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  #1  
Old 01-22-2002
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Hardin Voyager & Morgan Nelson Marek

I am looking for any feedback, good or bad, about the late 70''s Hardin Voyager 44 or late 80''s Morgan Nelson Marek 43. The boat will be used primarily by a couple for living aboard and island hopping in the Caribbean. Also, what are the offshore capabilities of these two models and what other boats in the $90,000 - $110,000 range would fit our needs. Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old 01-22-2002
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Hardin Voyager & Morgan Nelson Marek

First of all let me make one minor correction. Nelson- Marek did not design the Morgan 43. They designed the 454 (also called a 45) and they designed the 36. Both were IOR era designs. While you sometimes see the 43 ascribed to Nelson- Marek from everything that I have been able to dig up they had nothing to do with the 43. There is a Nelson Marek 43 but it is an IMS race boat.

As to your two boats in question the Hardin is a heavily construced character boat. They have their strong followers but from reading discussions with owners and watching them underway, I have concluded that they are neither great light air boats nor really good heavy air boats. Obviously at 33,000 lbs these are very heavy boats. This really hurts light air performance. At an approximately 25% ballast to displacemnt ratio, these are also lightly ballasted boats. Combining this light ballast ratio, the high center of gravity implied by wooden masts and their shoal draft, these are boats that do not stand to their rig as well as you would like for a true offshore design.

While there is school of thought that advocates lots of weight for going offshore, weight, in and of itself, does nothing good for a boat. It does not make it strong, or stabile, or comfortable in a seaway. In my mind the Hardins are the poster child for the weight does nothing good point of view.

The Morgan 43 are reasonably well constructed boats with a nicely modeled hull form. They appear to sail well in a reasonably wide range fo sailing conditions. At 23,000 lbs the Morgan will have a better light air performance and will be more easily driven. With nearly the same amount of ballast, the Morgan should stand to her sail plan. Neither boat would be my first choice as an offshore cruiser in this price range but I would probably lean toward the Morgan.

If I were looking for an offshore cruising boat in the gneral size na dprice range that we are discussing, I would probably be looking for Peterson 44 (Kelly-Peterson 44). To me these are about as ideal as they come in this genre. With an easily driven hull, higher ballast to displacement ratio, high density ballast, efficient cutter rig, lots of opening ports and hatches, enough fuel and water to go anywhere, and a layout that just about can''t be beat. That would be my first choice if I were going the heavier offshore cruising boat route with your budget.

Jeff
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Old 01-22-2002
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Hardin Voyager & Morgan Nelson Marek

Jeff gave you some very sound information about the merits of the two boats.
Here is some advice of a different sort.
Money does not buy cruising experience! The
bigger the boat the more you have to contend with,there are so many thing to learn about keeping a boat at sea eithout having to stop at every boat yard and mechanic and electronic shop along the way.
At SEA you do not need a two bedroom two bath and shower condo.
Find the smallest boat not the largest boat
that you can comfortably handle by yourself
with no help from your mate.That is the right size boat.Forget about all the goodies
helping you.Sooner than you think they will
fail.
Read the Log of Ithaka and the problems they
they encountered in their first year.
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Old 01-22-2002
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Hardin Voyager & Morgan Nelson Marek

I agree with you myself. I recently went through the process of looking for a well rounded design that could be taken offshore and concluded that 38 feet was a more practical outside limit for my own needs. On the other hand this post seemed to be fouced on 43/44 footers around $100K.

Jeff
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Old 01-23-2002
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Hardin Voyager & Morgan Nelson Marek

Jeff:
I agree about what they were focused on
$100,000 42-45 ft boat.From the question
I thought their experience sounded a bit limited.I wanted to fore warn them about actuals and reality rather than foster a dream which could ultimately put them in harms way!
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Old 01-23-2002
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Hardin Voyager & Morgan Nelson Marek

Thanks to all for the great input. I looked on Yachtworld.com at some Peterson 44''s and the do appear to be great all round boats. You were right when you said my experience sounded a "bit limited". My wife and I are new to sailing but our "limited" experiences have introduced us to a great new passion. We have set the end of 2004 as our deadline to sell everything and move on board. I hear from alot of experience sailors to think smaller. What are your thoughs on the Tayana 37. They appear to be solid and I met alot of cruisers in the Windwards last year who swear by them. Thanks again for the help.
Roy
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Hardin Voyager & Morgan Nelson Marek

If it were me I''d probably ask JeffH what size boat and what brand he bought for his retirement plans for cruising.
My second choice since you have some time would be to take a look at the monthly
classifieds in www.Latitude 38.Two years ago
a wonderful Embroden 37 was for sale for $37,000.There are about 9 of them all built in cored fiberglass in So.Cal. if you could get one you''d have the Cats Meow!!
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Hardin Voyager & Morgan Nelson Marek

Speaking of Latitude 38...the magazine has plenty of stories about couples heading out of the golden gate in boats larger than 40'', and managing fine, adding crew as needed for the type of passage.

I read somewhere that cruisers spend about 95% of their time on the hook, so I would think creature comforts and size must factor somewhere into the equation.

I''ve also read plenty of heavy weather horror stories, and recently a yacht design and stability article by Olin Stephens. A common thread, if all other things are equal, is that larger boats are safer boats.

Art

P.S.- I''m also new to sailing, so take my ramblings for what they''re worth.
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Hardin Voyager & Morgan Nelson Marek

Had a chance to go out on a Tayana 37 last week.(brilliant boat on all points) Would make an excellent choice for you. This particular boat was had for 50,000 flat. The only thing the guy added was a monitor. Your right about boats on the hook , I see this everyday in Wrightsville bch, at least with the tayana you could go around ramming everyone waking them up and tell them to start sailing or buy a house boat.
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The Tayana 37s are a real mixed bag. They are good sailors for a compact heavy cruiser. They came in a lot of differing interior layouts but some really offer a great liveaboard offshore cruising scheme. They are very handome boats to look at, expecially the later ones. They are pretty rugged boats in many ways.

The down side is that they came with a wide range of hardware, some name brand and quite up to snuff and some junky knock offs. Because of the double ended design, they do not offer a lot of room or storage for a heavier displacement 37 footer. Most of the years that they were in production they had black iron tanks and these will fail over time and are a major ordeal to replace. Most had teak decks laid over fiberglass which are a major pain to maintain and are a deal breaker for me because no matter how well you maintain a teak deck sooner or later they will leak into the deck core and rot it out. That sais, many of these plucky 37 footers have been to the kind of far off places that I only dream about.

Jeff
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