keep the angle shallow enough. I reccomend getting a johnson lever at the front. That way you can use the mechanical advantage to tighten up the forestay.
There was no sail stop to prevent the slugs from falling out of the slot. I rigged a short line between the two cleats on the mast to fix this. What is the factory solution??
A slug stop...I'm not sure what the part is called, but it sldes in the bottom of the track and tumbscrew secures it in place. I've had a version on every sailboat I've owned/sailed
Adjusting the tension o the stays was tricky at best. The boat has crimped rigging rather than swaged shackles. Is that standard.
Yes, but with the exception of the forestay when raising/lowering the mast, you don't have to adjust the stay tensions. Just check them periodically.
He had no main halyard so we used a piece of maybe 5/16" three strand that stretched so much as to be almost useless. What is the typically halyard. I use VPC for real boats but maybe that is overkill for this.
Yeah, he needs to get some new lines. I believe the factory provides a 5/16 cotton/nylon blend braided line. The sails are fairly light so it doesn't have to be overkill.
The jib sheet seems to route to a block on a short track on the cabin roof. I routed the sheets outside of the life lines but they seemed to interfere. We had a lot of wind so we had the jib partially rolled up so it may pull fair when unrolled properly.
I run the jib sheets inside the lifelines to jib cars then to the winches/cams on the cabin top. I run the sheets for my Genoa/Spinnaker (when I fly them) outside the lifelines to blocks on the cockpit gunwale to the winches/cams on the cabin top.
Anything else I should know about this boat?
Keep part of the keel/daggerboard down (4-6 inches) when motoring, it helps with tracking and low speed control. When docking or in close quarters, drop a rudder, it really helps but raise it before you go over 5-6 mph to keep from damaging them.
As for sailing, the X doesn't point as well as I'd like and can be frustrating, but the M didn't seem to have that problem. The X also tend to round up when overpowered which can be a good thing for a beginner.
My advice while the owner is learning to sail, keep the motor down for awhile, not only does it take the wieght on of the steering mechanism, the engine is already in place for when stupid beginner mistakes happen (and oh how they happen)
I found an on-line pdf manual but it didn't answer many of my questions.
Check out MacGregorSailors.com
, it's an active community with a lot of knowledge and some very innovative/knowledgeable enthusiasts.