Duane, Dawn,
Sam, Nick, and Mike
(Jessy and Jenny)

Home Up Family Pictures Music


Musings on the trip for MacGregor Geeks

Modifications that made it possible for 5 people to spend 23 days on a MacGregor

Privacy curtains It seems like a small thing, but it is amazing what two little canvas panels can do.  Our sleeping arrangement put our 13 year old in the vee berth, and the two younger kids in the aft berth.  We used the Dinette.  A barrier of clothing bags runs down the center of the aft berth in the low area.  One fabric panel snaps around the companionway entrance in the rear and the other across the vee berth at the forward seat back.  This creates 3 private staterooms and a salon at night.  Each can retire to their space, all had reading lights.  Having the kids tucked away made the trip much more pleasent for my wife and I.  We could read late, had free access to the cockpit and dock.  A number of times we also would get up and get under way early while the kids still slept in their staterooms.

Air bed With the dinette table lowered a standard twin sized airbed fits perfectly in the space.  We were skeptical at first, but found it wasnt bad at all for both Dawn and I to sleep on the twin sized bed.  You do have to roll in sync, but we quickly got the hang of this and the comfort of the airbed far exceeded even our new foam we added last year.  Setup was quick and easy each night.  I dont think our backs would have survived so many nights on the foam.

Full cockpit enclosure This yet again proves worth every penny it cost.  It adds a much needed extra room to the boat.  With so much sun during the trip we greatly appreciated its shade.  It also made the rough passages much more pleasant with its excellent protection from spray.

Storage, storage, storage We had a lot, and we added even more.  Everything had a place.  We both commented when we were all loaded that the boat seemed less crowded and full than it ever has before.  And boy did we have a lot more stuff.  You dont really notice it loading as things go in a bit at a time, but when we got home and unloaded everything at once it was amazing all the stuff we took along.

Pressure water We added this last summer and it has proved to be a great addition.  Surprisingly we dont use that much more water either.

Larger potty A must, even with the large tank it needs to be emptied every 3 days.  Canada does not have any pump outs or potty dump stations.  It is legal there to discharge overboard everywhere except a few bays and coves.  For the most part we were able to use restrooms but one time did have to make a dump over the side.  Not a pleasant event.

Larger dinghy with motor We upgraded to a 99 dinghy with a high pressure air floor.  It rolls very compactly for storage on the bow yet has 1100lbs capacity to easily carry all 5 of us.  We added our 6 hp Yamaha which weve owned for years.  The motor easily can plane out the boat.  We had a 3 gallon tank that straps in the dinghy and provided plenty of fuel.  The motor is stored on the starboard transom on a trolling mount.  In that position it can be lowered as a backup motor and it pushed the Mac at 5-6 knots without any problem.

Electric pump We purchased a special 12v electric pump that makes short work of the dinghy and the air bed.  It has an auto shut off pressure valve and has two stages allowing it to reach the 10psi needed for the air floor.  It inflates each dinghy compartment in less than 30 seconds.

24 gallons fuel The four tempo value 6 fuel tanks were great.  Their design, with the filler opening and the fuel pickups at the end rather than on top is perfect for the Mac fuel lockers once modified to let them fit.  All that is required to fill them is to unscrew the cap as it is completely accessible without removing the tank.  Switching from one tank to another is quick and easy as the connections are easy to see and reach.

Wide open galley This continues to be a great mod.  It allows every bit of space in the galley area to be used and easily accessed.

5 day cooler A must. With a block of ice we could count on 4 days of cold food.  After struggling a couple times to remove the full coolers and dump the water from the melted ice we hit on a great solution.  We pulled out the manual bilge pump and just pumped the water into the galley sink.  No more heavy lifting.

Multi mount table This proved to be a great idea.  We have had a Magma third mate BBQ table for a few years that we mounted on the transom.  I bought a couple more rod holder mounts so we could put it to use inside the cabin.  I mounted one on the back of the forward dinette seat.  This lets us store the table in the vee berth area out of the way yet it can still hold things.  It is offset back enough that you can still sit at the seat without hitting it.  I mounted another on the forward side of the galley.  This lets the table become a galley extension over the port setee.  It adds a huge amount of additional space to the galley area.  It also serves in either of the locations as a entertainment center with the laptop strapped to it.  The preferred space was the galley location.  From there all 5 of us can easily sit around the dinette area and watch a movie.

Amp hour meter I was concerned that our two 4 year old group 24 dual purpose batteries (130Ah total) would not be enough.  I almost added a third, but decided to keep a close eye on things using the Link 10 meter.  Having the meter proved that available power really wasnt an issue.  I would check multiple times a day and each day at bed.  Our lowest reading, after 3 days out without shore power was 26.8 Ah.  Most of that was using the inverter to run the laptop for movies.  We did the three nights in Princess Louisa and were only -18Ah down.  Having the meter gave me great peace of mind.

Laptop computer / DVD player We took along my eMachines laptop for occasional chart planning and tides and current use, but mainly for movies.  Its WXGA 15 wide screen makes a great movie playing machine.  Its speakers need some help when under way with the motor running at higher rpms, so I added a FM modulator that plugs in the headphone jack and transmits the audio to the stereo/CD player with its big speakers.  This can turn the cabin into decent little home theater.

High quality electronic charts Having accurate easy to read color charts right at the helm ready for reference with your position displayed is really great.  It takes a lot of the apprehension out of traveling new territory.  The charts and the GPS feed proved to be very accurate, right down to the slip in the harbor.  The Otter case For the PPC did a excellent job of protecting the Pocket PC yet keeping all its controls and its touch screen completely useable.  The Ozi Explorer software worked flawlessly on both the Laptop and the Pocket PC.  It also seamlessly handled uploading the waypoints and routes to our old Lowrance GPS.  Its feature of scanning for and automatically selecting the highest detail chart for your position is great as you move into harbors and off the edge of one chart to another.

Auto Pilot The SportPilot+ autopilot we installed did a great job.  It is particularly good at following a route using the GPS autopilot commands.  Just being able to let go of the wheel briefly to go take care of something is great, having the boat drive itself to the next destination on its own is really a treat.  It also lets you move forward in the cockpit underway.  Its very surprising how just a few feet forward can reduce the noise from the outboard drastically.

Game Boy SPs For kids like ours who spend quite a bit of time gaming having the gameboys, 3 of them, along was great. The SP model folds compactly, has a backlit easy to use screen and best of all has a very long lasting rechargeable Li-Ion battery.

Book racks we had two book racks at the starboard end of each dinette seat, but we needed more space for the long trip.  I added a rack using a wood strip and shock cord that runs the entire width of the dinette footwell on the starboard side.  This gave us space for all our books, magazines, and logs and doesnt get in the way of lowering the table at all.

120v power Weve always had a charger wired to a 15 amp inlet on the transom, but I re-wired and brought the feed line to a set of breakers, then fed back to the charger and a GFCI outlet just forward of the galley.  This now lets us easily plug in chargers, the computer, the vacuum, and occasionally the small fan we brought.  Id like to also wire in a 120v light or two for use at the docks.

120v vacuum We were going to get a 12v shop vac style vacuum but couldnt find one.  Originally we left without one but we stopped on the third day in Port Townsend as it became obvious we needed something.  Dawn ended up with a small 120v dirt devil.  It has good suction and a spinning brush.  We were plugged in often enough it served well on both the carpets/upholstery and on the hard surfaces.  Its motor is small enough even our small inverter can run it if needed.

Extra lights Having 11 hard wired lights scattered through out the boat made evenings and nights much better.  Up in the vee berth we have a halogen light on a flexible stalk which takes care of reading in the forward stateroom.  Above the table we have the standard factory light.  On the forward wall of the head at the dinette we have a halogen pivoting reading light that worked well in bed.  On the port side I moved the forward factory light back centered directly above the galley to get more light on work there.  I filled its old spot with a LED fixture that gives adequate low current draw light in the salon late at night.  Another factory light is in the usual place above the battery area aft of the galley but it doesnt get used much.  In the head is a fourth factory light.  Mounted in this light with a separate switch is a single LED.  This uses so little power the amp meter cant even tell its on.  We leave this on all night as a night light for any middle of the night trips to the head.  It is plenty of light and it makes it so the kids dont go back to bed with the main head light on.  On each side of the aft berth is a two way white/red light for the boys.  They like having battle mode.  And finally, in the cockpit I have a 4 LED strip light that velcros up to the bottom of the bimini and can be aimed anywhere in the cockpit that light is needed.  It also can be hand held.  We also have 2 LED headlamps that are always useful.

Stove griddle We found a coleman griddle / grill that is almost the perfect fit to drop in our 2 burner Origo stove.  I have to cut 3/8 off one long edge and it now sits in flush.  This is great for breakfasts.

Hatchboard Storage Having a permanent easy to use set of slots for the hatchboards at the rear completely under the back of the helm seat was a big help.  It also cut down on the engine noise and eliminated a place for bugs to come in.  It can even be used in conjunction with the fabric panel we have for there.

Fuel and performance

Having four 6 gallon tanks for 24 gallons has finally alleviated any problems with range.  The most fuel we used was 3-1/2 tanks.  Price ranged from $2.20 gallon to $3.00 gallon in the US and $0.70 a liter to $1.05 a liter (Canadian dollars) in Canada.  The new tanks while 6 gallon, really only give you just under 5-1/2 gallons useable when filled to the fill line.  You can, however, over fill them to get close to 6 gallons useable.

As heavily loaded as we were we got only 3 nautical miles per gallon at most speeds.  Slowing to 6 knots would extend this to close to 4 nautical miles. 

Our top speed at wide open throttle was down to 14 knots from the normal 16 knots.

Mac Sightings

  • Two other Xs, Francis II and Ti Di,  and a Classic at Schooner Cove Marina in Nanoose

  • Don T on 'Otter' in Poets Cove Marina, Bedwell harbor, South Pender Island on the way back south.


Sunny or partly sunny everyday except one where we had off and on rain throughout the day.  Also had rain during the night on 4 occasions.


24 gallons fuel proved to be enough although the trip into and out Jervis used 3-1/2 tanks.
10 gallons water was plenty
6 gallons holding, adequate, but you never have enough.
130 amp hours, more than enough power.


Customs were no problem on either side.

We cleared Canadian customs at Bedwell harbor on South Pender Island.  I saw some agents around when we arrived, but when I went up to the office all the signs directed me to the phones.  I picked one up and was connected right away with a customs person somewhere.  Since this was the first time we had brought the boat into Canada it took a bit of time for him to get all the information entered into their computer system.  Once they had all the boat info and our names and birthdates we moved on.  They asked about booze and tobacco, and any large amounts of money (I wish).  He then said no agent would be coming to the dock today, gave me a clearance number to post in the window and said have a nice day.

We cleared into the US at Roche Harbor.  There was an agent there when we arrived.  She also had to spend quite a bit of time getting all our info entered into the computer.  We had passports and our kids birth certificates so there was no questions.  She wanted to know about what we bought, Tobacco, Chicken, Beef (Mad Cow you know), and Citrus products.  She then headed to the boat with me.  I thought she was going to inspect, but once we got there she said she wouldn't be going aboard.  She asked my wife a couple of the same questions and then handed us a slip of paper with our clearance number.

Other than those two simple stops there were no issues.  We flew our American yacht ensign from the backstay and I put up a Canadian courtesy flag on the starboard spreader with a couple of cable ties.

Things we found we still needed

  • Longer shore power cord

  • Sprayer for hose

  • Small bags to pack for shore time

Things we had but didnt use

  • Folding Chairs

  • Too many clothes

  • Heater

  • Fewer fishing poles

  • Fishing net

  • Too many shoes
























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