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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > Water Ballast Boats ?
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Topic Review (Newest First)
09-25-2012 12:24 PM
Sumner10
Re: Water Ballast Boats ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rlltrash View Post
...Also, unless it is noted above and I missed it, how many gallons of water do these water ballast boats carry as ballast? .
The Mac S and D models have 150 gallons for about 1200 lb.. The newer X and M I believe have about the same and I think the M has an additional 300 lbs. of lead in the bottom but not positive. Non in the swing centerboards or dagger boards, but some guys have added there.

Rule wise if you are racing and being honest some things are not allowed, but one guy recently bought a D and found out that the previous owner had put a couple hundred pounds of cement in the ballast tank, maybe for an advantage. And then there is the other advantage of dumping ballast while sailing. MacGregor corporation does not want you sailing with no ballast, but I've heard of some guys blowing it out when running in light winds. You should always have ballast in the S or D and in the X or M when sailing, but the X and M do dump the ballast if they are motoring fast and that is as per the company instructions.

Here is a good video about the S.....

Mac26S_PromoCD.wmv

...and would apply to the D and Part I for the X/M....


The Hunter water ballast boats are really nice boats and should be considered. More expensive new and used but kind of like moving from a Chevy to a Buick. The Chevy is fine, nothing wrong with it, but if you want a little more fit and finish the Buick is an option possibly if you have the money. They along with the X and M are heavier boats on the trailer vs. the S and D. The Hunter water ballast that wasn't a powersailer is no longer produced. They now have the Edge that is similar to the X and M. Like the Macs make sure you realize which type you are comparing with other boats.

The advertised weight of the S and D are about 1800 lbs. bare and with the trailer about 2800, but our boat loaded to go on the modified 2 axle trailer is probably 3600-3800 total and I'll bet most S and D's on the trailer loaded more normal with the outboard in the tow vehicle are a little over 3000 lbs.

I think the X, M and Hunter all start with a combined boat/trailer weight of 3500-3800 lbs before gear. We pull with a Suburban ourselves and with the heavier boats you might also consider that you need a larger tow vehicle if you don't already have one.

Happy boat hunting and here is a nice site to compare boats side by side,

Sail Calculator Pro v3.53 - 2500+ boats

Sum

------------------------------------------------------

Our 37 Endeavour --- Our 26 MacGregor --- Trips With Both

09-25-2012 02:23 AM
rlltrash
Re: Water Ballast Boats ?

Thank you all very much. Are there any more Hunter or Catalina sailors who can comment on their boats?

Also, unless it is noted above and I missed it, how many gallons of water do these water ballast boats carry as ballast? Are they all about the same, or do some carry significantly more water ballast than others?

Thanks, Richard
09-23-2012 12:46 AM
Sumner10
Re: Water Ballast Boats ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rlltrash View Post
Sum, you should work for MacGregor. You are a great salesman! Is there a way to access the ballast tanks?

You say your boat was in Florida (in salt water I assume) for two months and you had no green or brown things growing in your ballast tank? How about on the hull, keel, or rudder? Any marine life there? How do you check the tank and add bleach, if needed? (My wife loves bleach.) Is there one or two tanks?

As for performance, how well does the M26s point into the wind? (That is more important to me than downwind performance.) Do you ever race the boat? If so, how does it do? Have you ever sailed with, or against, a water ballast Hunter or Catalina? How do they compare?

How does the boat do off shore in ocean swells? We get fairly large swells occasionally off the so. Calif. coast. What do you do about a motor? Do you need one for docking? How do you get your boat out of the water and up the ramp?

Is there a boat owners association, or some other place, where I can get the opinions of some other boat owners? (I prefer to talk with people who actually own and sail a boat rather than someone who's information is second-hand.)

Thank you for your comments,
Richard
rlltrash@yahoo.com
Well CalebD did a really good job of answering most of your questions and I appreciate his comments a lot. I'll try and answer a few others.

Ruth and I just started sailing about 3-4 years ago and are strictly cruisers, actually we think of ourselves more as explorers and the boat gets us to new and interesting places. So saying that we don't race and even though we have new sails and such would probably be beaten by about anyone. There are a number of guys/gals that do race their D's and S's and a lot of them sail in your area. In fact the factory is south of Long Beach and interesting to visit and see how they make the new M's. If you follow my links at the bottom of the page or go here...

Macgregor - Venture Sailboat Links

...you will find links to lots of info on the boats and there are 3 main forums with a lot of activity on them where you can learn more about them. Still I want to emphasize that I'm not trying to sell everyone on a Mac, but there are now and have been thousands of happy owners.

We didn't have any problems with growth while in Florida as I had ....



Macgregor 26S Outside Mods page 39

...barrier coated the bottom and put on a good anti-fouling paint. If you don't leave the boat in the water that isn't necessary.

The ballast tank is a non-issue and just doesn't give problems and can be bleached if you so desire as mentioned above. Also most owners open the ballast valve once the boat is on the trailer and just start pulling out and let the water drain. We have never blown ours, but some do.

As far as racing the other boats look at those ratings and compare them to others. It will get you in the ball park, but there again who has the newest sails, who knows what they are doing, etc.. The boat points very well even for someone with limited experience like Ruth and I. It is an easy boat to sail. We added a furler, reef lines, lazy jacks, and a traveler to make ours easier, but I still go to the mast for some of that. We added lots to our boat and it now sits about 2 inches lower in the water when we take off for a month or more. For us that is good as that helps it going into waves and such. We've given up speed in some circumstances, but have picked up comfort in rougher water. Our needs though are a lot different than the average trailer sailor.

You need a motor and we bought the boat with an older 8 HP Honda, but after a bad deal on Lake Powell....



08-09 Sailing Lake Powell page 9

...where I was hurt and Ruth couldn't start the outboard and we sat in a side canyon for a few days until I could we now have an electric start 9.8 HP Tohatsu. Still we used the dinghy's 5 HP Nissan on it once and it would easily push the boat to over 5 knots on less than full throttle into 20+ mph winds.

Hope to see you on some of those sites and here,

Sum

--------------------------------------

Our 37 Endeavour --- Our 26 MacGregor --- Trips With Both

09-22-2012 10:35 PM
Sumner10
Re: Water Ballast Boats ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yankee View Post
In addition to the valid points made above, two items occur to me about water ballast:

1) To have anyting near enough righting moment with water ballast being carried so near the surface of the water, MUCH more weight has to be pumped inside the hull. At best, your sails create just a few horsepower to propell your boat. Remember that you have to accellerate the total mass of your boat (including water used for ballast) with that limited power every time you tack.
2) Being able to tow a water ballasted boat with a smaller vechicle dosen't seem valid. Unless there is a pump to evacuate the water used for ballast while the boat is still in the water, the weight must be pulled up the ramp to drain by gravity. While you might not need a Power Wagon to tow down the road, you will need it for that first few feet up the ramp. A smaller, more economical tow just isn't likely to do it.

The main advantage of water ballasted boats has always looked to me like it is mainly for the builder. They are selling you empty space inside the hull and a couple of valves instead of lead.
Are these boats any less expensive?

Your #1 sounds resonable but with the water in they weigh about 3000 lbs. unless you weigh them down like we have for extensive long term cruising. 3000 lbs. is still light for a 36 foot boat and their ratings relate that they are not slugs.

As to the #2 it doesn't take that much HP in low gear to pull a 3000# boat up and most people still like to have 4 wheel drive but a lot don't. If you want you can blow the ballast in about 15 minutes while in the water with a $20 mattress inflator. Handy also if you were to run aground and need to be higher in the water to get off.

There were thousands made so you can get into a D for under $5000 and a S for under $8000,

Sum

------------------------------

Our 37 Endeavour --- Our 26 MacGregor --- Trips With Both

09-22-2012 10:28 PM
CalebD
Re: Water Ballast Boats ?

Richard,

The water ballast on the M26 S is accessed just underneath the companionway steps. The single ballast tank has a removable plug in the cabin that would allow you to put some bleach in there if you felt it necessary. There is a long bolt that you loosen to let water into the ballast tank once you launch and tighten once full. Loosen the same bolt once the boat is back on the trailer and all the ballast water drains out, eventually.

I've sailed a M26 S for about 50 miles on the Atlantic from Fire Island Inlet to NYC. It was a very benign day for the most part. Because of the relatively light weight of the boat (~3000#'s with ballast full) it tends to ride over the waves rather then through them as a heavier boat might. On a choppy day this tendency might make the boats motion a bit uncomfortable but if the waves are far apart it should not be a problem. We had lazy 3' swells that the M26 S seemed not to notice.
On this trip we did get some wind as we neared NYC and my GPS indicated a ground speed of around 6.5 knots, if I recall correctly. 6.5 knots is faster then my heavy Tartan 27' can do on a good day. The same could be said for most 27' keel sailboats made by Catalina, Hunter, O'Day or whomever.
There is a trailer sailor forum as well as MacGregor owner forum at SailboatOwners.com - Latest forum activity
if you want to trade notes with other Mac owners.

Most people who have never sailed a Mac 26 S or D tend to lump all the models together and deride them for no good reason. They are not overbuilt like my 1967 Tartan 27' but they are good at what they do. The cabin interior of the M 26 S is bigger then my T27 if you don't mind not being able to stand up. All boats are compromises and the M 26 S design did not sacrifice much in the way of sailing ability.
09-22-2012 08:59 PM
rlltrash
Re: Water Ballast Boats ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumner10 View Post
We haven't used anything in the tank and have had no problems, but the longest we had water in the tank was 2 months in Florida. I know some of the guys that leave the boat in the water add a little bleach like Pierre mentioned. I would not be concerned about this at all.
Sum, you should work for MacGregor. You are a great salesman! Is there a way to access the ballast tanks?

You say your boat was in Florida (in salt water I assume) for two months and you had no green or brown things growing in your ballast tank? How about on the hull, keel, or rudder? Any marine life there? How do you check the tank and add bleach, if needed? (My wife loves bleach.) Is there one or two tanks?

As for performance, how well does the M26s point into the wind? (That is more important to me than downwind performance.) Do you ever race the boat? If so, how does it do? Have you ever sailed with, or against, a water ballast Hunter or Catalina? How do they compare?

How does the boat do off shore in ocean swells? We get fairly large swells occasionally off the so. Calif. coast. What do you do about a motor? Do you need one for docking? How do you get your boat out of the water and up the ramp?

Is there a boat owners association, or some other place, where I can get the opinions of some other boat owners? (I prefer to talk with people who actually own and sail a boat rather than someone who's information is second-hand.)

Thank you for your comments,
Richard
rlltrash@yahoo.com
09-22-2012 08:44 PM
Yankee
Re: Water Ballast Boats ?

In addition to the valid points made above, two items occur to me about water ballast:

1) To have anyting near enough righting moment with water ballast being carried so near the surface of the water, MUCH more weight has to be pumped inside the hull. At best, your sails create just a few horsepower to propell your boat. Remember that you have to accellerate the total mass of your boat (including water used for ballast) with that limited power every time you tack.
2) Being able to tow a water ballasted boat with a smaller vechicle dosen't seem valid. Unless there is a pump to evacuate the water used for ballast while the boat is still in the water, the weight must be pulled up the ramp to drain by gravity. While you might not need a Power Wagon to tow down the road, you will need it for that first few feet up the ramp. A smaller, more economical tow just isn't likely to do it.

The main advantage of water ballasted boats has always looked to me like it is mainly for the builder. They are selling you empty space inside the hull and a couple of valves instead of lead.
Are these boats any less expensive?
09-22-2012 05:20 PM
PeterSailer
Re: Water Ballast Boats ?

Quote:
With the high coamings even if the boat is knocked down for a second no water enters the cockpit.
And even if any water gets in, as long as the companion way is closed, all the waster will drain very fast since the the boat has a open transom.

And hey, I guess they don't sink either

http://www.macgregor26.com/safety/flotation_large.jpg

Cheers,

Pierre
09-22-2012 05:10 PM
Sumner10
Re: Water Ballast Boats ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rlltrash View Post
In looking through the archives, I found several threads from years ago. One problem I had not thought of is Marine Growth in the water ballast tanks - when the boat is sailed in salt water. Can anyone comment on that?
We haven't used anything in the tank and have had no problems, but the longest we had water in the tank was 2 months in Florida. I know some of the guys that leave the boat in the water add a little bleach like Pierre mentioned. I would not be concerned about this at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rlltrash View Post
...As for stability and sailing performance, the old posts tended to recommend weighted lifting or swing keels rather than water ballast. What do you think?
I think you need to separate the stability from the performance and look at them a little separtely. There is 1200 lbs of water ballast in the boats to help make up for the fact that it is higher than say a swing keel that is weighted. All fixed keels and swing keels don't have the same stability either. You can't make a blanket statement that will cover all of the possibilites. Most boats that are trailerd that are the size of the Mac have weighted keels in the 400-600 lb. range. A lot of people are under the impression that since it is water it isn't the same as 1200 lbs. of lead at the same location in the boat. That simply isn't true. Read the link I posted above.

Ruth is a non-swimmer and is not crazy about heeling period and she gets along with the boat. We sail it a little flatter than most people probably do. The traveler I made helps with that. She is on the tiller 90% of the time so she can turn into the wind any time she doesn't feel comfortable. I usually run the sheets and she is up to the point of feeling comfortable with 12-14 deg. of heel and I'll keep it there with the sheets. A lot of people with these boats sail them much harder than we do. As I mentioned before you can't hardly knock one down if you try and those who have succeed say the boats comes right up on its own immediately. With the high coamings even if the boat is knocked down for a second no water enters the cockpit.

The down to any of these smaller boats is that gusts of wind can easily change the heel by 2-3 degrees very quickly. It is now that little sudden change that still bothers Ruth a litttle, but not near as much as before. We have been in open water crossing Florida Bay with the occasional 4 foot wave and the boat is always stable and you never feel in danger.

Still you can't compare this boat or other trailered boats, even those with weighted swing keels, to say a 26 foot fix keel boat that weighs 5,000-6000 lbs.. You alson aren't going to easily put those boats on a trailer and launch and retreive easily.

Now about the performance the D and the S are boats that will sail very close to the wind, sail very well in light winds and with a reef or two in the main will sail in winds up to 20 knots comfortably for most people. Their PHRF ratings prove that they are fast overall boats that sail very well.

Here is a link to PHRF ratings that helps to explain them if one is unfamiliar with them ....

PHRF

... and here is a link to their ratings....

http://offshore.ussailing.org/Assets...er+19+2011.pdf

...if you have another boat you are interested in compare it to the S or D.

For sure there are some faster boats out there in this length but can you eaisly trailer/launch them. Can you outfit them to cruise in them for a week to a month or two?

Now if you are looking at the powersailer X's and M's their owners will be the first to admit that they aren't great pure sailors, but most of them bought them for a different reason.

I'm not trying to sell everyone on an S or D because it isn't the boat for everyone, but is a nice option for the needs of some of us. I still haven't found a boat that is better all around for Ruth's and my needs,

Sum

--------------------------------------
Our 37 Endeavour --- Our 26 MacGregor --- Trips With Both

09-22-2012 04:17 PM
PeterSailer
Re: Water Ballast Boats ?

Quote:
In looking through the archives, I found several threads from years ago. One problem I had not thought of is Marine Growth in the water ballast tanks - when the boat is sailed in salt water. Can anyone comment on that?
A guy that I know who owns a MacGregor 26 said that he uses Javex bleach once in a while in his water ballast tank. But he says that it's no big deal because he usally empty he's ballast after each sail.

Quote:
As for stability and sailing performance, the old posts tended to recommend weighted lifting or swing keels rather than water ballast. What do you think?
Yes a boats with a weighted swing keel will be less tender then the same boat without it thats for sure, but the ballast is just one of the variables... there is also beam, sail plan and the center of Gravity. Maybe even hull shape?

Pierre
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