View Full Version : Ugly Fib#rG!@$$ Dilemma

Joe (SoCal)
09-27-2004, 12:35 PM
So I was talking with a local old salt at the cove the other day. He mentioned he went out to CT to look at a boat a friend wanted to GIVE away. It is a Macgregor 25 with the water ballast, with a main & a jib. He said the boat looked great the trailer looked shot.

So here is my dilemma, This is about the size boat I want to fool around on it has a head and a galley, it will be fun to thrash around in, AND IT IS FREE.

BUT it is UGLY and not only Ugly but Ugly Fib#rG!@$$ :(



So what should I do?

Keith Wilson
09-27-2004, 12:44 PM
Unless the trailer frame is so rusted that it's structurally unsound, almost any trailer can be brought back to life with new tires, wheel bearings, and electrics for far less than the cost of a new trailer.

Ugly I can't help with. Possibly some kind of blue-green-grey camouflage paint job? Old McGregors also have a reputation of being built about as inexpensively as was consistent with still floating.

FWIW, I actually bought an inexpensive glass boat recently to use while I'm repairing my Townie, and I haven't regretted it at all (well, not much). It's not as ugly as the McGregor, though. You could use it until something nicer comes along, then give it to somebody poor and deserving with not much sense of aesthetics. OTOH, as that fellow's experience shows, it might not be that easy to get rid of.

[ 09-27-2004, 01:47 PM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

09-27-2004, 12:51 PM
Interesting dilemma. Sometimes I think my devotion to wood is just an obstacle to actually going boating. It's one of those moaning-chair thoughts when you're in the middle of restoring a boat and you wonder why you spend so many hours by yourself in the boatshop when you'd rather be out on the water with friends and family. Not that I've ever had those thoughts. Oh no, not me.

Take the Macgregor. Use it while you build your dream boat. When it's done, strip the useful gear from the Macgregor and put it in/on the dream boat. You might even find a design that could use the Macgregor rig. Or is that just crazy?

Matt J.
09-27-2004, 01:01 PM
:eek: (no barf emoticon)

Ugliest boats I've seen around here or anywhere else... Hideous. OTOH, a boat is a boat if it floats and sails. Of course... free ain't too shabby either.

09-27-2004, 01:22 PM
Sailing anything is good. But being Penny Wise pound foolish isn't.

Go look at the boat and see what needs to be done to make is sail-able. How are the sails? I'm sure you will need to replace all the running rigging. A boat that doesn't work isn't fun to sail. I bet by the time you have the boat in the water you have dropped a grand or more on it. Then other stuff will be broken and you will want to fix that. More dollars. Then you will be paying for a marina or mooring cause trailering a boat that big will be a pain in the butt.

Bottom line is that you are looking at $2500 for a summer of sailing on that boat.

Boats aren't cheap to use so make your decision wisely. Look around and I bet you could find a nice Cape Dory Typhoon for $3500 that would look very pretty, sail very nicely and be ready to go. I would choose that boat over a dumpy Mac 25 any day. Crappy boats aren't fun to sail, and they aren't fun to look at. Get something you love and put the money into it.


09-27-2004, 01:34 PM
Joe: I think your wooden boat credentials are well established. A temporary defection into butt ugly f****glass boats is allowed while you develop your skills.

I started in an even butt uglier Grampian 23', then sort of 'graduated' to wood. I just can't afford a wooden boat in the size I need, so I'm looking hard at f****glass again. I lost an ebay auction by 30 seconds for a f****glass 27' this weekend.

I think the caveats about what money to put into this boat are well stated. Buy good stuff that you can take with you. When you're done, donate the boat to charity and get a tax writeoff for the book value of the boat.

Ian Wright
09-27-2004, 01:47 PM
Take it, sell it, spend the money on somthing decent,,,,,,,,,,,


[ 09-27-2004, 02:48 PM: Message edited by: Ian Wright ]

09-27-2004, 01:55 PM
come out foul deemon



Henning 4148
09-27-2004, 03:11 PM
Problem with old tired fibreglass boats is they have hardly any use whatsoever, apart from milling them into little bits that you can use as a filler in concrete or tarmac roads ... . Also, you could use them as a fender for a real wooden boat. Yes, they come cheap, but they are hard to get rid off once you want something else. The guy who wants to get rid of this one has probably found this out, that's why he is willing to give it away. Last point - why not go for something a bit more seaworthy if it has to be plastic? You might value the difference when you're out there with the family and the weather is a bit nasty. At least in Europe many boats from the 70's tend to go for a song.

John B
09-27-2004, 03:52 PM
Doesn't look bad to me. It's a get on the water boat. I have nothing but scorn for those later MacGregors with the bum up/ nose down attitude( because of the over firm quarters so it can plane) and the 40 hp motors. That earlier one looks like a good hull shape to me. Very similar to our Noelexs etc.

Domesticated_Mr. Know It All
09-27-2004, 04:33 PM
If you have a place to put it, why not? :D

09-27-2004, 04:55 PM
An interesting quandry smile.gif .

I have a similar tale.

A buddy of mine retreived his old sailboat from under his father's deck in 1999. A Spindrift dinghy 13'9" long, purchased new in 1962 used on several camping trips etc by assorted family members, until 1977. I offered to help with the wood work which was not worth salvaging and not on his skill list, the fibreglass was sound and the trailer was usable. After 3 years of poor project management on his part it was offered to me free and clear with new wood (75 $CND) ready to fit and finish. For about 100 hours of work over the first year the boat and 100 $CND (epoxy, varnish, stainless steel bits, etc) it was ready to roll. I even cajoled my little sister to fix the small holes in the sail ( my wife and sewing do not mix ). The trailer is probably worth more than the boat, but local brokers sell these units for about 1500 $CND. If I do not get that when I sell so what!!. Sailing is to much fun to worry about selling the boat, I will be ahead of the game no matter what price I get if not I will remember the kindness of my buddy and pass it along. :D :D

Bottom line if you want to sail cheap go for it. Set a time and money budget, 10% of the estimated boat value, be patient, do not have visions of grandure about the final value of the project and have fun. This way you will learn how much work a wooden boat may represent in your family's life, in doing the repairs and maintenance on the "free" boat. The only concern I would have is the exponential nature of boat maintenance relative to length.

I would say I'll be down to pick it up on the weekend but SWMBO would not be happy :( . But I believe it has some form of enclosed head (not realy feasable on an almost 14' boat) if I am not mistaken. HMMMMMMMMMM

good luck on your descision.

Have fun smile.gif


09-27-2004, 05:28 PM
Take it.

There was a water ballast discussion on here recently---worth a read, the Macgregor was featured http://media5.hypernet.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=002988

Kev Smyth
09-27-2004, 05:34 PM
You have to ask?!? :rolleyes: tongue.gif

Of course you go for it. They actually are pretty decent boats, within their limits, and I don't even think they're that bad looking. We've had several pass through the family- my younger brother currently has one of the early 21', a good day boat that's comfortable with room for a head and all the coats, lunch, etc.

All Macs are pretty lightly built since trailering is a big part of their market, so you may have numerous stress cracks, etc. and the interior finish isn't very fancy. The rigging and gear is cheap but sturdy as they were also built to a price point in the market, not "quality at all costs. But for a family sail you'll find it much more comfortable than any the smaller choices.

Around here, where moorage is often $7-8/ft. trailer boats are very popular- that rig would easily sell for $3500+ fixed and ready to sail. And you'll sail right past a whole slew of older wooden slugs. Sorry, but it's true! tongue.gif :D

Having a lot of the same requirements you face, we bought a fiberglass Lightning- and just sold it. Too small, to busy, no place to really put all the gear that three girls can't live without, blah, blah, blah. I'm now looking for the same sort of deal to replace the Columbia 22 we sold last year because I got tired of paying $175/month for moorage to use it maybe once a month. :rolleyes:

Captain Pre-Capsize
09-27-2004, 05:35 PM
Avert thine eyes and REPENT!!!!

Thee wilst P-E-R-I-S-H!!!!!

Kev Smyth
09-27-2004, 05:38 PM
So this is what I'm looking at, and I'm sorry to say, I don't think it's very attractive at all with that cabin on it But it sort of looks like a wooden boat....

Curiosity isn't always good!

http://media5.hypernet.com/ubb/ultimatebb. php?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=003178 (http://media5.hypernet.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=003178)

You get your Mac, I'll get this, we can meet in Nebraska, have a beer with Norm, and trade 'em! :D You, of course, can take the photos- of you with your new boat. :D tongue.gif ;)

[ 09-27-2004, 06:41 PM: Message edited by: Kev Smyth ]

Domesticated_Mr. Know It All
09-27-2004, 07:28 PM
I like this one better....


......looks like a steal at that price. :cool:

A big shot real estate agent like you should be setting a good example and have a boat like this, not a freaking cheapie plastic MacGregor. tongue.gif Of course a poor auto worker like me could get away with it. ;) :D

John Bell
09-27-2004, 07:40 PM
There's a Venture 25 for free at my marina, looks exactly the same. The day after Ivan I passed through, she was way down by the stern becuase the cockpit scuppers had fouled and the water was over the seats. I cleared them but she was still down aft, water got inside from through cockpit lockers. On Saturday, there was a kid who was thinking about taking it bailing it out. It would be an OK boat, provided you don't have to put too much in it.

There is another boat at my marina that could be picke up for cheap or maybe even free, a Ranger 23. It's a bit rough, but R23 is reputed to be a good sailer. It won't go on a trailer, though.

I can't afford a free boat right now, or I'd be all over than Ranger.

If I were you, Joe, I'd go for it. Use it for a bit and let it go cheap or free when you're done. If you have a plan where you give it away in the end it'll make $$ decisions a lot easier as well as increase your enjoyment of the boat. Do enough to be safe and have fun. Don't waste time, money, effort trying to turn her into a Hickley.

Joe (SoCal)
09-27-2004, 08:50 PM
Mista Kia ya know I don't like no ketch ;) Besides that don't look like no single handed sailor smile.gif But that price is sweet :D

Joe (SoCal)
09-27-2004, 08:54 PM
I think I am going to at least take a look at her see if she moves me and the trailer will make her move. :D

09-27-2004, 10:26 PM
I just got back from the marina and read this. On my way out I was looking at a totally ugly boat just like this. I will just never understand the person who designed it or the people who decided this should creation should really exist. There are lots of inexpensive fiberglass boats that aren't nearly as bad as this. I'm not sure what your budget would be if you were to buy a boat, but I'd put the money from maintenance and moorage on this boat into a savings account for something a little more.. well, a real boat. I'd even get a little wooden sailing dinghy before I'd spend money on moorage and maintenance for one of these.

09-27-2004, 11:40 PM
Lose the jib, move the mast eight feet forward, pretend its a catboat :D I'd take it for free. What's the worst can happen? She sits in your back yard for a couple years. You have a big back yard. No worries, eh?

John B
09-27-2004, 11:48 PM
I thought seriously about this nice little fixer upper.


but I decided that it was too ugly . That blue!

09-28-2004, 12:33 AM
Originally posted by John B:

QB]What the heck *is* that?!?!?! :eek: :confused:

John B
09-28-2004, 02:53 AM
Poor guy.
got some osmosis.

Don Z.
09-28-2004, 04:56 AM
Take the boat.
Strip it.
Chew up the glass and recycle some how...
Keep the gear.
Design a pretty boat that would fit under that mast.

09-28-2004, 09:51 AM
Is it in Guilford? There's one just like it here that's been sitting for at least 6 years. I always wondered why the guy never launched it. Butt ugly, no doubt.

09-28-2004, 09:57 AM
Don't be such a snob, Joe. My neighbor had one of those and liked it just fine. If it's not good enough for you, send it to me. Actually, no, I'm done with sailboats.

09-28-2004, 10:02 AM
Saw the cabin off. Build a new one out of wood. Paint a curved stripe at the sheer to make it look like it has some sheer...how do you like our suggestions so far? :D

PS - Oak mast hoops would be a nice touch.

09-28-2004, 03:40 PM
Yep, fix it up, hang an orange sign on it, and sail it till it sells.

Joe (SoCal)
09-28-2004, 04:06 PM
Hmm I'm liking the suggestions here. JD I like the green with red. I even have a fresh quart of Interlux TopLac Donnegal green in the shop and another quart of red :D . hmmmmm redo the cabin a nice curved front and square sides with traditional port holes not those slits eek. Do a wooden louvered companion hatch and wooden cross hatch floor for the cockpit? Some wooden comings as splash guards around the cockpit. Finish all the wood bright to show it off smile.gif

Andrew Craig-Bennett
09-28-2004, 04:06 PM
It isn't really free, you know.

Money spent on fixing that is money not spent on a boat you will enjoy more.

Bruce Hooke
09-28-2004, 04:30 PM
Originally posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett:
It isn't really free, you know.

Money spent on fixing that is money not spent on a boat you will enjoy more.That's a brilliant summation of the situation!

Keith Wilson
09-28-2004, 04:40 PM
If you get a free ugly fiberglass boat, it seems kind of dumb to try and make it into something aesthetically pleasing. Painting is maybe OK, but anything else beyond basic repairs is a ridiculous waste of time. You can rebuild the cabin and add a bunch of wood trim and it'll still just be a dressed-up McGregor 25, fer chrissakes! The point of an ugly free boat is to fix only what's necessary to make it functional and safe, then go sailing while you save your money for something you like.

[ 09-28-2004, 05:41 PM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

Joe (SoCal)
09-28-2004, 05:05 PM
I just spent about a hr fooling around in illustrator making the MAC look salty :rolleyes: It does look sweet with a new cabin and ports, comings and the color change. My photo shop is acting funky anyone want me to email it to them in either Illustrator or PDF or EPS format so it can be posted for fun. I think what Andrew and Keith have to say makes more sense. Man do I get carried away in the moment, I was all set with the sawzall to remove the cabin top smile.gif smile.gif :eek:

09-28-2004, 06:47 PM
Originally posted by John B:
Poor guy.
got some osmosis.ROFL!
Boy I'll say! even ate the trailer! :D

L.W. Baxter
09-28-2004, 07:29 PM
You could always use it to fake your own death...

...drag it out in the harbor...blow it up...

...then swim back to shore... log on under a new name... and enjoy the seven-page thread where everybody shares their special feelings for ol' Joe....

It could just be "The Mother of All Trolls!" :D

Just trying to help, L.W.

John B
09-28-2004, 08:41 PM
there's a thought. virtual death.

I dunno about you guys. I'm with Victor. go sailing. don't change it, don't paint it( it's glass/ gel coat... polish the thing.)Use it while you're building the good boat under the house/in the garage. Go sailing. gee I'm developing a theme here. Why does it have to costalot to fix? polish it. Worse come to worse, build a deck around it for an entertainment area, covert it to a kids sleepout, put it upside down on poles and use it for a carport with attic......

Tim ,there was a whole thread on that boat including both truths and untruths as to what happened to it. I'll look for it ( no guarantees, the search function invariably says 'go away you antipodean yokel' whenever I try it.)

Yup. thats what the search said again.
but I went back 4 or 5 pages and it was thar.


[ 09-28-2004, 09:59 PM: Message edited by: John B ]

John Bell
09-28-2004, 09:08 PM
That's what I was trying to say earlier.

Take the boat. Plan at the outset to eventually dispose of it by giving it away or selling it for an unbelievably low price. Clean it up, fix it up enough to make sure it's safe and reasonably livable, and start enjoying it. Don't do anything that doesn't need to be done. Don't try to elbow grease it into a Hinckley. It can't be done and it will only make you hate her.

Then, after a couple of seasons of enjoying it, you'll find or build your next dream boat. Sell it for $500 or give it to a some kid and be thankful for the experience.

09-29-2004, 02:56 AM
You could bury it in the ground when you get the boat you *really* want and use it for a septic tank :D

09-29-2004, 09:16 AM
Originally posted by TimH:
You could bury it in the ground when you get the boat you *really* want and use it for a septic tank :D WAIT! I've got it! You could strip it, and use it for a hot tub! :D

09-29-2004, 09:41 AM
It's not the fact that it's glass, or that it's a MacGregor, it's the fact that the dang thing won't sail worth a darn. It just won't, and the fact that it's free doesn't make it worth doing.

For very little money you can probably find something like an O'Day Tempest, a Typhoon, or some small boat designed by Carl Alberg that will actually sail and will cost you very little. Most harbors are full of 30 year old 'glass boats that the owners would love to get rid of.

Heck, I've got a 'glass 5.5 meter that I can't even find someone to take for free. It's a nice boat, but it's also a lot of responsibility. Look around. I am NOT trying to insult anyone and I am sure that there are lots of people that love their MacGregors. I just know that there are boats that are inexpensive and will actually sail at the same time.

Mickey Lake

10-12-2004, 07:52 PM
Macgregors Do have a reputation of being cheap and sturdy. I never have seen one lose the rig or pull apart. Maybe folks are realistic and easy on them. If you want tiller time, if it can saty on the trailer in the back yard, if you can discipline yourself into keeping it clean and seen to, WHY NOT. Don't spend time and money "making it your own" you'll never get your time or money back. This is the equivalent of between a daily driver to a beater transportation vehicle. You'll resent spending good time and money on dress up projects.Spend your time out on it and your money on eats. Maybe go as much as roll and tip paint job if it won't rub out decently. IF its white, you'd be surprised what cleans off. We have a few 30+ year old ones at the sailing club and they are all those folks want for an afternoon jaunt our overnighter out on the lake. Smiles per dollar factor is high and they are safe

They now make only one model the 26. They won't go another shift at the factory and make some 900 a year, just about all already sold to someone on the dealers waiting list. A dealer told me only some 4000 new sailboats a year 25 feet and over are sold each year in the US. Macgregor has done its marketing homework.

And they are not ugly, actually rather conservative like mini vans. Form follows function, and styling changes are conservative.

You want ugly? Look at an ever "newer" euro style Hunter- uglier each year.

Phil Young
10-13-2004, 10:55 PM
So did you get it yet? Looks like a fine litle boat to me. Spend a few hours on it, very little money, keep it on a trailer in a yard near a launch ramp and its all good.

Dave Hadfield
10-14-2004, 09:34 AM
A free 25ft boat that you can cruise in? Heck, don't let that get away. Who cares if it's that other stuff? Take it, make it safe to sail, and next year trailer it up to the North Channel and go exploring. I did, and in a Mac 26, too. (Had a wonderful time, saw gorgeous places and wrote magazine articles about it.)

The rigging is light on those boats because the boat is light. The mast on mine was about the same unit as a Hobie 18 -- didn't need more. They're strong enough in the right places.

But that trailer is horrible. To be practical, a trailer has to have guide-posts at the back (with 4ft extensions of 3" ABS pipe dropped over them as rollers) and a large "V" at the front. Also, what works well is a ladder welded on the tongue in front of the winch post.

With these mods, you can get onto your trailer in a 15kt crosswind without having a crew in the slimy water. Then you walk down the ladder, up the tongue to the truck and step onto dry land.

You don't want just trailerable, you want EASILY trailerable -- big difference. As was in that post John B referred to, I sailed a 1990 Mac26 for 9 seasons and we went all over the place.

If your boat is easily trailerable, you don't have to pay for dockage at a marina. You can just leave it rigged on the trailer and launch it whenever you want to go sailing. (Cheaper!)

11-01-2004, 05:36 PM
Originally posted by John B:
I thought seriously about this nice little fixer upper.


but I decided that it was too ugly . That blue!If you Aussies have heard of Jesse James and the Monster Garage, have him show you how to put this atop your largest auto body and make a real land yacht out of it. ;)

11-01-2004, 05:42 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Kev Smyth:
[QB]So this is what I'm looking at, and I'm sorry to say, I don't think it's very attractive at all with that cabin on it But it sort of looks like a wooden boat....

Curiosity isn't always good!

http://media5.hypernet.com/ubb/ultimatebb. php?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=003178 (http://media5.hypernet.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=003178)

Can anyone on this thread explain to a lower middle class commoner like me how this is more attractive than the boat that started this conversation? At least the first boat doesn't appear to imitate lapstrake like construction. The boat on this link is the true butt ugly boat, but then again, I'm not a blueblood, so what do I know? :confused:

11-01-2004, 07:37 PM
Now Paul, nobody said it was the ugliest boat in existence. Certainly this one is uglier. I love faux lapstrake, and the cabin looks like it's made of styrofoam.