Macgregor Owner Reviews

Serving sailors online since 1997

Review of the Macgregor 26D by John S

Year built 1987  
Location of boat Boise, Idaho  
The boat is sailed on Lakes  
How the boat is used Weekends and longer  
Normal wind strength 10-15 knots  
Average size of crew 2-4  
Liveaboard? No  
Owner bought the boat in 2004  
If the clock could be turned back, would owner buy again? Yes. This is the right boat for me and my family. There are drawbacks to water ballast, but for me they are off set by the trailerability.  
Gear that's been added The list is endless: rudder, tiller, daggerboard, traveler, jib fairlead cars and tracks, 3 portholes (opening), aft matress, gasoline generator, lazy jacks, solar vent, coaming cleats, drop hatch, drop hatch slides, pop top slides, pop top handle, new sails, bow roller and anchor platform, anchor rode locker, depth meter, mainsail outhaul, reefing hook, you get the idea- all of the things that Roger left out.  
Structural or complex improvements Cut holes for head porthole, 2 portholes in cockpit footwell. solar vent above head, numerous trailer mods  
The boat's best features Water ballast and quick set up. Inexpensive initial investment. A camper that floats. Sails fast to windward.  
Problem areas in terms of design, materials, maintenance, etc. There are numerous gel coat cracks on my boat. There should be bilge pumps from the factory. The wiring was substandard when new, after 20 years it is unacceptable-plan to rewire. The stock rudder is a joke- convert to an Idasailor rudder to hold off the roundup and just generaly make your boat way more fun to sail. The daggerboard has a finite life as it is a hollow construct and floods with water to sink- it is a fragile eggshell as you will find out if you run it aground! The lifelines are just tripping hazards, if you ever really grabbed them as you fell, you'd definitely pull them off of the boat. the lazerette is enormous, but can be difficult to find gear in because no provision is made for racks (good project). The covers over the chain plates will need rebedding, look for a water leak there. The bow pulpit will interfere with sail shaping. the positive flotation foam will be disintegrating by now, I have removed most of it to create storage.  
Sailing characterisitcs The sails that came with the boat were the absolute cheapest, and were only good for a few years. If you replace your sails with new, modern designed sails you will be very happy. The position of the jib fairleads are way too far outboard and way too far aft- remember I said that! You need a traveler, a vang, an adjustable backstay, a main outhaul and tell tales on the leech of both sails. A cunningham would be nice on the main. THEN you can really sail to windward. Reef early to keep the boat on its feet- which is to say that you want to keep the heeling to a medium level. I have held my boat over almost 90 degrees without any water intrusion into the cockpit, but down below all he#$ is breaking loose. I have flown a spinnaker from the masthead and it is a real kick.  
Motoring characterisitcs I have motored a lot. On one trip to Lake Powell we traveled well over 150 miles (by GPS) in a week and most was motoring. The boat will motor very well with a 8 HP. Ours will reach 7 MPH, but the fuel burn is better at say 6 MPH and it even gets better if you can motorsail  
Liveability Marginal. We are an outdoors family (2 adult, 2 pre-teens) and we find that 3 days of life aboard is the most without showers and food resupply. I know it can be done for longer, but we eat gourmet foods and health foods and we will definitely fill up the porta-potti in 2 days or less. If I were a bachelor, well I could make it for a lot longer. If we can find showers, we have lived on our boat for three trips for a week (Lake Powell, Lake Pend O'reille, Priest Lake)  
The owner's experience in dealing with Hunter (if any) No contact whatsoever- we're on our own See for great aftermarket parts  
The owner's experience with the boat dealer or broker, if any Some comments about the standing rigging: it is light but sufficient. Consider putting real turnbuckles on the sidestays. The rig will stand up alone without the aft stay. Make the aft stay removable and install an adjuster for three reasons: pinning the forestay will be much easier, and an unattached aft stay will not snag things when standing up the rig (very important), and you can flatten the mainsail by tightening the aft saty (and bending the mast aft) and thereby reduce heel. For best pointing, the side stays should be tight enough so that you can just pin the stem fitting with the forward turnbuckle loosened all the way and the aft stay disconnected.  
Other comments For access to inland lakes at freeway speeds there is nothing like one of these boats. I am totally biased towards the D and S models as they can be made to sail well. The boats are a project that you can add to for a long time, cause they come with no extras. The philosophy of Macgregor is "just good enough". That might not be good enough for you- so change it! If you ever sail past another boat by pointing higher and going faster- well that has to be a satisfying feeling. Always install tell tails on the leech of your sail to learn how to set sail trim- a piece of yarn is perfect.  

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