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Old 24-02-2005, 21:06   #1
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Morgan 43 for Offshore Cruising

Still searching and retirement is closing in. Looking for your helpful advice on a 1985 Morgan 43 for offshore. She wasn't listed in the Mahini Expedition list of recommended "offshore boats" but the websites we've viewed seem quite favorable.

Are you aware of any inherent problems or know of her offshore performance?


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Old 25-02-2005, 10:36   #2
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Don't know about the 43, but here is some comments on the 46:

Also, check yer e-mail, just sent ya a message.

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Old 26-02-2005, 06:04   #3
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I looked at a couple M43's in my search and came away with mixed impressions. I won't comment on Morgan's build quality...there are some good morgans and there are some that are indeed "sea strainers". If you search online for owners logs you find that by and large the boats are built fairly well enough. For true bluewater? That is a matter of opinion.

First and foremost though, the boat's design must work for you. On paper this boat does not look bad at all, especially topsides. But go down below and you get a very strange feeling. Something is off. For a 43 footer, they don't have much storage. Down below the aft cabin is good sized and pretty well laid out. The galley looks good. But...look at everything else. The nav sta is tucked in a corner and is so small it could only function as a TV stand. Because the aft cabin, engine and galley takes u so much of the boat the main salon is pushed way forward and is just two slim settees facing each other. Cramped. The forward cabin vee berth is a joke. Overall the main salon and vee berth in this boat me...felt pretty cramped. A Cape Dory 36 has a nicer salon.

Search a little deeper and you see a coupld more things. First, this is a 22,000lbs displacement boat. Boat 'size' is really best measured by displacement and LWL, not LOA. LOA is really meaningless when assessing space in the cabin. So, this boat is really about the same size as many cruising 38 and 40 footers. Not bad. But....maximize that aft cabin and everything else suffers.

I could find only one crusing log from an offshore trip. In the pacific. The entries were all about how sea sick everyone was (presumably from the motion of the boat) and how there was not a decent place to sleep aboard. Look at the design and you will not find a single decent sea berth. And is lacking.

I personally remain confused as to why this is not a great boat. It should could have been. But...I just think the design just misses the mark by enough to think more about other options.

For those who will be doing coastal cruising or brief offshore hops, sailing in warmer venues where they will stay topsides most of the time...this is probably a good buy (it is pretty cheap for a 43...which is why it gets looked at a lot...and you get what you pay for). For true extended bluewater passages where motion comfort, good sea berths and adequate storage are important...I think there are other boats.

I too would like to hear from others about these. Still curious.

Hope this helps

s/v Invictus
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Old 14-03-2005, 21:04   #4
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We have a 1986 M43CC... What would you like to know about it?

The first thing to note is that it isn't the Out Island model... it is commonly referred to as a Nelson Merek design but I've been told that that's not really accurate. None-the-less, it's a good solid boat. We have our reservations but her motion is not one of them. She rides well under sail and at anchor. I certainly like her better than a friends Jeanneau 37 and she sails smoother than a Beneteaus 47 and 50 that we've chartered

We have a friend from that has a '85 M43CC that is currently in the Caribbean. They sailed it from the great lakes to the east coat and did the 1500 Rally. They love it. And I'm in contact with several other owners, all of whom really like her design.

Here are some pros and cons...
The engine room is large but it provides ample room for a generator, additional batteries and some storage.

Speaking of storage, I think it's OK. Our fuel tank is under the port settee which kills some storage. So if you can find a model that has the diesel tank under the sole it's even better. Put some doors on the saloon shelves and you're good to go.

Her displacment is 23,500 which technically makes her a performace cruisers. Her wine glass shape and intergal lead keel places her weight low which seems to give her a good ride. She has low initial stability but she rides well in confused chop.

The nav station is large enough but it does have a odd shape and face slightly aft. The M44CC improved this a bit and the M45CC did a really nice job.

If you like center cockpits and aft cabins then you'll like the 43CC. The aft cabin is huge and again, if you put some door on the shelves then you've got a ton of storage. On the down side, the aft head is a cramped and the "tub" is only good for storage.

I disagree with John assement of the main saloon. I really like it. His cramped feeling might come from the mast in the middle of the table. It really blocks the visual openness of the saloon.

I agree with John about the forward head... It's large enough for the occassional guest and it's great for storage but it is certainly small. On the other hand, the forward head is great.

From a helmsman's point of view, I love the center cockpit. I really like the convenience of the mainsheet. On the downside the cockpit is a bit small for entertaining. And the on-deck storage is a bit lacking. I'd love to have a large sail locker.

Essentially, I don't know of any reason why it couldn't be a great bluewater cruiser. If it lack anything, it lacks the modern styling of large portlights, a large cockpit, and open saloon -- but those are the same things that make a bluewater cruiser vunerable.

Sorry to be long winded.... hope this helps.
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Old 22-03-2008, 16:48   #5
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Re: 1985 Morgan 43

Hi, newbie here, just came across this because I own a 1985 Morgan 43 and I found the John Drake comments a little strange. The following comments were more in line with my experience. I admit we haven't gone open ocean cruising but sailing the San Francisco coast can be a good test as witnessed by the tragic loss of last week. We sailed her in extreme comfort and speed in 10-12 ft seas and 20knt winds. solid and smooth.

by the way, after 3ys of restoration, it is currently for sale.
see at


Jay Bowyer
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Old 26-04-2015, 13:48   #6
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Location: Netherlands- Spunky is in FL and will soon move again!
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Re: Morgan 43 for Offshore Cruising

we are the happy owners of a fully outfitted (with thanks to previous owners) Morgan 43. Sailed from Key West to Cuba, Jamaica, Panama, Galapogos and now she is in Mexico. Robert & Anneke on a boat (in Dutch but with google translate).
Plan is to cross the Pacific next year.

She sails really well and storage issues can be solved (just throw more away ;-).

Within a few years she will be for sale again as we will go back to working life ;-~.
Let us know it you are interested.

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