Robert brought his new 2006 Macgregor 26M for it's maiden voyage to Jacobs Creek Park on Canyon Lake, Texas. With two good ramps facing north, Jacob's Creek is protected from the prevailing south wind. Entry fee was $5 in June of 2006, and another $1 to launch. I arrived a few minutes after 9AM and we proceeded to step the mast.
After untying the mast and furling jib, it was easy to roll the mast back on the built in mast crutch's roller. Robert inserts the one bolt that holds the plate at the bottom of the mast (which swivels like a Hobie catamaran) to the mast step. You can see the mast step is centered over the daggerboard, so the daggerboard trunk also supports the deck and mast. The mast raising winch is attached by looping a line through one of the bow cleats, one shackle on the mast, and two shackles for attaching the baby stays to the stanchions. You will see these steps in the later video where Robert unstepps the mast.
Robert cranked up the mast with the winch. It was quite easy, but the starboard shrouds got twisted on the chainplates, so we had to go back down a bit.
The videos were taken with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ2. A $200 camera designed mainly for still photography, it will take a 30 minute video with sound if you have the 1 Gig memory card.
Robert hopped down and straightened the shrouds so we could attach the forestay. We had to unpin the forestay and rotate it 180 degrees so the line to furl the jib was in the right position, then attach it again. So raising the mast should be even easier next time.
The launch was simple, even without an extended trailer toungue Roberts truck barely had the wheels in the water. The Mac 26M looks pretty sleek from the front, and the ballast tank was full of water before we could get on board. Alison put the plug in the vent hole under the V berth and we were ready to go.
We soon had the main attached, the 4 battens in the sail (be sure each batten is inside BOTH the small end pockets), and we raised the main and unfurled the jib. You can see the wind was very light this day, but the Mac just moseyed right along. Tacking was a bit slow until we moved to the lee side of the boat to help it turn, then even in this very light wind she tacked easily. We sailed around a couple of hours so Robert could get the feel of his new boat, then headed back to the dock.
Back on the trailer, Robert put his truck in 4 wheel drive as the ballast tank was still full. It pulled out easily, and took less than a minute for the 1,000 pounds of water to drain through the large valve. In this picture the water has slowed down as the tank is almost empty.
We decided for Robert to do everything to lower the mast and time him. All I did was loosen the jib furling line, and from start to finish Robert had the mast down in 7 minutes 9 seconds. Since this was the first time he had ever unstepped the mast, that is a very short time. The Macgregor mast raising system gets a big Thumbs Up from me.