QA&: Is A Macgregor 26M Suitable For A Trans-Atlantic?

Question: I am a 46 year old professional in fairly good health and in good shape. I am wanting to reverse the steps of my great-great-grandfather, sailing from Belfast, Maine to Bantry Bay, Ireland. I plan to leave June 3rd, 2011. The boat I want to take is a Macgregor 26M. Is this solid enough?

Answer: In a word, no. The Macgregor is an ultralight trailer sailer designed for coastal sailing, not the North Atlantic. I know that smaller boats have crossed the Atlantic safely but they are generally very different in construction and design from the Macgregor. For example, I would not hesitate to cross the Atlantic in a Contessa 26, a Virtue 25 or even a Dana 24. Well, maybe I would hesitate, my days of going to sea in boats that small with the attendant level of discomfort are long gone, but there is nothing intrinsically dangerous about an ocean crossing in any of these three boats. All of them are heavier and substantially more expensive than the Macgregor, but you get what you pay for.

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John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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