Introduction

Discussion in 'Main Morgan 38 Sailboat Forum' started by gymcoachdon, Mar 9, 2020.

  1. gymcoachdon

    gymcoachdon New Member

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    My name is Don, my wife Kim and I coach gymnastics, thus the screen name.
    Our current plans are to sell our house in 1-2 years, buy a boat to live on, and to travel in the Caribbean initially. I have been researching possible "budget" boats, and have a list of candidates. Number 1 on that list is the Morgan 382-384 series.
    I joined the forum because I was flying in to Hilton Head, SC for a competition in Savannah, GA, and there was a 382 listed in Hilton Head that I wanted to see. I wanted to get some more in depth info on the boats before I walked through her.
    We are not actually in the market, but the broker was nice enough to allow us to see the boat so we could get a better idea of living space/storage, etc.
    My first impression was that the saloon was very open, and bright (at least compared to the few I have been on), the cockpit a little small, and the V-berth a little tall! We are both short, 5'7" and 5'2", so the size of the berth works for sleeping, but it seemed tight getting in and out. Removing the solar panel that was stored in the way, and maybe adding a step or stool would alleviate this. The head was decent sized, and it appeared that the shower area could be screened off to keep the head dry?, although this boat had nothing in place, and the shower was a sail locker.

    Overall, I was pleased with the potential this series of boats holds, and it will remain highlighted on my list.
     
  2. Mitchell S Allen

    Mitchell S Allen Member

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    Hello, and Welcome. We have owned Sonata, our 383, for about 2 years now and love her. Most our time is at the dock upgrading and maintaining right now, so here are my thoughts.

    These boats are great and have so many more pros than cons. They are pretty damned tough and sail well for a "Cruiser". Before I acquired her she had been raced to Hawaii with the Pacific Cup and seemed to hold her own. One of the things I looked at, was the race handicap ratings when I was looking for a boat like this. Here on San Francisco Bay, the PHRF was 150, the same as my Moore 24. I didn't want a boat that didn't perform. I am happy in how she sails.

    I am 5'7" and typically sleep in the quarter berth. It is just right for me, but anyone taller wouldn't fit. Getting into the quarter berth isn't difficult once you figure it out.
    The V berth is more difficult for me to get in or out. The V berth is very comfortable for 2 people our size though. My wife is also about 5' 7".
    The cockpit is small, which can be a plus at sea, but a little cramped at anchor or just trying to live in. But it works. A good addition is to add a wheel storage on the rail. It will open the cockpit while not sailing. The shower space is marginal in my opinion. And probably not big enough unless in dire need, lol. The shower is sail stowage on our boat at this time as well.
    The galley is usable and efficient, but sometime wish there was a little more stowage. The ice box on Sonata was converted to refrigeration.

    As a live abroad for 2 people, the Morgan is about as small as I would be happy with. And, I hope to live aboard and cruise in a couple years too.
    Sonata has a dodger with a large solar panel on top. If we head out I think I will add more solar someplace else too. The dodger was a "must have" for me.
    My opinion, and I think most others here, is the Morgan 382-384 is a whole lot of GREAT boat for there money. As an aside, when the survey was done on our boat, the replacement cost was shown at about $450,000 in current dollars. For what that is worth...

    Good luck in your search, these really are fantastic boats!
    Mitchell
     
  3. gymcoachdon

    gymcoachdon New Member

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    https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1979/morgan-382-morgan-3583445/
    This is the listing for the boat we saw. I was really hoping that, because of the listed price, I was going to see a really nice example of the series. She may be extremely seaworthy, but she didn't show well, in my mind. I'm not sure if the owner has been to the boat to make it more presentable, but it was full of stuff.
    This would bring me to my next question...What would an extremely nice, well equipped 382-384 sell for? $45k? 55k? More?
    I am hoping to keep my boat budget in that range, and am trying to decide if I should look for one that needs work/upgrades for less $$ upfront, or pay upfront for one that is more "turn-key". I am pretty handy mechanically, and woodworking, and find satisfaction doing the work, but the wife isn't going to want a multi-year project boat.
     
  4. terry_thatcher

    terry_thatcher Terence Thatcher

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    Recommend you join attainable adventurer cruising that is currently running a series on buying and upgrading ocean worthy boats. Their price target is higher than yours, but they have much to teach. I have relied on that site for years as I prepped my 382 for ocean work. Critically, you want a real survey, which is never cheap. $2500-$5000.
     
  5. gymcoachdon

    gymcoachdon New Member

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    Thanks for the info on Attainable Adventure Cruising...I will check them out.
    When we are actually shopping for our boat, a real survey will be a given.
    Our true budget will only be known after our current home sells, but doing the research now on my best estimates.
     
  6. datswite

    datswite Ken Ferrari

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    I'm skeptical that you'll find a "well-equipped" Morgan 38 for $45k-55k that's ready to go. Of course, I it depends upon what you consider "well-equipped" and how you intend to use the boat. I paid $34k for my 382 in 2013, and it was in exceptional condition. But, it was as bare bones as the day it left the factory. The sails were original and the rigging was original. While it had a VHF radio, it was from 1981 and barely worked. And the minimal instruments (depth and speed) no longer worked. The boat had no other equipment.

    I was re-fitting my boat for ocean sailing and full-time cruising, and I dumped a WHOLE lot more money into it. I have never tallied up exactly how much I spent, but I probably have at least $130k in the boat. And I did all of the work myself. I tried to stick to projects that I felt were necessary to offshore safety/life aboard. But I essentially performed a stem-to-stern refit and added every piece of gear to get it cruise ready. Your sailing plans will entirely dictate what work/gear you need to focus on.

    Most 38's in that price range that happen to be "well-equipped" are likely to be in need of a major refit before any serious offshore work could be considered. The sails are likely to be blown out. The rig is likely well-past it's "due date". Autopilots are likely getting worn out. Electrical system probably needs updated. Electronics are likely outdated or no longer work.

    A boat like that might be fine for coastal cruising or a trip to the Bahamas. As for getting it to the Caribbean, it all depends upon the route you plan to take. An offshore passage from the Chesapeake to the Eastern Caribbean is a serious, and potentially very challenging, undertaking. I personally wouldn't tackle it unless I was 100% confident in ALL major systems on the boat.

    I've sailed my 38 over 20,000 miles. Coastal cruising the east coast. A few winters in the Bahamas. A few seasons in the Caribbean. And, most recently a west-to-east transatlantic to Portugal via the Azores. It's a great boat and a great value. However, the gear and most systems aren't specific to the design. New rigging for a 38' boat costs the same no matter who built the boat.

    I've seen a lot of Morgans since I bought mine. Considering the condition of my boat, I feel like I got lucky at $34k for my boat. I realize you might find a diamond in the rough. Again, define your cruising plans as best as you can, and be prepared to spend at least another $25k-30k (at least) if you plan serious offshore work.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2020
  7. datswite

    datswite Ken Ferrari

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    I recognize that linked boat from when I was shopping for mine. She used to belong to a member here, Tomasz Pol, and the boat was kept in Annapolis. She used to be called Solo II. He was a talented owner that did some great work to his boat. I visited Tomasz to look at his boat and to discuss his ideas. I think he had it listed for sale for about $70k back in 2012.

    Here are Tomasz' posts: https://www.morgan38.org/morgan38/index.php?members/solo2.11047/
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2020
  8. terry_thatcher

    terry_thatcher Terence Thatcher

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    Ken, it sounds as if you have treated your Morgan as I have mine. I have surely spent more on upkeep and improvements than I paid in 1997 ($57K). New rigging, new sails, offshore gear, water maker, windlass, winches, electronics, canvas, and more. And right now all fittings are off and she is being painted and will get a new rudder. The old Perkins is so reliable, it hasn't been replaced, but I suppose that may be next. But from what I see on the market, I could not sell her for anything close to my 1997 price. There are just thousands of used sailboats on the market--and somehow Catalina and Hunter at the low end, Beneteau in the middle, and Najad, Hallberg Rasey, and others at the top end keep producing and selling boats. Owning and maintaining a boat for serious cruising is not cheap, but there are lots of cheap (and pretty good) boats out there, I think. But then, I haven't been in the market for 22 years. There are boats I would prefer to the Morgan, but there are limits to what even I will spend, especially since the Morgan does pretty much all I need a boat to do.
     
  9. gymcoachdon

    gymcoachdon New Member

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    Well, I guess I could give everyone a little idea of what our plans are, as that might help with any advice given.
    The plan is to sell our house, use some of the proceeds to buy a sailboat we can live on. Depending on where the boat is purchased, possibly transport it to a warmer climate with sailing opportunities year-round. I envision us working for about a year while shaking down and outfitting the boat for travels. Then cut the lines, and head for the Caribbean for as long as we want. I am not ruling out the Pacific, but that decision would be made after a few years of cruising. But that makes me think I should initially buy a boat that would be suitable for that purpose.
    I could be wrong, but it appears to be a buyers market, and selling one boat to "upgrade" to a better one at a later date seems like it would be a good way to throw a lot of money away.
     
  10. datswite

    datswite Ken Ferrari

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    Lots of things to unpack. Those are pretty vague plans, and I understand them totally. I, too, was in your exact situation about 10 years ago. I don't know what your sailing experience is, but, based upon a few of your questions, I'm going to guess that you're somewhat new to it. Or, at least new to cruising boats.

    Generally speaking, ocean sailing is VERY different than protected water sailing. Lots of folks I've met through my travels have purchased "bluewater boats" thinking that they'll cross oceans or see terrible weather. Then, when they get out there, they find that they hate ocean sailing and never use the boat in the way it was intended. Lots of money wasted on buying the wrong boat. If at all possible, I highly encourage you to do some offshore sailing before you buy your boat. There are several professional sailors out there that will take you on ocean passages. You'll know within a few days whether or not you even want to be out there. Believe me... it's not for everyone. Look into John Kretschmer or Andy Schell.

    With that said... assuming you know you want to go ocean sailing and long-term cruising, buy a boat that you can afford to refit. Shit is going to break, and, if you didn't prepare correctly, it's going to break ALL OF THE TIME. Lots of cruisers I've met spend their entire cruising life making repairs. Fixing stuff is to be expected, but if you can frontload the repairs via a solid refit, you'll be better off, in my opinion. Better to tackle the repairs while you're employed than after you quit. A good refit will buy you several years of sailing without major headaches.

    My opinion is that $45k isn't a lot of money to spend on a 38' boat that's ready for long-term cruising or ocean sailing. I would absolutely recommend the Morgan 38 for your intended plans, but it's not gonna be "ready" to go at that price. The boat you shared has a lot of nice work done to it that is desirable. The inner forestay will come in very handy on ocean crossings. The anchoring platform work Tomasz did is very good. He also did a great job on his reefing system mods. I was going to copy them, but ultimately ended up replacing my boom and went a different route. Lots of gear already installed, but will likely need to be serviced. It's got a windvane - I can't imaging doing what I've done without my windvane. If I'm sailing, my windvane is steering. At your price point, you're not going to find pleasing aesthetics and "well equipped". Shiny teak and gel coat look nice, but they're nothing more than cosmetic considerations.

    Keeping the rig up and the water out are the major concerns. Everything else is simply varying degrees of comfort. Comfort costs money. Lots of money, sometimes. Reliability costs money. Sometimes lots of money. If you don't have deep pockets, deal with these issues while you're employed. Buy a good design (like the M38), and then make it bullet-proof for stress free cruising.

    For what it's worth, John Kretschmer has said that the Morgan 382 is one of his favorite boats. That dude knows his shit.
     
  11. datswite

    datswite Ken Ferrari

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    Mmm... yeah, I fantasize over Swedish boats! But then I realize that my boat is paid for and sails great!!!
     
  12. gymcoachdon

    gymcoachdon New Member

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    As I have started looking for boats more closely, they seem to fall into a few categories. Really nice looking, basic equipped, well maintained, short trip/day sailer boats, well worn cruising equipped boats, and derelict abandoned boats. Seems that the nicely maintained, well equipped boats don't show up on my "under 100k" search options!
    I am planning on a budget of 40 to 50k purchase, and 50 percent of purchase to refit. Maybe I am a bit too optimistic.
     
  13. datswite

    datswite Ken Ferrari

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    That makes sense. People that spend a ton of money to get their boat ready for cruising typically go cruising. lol Once the boat is worn out and ready for a refit, they sell it. The recommended service life of stainless steel rigging on a well-used boat in the tropics is about 7 years. Sails on weekender boats can last decades. On a cruising boat? 5-7? Lots of people don't perform basic maintenance on their boats. I'm the only cruiser I know that regularly services my winches and anchor windlass.

    I believe that you can get a Morgan 38 ready for cruising for less than I spent. Particularly if you're willing to forego some luxury items. You don't need a watermaker. You don't need a generator. You don't need giant battery banks, televisions, microwaves, etc. As I said, it's simply varying degrees of comfort. If you can keep your power requirements low, that can have a dramatic effect on how much you need to spend.

    Power heavy boats require lots of expensive infrastructure. Some projects can be delayed until you know that you're going to make a long offshore passage.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2020
  14. gymcoachdon

    gymcoachdon New Member

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    Thank you Ken for all of your input. You have read me correctly in that I have very little sailing experience. Sunfish races with a family friend when I was young, a high school friend who I would go up to Wisconsin on Sturgeon Bay a couple weekends in the summer on a 30 ish ft wooden sailboat. First trip up was spring break to get the boat ready for the water, then a long weekend with sailing later in the year as the reward. Then nothing until going sailing in Aruba while on a vacation 2 years ago. That was when the plan started. My wife and I have since taken ASA 101, 103, and 104 classes, so we are both bareboat certified. We are chartering this summer for a week vacation. My optimistic goal is to be financially ready 1 year from June, but realistically it will probably be 1 more year, so just over 2 years plus from now.
    For the sake of conversation, lets say we end up on a boat somewhere on the Gulf. I envision us having jobs while refitting, day sailing, coastal cruising, etc., to help us determine what we need/want. Watermakers, electric windlass, TV, microwave, generators are all on my list of unnecessary luxuries at this point. That may change.
     
  15. datswite

    datswite Ken Ferrari

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    One thing to keep in mind... unless you're heading offshore from the mid-Atlantic states, it's an upwind slog to get the Eastern Caribbean. Bashing into the tradewinds for 1,500 miles is no joke and it will clobber both sailor and boat alike. Many experienced sailors suggest taking the easier route to the Caribbean, i.e. sail to Europe and then back again - a 9,000 mile detour that keeps the wind at your back. A strong and well-prepared/refit boat is far more up to the challenge for taking on the Thorny Path than a flimsy boat. It's amazing how much shit breaks on boats taking the island-hopping route. I've done it, and it's hard work. My boat did well because I front-loaded maintenance.

    The Morgan 38 is a great boat. It sails very well. It's built very well. It's easy to singlehand. It's a good size, IMO, for living aboard (though I'd love a few more feet). All boats are compromises, but I've been VERY pleased with my boat. With that said, they're getting long in the tooth. Old boats can go forever, but they have to be maintained and refit from time to time. If you live on it full-time for long enough, you're likely to outgrow it. If you're one to always try to compete with others, you'll outgrow it quickly. Nowadays these are considered "small" boats.
     

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