Water Ballast Vs. Swing Keel Trailer Sailor?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by ryanluskin, Sep 15, 2015.

  1. ryanluskin
    Joined: Sep 2015
    Posts: 3
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Hawaii

    ryanluskin Pa'a

    I would appreciate your thoughts. I’m looking to buy a trailer sailor on Maui Hawaii, for my family of four, where I’ve sailed for twenty years. I want to tow it with a 6 cylinder 4 wd. truck, rated to tow 5,000 lbs. With that towing capacity, I can either get a boat like a 22 foot Catalina, O’day, etc. Or, I could buy a 25 or 26 foot, more lightly built, Macregor…and have 4 ft. more comfort. What do you think?

    I believe it is the magician, not the wand. I am debating between the water ballasted Macgregor 26s, or the 25 with a swing keel (625 lb.) I would like to hear your thoughts on the water ballast, or other boat options. While purists often don’t seem to love Macregors, I’ve found numerous stories of people cruising them over 1,000 miles, and both boats have positive floatation.

    My original assumption was that the weighted keel of the 25 would give me a more seaworthy boat. However, I’ve read that while the water ballasted 26 is initially tender, it becomes more stable and stiff as it heals, because the water is kept high and broad. The capsize ratio for the 26 D is 2.24, while the 25 is 2.45. A lower number is better. Next, the motion comfort for the 26 is 11.43, while the 25 is 8.8. The higher the number, the greater the comfort. I watched the sales video for the 26, and they were out in 25 kts of wind, in some sea, and she was handling. So, if the weighted keel of the 25 does not necessarily make her more seaworthy, I don’t see any benefits of the 25. The 26 is a foot longer, lighter to trailer, has a second double berth, a better layout, and I wouldn't have to maintain the swing keel. What do you think? Am I missing something?
  2. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
    Posts: 6,155
    Likes: 489, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1749
    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    I don't know where you got that info from.

    I have stepped on deep keeled 30 footers that tipped more than a Mac.

    In fact, from my experience, the stability is just as good in winds up to 20 knots, and the owners manual recommendation is to not sail at more than ~ 6% of heel for optimum speed, even if you have to spill the mainsail. Much like say a Laser dinghy.


    Even with the ballast tank empty, the boat can take 180 lbs. on the rail and remain flat in the water."


    "The relatively flat bottom required for high speed powering creates a very stable sailboat. This photo shows 180 pounds on the rail with the water ballast tank empty. Other boats would show some serious tipping,"


    Attached Files:

Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.