Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Horizon is growing - from a 35' Rafiki sloop into a 41' Morgan 415 Out Island ketch!  A lot has happened the past few months but the bottom line is our previous Horizon has been sold and her new owner is excitedly restoring her to respectable liveaboard/cruiser status.  That sale was a good thing for Cate and I because Horizon carried quite a bit of emotional baggage from her 23 year history with me; with a new boat comes the promise of freshly new memories.

One basic criteria for a replacement boat was to have enough room to fit lots and lots of shoes and the search quickly narrowed to a ketch or yawl in the 40-45 foot range.  I wanted a ketch or yawl because the mainsail tends to be smaller and is less likely to be too unwieldy for a not-as-spry-as-we-once-were crew.  Shorter than 40' would not have the second stateroom we wanted, and longer than 45 feet the boat starts to be more difficult for 2 people to handle easily.

My first choice in that range was a 42' Westsail ketch but there appear to only be two of them on the US east coast and they had both just been sold by the time I started looking.  There was also a yawl, purported to be Walter Cronkite's Westsail, but that needed far more restorative work than we were prepared to do.  What endeared me to that specific style boat was the walk-in engine room with workbench!

Our search led through a series of lower priced used boats until we zeroed in on the Morgan OI ketch series.  Inside, they have two staterooms each with head, a roomy main salon, and a large though only crouch height engine room.  The exterior is fairly bland with center cockpit and large flat decks with only a toe rail - I sure will miss the 6" gunwales the Rafiki had.  Built here in Clearwater Florida for the charter trade, Morgan boats used simple construction and were designed for easy and low maintenance; there are no tricky special systems like V-drives or centerboards, and accessibility to most all components is excellent.  The OI 41's are shoal draft, drawing only 4'6", making it easier for island hopping.

The one we are buying (the deal is not yet closed) was built in 1979 and shows a general lack of upkeep.  We have quite a list of work to do once financing is in place but she is definitely curb appeal challenged.  The hull has a couple dock rashes and the shear and coach stripes are mere faded suggestions of their former selves so new hull paint is at the top of her required todo list.  Luckily I found an excellent painter through coworkers.  Now, will we have the stripe painted AwlGrip International Orange or Toreador Red?

At the survey haul we found the cutlass bearing, intermediate shaft bearing, and shaft log hose all needed to be replaced.  I will add a new prop shaft to replace the pitted and rusted one and we will have a whole new drive train.  Her Perkins M60 was installed in 1995 and runs like a top so that shouldn't need special care but we will have to replace the exhaust hose and do other plumbing and engine room sprucing up.  We are not going to worry yet about the inop genset or the forward stateroom A/C unit, at least the aft A/C unit works fine and can cool most all the living area.

To those immediate and major cost drivers, we will shortly be adding "niceties" including a Raritan PHEII head and Electro-san for push button convenience, and a mast head wind instrument. 

Okay, that is as much as I can type out now.  More later as the purchase progresses.