Macgregor 26x

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Macgregor 26x

Hi All

Not sure if this is in the correct topic

I'm going to have a look at a couple of 26x's this weekend (never owned a boat before and will be having a survey) but from everyone's experience what do I need to keep a special eye out for while looking at them

Thanks in advance


Stephen and Julia

leigh.ross's picture
Hi Stephen 

Hi Stephen

I’ve got the S models but some issues are common.

If its got the original trailer ,check for corrosion in the tongue just behind the hitch. They rust out there.

Check the dagger board for damage on the leading edge. Bad dings will imply similar damage to the casing itself.

Sail condition. Figure on about $1400 for a new main and jib. I bought mine from Precision and am very happy with them

Check rigging for kinks , corrosion etc. Most fittings for these boats are available from Blue Water Yachts in the US but not the rigging. The UK boats were supplied with “ real “ rigging. Roll swaged terminals , turnbuckles etc. The US boats came with cheaper swaged terminals and chainplate adjuster plates.

They all leak through the deck fittings. So see if the interior shows signs of long immersions.

Original cushions are rubbish. Plan on replacing the foam with much firmer stuff. I don’t think it’s worth going the whole hog and having custom thicker ones made but that’s up to you wallet.

The motors are huge huge and expensive by trailer boat standards so will represent a large part of the price. Make sure it’s in good shape ,pay someone if you’re not very familiar with big outboards. A new Honda 50 will set you back £7500 alone.

Accessories add up fast. Does it have radios , flares, life rings , life jackets , anchors , lines , dinghy, dinghy outboard etc. You can easily run up another few thousand on these items.

Ill let the X sailers give you more specific advice now.

Oh, one more item. These boats were never intended to take you through a Force 10 on the North Sea but fir their intended use, they’re tops. So ignore the armchair admirals who tell you they’re junk.

Have fun



Leigh Ross


0777 558-4561

1990 MacGregor 26S Ptarmigan 

1992 MacGregor 26S Pelican 

Thanks for the info Leigh

Thanks for the info Leigh
Will read again before we set off on our search on Saturday


Stephen and Julia

rick.jones's picture
Hi Stephen, and welcome!

Hi Stephen, and welcome!

My first Mac was a 1997 X, and there are a few of Leigh's points on 26Cs that don't apply (but otherwise excellent advice!).

The X has a swing centre-board, not a dagger board, so you don't get problems with damage to the trunk. But when inspecting a boat on the water, make sure the board lowers and raises smoothly.

Several features of the X evolved between early 1997 and late 1998, so you'll see slightly different things depending on the age. One of the most noticeable is access to the cabin. Originally it was a GRP step on the cabin floor, that removes to reveal the ballast tank vent. Later, it was replaced by a ladder, and the ballast vent was moved to under the forward bunk. This is supposed to give better venting of the tank. Mine had the earlier arrangement, but I can't say it was a problem. Very early ones only have a 2" ballast valve on the transom, which makes for slow filling & emptying. This was fairly quickly upgraded to 3", so only some very early models will have the 2".

Another significant change was the rudder design. The original rudder brackets were cast aluminium, and developed a history of cracking. The design was changed to stainless, which is a lot stronger. Again, though, mine had the aluminium brackets and suffered no failures. The rudder shape was changed at the same time.

There was also a change to the steering. The earlier rotary helm was changed to a rack and pinion. I think the rack design was supposed to be more positive and reliable. However, I've heard just as many reports of problems and failures of the rack design as the older style, so I don't think there's any reason to favour either. The rack version has a taller central cockpit console because the rack arrangement needs extra space.

Steering linkages are a common source of problems, so ensure the helm turns smoothly from lock to lock, and the connecting bars etc. at the transom all work properly. It's all exposed on the X, so you can see easily if everything's working. Undue stiffness is usually corrosion in the cable from the helm to transom. They are impossible to lubricate, but are a standard part so readily replaced.

The rigging wasn't changed for UK, unlike the earlier boats that Leigh referred to. Chain-plates are standard, although some owners will have upgraded with turnbuckles. If a boat that age still has original standing rigging, then it's overdue replacement anyway, and can be readily made to measure by any local rigging shop.

The thing you'll find about Macs is that, being basic boats and easy to modify, almost every owner will have made their own tweaks to the boat, sometimes minor, sometimes very substantial. You're highly unlikely to find a "standard 26X"! That can make it quite hard to compare one against another.

The most important thing is that the hull, deck, mast & boom are sound, most of the rest is fittings that are generally standard stuff that can be sourced in the UK and replaced. You just need to make sure the price reflects anything that might need spending to bring the boat up to scratch.

I was in your situation about 10 years ago, the best thing is to do as much reading and research as you can on the boats, and take your time looking at them. Make sure to compare several and you'll get a good feel for what you're looking at.

Good luck!

Rick Jones (Treasurer) 1994 Mac 19 "White Lightning", Isle of Wight

Hi Rick

Hi Rick

Thanks for all the tips, it's interesting to read about the variations over the production of the boat, the two we are looking at on Saturday are a well modified 1996 & a pretty much original 2003

The 96 has been sailed more than motored (outboard added for sale) whilst
the 03 has been motored rather than sailed (mast removed & stored for some time but sails new)

Will be interesting looking at them & trying to compare, with our plan to sail in the lake district with the possibility of motoring for a season in York

Will I'm trying to source surveys in both locations it's seems you either get motor surveys or sailing surveys, I'll keep searching once we've looked at the boats

Thanks again

Stephen and Julia

Soon Stephen I will be

Soon Stephen I will be advertising my Tattoo 26 (2013). If you would like a discussion please direct message me on

Best regards


Hi Graham

Hi Graham
Tattoo 2013 will be out or my budget, and if it's a similar layout to the M, then that's another negative (hence the search for an X)

Good luck with finding a buyer though


Stephen and Julia

Hi All

Hi All

Just been reading through the knowledge base resources about towing

I thought I'd read somewhere 26x & trailer was around 1600 Kg (prob before any mods)
Which meant our 2 litre Skoda Superb would be Ok 1800 Kg limit
Having read about some boat & trailer combo's getting up to 2200 Kg I'll a bit concerned and now thinking of going back to my original plan of hiring a van to tow them the 2 to 4 times a year I'll need to move it

Thoughts please


Stephen and Julia

david.claassen's picture
I would be very hesitant to

I would be very hesitant to tow with your vehicle, simply because you never just have the weight of the boat to pull. I use a Ranger pickup (although I have a 26M) and am very glad for every bit of power and the stability I get on the road. Having a tandem axle setup also helps with tongue weight and tracking ability.

David Claassen

"Logan's Run"

2006 26M