any mods / suggestions for reducing heel in a 26x?

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Brian-Up-North
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Sailboat: MacGregor 26X

any mods / suggestions for reducing heel in a 26x?

Post by Brian-Up-North » Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:50 pm

Hi All,
My family hates it when my 26x has significant heel. I want to investigate ways of having more pleasurable family cruising.

I assume I could fill the centreboard with shot to increase the fixed ballast and that may reduce heel.

I also assume outriggers could virtually eliminate heel.

Any other ideas for mods that would help reduce heel? eg larger custom centerboard?

Any and all ideas would be much appreciated.

Thanks

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dlandersson
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Re: any mods / suggestions for reducing heel in a 26x?

Post by dlandersson » Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:07 pm

Because of the relatively high centr of gravity of the water ballast (vs being six feet under the boat), Macs are considered "tender", that is, they will heel fairly early, then "stiffen up" (past 10-15 degrees) as the water ballast is raised above the water level and gravity takes over, attempting to bring the Mac back down. Having an inclinometrer on the cabin bulkhead facing the cockpit can help everyone see how much heeling is going on vs. "what it feels like" - especially when new to sailing.

Always have your water ballast in.

Reduce your sail area. Have a main with multiple reef points. Have roller furling.
Brian-Up-North wrote:Hi All,
My family hates it when my 26x has significant heel. I want to investigate ways of having more pleasurable family cruising.

I assume I could fill the centreboard with shot to increase the fixed ballast and that may reduce heel.

I also assume outriggers could virtually eliminate heel.

Any other ideas for mods that would help reduce heel? eg larger custom centerboard?

Any and all ideas would be much appreciated.

Thanks
Last edited by dlandersson on Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:04 am, edited 3 times in total.

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RussMT
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Re: any mods / suggestions for reducing heel in a 26x?

Post by RussMT » Sat Mar 16, 2019 7:17 pm

I know some Mac M owners have loaded lead shot into the dagger. It creates lots of other issues. The board is flimsy and the weight requires beefing up the board all around so it doesn't bulge and break. Then the raising system needs to be beefed up to accommodate the extra weight. I believe it created marginal improvements in heal and not necessarily worth all the effort and expense.

Outriggers? That would be interesting.

It's a light boat. As mentioned above, maybe reducing sail area (reefing).

Buy a bigger keel boat and give up the motorsailor qualities and trailerability.

--Russ

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NiceAft
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Re: any mods / suggestions for reducing heel in a 26x?

Post by NiceAft » Sat Mar 16, 2019 7:26 pm

What exactly is too much heel? The sweet angle for an :macm: is about10-15 degrees. Is that too much heel? I don’t know about an :macx: .

Ray

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Tomfoolery
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Re: any mods / suggestions for reducing heel in a 26x?

Post by Tomfoolery » Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:53 pm

New sails should make a difference. My blown-out old bed sheets create more heel than thrust.

Starscream
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Re: any mods / suggestions for reducing heel in a 26x?

Post by Starscream » Sun Mar 17, 2019 6:49 am

Let the mainsheet out to spill wind and furl the jib.

Sail slow. Until tolerance levels build up. Why modify a perfectly good sailboat?

When we first started sailing my wife couldn't handle any heeling at all, but now we can hold full sail in 15kn. Takes time. Until then the skipper could control the sails so that everyone is in their comfort zone.

Some mods can be hard to undo.

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Hamin' X
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Re: any mods / suggestions for reducing heel in a 26x?

Post by Hamin' X » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:59 am

Let the Admiral handle the mainsail sheet. Make sure it is uncleated and show her how to let it out to reduce power and heel and how to pull it in to increase power. After awhile, when they feel and understand what is happening, they will become more comfortable. Worked on our boat.

~Rich

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rsvpasap
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Re: any mods / suggestions for reducing heel in a 26x?

Post by rsvpasap » Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:45 pm

I'm going to give you a long-winded response. This was a real problem for me that had to get resolved. There is no simple, single answer, but there are many things you can do to change both the reality and the perception. Also, ++ to everything said by other posters. You're probably not going to be able to do much to increase initial stability, but you can increase the righting moment.

1 Get your weight centered, low and forward. A full Plastimo 120 ltr flexible water tank adds 115 kg /250 lbs to the bow. (Note that if its half filled, it might work against you, just as if your ballast tank was half filled.) Four group 27 batteries sitting on the ballast tank under the aft dinette seat against the swing keel enclosure/housing, plus two more sitting on the ballast tank under the forwarded dinette seat against the keel enclosure by the keel pivot pin, increases your effective ballast by 150 kg/ 330 lbs. or more. (Obviously, batteries and water add substantial weight to the boat, prompting other considerations, but weight and placement of the weight are the issues. 6-volt batteries would be better for power management, but they don't readily fit ... everything is a trade-off.) Secure your batteries and water tank well. Don't drill a hole in your ballast tank.

2. Install single line reefing from the cockpit and lazy jacks (or perhaps a Dutchman system). Reef often and early. Get a second set of reef points in your main and use them. Use a jib and a free flying spinnaker-type sail rather than 150% geneoa. Remember that excessive heel doesn't make you go faster.

3. Get a quiet, appropriately-sized outboard, like a Suzuki DF60A or newer Honda, so you can peacefully motorsail with your family. Weekend racers will consider it cheating. Laugh at them while your family kisses you on the cheek. Cruisers know it's a smart smart move. And if you're not motorsailing, raise the motor out of the water and lock it in the center position.

4. Bribe your significant other to get ASA 101 certified without you being there to watch or help them. They should do this on their own with a good instructor. This builds confidence immensely. Plus there are an increasing number of women only sailing groups, which are great and recommended, but no substitute for ASA 101. Send your kids to sailing camp (well, maybe swimming camp first). Make sailing be about sailing, not about "doing Dad's sailing thing."

5. Mount a clinometer on the cockpit bulkhead. Test your crew to determine what constitutes "excessive heel." Try to comply and use it as a tool to develop tolerance, heeling can become a mildly thrilling game. It also eliminates disputes about how far over you actually are.

6. Don't load up weight in the cockpit or against the walls of the cabin. Teach the crew to move to the high side of the boat while protecting their heads from the boom. Consider a preventer system, but then you have to actually use it while never actually relying upon it. Do man-overboard practice, especially with you as the man-overboard. A swim ladder will make this much easier. Wear comfortable inflatable PFDs. Have one of your kids jump off into nice warn water to show Inflatables actually work. If things genuinely get tricky, tether.

As per the archives of this website, it appears putting weight in the keel is more trouble and risk than the potential benefit is worth. As far as outriggers, even MaddMike used them "on rivers and [to] prevent excessive rocking while on the hook," not generally while sailing. (Magma Rock-n-Rollers or Davis Rocker Stoppers are more practical.) A long keel with a weighted bulb would probably help, like a mini-Transat or even a Seaward 26RK, but that's not going to work with a swing keel.

Editorial Section: In my opinion, the best way to sail this boat is standing in the cabin companionway under a dodger with an autopilot remote control in one hand and the mainsheet in the other. Everything is centered, including you. The Macgregor 26, D, S, X or M, is a very very light craft. In fact, that's kind of the whole point of the boat. It has surprisingly huge cabin volume, an enclosed head, sails like a big dinghy, motors at 15-20 knots and you can easily put it on a trailer ... all of which means it's going to heel. A 26X isn't a small version of a keelboat, it's a totally different species.
Last edited by rsvpasap on Sun Mar 17, 2019 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Chinook
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Re: any mods / suggestions for reducing heel in a 26x?

Post by Chinook » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:19 pm

rsvpasap wrote:I'm going to give you a long-winded response.
Most everyone here value and appreciate wind. This response is the very best kind of wind. Excellent thoughts and advice.

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Re: any mods / suggestions for reducing heel in a 26x?

Post by 1st Sail » Sun Mar 17, 2019 6:27 pm

Three most import influences toward heel.
Clinometer -psychological/confidence solution
Sale with in your limites - safe solution
New Sails- performance solution

Item 6 from above. Stick an climometer on centered on the hatch facing the cockpit. Everyone's idea/tolerance/indifference to heel differs especially people that don't realize sailboats are designed to heal.

I knew my main and jib were blown out. With three reefs and a 60 jib I would not hesitate to sail in winds up to 30knts. (river sailing so no real sea state). Consequently the main was blow out. Needless to say we just heeled but could not point no matter how we trimmed the main and jib. After a great day of winds and no ability to point I ordered a new main and jib from BWY. Now we point, heel is significantly reduced and the moment the wind puffs we accelerate.

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BOAT
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Re: any mods / suggestions for reducing heel in a 26x?

Post by BOAT » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:43 am

:?
We pretty much ignore the heel angle. :(

Most the time if we are looking at numbers it's the speeds that we are interested in: GPS speed and Wind speed

If the GPS speed goes down and the wind speed goes down - that's okay.
If the GPS speed goes up and the wind speed goes up - that's good.
If the GPS speed goes up and the wind speed goes down - that's great!
If the GPS speed goes down and the wind speed goes up - we have a problem:

If the GPS speed is going down and the wind speed is NOT going down the wind must be approaching 15 knots or more - then I consider thinking about the heel angle - and at that point I will finally look at the inclinometer and notice the 30 degree angle. :( And then i will try to deal with the heel so I can get my speed back up again.

I don't usually even look at the heel angle but if I think the boat should be going faster or when down below on the autopilot I may notice my wife and I are walking on the walls I then tend to go look at the wind speed - if it's over 15 knots I start to consider furling the genoa - if the boat keeps plowing forward without an increase in speed even after furling the genoa I start to reef the main - I notice this usually happens around 16 to 18 knots or so of wind speed? If the wind is 17 knots and I am only going 5 knots GPS I reef the main and usually that will put the boat back to 6 knots GPS. That's where I want to be. Heel angle be damned, best speed trumps all - but I must admit that I do notice heel angles diminish a bit from 30 degrees to 20 degrees when I do this in 18 knot winds.

For the most part if speed is not being effected we do not pay attention to the angle - the wind can gust up and then dies down so we just let it sail - I just ride the boat.

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RussMT
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Re: any mods / suggestions for reducing heel in a 26x?

Post by RussMT » Tue Mar 19, 2019 3:42 pm

rsvpasap wrote: 5. Mount a clinometer on the cockpit bulkhead. Test your crew to determine what constitutes "excessive heel." Try to comply and use it as a tool to develop tolerance, heeling can become a mildly thrilling game. It also eliminates disputes about how far over you actually are.
This is actually a great suggestion. My admiral swore we were healing 45 degrees. Then I mounted one and pointed to the actual degrees of heel.

--Russ

whgoffrn
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Re: any mods / suggestions for reducing heel in a 26x?

Post by whgoffrn » Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:18 pm

3rd on clinometer ...once my kids seen that it usually only goes over to 30 (in a puff) then settles back down to 15 to 20 they actually started to enjoy the 30s when they'd hit to spice things up a bit....i think if you did any serious mods to make it heel less the standing rigging wont hold up.... outriggers to keep it flat like a trimaran one good puff and your mast is in the water and someone has a broken arm or leg .... if youre consistently heeling 30+ time to reduce sail area

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BOAT
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Re: any mods / suggestions for reducing heel in a 26x?

Post by BOAT » Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:27 am

Just a note on this - every trailer boat I have ever sailed on heeled a lot. It's not really because the amount of ballast, it's because of where the ballast is.

Real keel boats in the harbor have LONG deep keels - the weight is really way down there under the water. I sailed the Balboa 26 many times - it came in two versions - trailerable and NON-trailerable yet BOTH boats were FIXED KEEL BOATS with the same amount of ballast.

The difference was that the B26T had a real short keel - only 2 feet deep into the water but it was a longer keel than the B26 that had a three foot deep keel that was narrower. There was a lot of arguing about which boat was better.

The Trailer boat with the long shallow keel took longer to tack but tracked better in bad seas and held course better but it did heel more - the non trailer boat with the deep narrow keel was faster, more maneuverable and heeled less but was harder to keep on course in heavy seas.

It was a point of contention and arguing in the NASA club all the time: which was better?!

Deep keels on trailer boats are rare - you will see them on trailers that look like they are on stilts - they are VERY hard to launch. Those are the only trailer boats that do not heel. All the ones I sailed that sat on a trailer without big stilts heeled over. When your ballast is up high in the hull it just does not kick in as fast as when the ballast is way down deep under the water - but don't get scared - the boat still has the same righting force it just happens at a steeper angle. Just get used to having 10 more degrees under your feet and you will never worry about it again. The boat is NOT going to tip over. You will round up or stall long before that happens.

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NiceAft
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Re: any mods / suggestions for reducing heel in a 26x?

Post by NiceAft » Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:21 pm

I still have not seen a reply post from the original poster.

There have been posted a multitude of answers from varried members, but I still want to know what amount of heel is too much.

Ray

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