Cockpit and steering
The MacGregor 26 has a pedestal mounted steering wheel, rather than the cumbersome tiller found on most trailerable sailboats. The wheel steering is standard and takes up less room than a tiller. It is far easier and more natural to steer with a wheel than with a tiller, and a lot more comfortable. It makes the boat a lot easier to sail. If you can steer a car, you can easily steer this boat. The seats have high backs, and we did a lot of engineering to make sure they are comfortable. The optional seat cushions add a lot to the comfort. The cockpit is self bailing. (See the "safety" section of the web site to see what this means and why it is important).
Deck layout from above
This view, from overhead, shows the cockpit and general deck layout, as well as our fisherman trying his luck. The steering seat is raised to allow the helmsman to see over the cabin. The seat hinges away to allow access to the engine and swim ladder. The steering seat, in the closed position, provides the security of a fully surrounded cockpit. When it is opened, you have a walk thru transom for easy boarding from the ground (when the boat is on its trailer), from the water, or from a dock.
The mainsheet mounts to a track at the forward end of the cockpit.
All the sail, rudder and daggergboard controls are positioned for easy use.
There are storage compartments under each of the seats. Each compartment will hold a 12 gallon fuel can. These compartments are completely isolated from the interior of the boat, so there is no chance for dangerous fuel to enter the boat.
This picture shows the transom, with the rudders and engine in the up position.
Sailing with engine retracted and the rudders down
The steering wheel connects to the twin rudders for sailing, or to the outboard motor for powering. With the wheel connected to the motor, and the rudders retracted, you steer as you would with a conventional powerboat. (When you turn the steering wheel, the engine turns.) When under power at moderate or high speed, the kick up rudders are in the up position to reduce drag. For excellent control at low speed, the wheel is connected to both the engine and the rudders. Changing the steering system between rudders and engine takes only a few seconds.
The optional sunshade provides protection for a large area of the cockpit. It folds back out of the way when not in use.