Why can't the M significantly out sail the X

A forum for discussion of how to rig and tune your boat or kicker to achieve the best sailing performance.

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Post by baldbaby2000 » Thu Mar 03, 2005 6:01 am

Congrats on your new boat. I'm sure you'll like it. You find neat mod suggestions on this page. Regarding the X vs M discussions: As has been stated before, X people generally like the X and M people like the M. It only makes sense; we probably bought the boat we like better and so state the things that went into our choices. I think that's a good discussion to have. Not that anyone is going to convince me to sell my M and get an X. But people who haven't decided yet can hear both points of view.

I think there is a lot to be learned about tuning the M. I suspect that I could get mine to sail better with tighter rigging. Hopefully we can figure it out together on this forum.


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Post by Moe » Thu Mar 03, 2005 10:25 am

Micheal, I don't consider rational debate of differences "bashing." Fortunately, Heath allows this forum to be just that, a forum, something highly restricted at many so-called "open-minded" institutions, where "political correctness" i.e. an overriding fear of hurting someone's feelings, results in intimidation and ostrasization of those with unconventional views and innovative ideas, who will not be silenced by the "let's all just get along" mentality. This is the nature of the masses, and probably from Brent's perspective, we aren't totally free of it here.

Those of us who prefer the X no longer have the option to buy a new one. That's the situation we were in this past year. I didn't like it, and I'll continue to speak about it, expressing my view of the matter. Perhaps, as they did with the 2005, MacGregor will continue to address what many of us feel are major mistakes on the M.

The 26X had evolved into a cruising motorsailor with a near optimal interior for its size. To begin with, the interior was low maintenance, and all upholstery was removable for cleaning and for where mold and mildew could be a problem. It was definitely more child-friendly. It had a light, open appearance, not broken up with a dark head wall requiring a mirror to attempt to recapture that.

It had dinette seating for 4 adults, rather than only three, both benches were easily accessible from their ends and opposite the port side seating for good conversation, and the table was actually wide enough for two people on each bench, rather than requiring the forward inboard occupant to eat off the table corner. The dinette was raised, providing a view outside from the seated position.

The removable forward dinette backrest to extend the V-berth made sleeping there an option for many adult couples who prefer the V-berth vs the aft berth. Now the V-berth is limited by the head bulkhead and in the opinion of many of us, is no longer suitable for adult use. The X aft berth had evolved into a more accessible accomodation, with the replacement of the "step" with a swing up ladder. While the area under the M "bridgedeck" could provide even higher access centrally to the aft berth, it's blocked by a tall, fixed ladder requiring berth access from the sides and preventing optimal head positioning.

The X head was located in the tallest part of the cabin where it was central and easily accessed from the cabin or cockpit. It was easy to replace the low small capacity Sani-Potty with a higher larger capacity model, something essential for more than two people for a cruise of any length. That was possible in the early M, but no longer practical. Although some (me) consider the X head sink redundant, many (wife included) have a thing about washing hands in the galley sink after using the bathroom, and appreciate one in the head.

The X cockpit was roomy, especially at the sole, and people sitting on the forward ends had leg and foot room now eliminated by the "bridgedeck." The full pedestal required less bend in the control cables and more flexibility for mounting controls, and more room for instrument mounting than the current pedestal.

The X had minimal, but barely adequate, room beside the outboard for boarding over the transom, with sufficient room to store the hatchboard under the pilot seat, and that is now all but gone. The X was easy to board or debark over the stern from the dock, with the "back porch" to step onto, and to stand on while raising and lowering the pilot seat. The back porch was also an ideal place for cooking (see Duane's mod page) and fish cleaning. That is also now gone.

There were complaints about the X, however. The problem affecting most owners was pounding in chop at high motoring speeds. Moderate-V hulls typically have about 14-16 degrees of deadrise, while deep-Vs have around 21-23 degrees. The X was almost as flat-bottomed as an aluminum fishing boat at only 8 degrees, to provide higher intial stability, and the greatest lift and lowest drag possible, for use with a small 50 HP motor. The cost was ride quality at higher speeds, and the result was a smoother riding deeper-V. In my opinion, it's unfortunate the horsepower rating was not raised to offset the deeper-V's loss of efficiency. While there are 60HP motors no heavier than 50s, there is one some 100 pounds heavier, and it's possible MacGregor didn't want to include use of it by raising the limit.

While some 800 happy family/cruising types were annually ignoring allegations of self-annointed "real sailors" who bashed the X as "sailing like a dog," Roger, like Rodney Dangerfield, just "couldn't get no respect" with the powersailing X, especially when compared to the award and kudos he got for previous classic designs. While many, if not most, of the large X target market subscribed to Duane's "Going to windward is what motors are for" philosophy, some, more sailing-oriented buyers/owners, complained about the X sailing performance, particularly upwind, and the leeway and weather helm problems. They also complained about too much foot room width in the cockpit hindering bracing oneself on the high side. Their concerns were addressed with a smaller footwell, and theoretically better daggerboard, nifty rotating mast, and mini-version of a "real sailboat" traveler, at the expense of the X's awesome interior layout and roomy cockpit.

The thing that may have been the largest influence on, and motivation for, design change was the capsize at night of an unballasted, heavily overloaded X, skippered by a drunk powerboating friend of the owner, and the resulting drowning of two children entangled in the rigging, with the mast buried in the shallow bottom. Fortunately, the judge saw through the defense's use of a so-called "expert" testifying the boat was inherently unsafe, and placed the blame where it belonged, not on the boat. Nevertheless, the publicity ensured the "image" damage was done, and the use of permanent ballast and foam filled mast is no doubt here now to assist in the event of capsize of an unballasted boat, even though Roger seems to maintain the permanent ballast is there to maintain stability with the deeper V.

There's no doubt the M addressed some of the "sailors" (vs "cruisers") issues, but the question at hand is, is it any faster? From the limited experiences shared here, the answer so far is, if so, by an amount so small as to be insignficant for many. What isn't insignficant for many, are the compromises to the X's cruising prowess. Then again, there are those who don't consider them compromises. That's what debate is all about.

When it comes to the centerboard, some of us like the interior it allows, its forgiveness when grounding on hard bottom, and even changing the center of pressure during retraction. Others like the daggerboard and consistant center of pressure, satisfied with performance grounding on softer bottom, and despite what it does to the cabin interior.

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26M phrf

Post by Richard O'Brien » Thu Mar 03, 2005 3:41 pm

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Post by Catigale » Thu Mar 03, 2005 4:39 pm

There isnt enough blue in the blue hull???

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Post by mtc » Thu Mar 03, 2005 6:03 pm

Moe, et al:

Completely agree with the debate issue - wouldnt want to offend anyone either, but that wasn't entirely my point. Perhaps it was just me, but the debate here was seemingly becoming less about the reality of the question of M 'faster' than X and more about 'ok, it is, but not by much.

Ok, so it is. If speed was the goal for a trailer sailboat, get a Corsair. Ah, but no place to go below and party. Hmmm. Compromise. I was just wondering about the boat bashing. Though not that strong on this string, it certainly is on others. Whatever. No problem.

Glad you spent the time on the treatise of the X. Great job! Wish someone would do one on the M. Or, better - someone do a comparison/contrast.

I'm so sorry to hear that someone lost their children as you outlined above; that's horrible. Unfortunately, some think cars kill people, nope - it's almost always the pilot.

Anyway, you say on your sidebar that your location is Beavercreek OH wannabe in Pensacola? Are you originally from here? Unbelievable sailing area! Hard to believe that there are so few boats. Actually, many fewer since the storm. There were several aluminum masts popping out of the bay, well, only 10 feet or so of masts that is.

So, I'm very, very happy to have found you guys. You all seem like a great bunch of sailors. Hope you didn't find my debate over our debate problematic.


Next time you're in PNS, let me know. My boat's faster than your boat. :wink:

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Post by Scott » Thu Mar 03, 2005 6:15 pm

Funny mtc. Your boat may be faster but there are some awful good sailors on this board.

Either that or they can use the internet and cut/paste their way into making me believe they are.

Ive owned a lot of boats in my life and now in the middle of it Ive chosen a Mac and am satisfied. I did my research also and racing was way down the checklist, but whats the old saying?? 2 boats on a piece of water and youve got a race?

I have been suprised when I beat sailors on my lake with supposedly superior boats, sometimes by sailors that could teach me a thing or 3. Only to be sandbagged in a prerace reefing discussion the following week and having my posterior handed to me on a platter.

Ive beaten the only M on our lake everytime Ive come up against it but the skipper is a reformed powerboater. I would like to sail against a well crewed M just to satisfy my curiosity but I would never take to bashing another mans boat.

Well maybe that one on the other dock with the marine ply super structure. Haha


(even if you own an M)

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Bash Or debate . .

Post by Divecoz » Thu Mar 03, 2005 6:15 pm

X V M . . its all a matter of needs and wants . . . The ladder to the cabin so it hinges /folds away is a cheap and simple fix and the pieces look very professional. The inside of the M is Gorgeous not Spartan so if your not in need of gutting out the interior . . .don't. I need to wait and see what I like and don't like about the M . . .till the end off my first season of sailing.

Most folks I have talked to said the swivel mast is a great idea the rest hadn't a clue as to what I was talking about go figure .
Moe you prefer the X . . . in fact adamantly so, yet as stated you have yet to sail one . . how can anyone have so many opinions of something they have never used in fact your not a sailor as of yet . . am I correct?
So I can see where some feel like your attacking without knowledge . Your posting's about what you think Roger is up to and or thinking and why he is doing this or that and how the M is never going to sell more than half ... Opinion's yes and by all means have them , but you seem to love reading and ingesting ( no doubt you have an incredible retention rate )but you pick and choose what you desire to use , so as too support your views / you leave a lot out and its by your choosing . That's called Spinning the fact's my friend.
I will admit I have read very little about . . HOW TO SAIL . Audrey and I went out hired a private sailing instructor, and learned first hand, . . . hands on btw. After having been an instructor in three different sport's, I am more than aware of the fact that books can be nice for amusement and for gaining some knowledge but NOTHING. . . . replaces getting out there and doing it first hand with proper equiptment and knowledgeable instruction .
So IMHO all your rants about how great the X is and what a piece of crap the M is . . .and why it is , is in fact a collection of other people opinions , your opinions /fact based that is , HAVE to be few and far between because your boat has yet to get wet with you on board.
Your words btw " The 26X had evolved into a cruising motorsailor with a near optimal interior for its size. To begin with, the interior was low maintenance, and all upholstery was removable for cleaning and for where mold and mildew could be a problem. "
My words" the X looks cheaply made with no use of color and no attention giving to interior design much like a cheaphollow skiff with a lid on it . Be careful of that aft located head when coming down the steps if the door was left open . That step btw looks like it may have come direct from Wal-Mart ." Now for those who own an X I was being facetious so take no offence pleae. Yes Moe my desire IS not to offend if I can, as it takes the fun and enjoyment out of this board . If I desire to argue my opinions even with Engineers,. . . . . I can go to work where they pay me "pretty well" to do so. Here I come to get help and ideas and . . . .go figure just to say HI to other guys who already enjoy "doing". . . something I hope to enjoy soon as well .

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Post by mtc » Thu Mar 03, 2005 7:04 pm


You're a trip. Is that you in the photo, or one of your kids? What makes kids make faces like that. We've got four girls - yes, I sit when I pee, so the head in the M scares me, especially with my novice lovely bride at the helm. What did I say to her last?

Anyway, as to the racing and learning, well. I learned to sail with a maniacal ex-Viet Nam fighter pilot (F-4 I believe) who drank and sailed like a banshee. To him, the race wasn't run unless we bullied ourselves across the course. I can see him now, Randy Miller, standing on the bench in a Speedo (not a pretty sight) waving his long neck, screaming 'Starboard, you b******!!' to another boat (think it was an attorney in one of those gorgeous new J 30s) - then the sound of the pounding hulls (nothing else makes that sound) as we told them!! All this on a Cat 27.

We won every race we entered. He was one hull of a sailor and he showed me that the boat had every thing to do with cost but little to do with winning the race.

Ah, the joys of racing on Randy's boat . . . :o

You're right, Scott - got to get out there and sail the boat. Did I mention that I was sailing my Cat 38 out in Pensacola Bay? Not really, it sunk in Ivan. The Mac was the perfect choice for me. Not a racer at all, but it's the skipper that makes the boat move.


Woo, getting a bit testy, eh? You would have liked sailing with Randy. The man had so many trophies around his bay front house (retired we paid for it) that they were a nuisance. I just love the banter.

On the speed issue Oh yea? I have a Ford big block 460 I recently built out in my garage bored .60 over with a cam, 11:1 forged pistons, and one hull of an induction system. Aught to suck fuel like theres no tomorrow. . .

Think Ill mount it in my M if I ever get delivery.

Then, my boat will reeaallly be faster than your boat!!

Keep it up you guys rock!


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Post by Moe » Thu Mar 03, 2005 7:50 pm

mtc, I was born and raised in Pensacola, lived on Innerarity Point and in Warrington, but mostly in Pleasant Grove a few miles from the ICW. We were out on Grand Lagoon, Old River, or in the Gulf almost every weekend, and were charter members of the Grand Lagoon Yacht Club, where I learned to sail. I was also a NAUI certified diver in those days. ;)

I towed the Whaler down there the weekend before Ivan hit for a owners' rendezvous held at Pirate's Cove over in the Orange Beach area. Roberts Bayou was already filling up with boats taking shelter from Ivan on Saturday.

We stayed in a cabin in the Oak Grove campground next to the lighthouse, and launched out of Sherman Cove, on the NAS. We went out Monday, and the cove was deserted except for a couple of big boats tied to the shore on the south side. There was a big sailboat without mast, anchored and abandoned near Fort MacRae and several others and a trawler left on the north side of Perdido Key. We were the only ones out on the lagoon except those running for cover.

When we got back to the cabin, we were given an hour to get our stuff and evacuate, so we headed home. As we headed out the back gate, I noted all the privately owned boats still in the storage areas, and later saw the aerial photos of them scattered across the road into the woods, and the marina lifted off its foundation and turned 90 degrees. We followed the TV news, and the News-Journal's blog and photos throughout whole week, and I saw the photos of sailboats stacked on top of, and impaling each other, both at the NAS Bayou Grande marina and the municipal docks. It was devastating. I spent hours pouring through the NOAA aerial photos, especially those of Orange Beach, Perdido Key, and Santa Rosa Island.

Yeah, I do miss Pensacola. You're lucky to be there.


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Post by mtc » Thu Mar 03, 2005 8:15 pm

I love it here, I truly do.

It is a small world indeed. The J30 I was going to by was moored at GLYC! Last slip east. That quaint little club was also destroyed by the storm. I went back afterwards to try and see who made it through the night. There were boats across the road, in the trees, and just horrible catastrophic damage. Its so sad that so many people lost their lives that night. What an incredible power, a hurricane. As a meteorology freak, Im fascinated and frightened all at the same time by them.

We rode Ivan out in our home in East Hill. Scared sh~t and Ill never ever do something that stupid again. The trade winds blistering my brick home at 115 were sort of ok, but the tornadoes - I lost count - were beyond fear. I was catatonic, 2 AM sitting on my bed staring at the ceiling wondering what it would look like when it was sucked off. I remember knowing that the Cat 38 I fell in love with at Pitt's slip was gone. In fact all those beautiful boats, were gone.

The marina had floating docks and float they did. The concrete pylons towered 15' above the deck and the 20-23' surge floated them up and over the towers and onto the boats. Just a pile of fiberglass, flotsam, SS, aluminum spars, and what was left of my dream boat.

But, (slap, slap) now I have a beautiful Mac M (almost) and I can take it anywhere and get there fast. The Fat Cat, as they're affectionately called, drew just over 6' and weighted several tons. What was I thinking?

I'm convinced that the Mac was meant to be. It all makes sense. Im a happy guy to be alive after that XXXXXXX storm, happily awaiting my new toy (yes, toy), and very much enjoying you guys.

Thanks for the camaraderie


Oh, yea, as you can see, I got my M thingy on the left so I can now be targeted as an M'er. :wink:

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Post by Moe » Thu Mar 03, 2005 8:20 pm

divecoz, I was taught to sail as a kid and did so for many years, admittedly on smaller boats. And I haven't sailed in a long time.

If you really do read my posts, you should've noted I'm the one who's investing as little as possible until we spend a season with it and decide if we like it. We've fellowshipped with seasoned sailors in the Power Squadron, several times a month for the last year and a half, and the few things we have purchased were some of their "gotta haves." So where you get the idea we're buying a bunch of stuff, I have no idea.

If you'll note, my criticisms of the M are about the accomodations, and I don't need to have splashed the boat to evaluate that. We've stayed in the X at truck stops, and spent a lot of time in the cabin at home, so we know what we like. We've spent time in the Ms at the nearest dealer, so we know what we don't like about them. And that's what my likes and dislikes detailed above are based on, actual ownership and experience with the accomodations.

Until you get your boat and spend some time in it, that, my friend, is something you're currently clueless about, so the only way you can enter this debate is by trying to discredit someone you don't agree with.


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Re: Sometimes you have to rough up the surphase to find the

Post by Mark Prouty » Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:47 pm

You Yours wrote:Divecoz~~Youre my kind of electrician. Hard-wired and cut it short.

You Yours

Frank C

Post by Frank C » Fri Mar 04, 2005 3:02 pm

mtc wrote: . . . But, (slap, slap) now I have a beautiful Mac M (almost) and I can take it anywhere and get there fast. The Fat Cat, as they're affectionately called, drew just over 6' and weighted several tons. What was I thinking . . .
You've cited the essence of Roger's product strategy . . . the 26M and 26X are simply two ways to skin the same cat. I'll be looking forward to reading your retrospective next winter, 26M vs. Fat Cat.

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