Nor’westing Magazine, “ At The
By editor Chuck Gould
Those of us
rapidly becoming so “long in the tooth” that we could double as vampires
will clearly remember the opening lines of a popular TV series from the 1950’s
and 60’s “Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird?! It’s a plane?!” Of course
the mysterious object was neither bird nor plane, but something much more
marvelous and unique; “No, it’s Superman!”
lines, etched so indelibly on the childhood memories of an entire generation,
come to mind when considering this month’s vessel for our At The Ramp feature,
the MacGregor 26. When spotted on plane at over 20 mph and rigged with a mast it
would only seem natural for certain observers to have difficulty attempting to
categorize the craft. “Look! Out on the bay! It’s a powerboat?! It’s a
sailboat?!” And of course the mystery boat is neither a conventional powerboat
nor a “high performance” sailboat, but something marvelous and unique in its
own right, “It’s a MacGregor!”
Construction and Design:
built on solid, hand laminated fiberglass hulls. There is no “chop” used in
the layup, which allows the MacGregor to be lighter and more easily trailered
than a chop strand layup of equal size. MacGregor avoids the use of balsa or
foam coring in
The hull and deck
joint is mechanically fastened as well as chemically bonded, using 3/16” bolts
on 4” centers. Deck hardware is through-bolted with backing plates and washers
for increased strength, and all of the through bolt nuts are accessible from the
Interior but cleverly concealed behind removable access panels.
hull is shaped like a traditional sailboat above the waterline, but the bottom
is flatter than most sailboats and designed to allow the boat to plane with
adequate HP in the powerboat mode. A retractable daggerboard and retractable
dual rudders provide the required stability and steerage when sailing, but are
unneeded and easily withdrawn when the MacGregor is used as a high-speed
powerboat. The retractable daggerboard allows the MacGregor to sit low on the
trailer, and enables the boat to float free of the trailer in shallower waters
and at a greater number of boat ramps than high-riding trailer sailors with
appreciate the rotating mast of the MacGregor 26. Sailboats with conventional
masts will experience points of sail where the mast creates a pocket of
turbulent air over the forward portion of the mainsail and reduces the lift
accordingly. MacGregor’s rotating mast will present a more aerodynamic face to
the wind and provide greater sail efficiency. The mast is foam filled to provide
additional buoyancy and assist in righting the MacGregor in the event of a
knockdown under sail. Ease of raising and lowering the mast will be important to
any trailer sailors, and MacGregor has incorporated a system that allows the
mast to go up or down in a matter of minutes.
important when sailing, but can be less desirable when powerboating and adds
additional weight when towing. MacGregor
uses 300-pounds of permanent ballast, and incorporates a “water ballast”
system that adds up to 1150-pounds additional weight to the hull when needed.
The MacGregor stability is enhanced by 1450 pounds of ballast, but the tow
vehicle is only required to haul 300 down the highway. The water ballast system
can be filled underway, and is self draining when the MacGregor is converted to
be pleased to note that the MacGregor is rated for motors up to 70 HP.
According to MacGregor Yachts, the 26-footer will turn about 22 mph (or
19 kts) with only a 50 HP engine. (The Seattle dealer, Blue Water Yachts,
reports speeds of 25 mph with a 70 HP outboard). 19 kts
is just fast enough to tow one adult on a waterski, a feat that is
absolutely unlikely to be performed by any other boat capable of sailing.
(Boaters looking primarily for a waterski or wakeboard boat and with no interest
in sailing would probably select something other than a MacGregor). With a
smaller motor or throttled back, the MacGregor can loaf along at casual
“trawler” speeds and enjoy excellent fuel economy.
Interior Design and Amenities:
starboard dinette table knocked down and the starboard cushions converted to
berth, the MacGregor will sleep more people than anybody would care to have
aboard. With at least two in the forepeak, at least two in the aft berth, and at
least two in the port and starboard berths a large family could easily bunk down
for a weekend or longer.
compartment is fully enclosed, providing some welcome privacy that is simply not
available on many boats of similar size. A portable toilet is standard on the
MacGregor 26, but a fully plumbed, conventional marine toilet with through hull
and holding tank is an available option. A folding door can isolate the forward
compartment from the main cabin, allowing more privacy once again.
The MacGregor 26
remains a popular and appropriate choice for boaters anxious to enjoy a single
vessel that can be a very good sailboat as well as a very good powerboat.
Enthusiastic MacGregor owners probably wonder why other boaters would ever
settle for a boat that is “only” a powerboat, or “only” a sailboat.
MacGregor owners are so busy having fun that they probably never really fret
that their own vessel will never contend for the “ultimate” status in either
the sail or power category, especially as their boats continue to serve them
reliably and well without regard to the type of boating they choose to enjoy on
any particular day.
low purchase price and the reduced monthly costs that can be associated with
trailer boating (compared to keeping a boat in a slip) allow a greater number of
people to get out on the water in a MacGregor. That’s a very good thing for
the families that are cruising in MacGregors, as well as for boating in general.
In the Pacific
Northwest. MacGregors are represented by Blue Water Yachts at 2400