the MacGregor 26..

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Matt77, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. Matt77
    Joined: Dec 2009
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    Location: New Zealand, Auckland

    Matt77 New Member

    Hi all,

    Currently looking at our first boat and have never sailed before. I have read about the Mac 26 and would be keen to know what folk think. The obvious appeal of this boat is its potential price....

    I've read that its not suited for coastal sailing, which is exactly what my wife and I would like from our first boat. We live in Auckland in NZ which has some great places to sail to and explore.

    Be really interested in hearing what folk think or have experienced through owning / sailing one?

  2. bistros

    bistros Previous Member

    The Mac 26 is a controversial boat, with it's supporters and detractors. Like all designs, it is a bundle of compromises and designer choices.

    Most designers choose sailing performance, seakeeping and dare I say tradition as primary design criteria. The Mac 26 placed interior space, creature comforts feature list and speed under power above all.

    Water ballast, very high outboard power, planing under power and easy trailer-ability are great qualities to those new to sailing, but aren't at the high end of choices made by experienced people. Needless to say, the Mac 26 is targeted towards those new to sailing, not the yacht club crowd.

    I've been out in a Mac 26, and I can't say I'd choose it myself, but I'm not one of the marketing targets.

  3. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    If you want a powerboat that has a mast, the Mac 26 is for you. If you want a sailboat with sea keeping abilities, then another design may be better suited. Since you don't have any experience, then might I recommend you test sail as many different types of sailboats as you can. Experience is what determines your desires, likes and dislikes in a boat. You have to ride several and get some "sea legs" before you can make an educated decision about your next yacht purchase. In other words, you can buy a nice boat, just to realize you don't like it in a few months and the worst part is you will not know it.
  4. TollyWally
    Joined: Mar 2005
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    TollyWally Senior Member

    "In other words, you can buy a nice boat, just to realize you don't like it in a few months and the worst part is you will not know it."

    That is an extremely insightful statement.
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  5. david@boatsmith
    Joined: Aug 2008
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    david@boatsmith Senior Member

    Poc Imho Run
  6. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    marshmat Senior Member


    As Bill mentioned, you'll find a lot of controversial rhetoric surrounding the Mac 26.

    PAR's assessment of the Mac 26 as a "powerboat that has a mast" seems pretty accurate. It's an unusual craft, having only a handful of direct competitors (Hunter Edge). Traditional monohull sailors tend to think it's a toy; multihull sailors tend to giggle a bit as they fly past it under sail (and then look stunned as it flies past them under engine); powerboaters tend to ask what the point of the mast is when it performs much better under power.

    While it doesn't fit comfortably in the traditional scheme of things, the Mac 26 might still be a very practical choice for a family that is more interested in weekend cruising on protected waters than in racing or doing extended passages. Like most mass-market boats, it is built to a price point, in this case a very tight price point.

    The best advice, I think, is that given by PAR above- you need to spend some time on other boats before you'll be able to make a call on what capabilities you want in your own boat.

    Perhaps this could be as simple as heading down to a local yacht club and signing up for the "random available crew" pool. Or, perhaps, you and your wife might sign up for a learn-to-sail course (unlike the kids' sailing schools, where 20 kids are dropped in Optimist prams and turned loose, many adult sailing courses are taught with about a 1:2 or 1:3 instructor/pupil ratio and use a good variety of larger boats). Maybe a few one- or two-day skippered charters would better suit your style.

    Each of us comes to the sport in our own way. In my case, it was by necessity (the only way to get to a family vacation spot), then boredom (hmm, I think I'll build a boat this winter), and has become obsession (an 8-metre powerboat at the structural drawings stage, plus several small and very weird sailboat concepts and a couple of much larger ones on the drawing board). You're in a position, Matt77, where you can choose how you get into the sport- take advantage of your power to choose, and learn as much as you can about all aspects of boating, so that you'll be able to feel happy about whatever route you choose.
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  7. welder/fitter
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    welder/fitter Senior Member

    I believe that you'd feel quite restricted in suitable sailing areas for a Mac26, in NZ. The older "classic" versions are designed as pure sailors, unlike the newer X and M designs. Still, that is one part of the world that I would not want to get caught out in a blow, especially on a Mac26(any version). Personally, I'd want a boat that could handle a trip to Aus., or further. Not that you're planning to sail over, but it'll save you having to sell & buy again when you get tired of lakes & protected waters. Until recently, I had a Mac26"S", a great little boat for trailering & saving moorage fees, but, imho, not suitable for real coastal sailing.
    Best of luck in your search for a boat!
  8. Matt77
    Joined: Dec 2009
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    Matt77 New Member

    Thanks everyone for thoughts. Great input and yes, have put my name down for local sailing crew once, I've completed my intro to sailing course in a few weeks. Really looking forward to learning to sail. Having "evolved" from kayaking ;-), this will be fun.

    One last thing, any great tips on dealing with sea-sickness??
  9. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Never had to deal with it in my boat.... small, light, and with a rapid motion more like that of a car than a typical boat, she doesn't tend to make people queasy (just wet and with sore butts).
    Gravol is a popular anti-seasickness drug that seems to work for most people.... better, though, is to just stay out of the nastier weather until your crew start to get their sea legs.
  10. Cheesy
    Joined: Aug 2008
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    Cheesy Senior Member

    A couple of points, in NZ the mac 26s are not particuarly cheap, which leads to the second point that you will be able to get a small keel boat or even a trailer sailor for less and have a better boat. Sounds like you are going about it the right way though, learning to sail as crew on someone elses boat is a good idea, it will also give you a better idea of what to buy
  11. AnalogKid
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    Location: Auckland, New Zealand

    AnalogKid Junior Member

    or alternatively...

    If you want to be safe in a trailer sailboat out in the gulf, it would be hard to overlook a Tasman 20, an Alan Wright design that I have heard (on this forum I believe) was designed for a client that wanted a trailer-sailer capable of going from Auckland to Fiji. I was considering one but don't really have the space on my driveway. If I have to pay for storage, I may as well pay for a mooring and get a keelboat.

    If you want a 26' or thereabouts boat, there are plenty of small keelboats designed specifically for the conditions in the Waitemata and Hauraki Gulf. The Tracker, again by Alan Wright, Whiting Reactor, Townsend 25. Take a look at the Up To 26' Club site for more ideas.

    If however you want a 26' planing powerboat with a mast that you can trailer, then a Mac26 is pretty much your only choice.

  12. souljour2000
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    souljour2000 Senior Member

    Greeting's Analog kid...long live RUSH and Kiwis...I got a small Hunter from early 80's that is size of Tasman 20..trying to re-model her into a near-shore coastal cruiser and am putting a hard-top cabin roof on her,tabbing in bulkheads,re-inforcing rigging and so forth...hope your enjoying your summer down's damn cold here in Florida this January...fair winds..!

  13. Small Wally
    Joined: Aug 2005
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    Small Wally Junior Member

    Read a book...

    ...under a tree.
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