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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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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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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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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)

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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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 · #21 · (Edited)
And here they are! Unfortunately these and what I've said so far are probably all I'll have to go on until I get to see the boat on Friday, assuming it's still available.



I've been looking into the 26C, 26S & 26X for the past little bit. On the down side, I'm not exactly drowning in info and differences between the three. On the bright side, it does seem these are more traditional sailboats than powerboats modified for sails, like the M & X models. I'm considering this a good thing. They may not pull water skiers, but my fam already has a boat for that. I'm liking that these three seem well suited to the extra long shaft Suzuki 9.9HP engine that I happen to already have collecting dust.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Here's what I've got so far between the 3.

The 26S is tiller-steered
The 26 X is wheel steered
26S is lighter
26S has 4'8 head clearance in the cabin, but uses a pop top to get 6'1 in the aft of the cabin
26X has 5'10 head clearance (I'm 5'10 without shoes, so I'll be ducking a touch anyway)
26C has a 7'11" beam
26x has 7'10 beam
26c has 1200lb ballast
26x has 1400lb ballast
26c has 28' mast
26x has 31' mast

I'm sure a lot of this changed from year to year, and the stuff above is general info I found, not specific to the year I'm looking at. Aside from the tiller vs. wheel steering and headroom vs. pop-top, I'm not finding a lot of smoking gun type differences.

I don't think I like the collapsable 5 gallon water tank used for fresh water. If there's room in the bilge, I think I'd like to install a traditional plastic fresh water tank and pump.

I'm not done searching by any means, but finding the specific differences between the two has not been easy, and finding problems specific to each (something I'd be more interested in) has been even harder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
I think you actually may be right! I had been picturing the pop top as canvas for some reason, but I just found these pics of a 1986 26S. Striking resemblance, if I do say so myself.



From the same site, a brochure pic showing the interior. I'd be thrilled to find this kind of room in a 26' sailboat!


They also claim 10-15 minutes for one person to raise the mast and sail away. Considering I'd have to step the mast to get to the marina my parents keep their boat at, which would likely mean doing this really often, that's also really good news. I had figured that to be a major process. If they say 10-15 minutes I might actually be able to do it in real world conditions in 30.

This picture shows, among other things, how the top pops up (bottom left). I'd bet I can plan on replacing the plastic side windows on a boat that's been sitting 4 years. Still, for the asking price I'm willing to deal with that, assuming the title can be sorted out and the structural stuff and sails check out.


Thanks for pointing that out, good eye!

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
I got the HIN, but it leaves me with some questions.

The first 3 characters are Mac, which means macgregor

The next character is R, which means Mac 25, full interior liner. So apparently the seller was wrong about the model, and it's a Mac 25. Whole new set of research to do now. Or, alternatively, the Hull ID checking site is wrong, which seems less likely.

The next 4 are the hull serial #

Then F8, with F meaning Feb, and 8 being the last digit of the year, which would be 8.

Then it's 86, which would be the model year.

That confuses me here is that the F8 suggests the last digit of the year would be 8, but the 86 on the end suggests it's an 86 (which is what the seller said) making the last digit of the year a 6, not an 8. I appear to be missing something here.

Also, the MACR suggests it's a MAc 25, not a Mac 26. Whole different boat.

Am I missing something here? Perhaps the seller wrote the # wrong? I'll find out for sure tomorrow, but I'd like to know as much as I can for research tonight. I'm a bit puzzled at the moment.

I also need to call the Marine & RV theft bureau to make sure it's eligible for an abandoned title. I'll try this tomorrow AM, but if I have the wrong # that'll be a strike out, at least until I get to the boat and see the HIN for myself.

So, in total the HIN is MACR####F886 where #### is the hull serial no. (Not sure if it would be wise to put the entire thing on the internet).

Any suggestions or input, as always, is appreciated.

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Thanks for the reply. Here's the background, as I understand it. The boats original owner was renting a property from this guy. 4 years ago he up and took off, leaving everything including the boat behind, no forwarding address, no paying bills, etc. The boat has been sitting since.

I did do some research on abandoned boats in MA (the state the boat is in, and was last registered in). It does seem that it can be claimed as abandoned. I'm unsure if I can claim it, or if he has to. Here's the info on how it works in MA
PROCEDURES FOR OBTAINING LEGAL OWNERSHIP OF ABANDONED OR SALVAGED BOATS
http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dle/abandonedproc.pdf

It seems this boat falls into definition A of abandoned, by that law (page 1 of the PDF).

It seems the first step, and the step I plan to take tomorrow once I have the HIN and have inspected the boat, would be to call the Marine Theft Office @ 800-632-8075. If it comes up clean and not needing an inspection there, it seems the next step would be to send a letter to the owners last known address (which is the sellers house, so that's sure to be returned "moved no forwarding address", since that's just what the guy did.)

This process is a big part of tomorrows meeting with the seller, and I plan to learn more when I call the Marine Theft Office with the HIN and explain the situation. Any help, advice or insight you could provide would be most appreciated.

How we're going to handle the title is still in the air. I won't be paying for the boat unless I can title it. I may reach an agreement with the seller where I go through all the claim process, signing a contract with him to pay for the boat if/when I am able to get a title. I'm learning more about this process as time goes on and I learn more about the boat, so like I said I'd really appreciate and welcome any insight or help. It does appear to me, though, that based on the info on the above linked pdf this boat is eligible to be claimed as abandoned.

Even if he has to be the one to claim the title, I still need to inspect the boat and see if I'd be willing to enter a contract agreeing to buy it if he is issued a title. Without a buyer lined up I get the impression the seller is just going to let the boat sit.

I am quite possibly in over my head, and hope to learn more when I make my calls tomorrow. I'm all ears for any input on here in the mean time!

Thanks,

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Thanks, that's a good angle, and one I had not thought of. It will certainly be interesting to see what the marine theft people have to say on the subject. I think one thing is for certain - I won't be bringing cash with me tomorrow. A check, perhaps, and my father since he's in business for himself and in the habit of writing up legally binding contracts (not to mention he taught me everything I know about boats), but no cash.

I don't find it surprising that the guy bailed with no forwarding address, I know a few people who have rental properties and it's not at all uncommon. In fact, the one place I rented I left without a forwarding address (although I did stay my lease, pay all bills and leave on good terms - I just never left an address).

I'll call marine theft before I head down. They may save me a drive.

It'd be disappointing to lose out on this one, it's not every day you find a deal like this. Then again, if I can't get a title it's not a deal at all. It'll take me more time to save up enough $ to buy something in this class at normal prices, but it'd also give me more time to research and get the right boat. Like I said before, I'll take it like it comes. I'm making the transition from power and paddling to sailing one way or the other - it just may not be in time for this season if this deal falls through.

Depending what marine theft has to say, maybe I can get this guy to get a title before selling me the boat. I might even be willing to pay enough extra to cover his expenses in getting the title, if it's in the condition he says.

One thing is for sure, tomorrow should be an interesting day!
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Thanks Saildog. I'm hoping the DMV and marine theft division are open today, and I can get some concrete answers from them. I'd love to meet you and have a second set of eyes looking at the boat, but we're pretty short on notice at this point - I'm looking at the boat today. I'll shoot you a PM in case it happens to be in your back yard, and you want to swing by.

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Well, after the typical runaround one gets when trying to get anything done calling the state, I did get some info. It seems the boat probably is eligible to be considered abandoned, but the only person who can file that claim is the person whose property the boat is abandoned on - there's no channel for me to try to get a title for it. I called the seller back and told him this, and he said he'd look into it a bit more and get back to me. In the mean time, it seems like my search will have to continue. Thanks for all the help here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
So, they say all's well that ends well. Turns out the wrong hull ID & model solved the title issue as well - it was the wrong boat! Mac 26 is somebody else's problem, sans title. Mac 25, on the other hand, is mine - legal beagle style. This guy may not be running a boat yard, but he's got a few lying around :)

Hull looks good, mainsail is in great shape save for some cosmetic stuff, jib is new in a bag. Needs some basic fiberglass work up top, and the wood runners for the sliding top above the door needs to be replaced. Speaking of doors, it needs one made.

Interior is going to need a whole lot of TLC. Carpet needs replacing, cushions need recovering, and if I want a sink or any sort of fresh water system I'm going to need to install it. Also needs some electrical TLC. I think I'll just run new wires for the running and cabin lights, install a bilge pump and stereo, and see what else she needs from there.

She's a fixer upper for sure, but nothing terribly major - I've done more work to power boats in the past. The sails alone have to be worth what I paid for her, so I'm looking forward to getting into fixing her up real nice.

Also, the rudder needs to be reattached and the cable to control the swing keel needs reconnecting or replacing.

Thanks again for all the help here. This should be a fun project from this point forward! I expect to be very busy this winter, and likely most of next summer as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Thanks to you both. I've certainly got some learning to do now. Seems some of the hardware for the rigging needs replacing, which is probably the only thing that needs doing that is outside of what I can do. I figure I'll see what I can find online, and worst case bring it to a sail place to see if they can't help me identify what I need and maybe improve some of the missing/broken stuff with better, more up to date stuff. I figure I'll have plenty of questions now - not sure if I should ask them here or start a new thread for the 25, since that's what it is.
 
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