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We have been thinking of buying a MacGregor for years, mostly because we live right on the Intracoastal at a place that the bridge over the inlet does not raise (a MacGregor would let us lower the mast so we could get out to the ocean without having to sail 3 hours to the next inlet that has an opening bridge).
This past week we sailed a few day sails on a friend's MacGregor (see photos and map of sailing location below) but it was on very flat water (river in Quebec).
Has anyone sailed this boat in larger seas? Has anyone lived aboard for more than a few days? We would use it for 1-2 week trips to the Bahamas.

http://blog.eboatlistings.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/quebec-screenshot.jpg

http://blog.eboatlistings.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/canada.jpg

http://blog.eboatlistings.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/CanadianSunset.jpg
 

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El Chupa Nibre
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I have a Mac 25 (swing keel) and love it, that one appears to be the water-ballasted 26D which I am not familiar with. The longest I've been on it is a week, but I wouldn't recommend that for more than two people that get along really well. I got it because it has a shallow draft, easy to trailer, and stepping the mast is a breeze. I have mine set up so that it's a one-man operation. I've never been on salt water with it, but there is a group that sails to the Bahamas quite regularly and most of their fleet are Macs. Their site doesn't appear to have been updated in a while, though.

Conch Cruisers Sailing Club

A quick Google search seems to indicate that a lot of people have done it with no problem.
 

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live aboard or 2 week cruising? They are way different, especially over time.

In the olden days, when I was young, I lived aboard a Cal 25 for about a year, until I tired of the frozen things aboard. This was near Annapolis on the Rhode River. I kept my "work" clothes in the car, used the marina shower and in general, enjoyed the time immensely. As nice as it was, there is no way I would head out to the bahamas or even offshore, except when I could run to shore when needed.

The Mac is an OK boat, but is not built or designed to do what you are wanting to do. On many, (almost every), if not all ways. It is rigged with undersized components, few tie points for rigging are appropriate for heavey weather on the bay, let alone off shore.

The Mac will be OK to liveaboard for a few days or a couple of weeks, but unless you are really agile and hardy, you will tire of it quickly. If you have a "we", the other half needs to accept the shortcomings as well.

I would save my money, or spend what I have on an older, more traditional sailboat. Even a Sabre 28 is more comfortable on all fronts than the Mac.
 

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Here we go with the "Macgregor's not a real boat" drama again.

I guess I should have added my usual disclaimer...YMMV, and it is your money and will be your boat. Go for it, take the Mac to the bahamas. People do it on jetskis and flats boats all the time. OP did ask a specific question and I did my best to answer it.

I chose, and have chosen many over the decades since living on the Cal, a sailboat, not a hybrid....it seems that even MacGregor can't decide what it is. Power or sail?
 

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El Chupa Nibre
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I'm not really interested in the 26, but I haven't really heard of any catastrophic failure on such a trip with said boat. Not saying it hasn't or couldn't happen, though.

This guy apparently does it with his 25 (which is a real sailboat, not a hybrid):

The Wild Hair - Mac 25

Have you ever owned or sailed on a Macgregor?
 

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I'm not really interested in the 26, but I haven't really heard of any catastrophic failure on such a trip with said boat. Not saying it hasn't or couldn't happen, though.

This guy apparently does it with his 25 (which is a real sailboat, not a hybrid):

The Wild Hair - Mac 25

Have you ever owned or sailed on a Macgregor?
two actually, a Venture 21 that I lived on for a few months until I could trade it on the Cal, and then the Venture 25 to see how well they did a "bigger" boat. That 25 became the Mac 25, then the hybrid 26.

The venture 21 was/is one of the most fun boats I have ever owned. I sailed it several times a week and all weekend long, even made a few Wed night races against some Helms 24 and similar boats. It was just not a liveaboard and not up to storms and nautical weather, even that of the bay. Just not enough boat between me and the water. As I said, the fit and finish was poor, and the fasteners and rigging ends were just sheet metal screws in to the fiberlgass.

It is a good boat, as long as you understand her limits. And crossing the Gulf Stream (and yes, before you ask, I have done that many times) is not something I would do. Doesn't mean it can't be done, just not my cup of tea or risk. As I said they do it on jetskis and paddleboards and flats boat.
 

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El Chupa Nibre
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That's cool. I've never had a Venture, but my Macgregor appears to be built better than what you described. Perhaps they stepped up their game as the years went by.
 

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I'm not really interested in the 26, but I haven't really heard of any catastrophic failure on such a trip with said boat. Not saying it hasn't or couldn't happen, though.

This guy apparently does it with his 25 (which is a real sailboat, not a hybrid):

The Wild Hair - Mac 25

Have you ever owned or sailed on a Macgregor?
Nice link. I especially liked the pictures of it being dismasted.
I like the older macs. Just not a fan of the hybrid powerboat/sailboat.
 

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El Chupa Nibre
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If you read about the demasting it was a turnbuckle that backed out. It was his fault, not the boat. He should have locked the turnbuckle and checked his tension more often.
 

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We take our Mac 25 out for a few days at a time. I have had her in 4' confused seas and she did fine, but I wouldn't want things to get too short, steep and choppy. Big slow swell, fine and dandy. I have no experience with making the Bahamas trip but I can see how it could get rough for a Mac if you didn't time it right. Steep short chop would be no fun.

Of course this is with our 25, not sure on the water ballast, centerboard 26. Would seem more tender to me, but that is pure speculation. I definitely wouldn't want more tender than ours with the kiddos.

On the living aboard, wow. Uh, after 3 days it is tough in there. Where are you going to put "waste". They are great weekend campers, and with the right prep could go longer but it would get old fast. Your back will be destroyed. ;)

We love the camping aspect and the simplicity but it would be a bit far to go and a bit small to live in for us for such a trip.
 

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Hi,
I own the mac 26s.This is not the hybrid, but I think the interior space is very similar. I took her to the Bahamas this summer for 3 weeks. I had a great time with two adult and a small dog on board. The crossing was worse that I wanted E 10-15 knots seas 4-5ft period 5sec. It was choppy and wet ride with the bow under water many times. The boat took the 14 hours beating very well although she is meticulously maintained.
I can't wait to go again next summer.
Hope this helps.
 

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I have a Venture Newport 23--Did Philadelphia to Sea Isle City, NJ twice. Enjoyed both trips. The Delaware Bay can get rough and I lost part of the electrical system due to waves washing over the deck. I was aboard for 4 days. Enjoyed but going to the bathroom was difficult. Crawling was the main method of navigating the cabin. Currently, I have a Allied Princess 36'. No washer or dryer. No refrigeration away from dock. Limited water supply away from dock. But if I chose to live aboard, I would have enough room to hide from my wife if she did not look to far. People have lived aboard smaller vessels but others could not live aboard a 100' vessel. Not enough room.

Dot and John
 

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Shanachie, Bristol 30
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Hi,
I own the mac 26s...I took her to the Bahamas this summer for 3 weeks... The crossing was worse that I wanted E 10-15 knots seas 4-5ft period 5sec. It was choppy and wet ride with the bow under water many times.
There's the point there. That weather would not bother any sailboat built to be on the ocean. But a Mac 26 is about 2,800 pounds, as opposed to say 5,000 pounds for a similar-size Bristol.

Want to know why the Mac is 2,200 pounds lighter? The hull and deck are much thinner and weaker. The bulkheads, if any, aren't strong. The rigging and other gear is undersized.

It's also a flat-bottomed boat, which means it pounds in any type of weather, exasperating the structural weakness.

Any boat can sail in nice weather. But I wouldn't want to be on that boat when a sudden Gulfstream thunderstorm kicks up and seas go up to 8-10 feet.

When the boat is inevitably knocked down in that storm, good luck on it righting itself anytime soon with that hull shape, even if the boat holds together.

When I sailed in Miami, I knew someone who sold a Mac 25 because he thought it wasn't seaworthy enough for Biscayne Bay, which can get rough.

But ... your boat, your life, your decision. At least buy a good life raft.
 

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When I sailed in Miami, I knew someone who sold a Mac 25 because he thought it wasn't seaworthy enough for Biscayne Bay, which can get rough.

But ... your boat, your life, your decision. At least buy a good life raft.
Wow, thats a bit extreme. His 25 wasn't capable of the Bay?

Let's remember what the M25 was built for, trips to Catalina Island in view of the original Mac factory. You may need a Bristol to be comfortable, but using a boat for it's intended purpose is not something to terrify someone about.

Oh, and to keep on topic, the 26 was built in the same place for the same general purpose. It may not be everyone's cup of tea but different strokes...

To the OP, just be very careful out there as the margins for error are much smaller with a lightly built boat.
 

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I sailed a Venture 24 for years including crossings to Catalina and eventually some short point to point ocean races. knockdowns are a fact of life on a boat that light but she would bounce right back after dumping the sails. I loved that boat and would by another in a second. As with my first boat named "Joint Venture" i would scrap all of the cheap rigging, add a web of strengthening stringers from the chainplates forward and add additional bulkheads to the keel trunk.
 

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I've seen these online for sail for like $2,500.
The Venture/Macs are an affordable entry into sailing. I bought my Venture 2-22 with trailer for $2300. Crossing to the Bahamas wasn't even a thought in my mind, only learning how to sail and it helped me on my way to achieving that goal.

It was also at a price that, since I had never sailed before, wouldn't have been a huge deal should I have decided that I hated sailing.

It did quite well on the Chesapeake and I survived to buy my next boat.
 
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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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If your primary restriction is getting past the fixed bridge look for boats with a mast in a tabernacle. These are specifically designed to dip the mast easily. Many were designed for use in Holland. You will have to do some looking (let a broker do the dirty work, that is what they paid for - by the seller). You should be able to find a much stouter boat for going to the Bahamas that will go under bridges.
 
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