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2005 Changes

MacGregor 26M Update - Posted April 26, 2003


In February of 2003, MacGregor introduced the all-new MacGregor 26M.
Here's an overview of teh 26M


The price on the new boat to is $19,990. This price is FOB Costa Mesa, California.


Anyone who has seen it agrees that the 26M is a great looking boat. We think that it is the best-looking, trailerable sailboat ever built. It has the traditional shear line, and the optional dark blue hull is a knockout. This boat really stands out. The double row of windows make it look like a much larger boat.

The white hull, with black stripes is standard, however the optional dark blue hull is well worth the extra cost.

The rudder connection system is inside the boat, offering less clutter and fewer things to stumble over. The rudder heads are partially buried in the transom, giving a cleaner appearance. The sliding hatch, rather than just sitting on the cabin top, contours to the deck. When it's open, there is no gap between the deck and the hatch leading edge.


The new hull has a deeper V bottom (15 degrees), rather than the flatter bottom of the old boat (8 degrees).

The purpose of the deep V shape is to give the boat a far softer ride under power, with a lot less slamming against choppy seas. It also provides a substantial reduction in drag, which benefits the boat's sailing ability.

The V bottom has softer corners at the transom, and, at typical angles of heel, the corners dig in a lot less and create a less turbulent wake.

The deeper V bottom keeps the boat from sliding around on the trailer, and gives better tracking under power.

The more pronounced centerline ridge provides a much stiffer hull bottom.


The new boat is significantly faster under both power and sail, and amazingly faster under main alone. The big reason for the higher speed on the new boat is the lack of centerboard drag. The conventional centerboard trunk carried about 100 lbs of water; the new trunk carries virtually none.

Under sail, the boat was striking. The taller rig, elimination of the drag from the centerboard trunk, and the rotating mast really paid off. I believe that it will prove to be the fastest trailerable boat we have ever built.

When the jib was furled, the speed dropped by only 1 mph, with no change in the balance of the boat.

This means that an owner can go out for a sail and forget the jib, and still get really good performance. In high winds, the main alone is an excellent choice. It balances almost as well with the main alone as it does with the main and jib.

All this is due to the rotating and 2' longer mast. Since the front third of the main is now working, and not screwed up by the turbulence of the mast, the thrust is now forward, rather than to the side. The result is more speed and less healing angle. When the mast is properly rotated, the boat comes alive.



Far better performance than a centerboard. Here's a lot more reason


The daggerboard trunk now takes the full downward thrust of the mast down to the keel of the boat, and is stronger than the stainless tubing of the other boat.

A centerboard trunk also required a huge opening in the hull, in the most important structural area of the boat (as well as creating a very large drag problem). The lay up around the new trunk is massive, and able to stand up to grounding at normal sailing speeds with the board fully down.


The daggerboard requires no metallic parts below the waterline. There are no holes in the hull to leak or pins to wear.


The retraction cable is less subject to wear, and it can be easily replaced. The board itself can be lifted out through the deck for cleaning, inspection, or repair.


Centerboards tend to bang around a lot when the boat is moored or at anchor. Daggerboards stay still, with no wear and tear.


With a centerboard partially down, the center of pressure moves far aft, and the boat gets a lee helm when sailed into the wind. With the daggerboard partially down, the fore and aft center of pressure does not change, and the boat continues to balance well. This helps when trying to sail the boat to windward in shallow water.

For reaching, the daggerboard can be partially retracted to kill off weather helm, in the same manner as a centerboard. When reaching, you do not need the full lifting power o   f the board, and the partially retracted board works fine.

The down side, of course, is that if you hit something, the boat will come to a stop, just like any other keel boat in the marina. At normal sailing speeds, there should be no problem. The board is strong, and the hull is stronger. Don't, however, leave it down when powering fast.


The 26's rotating mast is similar to the setup used on Tornados, Hobie Cats, and virtually all modern catamarans. We have developed a system (for which we are seeking a patent) that allows conventional spreaders, with upper and lower shrouds, and a mast that rotates to create perfect airflow across the mainsail.

With conventional non-rotating mast, the mast creates a serious amount of turbulence on the mainsail, making the first third of the sail virtually useless. The deep notch between the mainsail and the mast disturbs the laminar flow of air across the downwind side of the sail and caused the smooth airflow to separate from the sail and disintegrate in a vast field of turbulence. The drawings below show the difference.

Since the first third of the mainsail is not working, the thrust created by the main is almost totally sideways, causing a lot of heeling and less forward thrust. (See above drawing.)

With the rotating mast, the boat heels less and goes faster.

The mainsail can now be used as the only sail for comfortable effort free day sailing. When the wind kicks up, getting rid of the jib and keeping the mainsail retains really good performance, and makes sailing a lot easier.

The mast section is larger (fore and aft) and does not require a backstay. This reduces weight aloft, and reduces windage.

The rotating rig raises and lowers like a non-rotating rig, and requires no attention when sailing. As the boat tacks, the mast automatically adjusts itself to the proper angle without human intervention.

When raising the mast, there is no backstay to tangle up in the rudder system or outboard motor.

We have shortened the spreaders, permitting closer trimming of the Genoa. The shorter spreaders are less of a hassle when raising and lowering the mast.

The mast is 2' taller, giving a bit more mainsail area and a lot better looking rig.

The mast is sealed with injected urethane foam, and acts as a powerful buoyancy chamber if the boat is knocked down. The 67 pounds of buoyancy provided by the mast is equivalent in righting power of adding 500 pounds of ballast in the bottom of the hull. This multiplier is the result of having the center of buoyancy of the mast a long way out from the center of buoyancy of the hull.

We have beefed up the chain plates, bow plate and all mast hardware, and the rig looks strong and efficient. The chain plates have a stainless deck plate welded to them. Theses plates bolt to the deck, reducing the chance of a leak.

A small tube will be cast into the mast floatation foam to allow the future passage of wires to the mast head.


The rudders' fore and aft adjustment allows precise tuning. It is possible to set the rudder rake to completely eliminate rudder load on the wheel. (However, a slight weather helm is better for upwind control).

With deeper V hull, the upwind rudder is less likely to be raised out of the water when the boat heels.

With the new hull and rudder shapes, the boat has a lot less tendency to round up into the wind when heeled too far over.


To enhance the stability at lower heel angles to make up for the V bottom, we have added a permanent ballast of 300 pounds inside of the water tank.

The ballast is in a sealed container surrounding the daggerboard trunk. The ballast is bonded to both the hull and the trunk, giving the trunk a great deal more strength. The 300 pounds of permanent ballast replaces an equal amount of water ballast, so the removable water ballast amounts to 1000 lbs. Total ballast is still 1300 pounds.

The boat is about 200 pounds heavier in its trailering condition.


We have added an extra layer of fiberglass mat and roving to the underwater area of the hull. This adds about 120 pounds, and adds to both the stiffness and stability.

The deck has more beams between the liner and the deck, and feels stiffer under foot.

The smaller hull opening for the daggerboard gives a much sturdier hull than the large opening that is needed for a centerboard.


The seat area across the front of the cockpit (where the mainsheet traveler is located) is wider giving more seating area. We have mounted the pedestal on a stainless steel column (4"in diameter).

The foot well is narrower, to allow more room in the big berth underneath, and gives a better spacing to brace your feet against when the boat is heeled over.

The captain's seat is about 6" higher, allowing room for the outboard motor to be under the seat, and puts the captain up higher with a better view over the cabin top.

The cockpit cushions are improved and more comfortable. The inside sofa seat back cushions can be used when sailing as cockpit seat back cushions.

The fuel tank lockers in the cockpit will take two tanks (12 gallons each). The tanks are in a recess in the cockpit seats, with a hinged hatch covering the opening. Since the tank holders are recessed in the deck, and not bonded in compartments, there are no exposed raw edges in the deck, and the system won't leak.


By placing the outboard motor under the captain's seat, we were able to move the entire cockpit to the rear and add about 15' to the length of the cabin.


Improving the rear berth was a major design goal.

By moving the head forward, we were able to gain access to the rear berth from the starboard side.

By shortening the foot well in the cockpit, by running the seats across behind the cabin entry, we were able to provide much more room in the rear berth, and make it a lot easier to get into.

By narrowing the foot well, we were able to make the rear berth look enormous and less cave-like. When you are standing in the cabin, you are looking clear back to the transom.


After a good sail, it is highly desirable to have a place where the crew can comfortably sit, preferably facing each other, with a good table between them to hold the drinks and goodies.

With this new design, 4 people can comfortably be seated on each side of the boat, and be in a position to have a good conversation


The main salon seats are more like comfortable sofas than the seats found in most sailboats. The starboard sofa is 6 feet long, and the port side is 10 feet. The seat cushions are 5" thick, and the seat backs are thick and comfortable (the seat back cushions can also be used in the cockpit). The upholstery is top grade vinyl that has the feel and look of soft leather. The V berth and rear berth cushions are covered with an attractive fabric.

The main cabin sofas make fine, comfortable berths.

The boat sleeps 6; 2 on the V berth, 2 on the rear berth, and one each on the cabin seats.


The hull sides are upholstered in durable fabrics, providing a softer, warmer appearance. The fabric does a lot to quiet the boat.


Headroom is a full 6 feet under the closed sliding hatch, and 5'10" under the cabin near the galley. Headroom is also increased over the rear berth.


Raising the bottom edge of the cabin entry not only made the rear berth more accessible, but also lessened the chance of flooding the cabin in the event the cockpit was filled with a severe following sea.

This also made the side decks wider, making it easier to get to the foredeck. The height of the toe rails on the cabin top has been increased, giving better footing.


The two rows of windows give a lot of light inside, and greatly improve visibility.


The galley and all doors and bulkheads are surfaced with top grade Formica, and give the look of varnished Mahogany.

All doors, bulkheads, windows, galley faces and hatches are cut with a computer-controlled router, and are accurate to within 5 thousands of an inch.

The interior is now better looking, better built and more plush than anything offered by any of our competitors.


The galley top and sink are produced by a rather exotic process that gives the exact look of Corion, You will really like this.

Tables, when in use, are essential. But when not being used, they gobble up a large amount of needed interior space.

Ideally, the table should be the focal point of a conversation setting. It should be really easy to set up and remove.

The galley now sits across the boat, on the port side. It slides aft when not in use to make more room.


We are using a high quality carpet, and it is nicely edged.


In order to accentuate the greatly increased size of the interior, we have covered the bulkhead, forward of the galley, with a good quality mirror. The effect is striking, and gives the look of a much larger interior.


By extending the seats across the cockpit underneath the cabin entry, we were able to put a really good mainsheet traveler on the boat without screwing up seating and other usage of the cockpit. The traveler is tucked neatly up against the cabin back, out of the way.

The mainsheet no longer hangs across the crew area when the mainsail is let out when running down wind.

The traveler gives far better control of the shape of the mainsail, with less dependence on the vang.


We have upgraded the electrical system, with better fittings and heavier wire. The deck liners have molded-in runs that allow dealers and owners to install the wire to all areas where it might be needed for extra lights, instruments, etc.

The new boat has 4 interior lights. There is one over the front V berth, in the head, in the main cabin, and over the rear berth.


We have always used white interiors, and the new boat is a big change, the liners are tan, as are the upholstered hull sides. The cushions are a medium tan, and the carpet is a darker brown. It looks great.


The new system requires somewhat less effort to raise the mast, and tends to keep the mast centered when it is going up and down. It doesn't use the halyard, and is less dependent on having the halyard properly cleated down. The side support wires have been replaced with rope for easier coiling and storage.

The line going to the bow of the boat is a fixed length, and does not require guessing at the proper angle of the pole.


Since there are many combinations of possible headsails, you have a choice between a working jib, Genoa or the proposed new self-tending working jib (which is slightly smaller than the working jib, because it cannot overlap the mast). In addition, each of these requires a choice of having snaps for hanking on to the forestay or with a luff tape for use with a furler.

You can pick the best combination for your type of sailing.


We have installed heavier axles, springs, wheel and tires to bring the trailering capacity to 4200 pounds. There is more fender clearance, better support for the hull, and more effective surge brakes.

We now have big stainless steel disc brakes, and an electronic system that ties into the car lights that automatically disables the surge brake system when backing up.

The deeper V hull and supports help keep the boat centered on the trailer when bouncing down the road.


You will pleased to know that we are now putting a pelican hook on the lifelines in order to make it easier to get in and out of the cockpit. The lifelines are now higher in the cockpit and conform to the new European standards. On the cabin top, the lifelines are wider spaced to give more walking room when going forward.

The pulpit is substantially longer, and gives more to grab on the foredeck.


An anchor roller is now standard, and the anchor locker is substantially larger to hold bigger anchors.


We have widened the engine well area to allow easier bolting of the engine to the transom. The transom is now flush, and a pad won't be needed between the motor and the transom.




Notice: The 26M is in production by MacGregor. The information contained on this page is subject to change, and may not fully represent the boat as it is manufactured. We will endeavor to update these pages as more information is released by MacGregor. If you would like to be notified when new materials are added to the site, send us an e-mail by click here.


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