• Welcome to this website/forum for people interested in the Morgan 38 Sailboat. Many of our members are 'owners' of Morgan 38s, but you don't need to be an owner to Register/Join.

Great Refit Ideas on Yachtworld.com


Mark Pearson
Staff member
I was noticing how few Morgan 38x there are on Yachtworld.com. The market is quite tight now for M38s like it is for most boats (and other things).

I really noticed one particular boat, a 382 called Lime'N. It has a huge amount of very well thought out upgrades. Probably one of the nicest specimens I've seen, and I plan to heavily plagiarize.

Use your web browser's "Zoom" capability to make the photos bigger and there are several great ideas on each photo.


That link will be gone when the boat sells so I've copied all the photos into Evernote so I can reference them later. I'd copy them up to this site but there might be some copyright issues.

There are probably 50 good ideas on the photos, but some of the main ones that come to mind are:
  1. In the classic debate of varnishing exterior teak, or letting it go grey: they have a very good compromise, I think. The outter cap rail they let go grey, but the other teak, hand rails, etc. they varnish (or Cetol, etc.). I think this is a great balance and would cut our varnishing time in half.
  2. Cockpit table: they have a nice folding version that doubles its size.
  3. Dorade Box/Cowl Vents: they have some nice lower profile cowl vents. We have to take our Cowl vents off each time we sail because lines foul in them, tear them off & fling them into the water. We have accidentally float tested ours and they don't float ;) .
  4. The small Hatch above the head
  5. In the galley, they appear to have replaced the latches with those easy "push to pop open" latches, instead of the "stick your finger in the hole and fumble around feeling for the latch" style we currently have. I can imagine breaking my finger when we are in a heavy sea & getting thrown about.
  6. Interior white paint: They have a nice balance here too. The plywood and veneered surfaces are painted, but the real teak pieces and trim are varnished. Looks very nice, I think, and better than just painting everything white, and much lighter than leaving everything dark/natural.
  7. Engine room/Companionway stairs. There is a hinge on the left side. The stair portion lifts off, then the door hinges open. Lighter and easier than our configuration where the stairs and panel are one unit, and a heavy chunk to lift out of the way.
  8. Nice access hatches in the head, including at least one in the sink vanity for accessing those difficult to reach valves.
  9. A little glass wall to separate part of the shower from the rest of the head.
  10. Nice lower profile windlass config
  11. Nice electrical panel setup, with easy-open accessory panel to the right for things like radio, gauges, etc.
  12. Nice stack pack for the mainsail
  13. Full size ladder on the transom. Ours does not extend far enough in the water and you need to be a gymnast to get out of the water.
  14. I like the storage place for binoculars, radios, sun glasses, etc. that is on the wall above the quarter berth (to your left as you start to climb the companionway stairs).
  15. I like the hull color they chose. Hull paint is in our future, and I've narrowed it down to a light blue that looks very similar to this boat's but with the blueish tint instead of a greenish. Dark hulls look great, but I worry about the heat they would absorb in warmer climates.
  16. Rigid boom vang. We have one now, but I still need to install.
  17. They appear to have reduced the slope of the nav table top. Presumably to make more storage space?
All of the upgrades seem to have been very well/professionally installed. Avoiding the dreaded "DIY" look.

Anyway, thought I would share this with the group. Let me know if you see other good ideas.

Last edited:


Terence Thatcher
Hi Mark. I guess it is time for you to come see the upgrades on Adavida. I did the classic Herreshoff interior years ago (refreshed recently) and I too like the white/varnish contrast. On other matters: 1) Didn’t Morgan put stainless protectors around the dorades? My 382 is without dorades, but that is on my list. 2). Nice table, but I still prefer the mainsheet where I can control it from the helm. 3) The ladder on Adavida must be longer than yours. Problem with the one on the boat for sale is it prevents installation of a windvane steering device—a must for offshore work and even nice for long tacks up or down Johnstone Strait. 4) I replaced the teak handrails with stainless. Much less work and strong enough to tie down the dinghy. On other outside teak, I have simplified things by painting the outer edge of the toe/cap rail dark brown with durable paint, and have Cetol on the inner edge and top. Still work, but once it is done, it just needs a renewed gloss coat once a year (I hope). I do admire the boat’s new electrical panel, but I haven’t done that yet. And of course she has a new engine. (Inser envious sigh here.) It would be interesting to know if the boat for sale ($65,000!) has hidden improvements, such as all new chainplate bolts, improved cleat and chock backing plates, strengthened stanchion bases and threaded backing plates, a new rudder (I think both Jim Cleary and I have done that), new standing rigging. Shoot me an email if you are in town and come by RCYC for a beer sometime.


Mark Pearson
Staff member
Hi Terry - we are headed downriver for 4 or 5 days of fun, but I'd sure like to come take a look at Adavida (and beer!) when we get back. In addition to what you mentioned, I'd also like to look at how you have your water maker installed, and check out your hull paint. Oh, and I can give you your Yeti Morgan 38 mugs which have spent the pandemic in a closet, and would love to be released into the wild.

1) No, Morgan didn't put any protection around the cowl vents/dorade boxes. Some folks have added their own. I'm still considering that, but was thinking the lower profile cowl vents (for the forward ones) might eliminate the need to add a bunch of stainless tubing for protection.

2) I understand your point, but respectfully disagree. It's so rare that I need to touch the traveller, I'd rather have it up on the deck & have a nice big table in the cockpit. We use that table for almost every meal when the weather is not horrible. But this is personal preference, I think, no absolute right/wrong.

3) The ladder vs. windvane steering: We are leaning towards getting a Hydrovane for several reasons. One is that they can be installed off center, and (I think) the ladder can stay where it is. Another is that some people (like Warren) say that it reduces the wear on the boat's steering gear because it doesn't use it. It can also be used as an emergency rudder if the real rudder is munched by something. We are still deciding.

4) Stainless handrails seem like a good idea to me. There are too many things competing for my boat bucks, though, so I'll need to wait until they fall apart. ;)

Yes, $65k might seem like a lot of $ for the boat, but (as you know) those upgrades/refits are quite expensive. Heck, I'll bet just the hull paint, new engine and associated plumbing/piping alone were $35-40k. I'd guess they poured at least $65k into improvements in addition to the initial purchase price.

If I was shopping for a boat and wanted to take off voyaging soon, I think I'd get a very well refit boat like this. Rather than getting a "bargain" boat for $25k then laying out another $65k for improvements over a few years.

That said, we have (mostly) really enjoyed doing all the upgrades/refits on Zia. We have learned a lot and we do have some comfort in knowing every square inch of her so well. It's been a 10 year project, but we had the time because I'm still working my day job. If I was retired, I would want to blast off and do some serious voyaging though, instead of spending so much time working on the boat.

As you pointed out, I'll bet there are also a bunch of upgrades that are not visible in the photos.

Thanks, and hopefully we will see you and Adavida soon!
Last edited:

Warren Holybee

Active Member
I guess different strokes for different folks. There aren't many changes on that I like.

I do like the mainsheet traveler on the cabin. Having now sailed nearly 30,000 miles with it in the cockpit, about 10,000 of those single handed, I would never buy a boat with the sheet in the cockpit again. If affects the table, the Bimini size and location, prevents the Bimini from attaching to a dodger, and more importantly, it is dangerous. Single handing makes no difference. A cabin top traveler can have lines brought back to the helm, it's done all the time.

I have the same cockpit table. I have to remove it to sail. :(

I don't like the interior at all. It reminds me of a cheap apartment where another coat of antique white paint is added every time someone moves. It just looks cheap like it is only there to cover up something more expensive to finish properly. I might not be so opposed to properly selected colors and coordinating cushions.

I don't like the galley upgrades. The sink looks to be a downgrade. I can't really tell what is going on there, though. The sink looks small, and the storage to the left of it looks smaller too?


Mark Pearson
Staff member
Hi Warren - yeah, I think all of this stuff is personal preference, and reasonable people can have different opinions & just agree to disagree.

My wife strongly dislikes the white interior too, so that ain’t happening anytime soon here.

Terry has a heck of a lot of ocean miles too (like you), and I know he feels strongly about his traveler location.

Seems the best we can do is gather all the info & opinions, and consider it all before making our own decisions. I do like seeing other peoples boat for ideas, though.

I think the owner of Lime’N extended the cabinetry behind the stove so it comes up to the back of the stove. Like another 8” out or so, which would increase storage a fair amount. Unless that’s a difference between 384s and 382s that I never noticed before.

I hope things are going well for you in Virginia! (I think you’re still there)


Terence Thatcher
Mark, Susan might like a white interior if the cushions were a nice color. Mine are sort of blah, but at least they aren't white.