High speed motor sailer designs

Discussion in 'Motorsailers' started by member 76871, Apr 15, 2022.

  1. member 76871
    Joined: Apr 2022
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    Location: La Paz

    member 76871 Junior Member

    Hi. I’ve been looking around the net for a high speed motor sailer. Something in the 20 to 30 foot range. Surfari is one I came across but it’s too big and too expensive. Another is the old Macgregor 26x but I hear so many bad things about those.

    I’m settling down in La Paz Baja California Sur and need a boat to enjoy the sailing but also be able to get out to the islands etc quickly for the day. I would be happy with 18 or so knots, probably outboard power. And decent sailing capabilities.

    I build aluminum boats for a living, mostly commercial tour or work boats from 35 to 80 feet and have access to our shop and equipment so I’m really looking for a design to build. Mono or catamaran with a slight preference for a cat.
  2. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Welcome to the Forum Chris.

    What negative things have you heard about the MacGregor 26's?
    They seem to 'do the job' reasonably well, albeit with some compromises (?)

    So, would you like to build a fast aluminium power cat that can sail, and is around 25' in length?
    Will Gilmore likes this.
  3. member 76871
    Joined: Apr 2022
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    Location: La Paz

    member 76871 Junior Member

    The problems I hear about the Macgregor mostly have to do with poor sailing attributes and undersized rigging. Also some stability issues without the water ballast. I’ve read lots about them and know that people who have one or have been aboard them frequently defend them. I’m sure it’s mostly down to sailors prejudice against an unconventional design and admittedly rather ugly design when compared to sailboats. I’m still open to getting one and plan to take a look when one comes up for sail nearby. I don’t want to repeat the many online discussions of the 26x.

    However I’m really trying to discover if there is a better alternative to either purchase or build. My preference for a cat is because of the increased size of accommodations and deck space available in a modest length but also because it seems there would be a better chance of having a reasonably fast sailer and power boat that wouldn’t need huge outboards to power it.
  4. Skyak
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    Skyak Senior Member

    You build boats so you know that design is a process of compromise. The Macgregor 26 is certainly a unique bunch of compromises. Water ballasted sailboats are not going to perform well and your speed under power requirement rules out conventional ballast. Your speed/length is well into planning. Multihulls can get plenty of righting from beam, but you still have lots of weight and windage from sailing gear. What I am getting at is your SOR puts you well out into a negative design spiral. You can't get an efficient solution for high speed motoring while you are carrying a heavy burden of sailing gear, and vice versa. You could certainly spend far more money than the 26X, but the performance, and more specifically the joy of sailing will still underwhelm. The cost of improving performance is very high, the brilliance of the 26X is it kept the money in it's wallet. It's a bit like trying to do a combination sailplane/business jet -but maybe the problem is to the second power, not to the third....

    We haven't even mentioned sea state. 18knots will take you far away, far from safety when the weather turns and your boat speed is cut dramatically.

    If you want to look at some Catamaran designs I suggest Sailing Catamarans - Home
    They are not your 18 Knot type, but find something you like and talk to Richard about what it takes to do what you want.

    If you wonder what a small aluminum planning sailboat would be like check out the Revolution 24 Rêvolution 24 - sailboat data sheet (sailboatlab.com)

    If you figure out that you need a powerboat that is quite serious (uncompromising) to be reliable and safe, you might just consider having a kite for when you are in no hurry.

    I have been thinking it would be interesting to do a kite powered seasled, but that would be brutal in waves.
    bajansailor likes this.
  5. member 76871
    Joined: Apr 2022
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    Location: La Paz

    member 76871 Junior Member

    Thanks for the thoughts. I was just wondering if the 26x/m was the last attempt at designing a similar boat.
    I see the Jarcat 6 claims to meet my specs but I wouldn’t consider it a very good coastal boat with the narrow beam. Maybe no one is really working on this or the compromise is too great.
    I don’t really want to pay for a new design, I could just buy a 26x and see how it works out since they’re so cheap.
    If it is an either or situation the sailing is more important and I’d give up on the fast power perspective and build or buy a 35-40’ sailboat.
  6. Skyak
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    Skyak Senior Member

    To my knowledge, the 26X was the first and last time a small production sailboat was designed to have a 50hp outboard hung on it. There was a Macgregor 32 catamaran -fast sailer, could be powered up.
    I doubt the Jarcat claims but I am not an authority. Talk to Richard Woods to find out what you could achieve with a custom cat.
    There have been some bigger custom motor sailors. I recently saw a Bruckman50 for sale. 10knots 5gph
  7. ChrisVJ
    Joined: Nov 2021
    Posts: 21
    Likes: 1, Points: 3
    Location: Kelowna

    ChrisVJ Junior Member

    I'm just a lay person and rule of thumb guy but you might think of this:

    If you added 1,000 lbs of lead under a McGregor 26 it probably would take 200hp to make it plane and do more than about 6 knots. That means that if you want more speed under power you have to have removable ballast. eg water ballast.

    You need less ballast with more beam (better levers) but then you add hull weight (and you can't trail it, though you didn't mention that as a necessity.) More beam means more uncomfortable and probably less speed going to windward but more space on board.

    You could build a sled, ultra light boat, planing hull but a) they cost because they need lots of skilled monocoque framing, expensive materials etc and b) they need lots of maintenance a often don't last because of the stresses on the light construction. c) They need skilled sailing because the are heavily canvassed and light on ballast. d) It would have a blade keel with bullet ballast and draw five feet or more for maximum benefit. Effective but more difficult to maintain.

    You might go experimental with stabilizing foils etc. but then it might work, or it might not.
    Good luck with that.
  8. Brenny H
    Joined: May 2021
    Posts: 9
    Likes: 11, Points: 3
    Location: NSW Australia

    Brenny H Junior Member

    Have a Look at The StowAway Design I just Posted in This Motorsailer Section. My Idea of the Perfect Boat. Not for everyone , but you Get what we want in a boat. Versatility over Pure performance. Thats why I own a Subaru Forrester(turbo). Not quite a 4x4 and not quite a WRX. Love it. And my Gravel Bike, Not quite a Road bike and not Quite a MTB.I dont need to Do 40kn In a Power boat , 20kn Is Plenty, and I dont need to Point a sailboat into the wind for hours/days to travel a VMG of 3 kn. To prove I m a true Salty Sailor . I heve been told that putting a large motor on a sailbot is to defeat the True "spirit of Sailing " or Something along these lines. I know what I want and need in a Boat and this is the one.
  9. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    To start with, you need to define "high speed". For a sailor in a non-foiling 30 foot boat, anything over 8 knots is high speed.

  10. BlueBell
    Joined: May 2017
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    Location: Victoria BC Canada

    BlueBell . . . . .


    I think you're going to need two different boats for this.
    No problem, you've got a boat building shop!
    Although, you could likely buy them cheaper than you could build them....
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