Newbie here, hailing from Lawrence, KS (go Jayhawks!)
I will apologize up front if I dig up old threads if they haven't been answered by newer ones, but I'm in the process of looking for a boat for my family and I, and I stumbled across these forums. So please be nice if I trip and fall.
My background: I'm almost a complete newbie to sailing. My sailing history happened in the summer of 1989. I had stumbled on a 1 or 2 person boat at a lake we vacation at the year prior, and told myself that if it was there the following year, I would sail it! So I spent that winter reading my grandparents encyclopedias, reading everything I could find about sailing. It was surprisingly helpful. Come that next summer, the boat was still there, so I fumbled with the rigging and got it up and going; then using my memorized sailing theory, I actually had fun and didn't kill myself, and got back to the cabin!
Fast forward 20 years, I'm nearly 40 and looking for a boat. I am (was??) mainly interested in power boats, and even have my eye set on a Yamaha jetboat, but then I discovered the MacGregor 26. I know some of y'all might be frowning at me now, but I just love the idea of being able to hammer down on the 60 or 70hp (whatever the max is), and then later slowing down with the wind and taking a leisurely, gas-free cruise.
There are other reasons, too, and I honestly thought that sailing (with a boat that has a cabin) was reserved for rich retired folks, and not a "common" person like myself, so it was out of the realm of possibility for me, so I just up and ignored it until now.
Anyway, I'll go lurk in some forums now and try to glean as much information as I can.... my wife says "no new boat for at least 3 years"... so that will give me plenty of time to do my research and figure out what's best for me and my family.