macgregor sailboats
sailboat safety


We drilled a hole in the bottom of the boat and let it fill. The boat has built-in solid foam flotation to keep it afloat in the event of damage. It won’t sail well when fully flooded, and it will be unstable, but it beats swimming. Most competing boats do not offer this essential safety protection, and their heavy keels can pull them straight to the bottom. Don't get a boat without solid flotation!

The relatively flat bottom required for high speed powering creates a very stable sailboat. This photo shows 180 pounds on the rail with the water ballast tank empty. Other boats would show some serious tipping, The 26 is self righting with the water ballast tank filled. This means that the boat will return to an upright position after being pulled over on its side with the sails set. A ballasted sailboat is very much like the inflatable toy with a weight in the bottom that kids use as punching bags. The weight makes the toy return to vertical after it is poked.

This photo shows the boat, with an empty ballast tank, pulled over on its side. It takes approximately 100 pounds near the masthead to keep the boat from popping back upright. We do not consider the boat to be self righting with an empty tank.

This shows the boat with the ballast tank full. It takes nearly 300 pounds, pushing down where the top of the jib ties to the mast, to keep the boat from coming back upright. This is a self-righting configuration, and the ballast tank should be kept full for maximum safety. Notice that the hatch openings are well above the waterline, so water is not entering into the cabin. (When the water is rough, it is best to keep the hatch closed to prevent water from getting into the cabin if the boat takes a severe knockdown.)

The roller furler allows the size of the jib to be controlled from the safety of the cockpit. In this photo, the jib has been rolled in to about 1/2 of its normal size, and the mainsail has been reduced by 40%. This is essential for sailing in high winds, and great for learning to sail in normal winds. When the wind blows hard, the boat will sail faster with reduced sail area.



For really lazy sailing or for sailing in high winds, you can use the mainsail alone. You lose some speed, but the boat will handle very well. The mainsail has a set of reef points that will reduce its area by forty percent. This is essential for sailing in high winds, and great for learning to sail in normal winds. In really heavy winds, the boat will actually sail faster with a reefed mainsail. Reefing is quick and simple. The rotating mast makes the mainsail far more effective than the mainsail on a conventional rig.

The cockpit is self bailing. The cockpit floor is above the water level, and any water that comes into the cockpit simply drains out through the open transom. This is both a convenience and a big safety factor. (A swamped boat is no joy, and having to bail out a cockpit full of rain water is no fun either.)

The steering seat hinges up and out of the way to allow for easy boarding while the boat is in the water or on its trailer. This is a lot easier than climbing up and over the relatively high side in order to get on or off the boat. In the down position, it makes a comfortable steering seat for the captain, and helps keep the crew from falling off the rear end of the boat.

The 26 has hatches that can be secured to keep water out of the boat. The most seaworthy object is an empty bottle with the lid screwed on. We have come pretty close to this concept with the 26. Most small powerboats are open to the sea and totally unsuitable for offshore or rough water operation. Also, there are no thru hulls below the waterline that might allow water leaks into the interior of the boat.

The 26 has two engines, the sails and the motor. If a conventional powerboat’s engine quits when you are away from land or in a remote part of a lake, you are stuck there until outside help arrives. In many cases, attempts to start the engine drain the batteries so even radio communication becomes impossible. With the 26, simply raise the sails, and head for home. There are calms now and then, but there will always be enough wind to get you on your way.

Other safety features include non skid deck surfaces, bow pulpit, cockpit rails and strong lifelines.


SPECIAL SAFETY INFORMATION 26M
SPECIAL SAFETY WARNINGS:
Boats, like any other form of transportation, have inherent risks. Attentions to these warnings and instructions should help keep these risks to a minimum.

THE WATER BALLAST TANK SHOULD BE FULL WHEN EITHER POWERING OR SAILING.

IF THE BALLAST TANK IS NOT COMPLETELY FULL, THE BOAT IS NOT SELF RIGHTING. (IF YOU CHOOSE TO OPERATE THE BOAT WITH AN EMPTY TANK, SEE THE SECTION ON OPERATING THE BOAT WITHOUT WATER BALLAST.)

WHEN THE BALLAST TANK IS FULL:
- NO MORE THAN 6 PERSONS, 960 POUNDS.

WHEN THE BALLAST TANK IS EMPTY:
- NO MORE THAN 4 PERSON, OR 640 POUNDS.
- CREW WEIGHT CENTERED FROM SIDE TO SIDE.
- ALL SAILS REMOVED, ENGINE POWER ONLY.
- NO ONE ON THE CABIN TOP OR FORDECK.
- WAVES LESS THAN 1 FOOT.
-OPERATE WHERE WATER IS WARM AND
RESCUE IS LIKELY.
- NEVER OPERATE THE BOAT WITH A PARTIALLY
FILLED TANK.

WHEN POWERING OVER 6 MILES PER HOUR:
- RUDDERS AND DAGGERBOARD FULL UP.
- SAILS REMOVED.
- NO ONE ON THE CABIN TOP OR FOREDECK.

ALWAYS, BEFORE OPERATING THE BOAT, CHECK TO CONFIRM THAT THE BALLAST TANK IS FULL. THE WATER LEVEL IN THE BALLAST TANK SHOULD BE NO MORE THAN 1” BELOW THE LEVEL OF THE FORWARD VENT HOLE. THEN MAKE SURE THAT THE FORWARD VENT PLUG AND THE TRANSOM VALVE ARE CLOSED AND SECURE.

THE FOLLOWING COMMENTS EXPLAIN WHY THE ABOVE RULES ARE NECESSARY.


STABILITY.
Unless the water ballast tank is completely full, with 1000 pounds of water ballast, the sailboat is not self-righting. Without the water ballast, the boat may not return to an upright position if the boat is tipped more than 60 degrees, and can capsize like most non-ballasted sailboats.

The MacGregor is big, but relatively light, and excessive crew weight can overpower the basic stability of the boat. For this reason, we have placed the restrictions on crew capacity, shown in the preceeding section.

OPERATING WITHOUT WATER BALLAST.
There may be times when you wish to operate the boat with an empty ballast tank. For example, when pulling a water skier, when trying to conserve fuel, when a faster ride is desired, or when you are in the process of filling the tank. Since only a few miles per hour are lost with a full tank, we recommend that most of your use of the boat be with a full tank. If the tank is empty, carry no more than 4 persons, or 640 pounds.

When operating with an empty ballast tank, keep the crew weight aft, low in the boat, and centered from side to side. Keep the crew in the cockpit, sitting down. The rear of the hull is relatively flat, and the nose area has a deep V to allow the boat to slide through waves with less slamming. If there is a lot of crew weight forward, the flat part of the hull bottom, which normally provides the stability, is raised higher out of the water, and is less effective in providing sideways stability. With the crew weight forward, the nose is depressed. The deep V nose shape does not contribute much to stability. When excess weight is at the front of the boat, the less stable nose area is carrying more of the weight of the boat and crew, the boat becomes far more easily tipped. Keep weight off of the forward V berth when under way, and avoid storing heavy items under the V berth. Crew members on the foredeck or cabin top are far more likely to get bounced out of the boat than those in the cockpit or inside the cabin. Anyone on the cabin top will have a natural tendency to grab the mast or mast support wires if the boat tips. That puts a heavy load high on the mast and tends to lever the boat over. Keep the weight low. Obviously, it is best to have the crew positioned so the boat sits or rides level rather than leaning to one side or the other.

Do not have the sails up when the ballast tank is empty. They can produce a very strong sideways force and capsize the boat.

If the waves are larger than one foot, they can induce a lot of rolling motion and compromise stability. Keep the ballast tank full in such conditions.

If you are operating where the chance of outside rescue is slim, where conditions are rough, or where the water is cold and uninviting, fill the ballast tank. You will go slower, but you will be a lot safer. A full ballast tank gives greater safety.


Never sail or power with the ballast tank partially full (except for the few minutes that it takes to drain the tank when you are under power). With the water sloshing around in the tank, the center of gravity of the water changes rapidly, which can make the boat relatively unstable. Fill the ballast tank full and make sure the vent and valves are securely closed. Be extra cautious when the tank is filling or draining. You can drain the tank by powering the boat at 7 miles per hour. You will be able to see the water shooting out the valve in the transom. The water tank will empty in about 3 to 4 minutes.

If the valve or vent plug is open, even slightly, the motion of the boat can drain the ballast water from the tank or allow the boat to fill with water. If either the vent plug or the filling valve is open, ballast can be lost when the boat leans over. You might think that the tank is full, and that the boat is self righting, but you may be unpleasantly surprised by an unexpected capsize. If the transom valve is left open, or partially open, the forward motion of the boat can drain the tank.

Drain the tank in the smoothest water you can find. Avoid fast stops and starts, or turns, while the tank is draining. After you think the tank is empty, check the level with the dip tube just to make sure.

NEVER POWER THE BOAT OVER 6 MILES PER HOUR WITH THE SAILS UP. The forward speed of the boat can create enough wind to capsize the boat if the sails are up. The result could be instant capsize. If the ballast tank is empty, the boat will not be self righting.

NEVER POWER THE BOAT OVER 6 MILES PER HOUR WITH THE DAGGERBOARD OR RUDDERS DOWN. If you hit something at high speed with the daggerboard or rudders down, you will stop really fast, and may damage the board or rudders .

At high speed, the daggerboard and rudders create lots of sideways lift and can cause the boat to be unstable. This can roll the boat severely or possibly cause a capsize. Pull the daggerboard all the way up into the boat and secure it well. It is extremely important to check the control line frequently while powering to be sure the board has not come loose and lowered itself. This is particularly important when the boat is pounding into waves and things tend to get jiggled loose. It is OK to leave the daggerboard down for low speeds (under 6 mph), where it will significantly enhance steering control.


BE EXTRA CAREFUL WHEN POWERING FAST.
Slow way down in waves or when powering with large crews. Waves come in all shapes and sizes, and can yield some nasty surprises. Wave induced problems, particularly with large crew loads, or crew weight high on the boat, can cause an upset.

Watch the water ahead of you. Hitting heavy stuff in the water at high speed can damage the boat or cause capsize. There is a lot of junk out there that floats just at the surface, and it is often barely visible. Bumping into something at sailing speeds is one thing, but at high speed, it can be nasty.

The boat will be less stable with the mast up than with the mast down. The mast is light, but it is up there, and, like any other weight aloft, reduces stability. When conditions are marginal, (high winds, waves, lots of crew weight, etc.), lower the mast and secure it to the pulpit and mast carrier.


DO NOT OPERATE THE BOAT WITH A LOT OF WATER IN THE BILGE (OUTSIDE OF THE BALLAST TANK). It can slosh around and seriously degrade stability. Always keep your bilges dry. Check the bilge frequently.
There are a number of places where water can collect. Check them all.

The top of the daggerboard must never go more than 57” below the level of the deck. There is a line, with a knot and washer, that will keep the board from going too far down. Do not change the position of the knot, and make sure that it is in the same position if the line is replaced.


DO NOT ALLOW ANY PART OF THE BOAT, TRAILER, MAST OR RIGGING TO COME IN CONTACT WITH ANY SOURCE OF ELECTRICAL POWER. If your mast or any part of your boat or rigging comes in contact with a power line, you could be killed or injured. Don’t sail your boat into a power line. Don’t raise the mast into a power line. Don’t move your boat, on its trailer, into a power line. Masts, wires, or wet fiberglass are good conductors of electricity and can carry current directly to you. Look up and make sure you will be clear of sources of power before doing anything with your boat. Don’t remove the warning decal from your mast. It may help you remember to look and avoid a major calamity.

If you are caught in an electrical storm, don’t touch anything that is metal, including the mast, shrouds, boom, lifelines, rudder, tiller or metal hardware. If possible, don’t touch anything that is wet. Many experts recommend that a heavy gauge copper wire be securely fastened to one of the shrouds and allowed to hang in the water to carry off the electricity from a lightning strike.

MAKE SURE THAT YOU TOW YOUR BOAT WITH A LARGE ENOUGH CAR. Check with your car manufacturer or dealer to determine if the weight of the boat and trailer is within your car’s towing capacity. Load your boat so the weight on the trailer hitch is between 250 and 300 pounds. If the weight is less, the trailer will tend to swerve dangerously from side to side. If the weight is more, an excessive load will be placed on the rear end of your car, and the trailer will be very difficult to hitch or unhitch. To protect your back when removing the trailer from the car, use the hitch jack or have an adult hang on the back of the boat to take some weight off the tongue.

NEVER OVERLOAD THE BOAT AND TRAILER. THE MAXIMUM WEIGHT IS 4200 POUNDS, AS SHOWN ON THE CERTIFICATION DECAL NEAR THE HITCH, ON THE LEFT (PORT) SIDE OF YOUR TRAILER. Remember, the maximum gross vehicle weight (G.V.W.R.) includes the weight of the trailer as well as the weight of the boat and all gear in the boat. You may not deduct the weight that is carried on the hitch of the car in arriving at the G.V.W.R. Check your state law to determine if there are any other weight or braking requirements that must be met.

MAKE SURE THE TRAILER WHEEL LUG NUTS ARE TIGHT BEFORE TRAILERING THE BOAT.

BEFORE TRAILERING THE BOAT, MAKE SURE THE NOSE OF THE BOAT IS TIED SECURELY TO THE TRAILER.

MAKE SURE THE OUTBOARD MOTOR AND MAST ARE ATTACHED FIRMLY TO THE BOAT WHEN THE BOAT IS BEING TRAILERED.

DO NOT TRAILER THE BOAT WITH ANY WATER IN THE BALLAST TANK. THE 1000 POUNDS OF WATER WILL SEVERELY OVERLOAD THE TRAILER AND THE CAR. Open the transom valve and vent, and drain the tank completely before trailering. Leave the valve open when trailering.

DON’T STORE FUEL CANS INSIDE THE BOAT. Gas fumes are explosive. Keep all gasoline containers out of the boat. Store fuel tanks in the open compartments next to the pedestal.
BATTERIES ARE DANGEROUS. TREAT THEM CAUTIOUSLY. Batteries can produce explosive gas, corrosive acid and levels of electrical current high enough to cause burns. Always wear eye protection or shield your eyes when working near any battery and remove all metal rings and jewelry. Never expose a battery to open flames or sparks. Do not smoke near a battery. It could blow up. Do not allow battery acid to contact eyes, skin, fabrics or painted surfaces. Flush any contacted area with water immediately and thoroughly. Get medical help if eyes are affected. Do not charge the battery, adjust post connections or use booster cables without making sure the battery compartment is properly ventilated. When charging the battery, carefully follow the instructions on the charger. Keep the battery filled to the proper level with distilled water. Always keep vent caps tight. Do not allow metal tools or metal parts to contact the positive (+) terminal and the negative (-) terminal or any metal connected to these terminals.

DO NOT REMOVE ANY OF THE FOAM FLOTATION BLOCKS. Loss of any of the foam could seriously impair the ability of the boat to stay afloat if damaged.

IF THE CABIN OF THE BOAT IS ENTIRELY FILLED WITH WATER, AND THE BOAT IS DEPENDENT ON THE FOAM FLOTATION TO KEEP IT AFLOAT, IT WILL BE VERY UNSTABLE, AND MAY TURN UPSIDE DOWN.

WHEN RAISING AND LOWERING THE MAST, DON’T ALLOW ANYONE TO STAND WHERE THE MAST OR SUPPORT WIRES COULD FALL IF SOMETHING, OR SOMEONE, LETS GO.

BE EXCEEDINGLY CAREFUL WHEN SAILING IN HIGH WINDS. LEARN BASIC SEAMANSHIP. The Coast Guard Auxiliary Power Squadrons offer excellent courses at low cost. This is a worthwhile investment.

BE READY TO RELEASE SAIL CONTROL LINES (SHEETS) QUICKLY IF A GUST OF WIND CAUSES THE BOAT TO LEAN EXCESSIVELY. Lines should be free of kinks and knots so they will run freely through the pulleys when it is necessary to let the sails out quickly. Tie a knot in the extreme end of the line to keep it in the pulley. Letting the lines go is your best protection from a knockdown. For best performance under sail, and for safety, keep the boat from leaning (heeling) more than about 20 to 25 degrees.

ALWAYS SHUT OFF THE OUTBOARD MOTOR WHEN THE BOAT IS NEAR PEOPLE IN THE WATER. EVEN WITH LOW HORSEPOWER MOTORS, THE PROPELLER CAN DO SERIOUS DAMAGE. Don’t allow ropes to hang in the water (particularly the rudder ropes). They could tangle in the prop and stop or damage the motor.


SPECIAL SAFETY INFORMATION 26X

The following safety warnings are included as part of the Owner's Manual that is provided to the owner at the time the boat is delivered. Many apply to power and sailboats in general, and some apply to the unique design of the MacGregor 26.

IF THE BALLAST TANK IS NOT COMPLETELY FULL, THE BOAT CAN CAPSIZE.

Unless the water ballast tank is completely full, with 1400 pounds of water ballast, the sailboat is not self-righting. Without the water ballast, the boat may not return to an upright position if the boat is tipped more than 50 degrees, and will capsize like most non-ballasted sailboats. Always, before sailing the boat, remove the 1" diameter vent plug located under the rear end of the forward V berth, and make sure that the water level is no more than 3" below the hole from which the plug was removed. Then reinstall the plug. If you have to sail the boat without ballast, do not cleat down any sail control line. You must hand hold them and release them quickly if the boat tips excessively. Always make sure that the line is untangled and free to run out to its end without jamming.

NEVER POWER THE BOAT OVER 6 MILES PER HOUR WITH THE CENTERBOARD DOWN. At high speed, the centerboard creates lots of side­ways lift and can cause the boat to be unstable. It can roll the boat severely or possibly cause a capsize. Pull it all the way up into the boat and secure it well. It is extremely important to check the cable frequently while powering to be sure the board has not come loose and lowered itself. This is particularly important when the boat is pounding into waves and things tend to get jiggled loose. It is OK to leave the board down for low speeds (under 6 mph), where it will significantly enhance steering control.

DO NOT ALLOW ANY PART OF THE BOAT, TRAILER, MAST OR RIGGING TO COME IN CONTACT WITH ANY SOURCE OF ELECTRICAL POWER. If your mast or any part of your boat or rigging comes in contact with a power line, you could be killed or injured. Don't sail your boat into a power line. Don't step your mast into a power line. Don't move your boat, on its trailer, into a power line. Masts, wire shrouds, or wet fiberglass are good conductors of electricity and can carry current directly to you. Look up and make sure you will be clear of sources of power before doing anything with your boat. Don't remove the warning decal from your mast. It may help you remember to look and avoid a major calamity.

If you are caught in an electrical storm, don't touch anything that is metal, including the mast, shrouds, boom, lifelines, rudder, tiller or metal hardware. If possible, don't touch anything that is wet. Many experts recommend that a heavy gauge copper wire be securely fastened to one of the shrouds and allowed to hang in the water to carry off the electricity from a lightning strike.

MAKE SURE THAT YOU TOW YOUR BOAT WITH A LARGE ENOUGH CAR. Check with your car manufacturer or dealer to determine if the weight of the boat and trailer is within your car's towing capacity. Load your boat so the weight on the trailer hitch is between 250 and 280 pounds. If the weight is less, the trailer will tend to swerve dangerously from side to side. If the weight is more, an excessive load will be placed on the rear end of your car, and the trailer will be very difficult to hitch or unhitch. To protect your back when removing the trailer from the car, use the hitch jack or have an adult hang on the back of the boat to take some weight off the tongue.

NEVER OVERLOAD THE BOAT AND TRAILER. THE MAXIMUM WEIGHT IS 3500 POUNDS, AS SHOWN ON THE CERTIFICATION DECAL NEAR THE HITCH, ON THE LEFT (PORT) SIDE OF YOUR TRAILER. Remember, the maximum gross vehicle weight (G.V.W.R.) includes the weight of the trailer as well as the weight of the boat and all gear in the boat. You may not deduct the weight that is carried on the hitch of the car in arriving at the G.V.W.R. Check your state law to determine if there are any other weight or braking requirements that must be met.

MAKE SURE THE WHEEL LUG NUTS ARE TIGHT BEFORE TRAILERING THE BOAT.

BEFORE TRAILERING THE BOAT, MAKE SURE THE NOSE OF THE BOAT IS TIED SECURELY TO THE TRAILER.

MAKE SURE THE OUTBOARD MOTOR AND MAST ARE ATTACHED FIRMLY TO THE BOAT WHEN THE BOAT IS BEING TRAILERED.

DO NOT TRAILER THE BOAT WITH ANY WATER IN THE BALLAST TANK. THE 1400 POUNDS OF WATER WILL SEVERELY OVERLOAD THE TRAILER AND THE CAR. Open the transom valve and vent, and drain the tank completely before trailering. Leave the valve open when trailering.

DON'T STORE FUEL CANS INSIDE THE BOAT. Gas fumes are explosive. Keep all gasoline containers out of the boat. Store fuel tanks in the open compartments next to the steering pedestal.

BATTERIES ARE DANGEROUS. TREAT THEM CAUTIOUSLY. Batteries can produce explosive gas, corrosive acid and levels of electrical current high enough to cause burns. Always wear eye protection or shield your eyes when working near any battery and remove all metal rings and jewelry. Never expose a battery to open flames or sparks. Do not smoke near a battery. It could blow up. Do not allow battery acid to contact eyes, skin, fabrics or painted surfaces. Flush any contacted area with water immediately and thoroughly. Get medical help if eyes are affected. Do not charge the battery, adjust post connections or use booster cables without making sure the battery compartment is properly ventilated. When charging the battery, carefully follow the instructions on the charger. Keep the battery filled to the proper level with distilled water. Always keep vent caps tight. Do not allow metal tools or metal parts to contact the positive (+) terminal and the negative (-) terminal or any metal connected to these terminals.

DO NOT REMOVE ANY OF THE FOAM FLOTATION BLOCKS. Loss of any of the foam could seriously impair the ability of the boat to stay afloat if damaged.

IF THE CABIN OF THE BOAT IS ENTIRELY FILLED WITH WATER, AND THE BOAT IS DEPENDENT ON THE FOAM FLOTATION TO KEEP IT AFLOAT, IT WILL BE VERY UNSTABLE, AND MAY TURN UPSIDE DOWN.

WHEN RAISING AND LOWERING THE MAST, DON'T ALLOW ANYONE TO STAND WHERE THE MAST OR SUPPORT WIRES COULD FALL IF SOMETHING, OR SOMEONE, LETS GO.

BE EXCEEDINGLY CAREFUL WHEN SAILING IN HIGH WINDS. LEARN BASIC SEAMANSHIP. The Coast Guard Auxiliary Power Squadrons offer excellent courses at low cost. This is a worthwhile investment.

BE READY TO RELEASE SAIL CONTROL LINES (SHEETS) QUICKLY IF A GUST OF WIND CAUSES THE BOAT TO LEAN EXCESSIVELY. Lines should be free of kinks and knots so they will run freely through the pulleys when it is necessary to let the sails out quickly. Tie a knot in the extreme end of the line to keep it in the pulley. Letting the lines go is your best protection from a knockdown. For best performance and safety, keep the boat from leaning (heeling) more than about 20 to 25 degrees.

ALWAYS SHUT OFF THE OUTBOARD MOTOR WHEN THE BOAT IS NEAR PEOPLE IN THE WATER. EVEN WITH LOW HORSEPOWER MOTORS, THE PROPELLER CAN DO SERIOUS DAMAGE. Don’t allow ropes to hang in the water (particularly the rudder ropes). They could tangle in the prop and stop or damage the motor.

EXCEPT WHEN FILLING OR EMPTYING THE WATER TANK, NEVER OPERATE THE BOAT WITHOUT SECURELY CLOSING THE TRANSOM VALVE AND THE VENT PLUG. If the valve or vent plug is open, even slightly, the motion of the boat can drain the ballast water from the tank or allow the boat to fill with water. If either the vent plug or the filling valve is open, ballast can be lost when the boat leans over under sail. You may think the tank is full, and that the boat is self righting, but you may be unpleasantly surprised by an unexpected capsize. If the transom valve is left open, the forward motion of the boat can drain the tank, resulting in capsize.

DON'T PULL THE BOAT OVER ON ITS SIDE USING THE MAIN HALYARD. If you have to tip the boat for maintenance or for any other reason, use the jib halyard. Using the main halyard will break the mast.

NEVER POWER THE BOAT OVER 6 MILES PER HOUR WITH THE SAILS UP. The forward speed of the boat can create enough wind to capsize the boat if the sails are up. The result could be instant capsize. If the water tank is empty, as it frequently is when powering, the boat will not be self righting.

DO NOT SAIL OR POWER THE BOAT WITH THE STEERING SEAT IN THE RAISED POSITION. If the motion of the boat or the wind causes the seat to fall into the lowered position, someone could be hurt. Make sure the seat is secured in the open position, with the snap cable to the lifeline, every time it is opened.

DO NOT OVERLOAD THE BOAT. Six adults is the limit. With more than this, the weight of the crew becomes very large in relation to the weight of the boat, and the stability of the boat might be compromised. It is important to use great care when carrying large crews to insure that the weight is properly distributed so as not to cause undue tipping or instability.

WHEN POWERING OVER 6 MPH, THE RUDDERS SHOULD BE IN THE FULL UP POSITION. They can generate enormous sideways loads when the boat is moving fast, and can contribute a lot of capsizing energy. With the rudders down at high speed, you may damage the rudders or the steering system.

DO NOT OPERATE THE BOAT WITH A LOT OF WATER IN THE BILGE (OUTSIDE OF THE BALLAST TANK). It can slosh around and seriously degrade stability. Always keep your bilges dry. Check the bilge frequently.

SPECIAL WARNINGS ON STABILITY. After sailing a ballasted sailboat, you get a bit spoiled and forget that unballasted boats, including the MacGregor 26 with an empty water ballast tank, can capsize and will not right themselves. This can happen under sail or under power. Here are a few hints for keeping the boat on its feet when the ballast tank is not full.

Keep crew and passengers off of the cabin top and foredeck. The 26 is big, but relatively light, and crew weight can be a very significant portion of the overall weight. Misplaced crew or excessive crew weight can overpower the basic stability of the boat. Be extremely cautious. Fill the ballast tank when there are more than four people on the boat. Be extra cautious when powering fast with more than 4 people on the boat.

Keep the crew weight aft, low in the boat, and centered from side to side. Keep the crew in the cockpit, sitting down. The rear of the hull is relatively flat, and the nose area has a deep V to allow the boat to slide through waves with less slamming. If there is a lot of crew weight forward, the flat part of the hull bottom, which normally provides the stability, is raised higher out of the water, and is less effective in providing sideways stability. With the crew weight forward, the nose is depressed. The deep V nose shape does not contribute much to stability. When excess weight is at the front of the boat, the less stable nose area is carrying more of the weight of the boat and crew, the boat becomes far more easily capsized. Keep weight off of the forward V berth when under way, and avoid storing heavy items under the V berth. Crew members on the foredeck or cabin top are far more likely to get bounced out of the boat than those in the cockpit or inside the cabin. Anyone on the cabin top will have a natural tendency to grab the mast or mast support wires if the boat tips. That puts a heavy load high on the mast and tends to lever the boat over. Keep the weight low. Obviously, it is best to have the crew positioned so the boat sits or rides level rather than leaning to one side or the other.

Slow way down in waves or when powering with large crews. Waves come in all shapes and sizes, and can yield some nasty surprises. Wave induced problems, particularly with large crew loads, or crew weight high on the boat, can cause an upset.

Watch the water ahead of you. Hitting heavy stuff in the water at high speed can damage the boat or cause capsize. There is a lot of junk out there that floats just at the surface, and it is often barely visible. Bumping into something at sailing speeds is one thing, but at high speed, it can be nasty.

The boat will be less stable with the mast up than with the mast down. The mast is light, but it is up there, and, like any other weight aloft, reduces stability. When conditions are marginal, (high winds, waves, lots of crew weight, etc.), lower the mast and secure it to the pulpit and mast carrier.

If you are operating where the chance of outside rescue is slim, where conditions are rough, or where the water is cold and uninviting, fill the ballast tank. You will go slower, but you will be a lot safer. A full ballast tank gives greater safety.

Never sail or power with the ballast tank partially full (except for the few minutes that it takes to drain the tank when you are under power). With the water sloshing around in the tank, the center of gravity of the water changes rapidly, which can make the boat relatively unstable. Fill the tank full and make sure the vent and valves are securely closed. Be extra cautious when the tank is filling or draining. Get the nose up and drain the tank in the smoothest water you can find. Avoid fast stops and starts, or turns, while the tank is draining. Be watchful that the water is not pouring out of the vent hole into the boat. This may happen if the nose gets too high. After you think the tank is empty, check the level with the dip tube just to make sure.

Do not install a lifting hydrofoil on the cavitation plate of the outboard motor. These are airfoil shaped wings, offered in various sizes and shapes. Their purpose is to provide lift at the stern of the boat. This raises the stern and forces the bow down, allowing the boat to get up on a plane more quickly. If they do keep the boat level when coming up on a plane, the ballast tank may not drain completely when the boat is underway. You may think you have an empty tank, but you may not.

These hydrofoils create another problem when the boat turns or leans sideways while underway. The lift that they provide goes straight up the centerline of the outboard motor, adding a strong force to promote further leaning or capsize.

These devices can exert a large amount of force; enough to snap off the cavitation plate that is cast as part of the drive shaft housing. Avoid them.


We ship everywhere in North America. For International Shipments,
please call Sharp Industries at (949) 642-9491.

boats for sale in California

marina del rey macgregor 26
MacGregor Sailboats
Mike Inmon
949-642-6830

1631 Placentia Ave.
Costa Mesa, California 92627
949-642-6830

 

 

 

 

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Captain Mike's MacGregor 26 Sailing Tips
A growing collection of MacGregor sailing tips. These pages are updated regularly, so check back often.
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