By Zuzana Prochazka
Tattoo 26: A Sailboat You Can Trailer
The popular MacGregor trailer-sailer gets a new life under a different name.
So nice, they made it twice—that seems to be the thought behind the reintroduction of a 26’ trailer sailer once known as the MacGregor, which was built in Costa Mesa in Southern California. Renamed the Tattoo 26, the new boat is now built in Florida by the daughter of the MacGregor family and her husband. The idea is to keep boating fun and affordable for families.
The original small MacGregor was the 26X that was put in production in the mid-1990s. It was replaced by the improved 26M in 2003 and together over 8,000 hulls were sold. You can’t argue with that kind of success. Part of the boat’s appeal was that it was sold as both a power and a sailboat and sold new for under $25,000; the new version keeps price low with a starting point of about $35,000.
Besides a few hull color changes, the model has a redesigned steering pedestal and helm seat, the water ballast plug has been changed, the mainsail has slightly increased square footage, and the traveler has been replaced by a pad eye on the centerline. The Tattoo 26 still has built-in foam flotation so it can fill with water but still float and is self-righting.
Under sail, the boat is kept tracking with the deep daggerboard that is controlled by a line in the cockpit. The tabernacle mast can be raised by one person and carries a total of 300 feet of sail area with the standard 100% jib, although a larger genoa and an optional spinnaker are available. The rudders may be raised completely to allow the boat to float in just over one foot of water.
The Tattoo 26 is light for both easier trailering and better handling under power. It weighs only 2,500 pounds to which you add just over 1,7000 pounds of water ballast when ready to sail. With a 60 hp outboard, the boat can presumably attain a speed of up to 20 miles per hour. That goes down to 12 miles per hour if the ballast tank is full. The boat can be powered by outboards as small as 10 hp.
The boat is under eight feet wide so it’s street-legal and the aluminum trailer adds another 700 pounds to the tow package; the whole setup can be pulled with a moderate-sized tow vehicle.
The watertight interior will be workable for a weekend with a double berth, an enclosed head, a dinette for two, a straight settee, and a small galley with a sink and a place for a stove. The headroom is six feet and although up to four can sleep inside, it would be more comfortable for a couple. Tankage includes 24 gallons of fuel and nine gallons of water.
|Sail Area||300 sq. ft.|
|Fuel capacity||24 gal.|
|Water capacity||9 gal.|
The original MacGregor was marketed to young families who did not want to commit to strictly sailing or powering. With the hybrid design, they could learn the basics of sailing but also could pull kids behind on water toys. Additionally, they could get to their destination quickly with a large outboard or by land on the trailer. That same appeal has been brought over to the Tattoo 26, now with a slightly nicer finish and a few functional improvements. At a time when boating seems to be moving out of reach for the average family budget, small trailer-sailers like this may be the ticket to keeping people on the water.
The company also has a smaller 22-footer on the drawing board with the launch date of the first hull in Fall 2013.
For more information, visit Tattoo Yachts.
- Zuzana Prochazka is a writer and photographer who freelances for a dozen boating magazines and websites. A USCG 100 Ton Master, Zuzana has cruised, chartered and skippered flotillas in many parts of the world and serves as a presenter on charter destinations and topics. She is the Chair of the New Product Awards committee, judging innovative boats and gear at NMMA and NMEA shows, and currently serves as immediate past president of Boating Writers International. She contributes to Boats.com and YachtWorld.com, and also blogs regularly on her boat review site, TalkoftheDock.com.
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