Hi, I've been reading and monitoring these forums
a while now, but this is my first substantive post. I am going to try to avoid the typical "hey, I want to live aboard, what should I do" post. I'd like to get opinions (I know that there will be many, and varied) on specific attributes of a boat, or style of boat, that I'm considering.
My questions mainly arise from the fact that I've not sailed, and previously wasn't looking for, either a ketch
rig or a center cockpit
, and this boat that I saw last week is both.
By way of background, I'm looking for a boat to live aboard and single-hand sail. My parents live on the Mississippi Gulf Coast
, I once lived in New Orleans
, and I've spent time in and love Key West
, so I could conceivably be on Lake Pontchartrain, in Pass Christian, MS, or in the Keys at any particular point in time. I plan to cross the Gulf to the Caribbean
and back (hopefully somewhat regularly), as well. So whether I ever got to the point of doing a transatlantic crossing or other water
sailing, I'd like to have something offshore
or at least "grey water" capable.
I sailed a small boat when younger and have taken several ASA
courses, primarily on a Catalina
400. I like the Catalina
400 quite a bit, but the prevailing opinion is that boat is not suited for offshore
crossings -- primarily because of the wing keel
, spade rudder
, and lack of a big toerail. I'm interested in something on the line between bluewater cruiser and "performance" cruiser.
I generally was looking for an aft-cockpit, cutter- or sloop-rigged (whether true cutter
with a removable inner forestay), set up for single-handed (roller furling genoa
a must, furling
main would be nice but if not at least halyard
led to the cockpit
, self-tailing winches ideally). Don't believe I need/want a full keel
, but a fin keel that tracks well, and a skeg-hung rudder
All that said, this boat is a 1979 Morgan
, center cockpit
. I'm no surveyor
, but based on my walk-around, it appears to have been very well maintained. It has all of the equipment
one would need for cruising, and it all seems to be in good condition.
I've done some research
on Morgans since seeing the ad and seen both good and bad reviews/comments in forums
. The negatives focus on blistering problems that some Morgans had, apparently similar to several Valiants of the same era, and on some deck-hull joint leakage problems. But the takeaway seems to have been that it was a certain run of hull
numbers and the problem was corrected. This owner says that there have never been any of those problems. I didn't see any gelcoat
issues on the deck
or topsides and didn't feel any softness in the deck
Here are my thoughts, and I'd welcome any specific reactions.
-- As noted above, I previously was looking at sloop
rigs, not ketch rigs. In addition to the advantages of a sloop in lighter air, I also thought that a ketch rig might just be too much complication for single-handing. Since seeing this boat, I've done a bunch of research
on ketch rigs and found that they have their proponents and detractors/pros and cons. The biggest pros seem to be that by dividing up the sail plan you have more flexibility / more options, that the mizzen will provide some power off the wind
, that the mizzen can act as a steadying sail at anchor
or on a mooring
, etc. The cons seem to be that the mizzen doesn't do too much when sailing on the wind
, instead may add drag; that the shorter / smaller main probably means worse performance in light winds; that the extra spars and rigging
may not be worth it considering the frequency with which the mizzen is used; etc. All in all, the ketch rig is not a selling point for me, and is probably slightly negative, but at this point perhaps isn't a deal-breaker. Thoughts?
-- I was looking for an aft cockpit
, not a center cockpit. I've read some opinions that center cockpit might be preferable for offshore sailing to reduce the risk of being filled by following breaking seas; but I've also read that a center cockpit might be worse danger
from being filled by breaking seas (big bathtub) unless it drains really well. I've also read that the danger
of breaking seas is overstated. There are opinions all over the place. I didn't get to check and see how well this cockpit drains. From an aesthetics standpoint, I just like the aft cockpit better. The other positive to a center cockpit, of course, is that usually it provides for a larger aft "master" cabin
, which this boat has. Bottom line, the center cockpit is not a selling point for me, but perhaps not a deal-breaker. An additional point is that I'm not sure that the halyard
is led back to the cockpit here. Thoughts?
-- I've not sailed a boat with a hard dodger/cockpit cover, which this boat has. As advantageous/necessary as that might be offshore, I don't like the idea of not being able to see the mainsail
or the main mast
from the helm
, which is the case here. That's somewhat of a negative. I'd be very interested in your thoughts on this visibility issue if your boat has a hard dodger/cockpit cover or you have experience sailing with one.
-- I think this boat is probably under-powered (from a sail perspective, not an auxiliary engine
perspective). Total sail area is 876 sf, LWL is 39.5 ft., displacement
30K lbs, ballast 8K lbs. If I've done my math right, it has a SA/D ratio of 14.5 -- although that is based on the entire sail plan (120% genoa
, main, and mizzen), and I believe that the occasions when all of that sail area would be deployed are very rare, if ever. Using the main and genoa area only, the SA/D ratio is only 12.5 -- that's down in the "slow, heavy motorsailer" category. The D/L ratio is 221.5, which is in the right range that I think I'm looking for. In my notes that I keep, I had jotted down that I was looking for something in the SA/D 16-17 and D/L 225-300 range (if such a boat exists).
-- As you may know, the Morgan
462 has the fin keel (6'6") and skeg-hung rudder I was looking for.
-- It has a large engine
compartment with easy access to all of the mechanical components, which I really like. That's probably also attributable to the center cockpit layout.
Sorry to overload with info and questions. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.