MacGregor 26 Sailboat Specs and Review

If you are a novice sailor, the MacGregor 26 Sailboat is a great option. It is the best-selling cruising sailboat in the world. A total of 38,000 MacGregor sailboats have been sold to date. In this article, we’ll look at all the MacGregor 26 Sailboat specs and why it is a best-selling sailboat.

The MacGregor 26 Sailboat is a trailable sailing boat. It is also a water-ballasted trailer sailboat. This boat is 26 feet long and is not difficult to rig and sail. Its most attractive quality is not its ability to sail but its capacity to perform as a fast power cruiser. This sailboat is capable of cruising at 22 miles per hour.

You need to steer a sailboat from the helm so you won’t miss any of the action. These boats are primarily powered by the wind that hits the sails. The engines that provide auxiliary power to sailboats are cheaper to run than the engines that run powerboats since they use less fuel.

Read on to learn more about the specs and features of the MacGregor 26 sailboat and whether it is the right boat for you.

About the MacGregor 26 Sailboat

MacGregor 26 review

The MacGregor 26 is a water-ballasted, trailable coastal cruiser, party barge, ski boat, floating home, and powerboat all rolled into one hull. It is a popular design with many features to accommodate the wishes of a broad range of boating aficionados.

The MacGregor 26 is self-righting due to the 1,200 lbs. of water completely sealed in the baffled centerline compartment located under the sole. After it’s launched on the water, a valve is opened to flood this area. The valve is closed when enough water is contained. On haul out, this valve is again opened to drain the water.

As the boat maker claims, the primary strength of this sailboat lies in its water ballast system. That is why its weight is relatively light, which makes it easy to tow in a trailer.

It can also meet most budgetary requirements. The boat offers more than enough room for a small family to cruise for up to one week at a time.

MacGregor 26 Specs and Features

Here are the essential specifications of the MacGregor 26 Sailboat:

Overall Length25 feet, 10 inches
Beam7 ft., 10 in.
Draft 10 in. (with daggerboard and rudders up)
Displacement4,380 lbs. with the engine and full ballast; 3,180 lbs. with the engine, without water ballast, 2,626 without engine and water ballast.
Fuel Tank 24 gallons
Speed21 miles per hour under power
Price $21,500 with sails and trailer (without engine or options)

The following table will give you the complete MacGregor 26 specifications:

Overall length25′ 10”
Waterline length23′ 2″
Width (Beam)7’ 9″
Draft, board up12″
Draft, board down5’ 9″
Water ballast1150 lbs.
Permanent ballast300 lbs.
Boat weight, empty2550 lbs.
Trailer weight530 lbs.
Mainsail170 sq. ft.
SailsDoyle
Jib (100%)130 sq. ft.
Main and jib300 sq. ft.
Genoa (150%)206 sq. ft.
Cruising spinnaker350 sq. ft.
Fresh water capacity5 gallons
Fuel capacity 24 gallons
Mast height above deck30’
Mast height above water35′
Cabin headroom6’
Berths (sleeps 6)2 doubles, 2 singles
WinchesLewmar
Engine capacity5 to 70 hp.
Speed, 70 hp. outboard24 mph.

Here are the most important features of the MacGregor 26 Sailboat:

Comforts

The MacGregor26 sailboat has enough room and amenities that you and your family will require for a weekend cruising:

  • Six feet of headroom beneath the sliding hatch
  • Queen-size bed at the aft and forward vee-berth
  • Removable table
  • Galley section with sink and space for a stove
  • Enclosed head with porta-porty

Spacious Interiors

This boat has a high freeboard and a 7 ft. 11 in. beam, which offers plenty of interior space. With a relatively high aft freeboard and a shallow cockpit, this boat offers an aft berth that is seldom found in boats of more than 35 feet.

A small family can bed down in this boat without converting any other living space inside.

The cabin of this boat extends up to the rail. This lends to the impression of a large interior. The entire interior space is made from fiberglass, which is very easy to clean. It has a sliding galley and a rotating mast that can open additional space to accommodate more people.

Rigging System

This boat is equipped with a rigging system that will help you rig the boat in just 15 minutes.

Design

MacGregor 26

The MacGregor 26 looks less like a powerboat and more like a sailboat, thanks to its smaller transom with rounded corners and a traditional-looking shear line.

On-deck Amenities

There are six-foot-long seats at the cockpit, making it easy for those on board to enjoy the sights and the weather. The steering wheel is mounted on a pedestal while the helm seat is slightly raised. This makes it easy for the captain/pilot to have a complete view of the whole cabin.

Self-bailing Cockpit

The cockpit of the MacGregor 26 is self-bailing. A traveler is mounted at the forward end of the cockpit that guides the mainsheet. The headsail is roller-furling. Underneath the cockpit seats are plenty of storage spaces. There is a boarding ladder at the stern and an anchor locker at the bow.

Winches and Sails

This sailboat is equipped with Doyle sails and Lewmar winches. It has an air draft of 35 feet. A single person using the built-in brake switch can raise and lower the mast.

Can Be Easily Trailered and Towed

A full-size sedan can tow the MacGregor 26 sailboat and its trailer. However, an SUV can do the job much better.

Berths

There’s a 6-feet headroom in the cabin. The cabin also has large sofa seats. If more sleeping space is required, the dinette seats can be converted into berths. Four persons can be seated at the table.

There is also a double berth forward. This section offers a more comfortable sleeping space because of its big ventilation hatch.

All in all, there are two double berths and two single berths in the MacGregor 26 sailboat. There is a sink in the galley and an ice chest, countertops, storage space, and an optional Origo alcohol hand-pumped stove.

The capacity of the holding tank is five gallons, and the head is fully enclosed.

Very User-Friendly

This sailboat offers a lot of comfort above and below the deck. It is designed to enable a single sailor to launch it from the trailer. They can also step the mast single-handedly using the easy-to-operate winching system.

Below is an excellent MacGregor 26 review showing how it performs on the water. In this video, the sailboat maker, Roger MacGregor himself, shows some of the features of this boat and what his sailboat is capable of doing:

Pros and Cons of the MacGregor 26 Sailboat

Pros

  • Lightweight and easy to trailer
  • Spacious interior
  • More affordable than most sailboats with the same size
  • Able to motor very fast
  • Decent sailing features
  • Simple mast-raising system
  • More boat features for the money
  • Above-average quality sails
  • Through-bolted hull-deck joint
  • Positive flotation

Cons

  • Not built strongly as other bigger sailboats
  • Less stable than standard keelboats in rough water conditions
  • Not as attractive as traditional sailboat designs
  • Planing “powerboat” hull reduces potential sailing performance.
  • Many deck fittings are without backing plates.
  • No structured bulkheads to take rigging loads in heavy conditions
  • Heavy in the end because of the long water ballast tank
  • Plywood deck core prone to water absorption than balsa wood

Value of the MacGregor 26 Sailboat

Used MacGregor 26X (earlier version) sailboats are selling for less than $10,000. The later versions, the 26Ms, can be had for slightly over $29,000. They would come with outboard motors and a trailer.

This amount is a bargain if you consider that a brand new unit of this sailboat costs around $35,000, complete with all options.

It appears that the MacGregor 26 sailboat is a good investment because it can hold its value. This sailboat has several design improvements over the older 26X.

Owners of this sailboat report a 33 percent depreciation of their boats over a period of 10 years. This is considerably less than many sailboats of its class and size.

Speed Limitations of the MacGregor 26 Sailboat

Some MacGregor sailboat owners installed large 70 hp engines that enable their boats to attain a maximum of 20 knots or close to 24 mph. At only 26 feet, this sailboat is easy to rig and to sail. It is just as easy to trailer and transport.

MacGregor 26 sailboat

Bigger engines can push the hull of the MacGregor 26 for about 24 knots. That is fast enough to tow a skier. The fuel tank capacity of this sailboat is 24 gallons.

That will give you a maximum range of 283 miles if you will go cruising at 6 mph. You will only go as far as 84 miles if you push the boat at 21 mph.

Comparison Between the MacGregor 26 Sailboat and Its Rivals

The market success of MacGregor has encouraged other boat builders to build their own versions of water-ballasted sailboats. Two of the most notable competitors of MacGregor are Catalina and Hunter. Both boat makers have solid reputations for big cruisers and small day boats.

Catalina has produced the Catalina 250 mkII. This boat is more of a higher-end version of the original MacGregor 26. It has a more traditional look, a swing keel, and a small outboard engine. One unit costs about $17,000.

That’s considerably more than the MacGregor 26, but it looks more like a high-quality sailboat. However, it can’t pull a water skier like the MacGregor.

The other boat builder, the Hunter, produces the Hunter Edge. This boat can also handle bigger engines of up to 75 hp. Just like MacGregor because it is targeting the same market. But it costs more than $10,000 of the price of a MacGregor 26.

This sailboat is heavier and built more solidly. It also needs a bigger tow vehicle since it is heavier. The interior of this boat is substantially higher in quality than the MacGregor 26.

History of the MacGregor 26 Sailboat

MacGregor Yacht Corp builds the MacGregor 26 sailboat. Roger MacGregor built this company to prove his MBA thesis at Stanford University that boat builders would be more successful if they build more efficient boats.

He started to build boats in 1967. The boats that he constructed in those early days were all entry-level boats that are trailer sailers. They are designed for beginning sailors who became his market niche.

MacGregor built his first MacGregor 26 sailboats from 1986 to 1990. These were the MacGregor 26D (daggerboard), where he introduced water ballast and replaced the weighted keel.

He replaced this model from 1990 to 1995. The new sailboat was renamed the MacGregor 26S. MacGregor replaced the older version’s daggerboard with the swing centerboard and introduced other smaller changes in the boat’s design.

Then he again reinvented his sailboat from 1996 to 2004 and renamed it the MacGregor 26X. MacGregor implemented a major change in this boat. He enabled the sailboat to accommodate a bigger engine making the 26X a powerboat instead of just being a classic sailboat.

The last iteration that MacGregor made in his sailboat occurred from 2005 to the present. He again renamed his sailboat MacGregor 26M (motorsailer). This latest version allows a motive power source of up to 60 hp outboard motor. This is the latest version, which is discussed in this article.

Conclusion: MacGregor 26 Sailboat Specs and Review

The MacGregor 26 Sailboat is a trailable sailing boat. It is a water-ballasted sailboat that has an overall length of 26 feet. This boat is easy to rig and sail.

The most attractive thing about this sailboat is not its ability to sail but its capacity to perform as a high-speed power cruiser. It can travel on the water at a fast clip of 22 miles per hour.

Sail and feel the summer breeze while onboard the MacGregor 26!