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Very disappointing survey - thoughts?


New Member
Well it turns out I may not be joining the ranks of the Morganeers after all. Very disappointing survey yesterday. Apart from the total cluster f*** and general idiot rodeo at Telemar Bay Marina trying to haul out:

  • There's a section of roving in the bilge ahead of the keel totally delaminated from one side to the other. Not sure what, but my guess is from an impact although no evidence from the keel of damage. This is a concern but not my biggest
  • Engine leaks like a sieve and has not seen maintenance (including oil/filter change) in 5 years. Apart from the entire exhaust system blowing smoke, including from exhaust ports and hoses, the front, rear, oil pan seals are leaking, and looks like water pump could use a rebuild. All things I could do myself but a giant pain. Again, probably not a deal killer I'm good with engines and not intimidated by them although diesel is new to me.
  • Cutlass bearing and possibly shaft log toast. Loads of play in the bearing and looks like log maybe too. It looks like rudder needs to be dropped to do this repair, is that correct? How is the log constructed/glassed in at the aft end? I'm told this is about $3,500, sound right?
  • Biggest issue. Despite a peel and fresh bottom 3 years ago, loads of pox! Lots of small blisters all over, and some of them appear quite deep, down to the glass for sure. They weep clear not brown, but still a major problem. Possibly when they did the bottom before the hull was not allowed to dry properly.
Sigh. Looks like I may be back to square 1.


Well....could be worse! If a Morgan 38 is what you really want, you have two options of course. Ask for a drastic reduction in price...(which we do not know but can guess) or move on to another Morgan 38...or another boat. Of course you know this, so do you have a specific question? I am sure you dont wish to identify this boat, nor do we know the asking price, but I would guess that it is a 1978 with its original Perkins. The engine issues are in some respects normal and to be expected, and you have the option of course to rebuild or replace (Could possibly be 2-8k to rebuild depending on labor versus 18-25 to replace) . The big concern there is what appears to be engine neglect...which may mean other things have also been neglected. As for the glass in the keel---that requires further analysis or photos. As for the bottom problems, my guess--it's just a hunch is that it was soda blasted and not taken down to laminates before it was recoated. You say it was peeled, but was it really peeled or just blasted? Prop, bearing, shaft can be done without removing the rudder and can easily be done at a fixed price by a mechanic.....although it might be advisable to move rudder if it appears to have any problems. I would be equally concerned about wiring, systems, thru-hulls, and as always---SAILS and RIGGING and SPARS. We might be able to be more helpful if we got more information or photos--but without identifying the boat of course. So....if you really want to own one of the finest and best proven designs in a serious cruising sailboat-- just estimate all the costs and time and go for it and negotiate the hell out of it because every other buyer will figure it out too. There are two things to balance. One is the romantic and aesthetic. The other is the practical and the financial. But in the final analysis--it's a boat...and life is short...and the Morgan 38 is an excellent boat.
to replace the cutlass bearing the prop shaft needs to come out. drop the rudder or pull the engine. You may want to continue looking. Is this the complete survey?
I would need to know more about all of those issues before making a call. Also, what are your expectations/requirements? If you want a boat to sail away, then for sure that boat isn't it. If you are looking for a bargain with things you can fix, maybe it isn't so bad, if the price is right.

There was a recall on early boats for tabbing issues in areas around the mast and the aft bulkhead for the head. The delaminated roving might be related to that, either the inadequate tabbing from the factory, or the fix wasn't applied right. If that is the case, it should be fixable and isn't indicative of other damage. But, you would need further investigation to know.

Many engines that age will be in poor condition. If you don't want to plan a rebuild or replacement, it might be best to look at boats that have already been repowered.

Cutlass is a 2 day job for you and a friend. A fair amount of work but not difficult. 3 days if you plan to do other work that is convenient at that time. Parts are less than $100. If the shaft log is indeed damaged that is a bigger problem, but what indication is there that it is damaged?

A peel and proper bottom is a big deal, but the cost to do it should be able to be estimated and taken off the price.

That said, there are usually several 382/3/4 for sale and any given time. The first time I looked at one, it was in really bad shape and not the boat for me. But I got a good enough look at it to know that I wanted a Morgan, and it was not at all hard to find one in good shape.


New Member
So my first post was a bit of a venting after a frustrating day lol

I'm not wed to this particular boat, nor am I wed to a Morgan per se, although I like the boat. If I'm back to square one there are Cal's, C&C's, at least 5 other Morgans, and a couple of Endeavours at least that fit the bill. I'm staying away from the Hunters and the like at the moment. I'm specifically looking for a boat I can spend the majority of 2021 on, since I'm fully remote for at least another year. I was planning on 2-3 years of sailing and maybe 50/50 or 75/25 living/cruising while I work, and if I like the "cruising lifestyle" sell the Morgan and drop 3-400k on something that can take me around the world, and if not, well my risk is limited to my resale loss on a 30-40k boat. To that end I'm not interested in taking on a project, I want to be in the water and sailing right away. However, I'm perfectly willing and capable of doing things like upgrading the electrical/solar, some engine work etc while operating the boat. In fact, I enjoy that sort of thing.

I don't want to buy a boat that I need to wait 2 months for a complete new bottom on.

This vessel in particular is a 1984 384. Its got a lot of things going for it. Full new Garmin package including big plotter, radar, all the whizz bang stuff, brand new suit of very nice sails, mostly new running rigging, rig and spars are original but in good shape. No leaks, finish is good. Reefer inop but I knew that going in and planned to reconfigure it. Hull and deck are sound, no soft spots. One little creak on the deck walking on the starboard side right over the forward bulkhead, no moisture issues. New bimini, dodger, brightwork needs work but its not toast.

The engine work is all pretty doable. I don't think it needs a rebuild but it needs head gasket, front and rear seals, pan seal, pumps rebuilt, injectors rebuilt. Once the cloud of smoke and fuel had cleared on the first cold start (engine had not run in months minumum) it ran fine just dripping oil all over and loads of exhaust leaks. Work but manageable.

Cutlass bearing, bigger job for me, but probably doable.

Its just the bottom. I have zero experience. Broker is telling me one thing, the two(!) survey pros are telling me something else. I hear "all boats have blisters" and I hear "this was poorly done and needs to be redone this is into the glass".

I would say that there were maybe 15-20 general areas with overall dozens of dime sized blisters that can be opened with a finger nail. In some the "finish layer" whatever that is has gone in a dime size area a glass is clearly visible.