Considering the Mac26 - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 6 Old 05-05-2013 Thread Starter
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Considering the Mac26

Now doubt, my post will start a flame war as the notion of an experienced sailor considering a Mac26 is a heretical as a muslim changing religion BUT, I have to admit, that if the Mac26 is even half as good as many of its owners claim, then it would suit many of my boating wants.
Not being a sailing purist, I couldn't care less whether my cruising boat sails well as long as the sails work. Further, I'd use cold fusion as an engine of it was reliable and cheap. I truly hate the 6 kt limit most cruising sailboats and I think I can actually prove that the combo of extreme shoal draft and ability to get somewhere at 10-12 kt speeds when necessary makes them safer than a heavy sailboat over a long term.
I never intend to sail under nasty conditions in which a heavy boat does well but if I happen by seriously poor judgement to do so, I know the Mac26 can sail with reefed main and has floatation.
Yes, their accomodations are spartan but are much better than my current 28' S2 that everybody thinks is a "real" sailboat. The Mac26 also fits my style of cruising, no more than 2 weeks at a time multiple times each year. Doing this and waiting on weather as I normally do, I think the mac26 could take me all over the Bahamas, Caribbean islands (yes, she'd need upgrades).
OTOH, designer Tad Roberts has a design called Queen Charlotte that is his answer to the Mac26, a trailerable motorsailer with water ballast capable of 12 kts under power. Unfortunately, it is a Ketch rig. I may ask him to do a design with a simple Gaff rig to carry more sail on only a single mast.
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post #2 of 6 Old 05-05-2013
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Re: Considering the Mac26

Thoughts? Umm, There's a lid to fit every pot ?
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post #3 of 6 Old 05-05-2013
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Re: Considering the Mac26

Well, it sounds like you have already decided, and are hoping to get reinforcement.

With the Mac you get a boat that tries to be a power boat, and a sailboat at the same time, and doesn't do either particularly well.

Why don't you just get a proper powerboat and be done with it!

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post #4 of 6 Old 05-05-2013
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Re: Considering the Mac26

My understanding is that there are 4 different models of the Mac 26. They are all water ballasted but only 2 of the models allow up to 50 HP motors. The earlier models allowed only for up to 10 HP motors; one has a dagger board an the other has a center board (26d & 26s). The 26m & 26x are the "hybrid" sailboats that usually spark flame wars.
I have never sailed on the 26m or 26x so I can't really comment on them but I have sailed on the 26s which is relatively fast for it's size (it can sail faster than my 7000# Tartan 27'). They all have that "bleach bottle" look though.
The cabin or 'tween deck is surprisingly roomy for a 26 footer if you don't mind not being able to stand up.
This may sound a bit stupid but I am going to say that these Mac 26 sailboats are "niche boats" (as if every sailboat does not have it's own niche). There are plenty of people to whom these boats have appeal, but there are also plenty of people who are vocally critical of them. Frankly, it does not matter to me what other people think or say about my choice of boat; beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If the MacGregor 26 motor/sailor appeals to you then have at it.

None of these 4 MacGregor models would be my choice for making a Bahamas or Caribbean passage in though; the rigging is far from robust. They appeal to me only in that they are trailer-able and could save a boat load of yard storage fees.
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post #5 of 6 Old 05-05-2013
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Thumbs up Re: Considering the Mac26

We started with the 26M model as our first "sailboat" having been in power boats for 15 years before that. We loved the boat for all the reasons that you are looking at. It is an "OK" motor boat and an "OK" sailboat. It is very roomy below decks.

It is a little tender in a puff and you learn to reef early. The boat worked well for us when on inland lakes and near coastal waters. When we moved the boat to Lake Michigan, its tenderness became problematic for my wife. The narrow beam, higher center of balance and overall light weight would take the boat to healing angles that would scare the xxxx out my wife. Eventually she told me "we need a bigger boat".

I have read about a number of people that regularly travel to the Bahamas in the 26X and 26M power sailors but I have never heard about sailing a Mac further into the Caribbean.

`99 Beneteau Oceanis 352, #282 WiTCHCRAFT
Milwaukee, WI
Sailing Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes

Last edited by MSN2Travelers; 05-05-2013 at 10:02 PM.
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post #6 of 6 Old 05-05-2013
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Re: Considering the Mac26

Doing this and waiting on weather as I normally do, I think the mac26 could take me all over the Bahamas, Caribbean islands (yes, she'd need upgrades).
I was going to say that your plan seems fine, up until this statement. However, now that I thing about it, you could take advantage of much smaller weather windows with that much speed. Still, rather unseaworthy boat for big waters.

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