The decision to get a Mac stemmed from its great versatility for the price. We liked that it is trailerable, water-ballasted (to keep it light for towing), and motorable. We only have so many vacation days and if it’s not windy we can still get out for some fun with the motor. I’m finding our kids rather motor about (mostly wake-boarding and knee-boarding) and go fishing, rather than sail, so this worked for them and me. Having a heavy-keeled boat moored up at one spot, here in Portland, doesn’t appeal to us. I’m sure I’d get bored too quickly always sailing the same section of Columbia river and we just don’t have the time (at this point in our life) to venture out for days/weeks at a time. The “form factor” of the Mac has suited us very well as we’ve explored such a variety of places doing multiple activities.
Purchased from Blue Water Yachts in Seattle in February ’05. We highly recommend this dealer. We bought it with the “Supercruiser Package”, Quick Rig kit, Mooring kit and Safety package. These included such things as a 70HP Suzuki 4-stroke OB, mast-raising system, CDI roller furling, halyards led to cockpit, single-line reefing, stern rail seats, custom covers for jib, mainsail and dodger, Bimini, Dual battery w/charger and battery combiner, alcohol stove, porta-potti, swim ladder, cockpit cushions, 60-qt cooler, two 12-gal gas tanks, Marine CD/stereo, compass, anchor, chain, rode, boat hook, PFDs, flares, fire extinguisher, air horn, boom vang, etc..
We named her Nemo. Some could say it’s after the Captain, or a cartoon fishy, but Point Nemo is the point on the south pacific ocean that is furthest from any land mass. When you want to get away from it all, Nemo is the place. That’s a very fitting name.
As if that it’s enough, we immediately went to work to install a few extra goodies: Garmin 76CS GPS/mini-chartplotter, Raymarine DS400x Fishfinder with depth/speed/temp transducer, and handheld VHF radio. Routing the wires (power and transducer) for the Fishfinder up through the steering column was not easy, but I got it done. The connector on the transducer wire was particularly troublesome as the column was already crowded with wiring harnesses supporting the OB motor controls. Power comes from the 4th Aux switch on the Panel – it was previously unused. Well worth it though – worked like a charm on it’s maiden voyage, and ever since. Never had problems with it.
I installed a voltage meter that uses a single-pole-double-throw switch to select between Engine or Auxiliary battery or neither. Notice the mounting location near the ladder into the cabin. This is close to the batteries to make routing the wires easy, and the switch is conveniently guarded by the ladder so no one breaks it. I’m an electrical engineer so always need to know about the battery charge status and such things.
The Mac definitely comes in spartan fashion to keep costs down. Frankly that appealed to us (the cost part, not the spartan part) and gives opportunity for the projects of the manual labor variety. The first project was cleaning up the storage areas. These are raw fiberglass, quite rough and pokey, downright dangerous in some spots with sharp edges. I couldn’t even consider putting a PFD in one of the storage locations as it would have been impregnated with fiberglass needles – just what you want to wear on a hot day without a shirt on..
So I got this idea off a Mac Forum on-line to paint the insides of the storage areas. I choose a product called Poxy Coat II. It is for industrial use as paint for garage floors. It’s claimed to be water-proof and should repel gas/oil too. It’s not that I hunted all around and choose this for its merits.. the truth is my folks used to be in the biz of selling the product and had a few gallons around in their garage. As Tom Peterson says, “Free is a very good price”. I put on 2 coats, 1 gallon total, after sanding the really rough spots and really like how it’s turned out. 5 years later it is holding up great. The web site for the product .. http://www.poxycoat.com/
This shows how rough the storage areas were stock, and the results after 1 and 2 coats of paint..
And, here is how the other storage areas turned out..
Location of marine radio/cd player and speakers, mounting by BWY..
We’ve sailed on the Columbia, Willamette, Nehalem, and Tualatin rivers. as well as on Hagg Lake. Have camped her on many islands in the Columbia and have taken her from Portland about 100 miles down river to near the mouth of the Columbia. Our favorite place to sail is out of Cascade Locks, on the Columbia river, Oregon side. Not too far from the wind surfing capital of the world, it’s been windy there every time we’ve put out.
Our favorite place for tubing and wake-boarding is Hagg Lake. The water is fresh and relatively warm in the summer (no wet suits needed). While we get some strange looks – we don’t care. The kids love it and so do I. This is me wakeboarding..
The Suzuki 70 is completely reliable, quiet and scoots us along between 20-22 mph without ballast and 18-19 with full ballast, depended on how loaded up we are. We carry 24 gallons of fuel.
Since we give it a good wash and garage it after every outing, we’ve never had to resort to bottom paint. The bottom is still as clean as brand new. When we take it wakeboarding, we sometimes raise the mast up into the garage rafters with a couple pulleys and leave it at home. That saves me about 30 minutes at launch time. Takes me about 10 minutes to remove/replace it from/on the boat depending on what kind trip we have planned. I can easily prep the boat for sailing at a ramp, single-handed and get it in the water in about 45 minutes.
Here’s a checklist to prepare for launch, etc..
While Nemo had been a wonderful boat for us, after 5 years we decided to sell Nemo to make room for a higher performance sailing machine..
The 2 biggest Cons of the Macgregor in retrospect are that the water ballast makes it a very “tender” boat – that is, it very easily rocks from side to side, having no weighted keel for stability. It also heels very far and over powers easily. This boat made my wife not enjoy sailing for that reason. Secondly, because it has so much cabin headroom, it hence has a lot of freeboard and due to its light weight it gets blown around quite easily. Can make it tricky at a dock in high winds.
Overall, not a great sailboat, but we learned a lot, and the kids enjoyed motoring about. Many good times. An inexpensive way to try out sailing/boating.
We purchased a Corsair Formula F-27 in March, 2010. This is a real sailing machine – no comparison.