Filed Under (Boats and Boating Gear) by Debbie on 13-03-2008

A MacGregor sailboat as a live-aboard boat has been a question I’ve been seeing quite a bit lately.  As many of you know, our first sailboat was a MacGregor 26 and we had tons of fun with her.  As a trailer-sailor she opened up the many local lakes and we sailed her on several.

 Ours was a true sailboat and no offense intended to the newer models, the newer ones seem to be more of a sail/power boat.  I’ve been aboard the newer models at many of the local boat shows and they have really improved the interior.

I have been giving some thought to this particular boat for a possible live-aboard and for those of you looking for input, here’s mine.

 First and foremost (IMHO) is just where you’ll be living-aboard your boat.  The location will give you some great clues for the type of boat to look for.  While our MacGregor had been in the San Juan’s, with the previous owner, my hubby and I both agree we wouldn’t care to go there in that particular boat.  We also wouldn’t care to be in a marina along the coast line.  The reason being the weight of the ballast.

Our sailboat was quite ‘tender’ meaning it didn’t take much wind to move her quickly.  That being said, if you were going to be in a more protected area then maybe this boat would work for you.  We spent many days and nights in this boat on several lakes and knowing more now about the local rivers, there are a few we’d have taken her to as well.  I think it’s important to consider the general weather patterns of the area you’re planning to spend time in.

The cockpit was of decent size for spending time in and we enjoyed many sundowners there.  We had a B-B-Q on the stern pulpit and grilled up lots of steak and chicken.  I think some kind of cockpit cover or enclosure would be of benifit.  Ours didn’t have a bimini so we were completely at the mercy of sun and rain. 

The interior was sufficient for the three of us although a bit cramped.  The galley was a challange but I didn’t make many gormet meals aboard.  We did keep a cooler inside and just moved it around as needed.  We also used the cooler for a table even though there was one that could be set up, it was just easier.

The head on our MacGregor was just a porta-potty and only used when in dire need.  Although the places we went almost always had great restrooms complete with showers.  So we were fine with what we had.  Although, I must say as the designated potty cleaner…I much prefer the holding tank we pump out now.

The V-berth was great for our daughter and she spent time fixing up her space.  She loved the hatch for star gazing.  Plus with interior 12 volt lights she could play games and other kid stuff at night.

The rear berth for my hubby and I was really nice in size, a queen sized bed.  Although only the forward part had enough height that we could sit up and read but all in all it was a nice spot.

We had one 12 volt battery and we rigged up a plug in to it so we could charge it with a solar trickle charger.  That worked really well.  That little battery gave us all the light at night and all the music we wanted. 

We had lots of fun with our MacGregor 26.  We played games as a family while the rain came down.  We sailed all over the place and learned the lesson of ‘reef early’ with her.  Our daughter and her friends lept from the bow and swam in the warm water and then climbed up the stern ladder to repeat as needed.

We completely enjoyed this little boat.  Were we a younger couple we might have kept her longer.  However, as we’re both cruising into senior land, we felt we needed just a bit more comfort.  Our MacGregor 26 was just a little too much like tent camping for us.

So, my thoughts are….  If you’re young enough to enjoy tent camping and are going to be in rather protected areas that don’t get too cold then you could probably pull this off as a live aboard.  In the end it’s really about you and what you are willing to do without.

If you have never owned a boat then look through the archives above for information on how to buy and what to look for etc.  Although my list of what to look for won’t be complete for everyone it may give you some food for thought.  We bought a used sailboat both times.  Our current sailboat was less than $30K but new would be over $100k.  When we bought our MacGregor 26 we paid $5K.

Look around and see what’s available.  When you find one that calls to you, spend sometime on it.  Ask if you can stay on board for a couple of hours.  Spend that time thinking about having the flu and what that would be like while living aboard.  Then think about where you’d put your ‘stuff’ would it all fit?  This is a challange on any size sailboat.  What about food, where would you store it?  Safety equipment, music, books, friends all the aspects of life.

So in closing, depending on location, your age/health and what you feel you need to keep with you.  Can a MacGregor sailboat be a liveaboard?  Sure it could.  Would I want to?  No, winter is too cold and condensation would create a mold/mildew problem that would make my hubby so sick.  We think we might be able to live aboard on our current sail boat, but that’s another story.

Want to read more about our MacGregor sailboat?  Click on parts:  one two three four also you can find more articles under the ‘archives’ tab.

2 Comments posted on "Live Aboard a MacGregor Sailboat?"
Glenn Dean on July 1st, 2013 at 8:17 am #

We live aboard our 26X . We have been cruising (this cruise) since April 1st

Debbie on July 4th, 2013 at 6:31 am #


That’s wonderful! I’m sure you’re having a blast; what a great time you must be having.