Macgregor Owner Reviews

Serving sailors online since 1997

Review of the Macgregor 26X by Roger

Year built 2002  
Location of boat Maine Islands  
The boat is sailed on Open ocean  
How the boat is used Multi-week coastal cruising  
Normal wind strength 16-22 knots  
Average size of crew 2-4  
Liveaboard? No  
Owner bought the boat in 2002  
If the clock could be turned back, would owner buy again? Inexpensive motorsailor for up to one month pocket/coastal cruising.  
Gear that's been added  
Structural or complex improvements Fixed tanks for water, fuel and stove/heater kerosene. Keep weight out of boat, or down low, evenly distributed and "tied down".  
The boat's best features  
Problem areas in terms of design, materials, maintenance, etc. Our mast was bent, cracks in lexan at helm and head door, miss-alinged storage doors, no bottom paint on transducers, too long a genoa, no directions for sail catcher/lazy jacks, no enging flush kit, incorrectly mounted controls, missing items orginally ordered aftermarket, etc. etc. are just some of the problems we inherited from our dealer. To be fair, we had many after market add-ons that were new to our dealer and may have cause a little confusion and haste.  
Sailing characterisitcs If you wish to undergo serious ocean cruising here is our suggestions. We live on an island an hour offshore Maine which has cranky weather out here in the Atlantic Ocean. Our 26X, a small boat in the ocean, has its limits: for example, head for home if you encounter large swells (up to 7 feet), moderate chop (up to 3 feet) fast currents over 20 mph. To help we have large pedistal and cabin mounted lit compasses. We always have charts with GPS and good chartplotter (and a cheap spare GPS in waterproof container). Winds in open sea and even more so close to shoreline are very changeable and not so constant as is sometimes assumed. Finding yourself with a rapidly falling barameter, in falling snow, with 200' whirlpools holding 22 mph currents, with a 20 mph wind with gusts to 30, at night, in fog or snow and power and wisdom is your own ally. The Macgregor is very, very sensitive to breaking waves/steep seas under sail or power. Always stay within 10 miles of a safe harbor--plan it that way. Deep water sailing or motoring would best be done with (all of which we constantly use): Radar (night and fog/even rain and snow to some extent), a depth sounder (to 1000 feet to use underwater ledges as coastal guide), See-Ahead Underwater Sonar (forward-looking for rocks, sand bars, logs/debris, or even whales which we are very numerious around our island), dingy with small outboard and oars that really float and a small folding grapnel anchor (for dingy). Auto bildge pump is a must, with a good lightweight manual backup, always sail/cruise at no more than 7 mph, use gib furling (no bulky genoas or heavy covers), and as always, lazy jacks and sail slides make sailing fun, easier and safer. We have a total of 535-45 pounds extra weight including 70lb honda 8 hp stern mounted kicker less us as passengers. For safety we have good fixed mast radar reflector, and at least 3 oversized anchors (one stowed below dinette, with 250' rode each. Recommend primary anchor to be CQR as it holds very well in our waters and adjust to wild movements of Macgregor at anchor. Remember, even in seemly calm waters on a summer day, to set anchor with strong reverse motor thrust, and in wind over 10mph check anchor with dingy (set trip line) and set anchor alarm for any length of stay. If it can go wrong, believe me, it will. Do not use open flame candles, kerosene lamps or charcoal cookers with Mac's tendency to rock-and-roll--even in slip. Have good main 25 watt and handheld radios -- handheld submersible with weather alert. Antenna should be top mast with good bright but low amp LED anchor light. We love our two large, flexible solar panels with controllers for two batteries (riding on bimini, cabin or boom (25% - efficient). Boating is fun only after full redundency is achieved on your boat, including an extra set of sails.  
Motoring characterisitcs For open seas always have at least a 50 hp four stroke to maintain control in wild water and especially for currents. 4-strokes provide good range and are quiet. For engine mishaps or running to safety we have a good, very dependable auxillary "kicker" 8 hp Honda 4-stroke (keeps us off the rocks and at least stationary in fast currents and gets great gas milage compared to 50hp). We also have a quality Avon 9'inflatable with an an outboard with an automatic clutch and built in gas tank (Honda 3hp/4-stroke) which has a one hour range at 5 knots with 3 adults). Have at least 50 gallons of fuel, tanks filtered, and hull always "entirely" full of water ballast, and keep your rudders/centerboard down while either sailing or motoring (always under 7mph), and no handicaps from drinking.  
Liveability Up to one month, good for week. Each 90 pounds slows boat 1 mph. Have Wallas stove that gets 40 hours of stove/heat per gallon--2 gallon tank mounted forward. Power water with rigid 10 gal tank mounted forward. With larger but flexible solar panels and both engines with chargers, we are never at loss for electricity even with 14 amps per hour drain at total usage (average usually 8 amps per hour while crusing). Be sure to add egg crate foam under cushions and use sleeping bag. Hot water from black plastic bag shower, bug screens, clothes in metal basket over side for good cleaning. Have small batter recharge DVD player, good pocket CD/MP3 player. Have good flare kit, nesting pots, high rise potty, ice box, good rain wear and snow clothing. We have auto inflate pfds, jacklines, and full thermal suits for winter ice risks.  
The owner's experience in dealing with Hunter (if any) Fair, vague. Original boat was bare bones for our needs. Really miss good drawers, floors in storage areas, and closet space--silly trials and nuisances. Little leaks abound. Always consider MacGregor to cost at least another 10K for a reasonable outfit. Bimini is best to keep out rain and snow, and good platform for solar panels--for our needs. Dodger obstructs view and forward access.  
The owner's experience with the boat dealer or broker, if any All boats are a costly pain, period. Once you get your boat, and you are away from your Dealer, warranty response is very iffy, in our experience. If you can, do it and fix it yourself if you at all can.  
Other comments Later... wife wants me to go to bed.  

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