macgregor sailboats
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6/22/07    Roller reefing main is functional!

Everything works just like we want on the std 26M main.  It will hoist without feeding and reef just by pulling the roller line.  It will roll up all the way.  First boats will be delivered within 2 weeks.  We are waiting on only the stainless steel furling drum.  Price is still uncertain, depends on assy time and cost of production parts.  This option will have more labor than the plastic one originally designed but the plastic one showed some wear after a short time.  The steel parts are no more than plastic because we don't have to buy an expensive mold.  Long term will be plastic with some type of wear pad of steel.  

 

4/05/07 The latest thing is a furling mainsail:

There are several furling mains on the market at this time.  Notice that none are on sailboats that promise any sailing performance.  The in-mast furlers limit use to vertical battens or no battens at all.  On a boat with large genoa and small main, maybe so, but with a powerful mainsail this would hurt sailing performance.  Never mind how bad it would hurt a rotating mast setup.  Thus we are limited to in-boom type.  One company makes one that is only about $7,500 including the new mainsail with very little roach and flat shape.  We don't want to try a main with small roach.  Our boat has a large roach mainsail needed for any fractional rigged sailboat.  When we get this mainsail furler done there will not be any loss of sail area, sail shape or construction.  The performance will be the same as before or it will not be sold.  Further the reefing must have a good shape, that includes tight outhaul and flat shape.  Some older furlers lose outhaul tension as furled/reefed which causes an increased fullness just what we don't want.  That must be why they call them furlers and not reefers.  I am going to call this a roller reefing main from now on just as a reminder of the goal.

4/20/07   Roller reefing main:

One other hard to reach goal is quick trailering.  It must not take any longer to rig than the present mainsail and boom.  We will gain a couple of min time by replacing the boom bolt with a fastpin so we have only two min to attach the reefer.  Tough!  We can build in the mainsail cover with the roller reefer, add a topping lift.  The reefing must be done from the cockpit, not the deck.  Final rolling could be done from the mast area of deck and the mainsail cover just zipped up.  The main could be raised from mast area but it would be better if raising could be done from cockpit. 

Here is what we have made so far: Plastic parts mockup that work just like above.  I think it is the only roller reefing system for a main that actually works in all areas listed above.  I will be sailing this after the stainless steel and aluminum parts get here.  This will go on my race boat before being sold to public and it will not hurt the sailing.  This is really going to improve our sailing enjoyment by making it easy.  Just motor out to clear water and pull lines to unroll the main, reef to suit if needed.  Sail and when done just pull the reef line to role up the main, don't even go up on the deck.  Pull a zipper on the mainsail cover when back to boat launch and pull a couple of pins to remove the rolled up main still in its cover.  Lower the mast and drive away.  

5/05/07:

We now have some of the aluminum parts, have modified the mainsail  and will next test sail the roller reefer.  The mainsail now has one full length batten and one other batten modified.  The shape is exactly like the standard mainsail, same area.  It will hoist more easily than standard main and will rollup about half of the sail in an eyeblink.  Still needs some work on the final rollup.  The reefed main  looks exactly like the reefed standard sail.   We will put this on my race boat and sail it awhile.

 

 

2003 First sailing of the M

This testing took place before the introduction of the new M and is old news.. 

 

Part one

The first time she went in the water, it was in Newport Beach behind Roger MacGregor's house, she was just a shell of a boat with no interior.  Roger, Tom, Clay and I paused after the launching to admire her bright blue hull, black and white deck and that noticeably taller mast with the new deep section.  The mast raiser was not yet designed so Tom and Clay just shoved it up.  I am too old for that having raised masts on MacGregors by the hundreds when I was the Trail N Sail dealer in New Orleans back in the 70's and 80's.   The forestay hooked up about in the center of travel, sidestays the same.  No changes needed at this time.  A 30 gal drum of water had been bonded to the hull about 6" above the floor to represent the liner and furniture weight.  She floated within 1/2" of the designed "no ballast" waterline.  The first thing tested was stability with no ballast.  We pulled her over with the jib halyard ( don't use the main for this) to past 90 degrees before instability.  Roger decided on some permanent ballast to have some reserve on the production boat with ballast tank empty!  The rudder heads will have to be raised so the stainless steel does not touch the saltwater at rest.  Ballast valve opened to time the flooding of the tank.   Four minutes later the check vent shows full and she now floats level with the black waterline stripe.    The aft mast support must be wider to accommodate the larger section of the rotating mast (that's right, a rotating mast with fixed spreaders, another MacGregor invention).  It turns into the airflow for less drag and more forward force.  We are testing  a Merc 50 four-stroke Big Foot on this one. More on speed tests later but the Merc black color matches. 

It was late in the day, light wind and with no lighting system we didn't want to test the Harbor Patrol, so we got little sailing done.  Wind was too light for much but we sail anyway.    Track positions seem good, the mast rotates some of the time, we tighten stays, loosen stays, etc.   This boat tacks from almost a standstill.  We can't tell much else in this light air.  Roger wanted to see her under sail and jumped off onto the dock. with his camera.  We sailed back and forth behind his house for photos in the light of a dying Santa Ana (that is a strong hot breeze from the desert bringing some dust to give wonderful golden sunsets).  One day sooner and we would have had our breeze!  Look to the next brochure, these photos are going to be pretty.

Modifications are needed on some of the rotating parts and day one is over.  Tom and Clay pull her out of the water and back to the factory for changes.

Day two, breeze and more

This time we got what we wanted.  Fri. morn it was blowing and I went down to Newport Beach to meet Roger to launch the 26M for some sailing.  We start the day off waiting on some new stainless steel parts and the new helm seat.  Tom and Clay try out the new mast raiser and wider rear support ( scratches the mast and more work needed), launch the boat and have to run back to the factory to give out checks to the production workers.  I motor to Roger's dock just as he arrives.   We are pretty excited about the first trial in a breeze.  We don't even start the Merc, just raise the mainsail and shove off.  This boat tacks at will under main only, even gybing at low speed against the wind when most boats will just head up.  I have never been on boat with better behavior.  The mast does not rotate when gybing, more design work for Roger.  He will add 1/2" to the spreader pivot to give more leverage.  Test with less boom vang force and traveler lowered ( yes, it has a traveler).  That helped.  We add the genoa.  The boat is fast and we sail down the bay on a reach, out to the ocean, it is getting late and we beat back up the bay.  Now there is too much wind for the genoa but we push it with main eased out to the end of the traveler.  The main has too much draft and will be replaced with a flatter sail.  Back at the dock, Roger is pleased.  The first boat with a liner and full interior will be ready in two weeks so the test mule is done for.  This one will never sail again ( I always wanted to say that).      

Day three, first boat off the production line

There have been Many changes from the "mule" but from the outside she looks the same.  For the first time in two decades, the interior is not black and white. The liner is light cream/tan with tan cushions and carpeted sides.  We now have a rich and plush interior with 5" thick cushions more like a couch than a trailerable sailboat.   The cabinet is polished wood, doors with trimmed edges, all really good looking.   My wife Judy is with us today and Roger busy at his computer designing the head door and production hatches.  He'll join us a 3:PM.  After launching, Judy, Tom, Clay and I sail around in light air.  We move the clew shackle around on the self-tending jib to get sheeting angle  needed.  This will be a cool option if we can get the trim correct.  Tom and Clay get off at the dock, Roger is waiting and off we go again.  We sail away from the dock, no motor, and start testing the self tacking jib.   Roger and I love this option but some new hardware will need to be invented.   The jib tacks very quickly and takes all the work out of going upwind.  It still does not trim perfectly, if we could just invent battens that would roll up.   How about a removable batten or two, if you are racing stick in the battens or for daysailing leave them out so the furler will work, too much work?    The mast will rotate when tacking and sometimes when gybing.  Maybe the vang should be attached to the deck, not the mast.  That was tried but didn't work as well as before.  Mast raising side wires could be used to rotate but then it won't be automatic.  It is now dark and Roger is done for the day, Judy and I decide to motor around Newport Harbor and see the Christmas lights and decorations.  This must be the most beautiful place on earth.  The Four-stroke OB is quiet enough to remind you of sailing and we ride around for hours.

Day Four

I can't tell much of a story about this day because Roger MacGregor did it all himself.  He sailed her with genoa only in a breeze to test the no backstay concept.  If a fractional rig will stand up with genoa only, it is pretty strong so he did it just to test.  He says it is plenty strong and we go to no backstay on the production boat.  Good.

That was just a test.  The main adds additional support and replaces the aft loading of a backstay.   Sailing with genoa only is not advised on any fractional rig, with or without backstay.   Control of boat is marginalized and the rig is much weaker, the headstay will sag making the genoa too full, could go on and on but don't do it.

Day  Five

This was my last day to sail the M alone and I just did it to verify the rotaotional mast rigging.   The mast will now rotate each and avery time, jibing or tacking.  The mast raiser is wonderful.  Rogers best one yet.  It sails great and is ready for the market.  Just give me some boats to sell.  I'm  keeping the first one for myself. Anybody want to buy a 14 year old 26D with a lot of mods including the new rotating mast, spinaker, full race gear, new white paint, too much gear to list.  The self tacking jib is on the back burner for now because a genoa is needed for light wind and the best way to make the self tacking jib work is with a 75-85% jib only usable in breeze.  You guys in the North Atlantic and San Fran will just have to wait a little while.  This has been fun and my thanks to Roger, now I'm going to Catalina to enjoy my new M. 

Day Six, the 26X vs the new 26M

Tom (MacGregor's plant manager) and Audrey(one of my racing crew) were in the 26M and Bernadette(another of my crew), my son Jeff and I were in the 26X for the power part of the test/race.   We'll switch boats when sailing begins.  Clay(MacGregor's manager of the fiberglass production of the boats) was driving Roger's personal M70.  Roger and Mary Lou MacGregor were managing and filming the production from the big sleek 70 foot MacGregor.  The 26M is to be Roger's personal boat and has a new coat of bottom paint, a speed disadvantage.   The 26X has no bottom paint.  Both boats and Merc 50 hp OBs are brand new.  The X and M blast back and forth in front of Roger and the camera.  Speed taken using GPS on both boats up to 21 knots with breeze/waves and 18-19 against.  Surprise!   They are even.  Over and over, we drag race from standing start to top end with no speed difference.   The M however does not carry the bow so high and pounds less with less spray.  It is a better ride which was expected from the slightly more rounded hull.  Roger orders "full ballast tanks".  The M now pulls up on a plane better with much less bow rise and goes faster by 2 Knots.  Roger shouts over the radio " Mike, get out of the way, I'm filming the M". 

After an hour if that, he orders "Go behind the jetty and switch boats".  Now we're talking.   Tom jumps on the X with Jeff and Bernadette and I get the M with Shelia   (another of my race crew) and Audrey.  We put sails on the boats on the way out.  Jeff is on the deck and has sails up long before me but we get there.   Roger motors by and says "catch up Mike"!  The M is much faster.   Both boats are luffing main occasionally with plenty of wind and we sail right through the X's wind.  This boat will sail.  I knew that all along.  The breeze is up now and most of the rest of the day wil be tight reaching at top speed as I lose the walkie-talkie overboard.  Lots of film/digi dots are spent on the M flying by the X.  Clay motions with both hands up and down.  That must mean lower sails.  We roll up the genoa, lower main and head back in from 3 miles out.    Both of us power at 12-14 mph past the 70 foot race boat ( not very often done ) and wait inside the jetty.  Clay pulls up alongside the X and Mary Lou jumps on the X to film and direct.  Back out into the ocean for photos of the M racing the MacGregor 70.  This time, I lose on each point of sail but sometimes by not much.   I really hate losing a sailboat race.  Roger shouts " tight reach" and Tom motors the X just abeam of us while Roger sails through our lee.  He then fires up the diesel and circles us for another run.  We do this 5 or 10 times, then the same from the other side.  Clay again motions lower sails, we are motoring back to the dock.  We are 6 miles out and the water is now rough and we will take some spray but Roger must know that I will beat him back to Newport Beach.


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marina del rey macgregor 26
MacGregor Sailboats
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Costa Mesa, California 92627
949-642-6830

 

 

 

 

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