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Looking at a Charley Morgan 38 that looks like a real project - advice?


New Member
I have been interested in purchasing a 32'+ sailboat for a couple of years now. I came across a deal on a 1970 Morgan 38 in South Texas. It supposedly has a 2011 Kubota with 10 hours on the engine. Definitely needs paint and wood work. I have only seen pics and a "survey" provided by the seller (it is not a mech survey and seems kind of "canned"). I am 1300 miles away and I am headed out next week to look at it for myself. My thoughts are if she has good bones and its mostly elbow grease and paint, etc I could take that on (ie: decent rigging, boat will motor, mast and sails in decent shape, hull sound). The ideal situation would be to be able to have a little fun while bringing her back.

Any advice as to what to looks for (specifically) that I could see without hauling the boat out? Where do I look for the hull #?

For a boat this size at a low price is it worth it to pay for haul and mech survey before purchase? It's something I would do anyway to know what I am starting with and where to focus my efforts.

What would I see that would scream "run away!"??? Currently researching the Morgan 38 and browsing the forum. Seems like you guys like 'em ;)

Thanks in advance for the help. The seller isn't even local to the boat at the moment so I will be talking to the marina manager.


Terence Thatcher
The original 38 had a good reputation as a capable sailboat. Practical Sailor compared it favorably to the later 382. They are small by today's standards, but that helps explain their seakindliness. Any boat that old is sure to have issues unless it has been constantly maintained and refurbished. Blisters. Delamination or rot in the decks. Rigging too old to be trusted. Centerboard issues.Only a competent survey can let you know what shape she is in.