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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I’ve been born and raised a marina rat (all power) and now want to get into sailing. I recently found a killer deal on a 1986 MacGregor 26 that’s been sitting for a few years. It was abandoned by a previous tenant, and the owner of the property wants to get a title based on it’s being abandoned and sell it to me for a song.

I’ve researched these boats some and am aware of some of the compromises, but for my use I think they’ll work just fine. I won’t be doing any serious weather or going far offshore, and the river I’ll need to navigate to get to and from port can be shallow at times. I figure this could get me started, allow me to fix her up a bit and then likely sell it and move on in a season or two.

My first questions is, how do I know what model 26 it is? Apparently there’s a 26C, 26D, 26X, 26M, etc. I do know that it has a swing keel and an outboard mount on the port side of the transom. Any suggestions on how to tell which model it is?

I’ve got an old extra long shaft Suzuki 9.9 kicking around that I figure could push it well enough to get me in and out of the no wake zone and into the bay.

The boat has sails in storage, condition unknown until I get down there to check it out. For the cost of the boat and trailer I wouldn’t mind having to have the sails repaired, and would even consider replacing them if I had to (although that may cause me to reconsider this particular boat). The seller seems to think the sails are in good condition, which would be a nice bonus.

I’ve grown up on and around boats of all ages, and have been a liveaboard on a 1976 Silverton 34’ Sedan Bridge, so I know quite a bit about woodworking, glasswork, teak, general repair, electronics, etc.

Anything in particular I should be looking for in this boat besides the usual when inspecting it? Hull integrity, sail condition, structural soundness, etc. is all a given. I’ve heard the fresh water tanks are collapsible jugs that are of poor design, but I don’t mind installing a real fresh water tank and pump. Any advise on other things to check would be greatly appreciated.

Also, what should I pay special attention to when checking the water ballast setup? Are there seals prone to leaking, or are there any other known issues I should be on the lookout for?

Thanks in advance for any help!

Dan
 

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Dan—

The boat should have a HIN or Hull Identification Number on the starboard side of the transom. If you write that down, and call MacGregor, they can tell you exactly what model boat it is, since the model of the boat is included in the HIN.

Which specific model boat it is will change what specific weaknesses/problem areas that it will have.

I'd recommend you read the Boat Inspection Trip Tips Thread I started. :) I'd also recommend you read the POST in my signature. :) Welcome to the Asylum... :)

SD
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sailingdog,

Thanks for the info. Your thread about inspecting a new boat was especially helpful. I had planned to pay to have the moisture content of the hull inspected, I had no idea I could get the tool to do it myself so cheap. That in and of itself was a huge help! When I go see this boat I'll be bringing a copy of your tips, as well as the usual tools (camera, tape, pen, pad, etc).

The HIN telling me the model of boat is a good idea. I was hoping that perhaps only one of those models had a swing keel, or there was some other set of distinguishing characteristics that would help me figure out which model it was. I did some searching and came up dry, perhaps there is no such list.

Lastly, I did read the post in your sig, and it's always good to be familiar with the etiquette of a forum you're new to, so thank you. That said, I have to ask, which rule of etiquette did I violate with my OP? I didn't find my answers with a search (although I didn't use google - good call there) and I did try to include as much info as I had, which unfortunately wasn't much as I have not been to see the boat yet. I'm just trying to gather as much info as I can in a short period of time since there's a decent chance I'll be heading home with this boat by the end of the weekend. At the price, if it's as-advertised it may be too good to walk away from, and it's far enough that I'd rather not spend the time and gas to drive out there twice.

Again, thank you. I welcome the progression of my addiction from power to sail :)
 

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Dan;

I just went through this. I looked at several boats. One was a Mac Venture 25 (the one I ended up buying) and a Macgregor 26 (too much money for what I was looking for). The sites listed will give you some idea on how to read the HID. I give you an example of what yours ought to look like.

Nautical Know How - Boat Hull ID Numbers
Hull Numbers

MacGregor Sailing home
Hull ID

Check there for some information on the HID. I had to do that myself.

Yours ought to be something like: MAC 00123M86B

That would tell you Macgregor, hull s/n 00123 Mac 1986 made in Sep.

You'll find it on that boat on the starboard side of the transom about five inches below the line that joins the topsides to the hull.

The last letter is the month (A=Aug, B=Sep etc)

Rick
 

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Oh yeah, if it were an "X" model it would be like: MAC X0123M86B
 

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Dan-

Glad to help... didn't violate anything AFAICT, but just did want to mention you should read it... it does have a lot of helpful information, including how to use Google to search sailnet's forums, since the forum's own search feature is less than useful a lot of the time.

Is there anyone there you can call to get the HIN number. That would allow you to do more, model-specific, research before going to see the boat. IIRC, several of them have a centerboard or swing keel, so it can be a PITA to tell the models apart. BTW, it is either a Macgregor M-26C, 26S, or 26X. Are you certain it has a water ballast system?

IIRC, the 26C and 26S are more traditional sailboats, and the 26X and 26M are powersailers—power boat/sailboat hybrids. Don't believe the 26C or 26S have water ballast, but I could be wrong. BTW, the 26 models didn't start until 1987 according to this website...so it may not be a Macgregor 26, but a Macgregor 25..

Good luck, and if you need anything else, just holler. :)
 

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I believe both the s and c models have water ballast from what I have read (Haven't seen one in person though).

I think all their boats under 30' (what did they make over 30, but a 60 and 75, right?) are pretty much all water-ballasted.

I did a lot of research on this kind of boat and decided against one myself. (Mine is a 79 Venture with a drop-keep using a crank and cable system)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Dan;

I just went through this. I looked at several boats. One was a Mac Venture 25 (the one I ended up buying) and a Macgregor 26 (too much money for what I was looking for). The sites listed will give you some idea on how to read the HID. I give you an example of what yours ought to look like.

<snipped links due to newbie post restrictions>

Check there for some information on the HID. I had to do that myself.

Yours ought to be something like: MAC 00123M86B

That would tell you Macgregor, hull s/n 00123 Mac 1986 made in Sep.

You'll find it on that boat on the starboard side of the transom about five inches below the line that joins the topsides to the hull.

The last letter is the month (A=Aug, B=Sep etc)

Rick
Thanks for the reply - helpful links for sure! I'll give the seller a call and see if I can get him to get the HID for me. Is the # on the inside of the transom?

Thanks,

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Dan-

Glad to help... didn't violate anything AFAICT, but just did want to mention you should read it... it does have a lot of helpful information, including how to use Google to search sailnet's forums, since the forum's own search feature is less than useful a lot of the time.

Is there anyone there you can call to get the HIN number. That would allow you to do more, model-specific, research before going to see the boat. IIRC, most of them have a centerboard, so it can be a PITA to tell the models apart. BTW, it is either a Macgregor M-26C, 26S, or 26X. Are you certain it has a water ballast system? IIRC, the 26C and 26S are more traditional sailboats, and the 26X and 26M are powersailers—power boat/sailboat hybrids. Don't believe the 26C or 26S have water ballast, but I could be wrong.

Good luck, and if you need anything else, just holler. :)
Thanks, and good to know I didn't violate anything on my first post! I'm going to try to call and get a HID from the seller.

I'm not positive it has a water ballast system. I just ASSumed it did because the pics I saw didn't appear to have a traditional keel, and my research showed that the MacGregors used the water ballast system. The boat was actually abandoned by a previous tenant of the seller 4 years ago, so the seller knows little about the boat. Again, thanks for all the help here!
 

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Thanks for the reply - helpful links for sure! I'll give the seller a call and see if I can get him to get the HID for me. Is the # on the inside of the transom?

Thanks,

Dan
Mine is stamped into a metal plate and riveted to the outside of the transom.

Glance at those sites, they have some pictures of where the HID ought to appear. Some boats (I think newer boats) usually have it inside the cabin, on the hull somewhere (I have NOT found that on my boat - and I think it's only on later boats after 85 or something. I don't remember offhand)
 

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Have you seen this boat yourself yet?

If you're going to go examine it, the water ballast system is under the companionway - under the stairs. There will be a cover of some sort usually, and there is a valve system and a... for lack of a better word, cork :)

The idea is that you open the "cork" (it is a removable device that you can look in and also allows air out). The valve is next to that. When you undog the valve it allows water into the tank. The "cork" lets air out as the tank fills.

Forward a bit there will be a centerboard that cranks up and down. It's not weighted much (which is why they use the water ballasting system!) and that should be checked for leaks and such around the bolt holding it.

Do you know if this boat is sitting on a trailer or hard, or is it in the water?

Rick
 

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HINs were required after 1972... one is located on the starboard transom, a second is somewhere else on the boat, usually in a locker or such.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Have you seen this boat yourself yet?

If you're going to go examine it, the water ballast system is under the companionway - under the stairs. There will be a cover of some sort usually, and there is a valve system and a... for lack of a better word, cork :)

The idea is that you open the "cork" (it is a removable device that you can look in and also allows air out). The valve is next to that. When you undog the valve it allows water into the tank. The "cork" lets air out as the tank fills.

Forward a bit there will be a centerboard that cranks up and down. It's not weighted much (which is why they use the water ballasting system!) and that should be checked for leaks and such around the bolt holding it.

Do you know if this boat is sitting on a trailer or hard, or is it in the water?

Rick
No, I have not seen the boat yet. It's far enough away that when I go to see it, I'll be going with enough cash in my pocket to buy it if I decide I want it.

Thanks for the tips on the ballast system, and to check around the centerboard. The boat is sitting on a trailer, and has been for 4 years, so it'll be tough to check for leaks. I'll do what I can. This is a steal of a price if it's in decent condition, so I expect to deal with some issues if I get it. Having been raised on older boats, I know how to do quite a bit and have the connections to get a hand when I need it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Oh, found some more information on them. If you look, it will tell you about the M model too. (That one has extra ballasting in it)

<link snipped due to newbie regulations> MacGregor Yacht Corporation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cool, thanks. Looks like it's a C, S or X based on that link and the swing keel. Hopefully the seller can tell me more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
OK, just spoke with the seller again. He'll get me the HID Friday, but since I'm probably going to be looking at it Friday that'll make it tough to do much research once I get it. I'll probably have to look into the C, S & X models in the mean time, and go down armed with what I know.

He did know where to find the HID, said someone had been there today looking at it and took the HID down. Of course, all sellers say that, but for the price he's asking for this boat I believe him. I actually won't be surprised if it's sold before I get there on Friday.

In a way, that wouldn't be a bad thing, since it'll give me more time to research and choose a boat. On the other hand, if I don't end up with this one I likely won't end up making a purchase until next winter - I really don't have the $ this year but the price on this one makes it too good to let slide by assuming it all checks out. It also may not all check out - this could easily be one of those "if the price is too good to be true, it probably is" things. I am hoping it's priced as it is because of the issues with the title/abandoned thing, and him not having the desire or knowledge to fix it up before selling it, but there's always the chance it's priced as it is due to a more serious issue. I'll be planning on spending some serious time checking it over when I get there, if it's still available.

I'll just keep my fingers crossed in the mean time, and take it as it comes to me (life and the deal, not the boat. The boat will have to pass inspection for me to take that).
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Gah - I've got a couple pics of the boat I was going to share, as it's likely all I'll have to go on until I get to see it on Friday. Unfortunately my post count is still 3 shy (well, 2 after this) of allowing that. I suppose if anyone cares to see them and offer an opinion or their thoughts they could shoot me a PM.
 

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Dan—

First, it's called a HIN, not HID... :) Second, go to the Song Thread and post two times so you can post the photos... or reply twice to this thread. :) BTW, you can't PM back until you have ten posts. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Huh... I started off calling it a HIN, too. Working on boat research, RC planes and bike lighting all at once. Brain freeze. Probably got the HID from the lighting thing. Thanks for the correction, anyway.

Anyway, only one more to go now :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
In full shameless fashion, I'm going to announce with this post that my next post will have pictures of the boat in question! :)
 
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