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Newsletter - Summer 1997


Mark Pearson
Staff member
Note: following is a copy of an original Morgan Owner's newsletter (they were published 1997-1999).

Editor's Introduction

Welcome to the first issue of the Morgan-38 Owners' Group Newsletter!

For starters, I should explain who I am and how the M-38 Owners' Group came into being. I'm Lenny Reich, a professor of management and the history of technology at Colby College, in Waterville, Maine. I've been sailing almost continuously since my mid-teens, for the past decade on the beautiful, challenging Maine coast with my wife and two children (now ages four and six). When we set about a search several years ago for the "perfect" family cruiser/ racer, I examined 36 boats of 29 different types, travelling from Maryland to Mount Desert Island. The boats I inspected included such highly regarded designs as the Valiant 40, Tartan 37, and C&C 39. But the one that captured my heart--and really met our needs--was the Morgan 38.

The first Morgan I saw was an M-384. It had everything we were looking for in a boat: good tracking ability and a sturdy skeg-mounted rudder (to shed those lob-ster pot warps), medium draft, beefy con-struction, excellent deck and cockpit layout, a beautiful and functional interior, superb storage for a boat its size ... the list goes on and on. The broker who showed me the boat commented that these Morgans "survey well," which, translated to an owner's perspective, means that for their age and type, very little of consequence goes wrong with them. Just what the prospective buyer wants to hear!

I looked at more boat designs, but the vision of that Morgan just wouldn't go away. Through Cruising World's "Another Opinion" service and in other ways, I got in touch with several M-38 owners who were universally positive about their boats. When John Kretchmer published a review of the M-382 in Sailing Magazine, I called him up. A professional captain, John has written num-erous reviews and delivered scores of differ-ent boats. After an extended discussion of my needs, he strongly recommended the Morgan.

After that, what else could we do? My family is now the proud owner of Morgan 383, Hull #15, which we sail out of Rockland. If you come to Maine between June and September, you are likely to find us somewhere between West Penobscot Bay and Mt. Desert. Just look for WATERMUSIC in large blue letters on the side.

Over the course of my boat search, I spoke with owners of several different de-signs. One Tartan 37 owner mentioned that an association for that design had been formed a few years ago and gave me the phone numbers of the officers. After speak-ing with them, I realized how supportive and useful an organization like that could be: it gives technical information and important contacts in its newsletter, allows members to share ideas and experiences, and pro-vides a means for people with a strong common interest to get together. And, on top of that (I was told), its very existence increases the value of the boats.

Once we had bought our M-383, I queried several of the people with whom I had spoken as to whether we should start up an M-38 Owners' Group. I also established a number of contacts among Morgan 38 owners on the Internet. Their response: "Go For It!" But what about the older Charley Morgan 38's versus the newer 380's Ted Brewer boats versus the newest Cat-alina/Morgan 38? The advice I got was to be inclusive--they're all fine boats and we can learn from each other.

The folks at The Morgan Chantyman (published by Charles Morgan Associates, brokers) were most obliging when they heard what I had in mind. They supplied me with their mailing list of M-38 owner/subscri-bers. In April 1997 I sent out about 150 letters announcing the formation of the Owners' Group. I also set up a simple Inter-net Web Site called "The Morgan-38 Home-page" and put listings on several Internet bulletin boards. To date, 80 owners have responded enthusiastically with completed registration forms. The present count is 14 Charley Morgan-38s, 34 M-382s, 11 M-383s, 19 M-384s, 2 Catalina/Morgan 38s.

Just what our organization should be is, however, an open question. The Tartan group seems to have a very high concentration of members between Virginia and New York, so their activities (and officers) are centered within a few hundred miles of the Chesapeake. We are more spread out, with strong representation from California, Texas, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, and lots of points in between. Given the nature of our group and the limitations imposed by our separation, my own idea is for something very simple: a regular newsletter (three or four times per year), some get-togethers (possibly arranged at a couple of the major boat shows), and a sail-in or two each year (if enough people are interested and someone can make the arrangements). Doing it this way, our officers could be limited to a president (commodore?) and newsletter editor. I am willing to serve in the latter capacity, at least for a while.

I would like to suggest that a number of us try to get together on Saturday afternoon October 11th, at the Annapolis Sailboat Show to discuss the M-38 Owners' Group--what we want to do, how we want to do it, and what form (if any) our organization should have. Consider whether you can attend. If five or more of us can make it, I think it would be worthwhile going ahead with the meeting. Please let me know no later than September 15th if you plan to be there.

Thanks -- Lenny Reich

Deck Repair
By Jay Green, edited by Elaine Lussier
One of a fiberglass boat owner's worst fears is fiberglass delamination. Glass delamination can occur in both the hull and deck, and it can occur either between the glass laminants or between the glass laminant and the coring material. The repair of these problems can be quite expensive--in some cases more costly than the value of the boat.

This past spring I was faced with the repair of a glass-to-coring lamination failure on the deck of my Morgan 384 Njord just forward of the port, forward shroud chain plate. The area of delamination was about the size of a small door mat and, because it was located over the shower stall enclosure, my repair options were limited: I could not inject resin up from the cabin side of the deck as it was inaccessible. I would be forced to drill holes in the deck where they would need to be camouflaged. Also, if the coring was wet, it would be extremely difficult to dry it. [I have read that you can drill a pattern of holes from the cabin side of the deck and dry the core by heating the area through the winter.] Fortunately, the coring was dry and the job went well. I will share with you what I learned.

I became aware of the problem during the summer of 1995 when I noticed de-flection in the deck by the shroud. The deflection was slight, and I thought it might have been my imagination or normal for the rest of the deck. The following autumn, I stepped on the area one cold morning and it made a cracking sound. I tried again, but it was OK afterwards. It seemed to deflect a little, but I could not be sure if it was my imagination.

The next day, I noticed the same phenomenon and decided to sound the area. I did not have any experience with sounding a deck, but even to my ear there was an obvious change in reverberation between the solid and delaminated areas. The solid deck produced a crisp sound when rapped and the delaminated area produced a dull thud. I contacted a repair yard supervisor to confirm my suspicions. He agreed that the deck was delaminated and informed me that if the core was wet, it would be nearly impossible to dry. Further, with a wet core, injecting resin was unlikely to provide any real solution to the delamination, as the area would probably delaminate again within a few years.

The other solution would be to cut out the delaminated area, replace the coring and then rebuild the glass laminate. This would be an expensive job. It was even more disconcerting when the yard supervisor told me that because the new glass would be relying on secondary bonds it would not have the same strength of the original glass. He suggested that because the Morgan Coompany had used such a heavy laminant schedule (3/16 inch on both deck and cabin side, total 3/8 inch) it might be best to not attempt a repair if the coring was wet.

The next task was to determine how the deck was constructed. I called Charles Morgan Associates and spoke with Sally Morgan. She informed me that the deck was cored with plywood on the flat areas (such as the side decks) and balsa on the crowned areas (such as the cabin top). She suggested that I contact Pete Brown, Morgan's construction surveyor, for more details. Pete informed me that the 382/3/4's decks were constructed of 3/16 inch fiberglass laminant followed by 1/2 inch of plywood and finished with another 3/16 inch glass laminant. The plywood was cut into six-inch squares and placed like floor tiles in the mold. He also told me that one sign of delamination was, when stepped on for the first time on a cold day, the deck produced a cracking sound. It would then not crack for the rest of the day and, depending on temperature, might or might not show deflection.

According to Pete, the first step that Morgan used in the construction process was to mask off the nonskid areas of the deck in the female mold. The mold was sprayed with white gelcoat, the masking removed, and then sprayed with the color of gelcoat required for the nonskid. Next, the first laminant was built up. Then the plywood squares were applied, leaving approximately 1/8 inch between each square, after which they were wetted out with resin. Finally, the second laminant was applied to complete the sandwich construction.

Pete also said that one nice feature of this technique is that if water should intrude into the coring, it is likely that it will be confined to a small area and only saturate a few plywood squares because the squares should be encapsulated in resin. He did confess however that it was hard to control the degree of saturation during construction and that the plywood squares might not be completely isolated.

In my case, the coring was dry except in one small area, where it was slightly damp. Neither the yard supervisor nor I could figure out how the moisture got there. Because the coring has been omitted (that is, the laminate is solid) in the areas where the chain plates and stanchion bases are through-bolted, the chance of moisture in-trusion there is minimal. The only other place for water to intrude on 384s would be around the ports on the side of the coach roof. I believe that the coach roof sides are of solid glass with a piece of plywood lam-inated to the inside. The plywood has a teak veneer, which is visible from inside the cabin. Also, the coach roof sides do not appear to be thick enough to allow for a core material. Thus, there is no pathway for water to intrude into the side deck from the ports. I plan to rebed my ports this winter and will determine if there is or is not coring in the coach roof sides.

The repair, which involved injecting resin into the core area, went well and cost only $250 at a yard known for its quality work, not its cheap prices. It is nearly impossible to determine that holes were drilled into the deck to inject resin. The area is now as stiff and sound as the rest of the deck.

Jay Green lives in Alexandria, Virginia, and sails out of Hollywood, Maryland. His home phone number is 703-765-6893; e-mail to jdgreen@deq.state.va.us.

On the Way is On the Way
By Robert Jans
I purchased my 1970 Charley Morgan 38' sloop in June 1989 and after almost two years of adding what I thought were "finishing touches" bid goodbye to my friends and family, setting sail on July 2, 1991.

The first part of my trip went from Lake Michigan, through the Erie Canal to the Hudson River, then south to the Chesapeake Bay. The following summer I headed north-east, cruising the coasts of Maine, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. Then it was off-shore to Bermuda and finally to the West Indies in time for Christmas. In January 1993, I followed the Leeward and Windward Islands south to Trinidad to celebrate Carnival.

After a soujourn in Tobago and Venezuela, I returned to Trinidad, where On The Way was hauled out and an extensive, six-month rebuilding project began. She went from 35 gallons water capacity to 250 gallons; from 25 gallons diesel capacity to 75 gallons; from one drawer to 17 large drawers and 15 stowage compartments, yet all that was added to the cabin space was a bridge deck.

The redesign included a dry sail locker, just aft of the original rope locker bulk-head, a large head compartment with the head facing aft, a double berth 3.5 feet above the cabin sole, and full-length sea berths, port and starboard. The cabin sole was raised slightly for tankage. The galley counters and cart table were also raised so that a six-foot captain didn't have to bend over to do everything! Last, but not least, with double doors facing aft, I have 360-degree engine access from the cabin by simply moving a three-step campanionway ladder. All bulkheads were fiberglassed to the hull with five layers of mat and roving.

The refit complete, I departed Trinidad in December 1993 and sailed up and down the Eastern Caribbean island chain. October and November of 1994 found me exploring the islands off Venezuela enroute to the Panama Canal. I passed through the canal in January 1995, stopped at the Galapagos and arrived in the Marquesas at the end of March. In Nuka Hiva, Marquesas, I joined the Polynesian Voyaging Canoes, becoming the escort vessel for the New Zealand canoe "Te Aurere."

We went together to Hawaii, where I left the group and installed a heater as well as all new portlights for the next part of my voyage--north to Alaska. I arrived in Kod-iak, Alaska, in July 1995. My fiancee Elaine joined me there, and we got married on July 31. We sailed the Alaskan coast and wintered the boat in Seward. We returned in March 1996, explored the Kenai fjords, and then headed to Whittier. From there, we spent the next two months enjoying Prince William Sound and then crossed the Gulf of Alaska, arriving in Sitka during September.

Currently (spring 1997), we are exploring the rest of Southeast Alaska. We plan to be in Seattle by October 1997 and will continue on to Mexico. From there--it's around the world. We'll keep you posted.

[Editor's note: Color pictures of On The Way are displayed on the M-38 Home-page. Mail can be forwarded to the Jans from the following address: 3936 Arthur Ave., Brookfield, IL 60513.]

Preparing Laurel Ann
By Bill Hardie
In a little more than three years, my family and I will embark on the culmination of over 25 years of planning and positioning. My family consists of my wife, Chappell and two children, Dan and Mary. We will leave the slip, taking in all lines, for a cruise that will culminate in a circumnavigation of the entire eastern United States seacoast with a round-about detour through the Caribbean. The boat we have chosen for the voyage is a Morgan 382, hull #24 and named LAUREL ANN.

We have been sailing for a little over 20 years, most recently in a Cape Dory 26. When it became obvious that we were getting close to our intended early "retirement" and the 26-footer wasn't going to be big enough for the cruise we intended, it was time to look for something larger. We had admired a friend's Morgan 38 and another's 382, and knowing the quality of construction that Charley Morgan adhered to, we settled on one of his Morgan 382s.

Our boat is an early 382s, complete with the rigging problem known to those early models. Ours was dealt with by Morgan, but I'm uncertain of their remedy and intend to insure the stability of the rig myself.

Thus far, I've had to do sundry work on the cooling system for the engine, replac-ing pretty much all of it. I've also had to replace the battery charger and all batteries. Then there was replumbing the head to regain access to the holding tank. I don't yet know if it's empty or not. I hate to think about it having waited 20 years to be pumped out. We can talk about that later. Some of the other tertiary systems needed work, such as refrigeration that was retrofitted from a mongrel supplier, and the pressure water system has a minor leak I haven't had time to chase down. There was also a minor problem with the steering cable conduit that required fabrication of a flat bracket and completely unrigging and re-rigging the steering cable. All of these things could be related to any boat, but there are some things specific to the M-382 I'd like to relate.

During the delivery home, we suspen-ded the trip for a week due to a 72-hour, 70-knot nor'easter. LAUREL ANN made it through the storm completely unscathed but as she sat at a dock calmly waiting for us to return for three more days the wake from a trawler caused a fender to be caught be-tween the port cap rail and the dock, creat-ing a split that ran for about seven feet, under about half the jib track. This was repair-ed by a carpenter, but we had to remove and replace the jib track.

To gain access to the jib track through the galley and settee area, we cut holes in the backing of the cabinets. By lying across the stove and galley in various uncom-fortable positions, we were able to remove the track. We replaced all the bolts, nuts and washers with new ones, using lock washers as well as lock nuts. We covered the holes in the cabinets with hobby plywood, well sealed and screwed in place.

To deal with the rig, I'll have to anchor the after bulkhead of the head compartment to the hull. There is access to the forward side of this area, although another Yoga ex-ercise is in view. The after side of the bulk-head is something I'll be looking at next. I'll also have to anchor the port forward lower shroud. For that I intend to use a tang-flange bonded to the hull in such a way as to spread the load across a large area and to connect that tang to the chain plate for the shroud via a turnbuckle.

Sounds simple, but as with most projects on boats, those 'minor' tasks will require a whole other list of things to accomplish, not the least of which is moving the head com-partment back where it belongs. I say this because the door into the forward cabin hasn't closed properly in years. Since the door and doorway are oval, I hope to use the shape of the door to help me figure out where the head compartment should be. Getting it there is of course a WHOLE other matter.

All that aside, for the time being, the only other thing I can see that will require attention before we depart is the rudder. During the survey, and when we had the bot-tom done last year, I noticed water weeping from the rudder where the lower gudgeon goes around the pintel. The weep was coming from the lower side of the pintel area, so the water inside the rudder was higher than that. The lower part of the rudder is sealed, so whatever water is in there is still there. I don't know how long this has been going on, so it's obvious that I'll have to pull the rudder off and split it open in order to make sure it isn't totally corroded.

While this sounds as if we've spent all our time working on unpleasant surprises after buying a 20-year-old boat, it's not quite that way. We've put in some time working, but we've also gotten in some good sailing. Also, with the exception of the rig-tabbing, none of the things we've done were surprises. In spite of the to-do list, I'm confident that LAUREL ANN will fulfill our expectations and needs for our first extended cruise. Over the next three years, as I progress on the boat, I'll be sharing how I approach the work and difficulties that I encounter. Perhaps I can save someone else a little unnecessary effort.

Bill Hardie lives in and sails from Jacksonville, Florida. His home phone is 904-268-6344; e-mail to BillH7@aol.com.

Sail Needed
Following is a communication recently received. If you have an old but serviceable M-382 mainsail you can give to the Sea Explorers, your donation should be tax deductible as a contribution to the Boy Scouts of America.

Thanks for offering to help with locat-ing a mainsail for the Sea Explorer Ship 1058, the Morgan-382 Triton, which operates out of Newport Beach, Calif. The Sea Explorers are a division of the Boy Scouts of America.

The sail lofts here, which are willing to do minor repairs for us at no charge, can no longer repair it due to its poor condition. Few M-382s were sold on the west coast, so there's very little chance of locating a replacement here, although we're trying all the used sail lofts and exchanges. If any of your members have a sail they could donate, we would be exceptionally grateful.

John Hartmann -- hartmann@kaiwan.com
(714) 834-6330 w / 964-7960 h

Sale & Swap
For sale: Full fitted winter cover (to the wat-erline) for M-382/3/4. Two pieces. $595 plus shipping from Michigan. Write Ron and Holly Hoogewerf, 60 Cantebury Ct. #458, Orange Park, FL 32065

Editor's Corner
Well, there you have it--Issue No.1. I have tried to include material about both the Charley Morgan-38 and the Ted Brewer-38; that will be an editorial policy. When I receive material on the Catalina/Morgan-38, I will be happy to print that too. If you are interested in writing something for the Newsletter on maintenance, upgrades, racing, cruising, or whatever you think is important, please let me know about it. I would love to include it.

On the registration form that people returned, there were many suggestions for things they would like the Owners' Group to do. Here are a few that appeared several times: publish a members' directory; have a question & answer section in the newsletter; give sources for parts; create a network for problem-solving; hold local meetings and events; explain "go-fast" techniques; print "for sale and swap" in the newsletter.

I will publish a members' directory in the next newsletter. If you do not want your name/address included, let me know by October 1st. For a Question & Answer section, send in questions, and answers contributed by readers will appear in the next issue.

Lenny Reich -- lsreich@colby.edu
(207) 872-3535 w / 465-2334 h
RR#2, Box 4440 / Belgrade, ME 04917
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