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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Meet the Author

John

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.

3 comments … add one
  • frank Oct 7, 2010, 12:17 am

    John,

    I too am a 45 year old professional and have owned a 2008 Mac26m for a year. I would NOT take this boat on your trip. Sorry to be anything less than encouraging but we are talking about your life here. The steering alone on the boat can fail at anytime. The boat is AWESOME in bays and lakes and has many excellent advantages. I love mine because it is so well suited for the shallows and islands here in the Great South Bay off Long Island, NY. There are so many other little failures that could give you unnecessary exposure. Please don’t take your Mac.

  • John Oct 7, 2010, 7:43 am

    Hi Frank,

    Well said. Horses for courses, as we say at AAC.

  • Joel Taylor Feb 12, 2011, 1:31 am

    Having sailed a M26 M in sheltered waters I would agree with the other posts above. The Macs are all coastal boats. Take them offshore at your peril.

    They also have issues with sailing to windward in light to moderate winds. In these conditions, you might as well motor sail. I haven’t sailed the boat in high winds, but I would expect it to perform worse in a blow.

    This is a motor sailor suitable for day trips and short cruises. It’s nice to motor at 20 knots though.

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