I have a lot to learn about sailing but from everything I read and watched, I can't see what NOT to like about that 26M boat. That 55min video is incredible! Its like a major deal for me to unstep my mast, then I look in this video and all they do is crank it on down. Then this boat can be trailered, has awesome looking cabin setup and can be motored along with a 50hp. Plus they show it beaching! Then the awesome looks reminds me of like your own miniature cruise ship, its all just so modern. I watched some videos on youtube and this boat just moves along and along. I also find it amazing that the price is no more then a good new car. So what is the catch here? It seems too good to be true or is it? To me this looks like one bad A$$ boat period! As soon as I learn to sail well with my old cal 25, a 26M has to be my next boat, it HAS to be! Looks like a much better choice for a rookie too. So come on, whats the deal is it as great as it looks and they say it is?
Let me start by saying that I am a satisfied owner of a 26M. This is a multi-purpose hybrid boat that fills a niche market. It was our first sailboat and has met our expectations for the type of sailing that we thought we would be doing for many years. (Sailing Wisconsin’s inland lakes, especially in the Madison area.)
The MacGregor, as it comes from the factory, is a no-frills blank canvas. The attractive purchase price gets you a basic sailboat. Fit and finish are less important than low initial purchase price. The theory being that the owner only buys and installs those items that they actually want/need. It is easy to launch, easy to retrieve, sails and motors adequately. It doesn’t point very high and its high freeboard makes slow speed handling at the dock a challenge in a crosswind. The motor you hang on the back will determine how fast this boat will go under power. The size & pitch of the prop play a big part in determining control at slow speed as well as top end speed. Our 50 hp Suzuki lets us get places in a hurry when the wind doesn’t want to cooperate but we hate to use it.
The good – with lines run aft, this boat is easy to sail single handed. The lack of mechanical systems on the boat keeps maintenance costs way down. It takes me, working alone, 30-40 minutes from arrive at the ramp to pull away from the dock.
The bad – very tender. It will heel very quickly before it hardens up. Not a problem for me but scares the hell out of most people (read my wife). The stock rudders tend to stall out if the boat’s making 1.5 knts or less.
The “it is what it is” – The boat can be made into whatever you want it to be. It has sold so well that there are a number of vendors that specialize in “stuff” you can buy to improve/enhance the boat. As you add stuff to the boat, the initial purchase price tends to climb. Look for used vs. new. You will find that most owners have already added items that you would want.
I’m at the point where I will replace the hank-on jig with a roller furling genoa and replace the OEM rudders with IdaSailor upgrades (roughly $2K) or … get a bigger boat. The Admiral wants a bigger boat for Great Lakes cruising and I think she will likely win.
Check out this site for a very active 26X/26M community. MacGregorSailors.com