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  #1  
Old 12-31-2008
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Morris Yachts

What makes Morris Yachts so good. Not sure why they are so expensive?
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Old 12-31-2008
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camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough
They are hand built in the USA...each is custom...only the best is used to make them and the workmanship is wonderful as are the sailing qualities. They hold their value.
The rest of the price is marketing and brand related...like Hinckley and Mercedes.
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Old 01-01-2009
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Thumbs up Morris Yachts

Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
They are hand built in the USA...each is custom...only the best is used to make them and the workmanship is wonderful as are the sailing qualities. They hold their value.
The rest of the price is marketing and brand related...like Hinckley and Mercedes.

Cam is correct! They also completely engineer their boats in terms of system design such as adding additional cathodic protection to protect things like sail drives if needed etc. They don't wait until a vessel is in the new owners hands to see if there are problems. They look for problems before the vessel is delivered.

If there is a problem on a vessel, they respond to customer questions and are proactive in finding solutions and resolution to issues.

There is good article about the company in the latest Professional Boatbuilder Professional BoatBuilder Magazine ( Dec/Jan 2009) They don't have the current issue online yet.

I am most impressed!

John
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Old 01-01-2009
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sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
Basically, the things you're paying for are quality of the product, quality of the customer service, quality of the engineering, etc. Their boats are designed for the long run...
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Old 01-02-2009
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Morris builds what is commonly called "semi-custom" boats.

What that term means is the hull, and usually the deck, is standardized in the various sizes Morris builds, and the rest of the boat can pretty much be built as you want it. In practice, most buyers go with the standard rig that Morris recommends, and then Morris designs and builds out the interior to suit the original owner. Options are essentially unlimited, subject to space and budget.

Sometimes owners want to change even the rig, and they select something that very few buyers would want and that production builders wouldn't be interested in building. For example, Morris started building a 32' boat in the late 1980s (I have one I bought used in 2000), which later morphed into a 34' with a slightly revised transom and keel. All of the 32s and 34s have been sloops, but just recently a 34 was delivered with a yawl rig. Split rigs in a boat of that size are not currently popular, but one owner wanted one and now he has it.

More commonly buyers decide how many cabins they want; where they want the non-structural bulkheads; how many cabinets, shelves, berths, heads, etc., they want their boat to have; what wood they want the interior built in; what finish they want on the hard and soft surfaces; what electronics they want; what brand of diesel engine they like; tiller vs. wheel steering; type and brand of sail handling equipment, sailmaker, etc. If you have a favorite brand of any of the equipment found often or rarely on a modern sailboat, Morris will most likely accomodate your selection.

All of this handwork comes at a price as it is simply not possible to turn out vast quantities of boats when doing so much customizing. Some of the equipment put on the boat is one of a kind, for example, custom stainless or bronze pieces. All of the woodworking is custom fitted.

Morris opened for business in the 1970's. For most of its history it built about half a dozen boats per year. I remember receiving an invitation to the 25th or 30th anniversary celebration, and at that time the entire Morris fleet consisted of somewhere around 200 boats. More recently Morris has had very good success with its line of "daysailors", and the production numbers have increased quite a bit, but I doubt Morris has yet built its 300th boat. If so, that boat would have been built fairly recently.


In contrast, even the high quality production builders often construct a couple of hundred sailboats per year.

What do you get for the money?

All of the Morris cruising boats have been designed by Chuck Paine, one of America's pre-eminent naval architects. He worked in Camden, ME, very near the Morris yards.

The craftsmen at Morris are quite good, and they'll make the boat just like you want it. The equipment is very high quality, and if you like something even better or just different, you only have to ask for it.

Comparing a semi-custom or custom boat to a production boat is similar to making the same comparison between a true custom home (not what is currently marketed as such by many homebuilders!) versus a production home. Both provide shelter, but the custom home is designed and built just like you want it and to a standard that most people couldn't or wouldn't justify financially.

Is the extra cost worth it? Depends on the owner. I like mine, but I recognize I could have bought a bigger boat for the same money if I didn't select a Morris.
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Old 01-03-2009
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I don't understand on the resale value why Morris holds its value so much better then a Shannon. A used 39' Shannon costs $250k but a used 38' Morris costs $375k. Both seem to be of the same quality. Is a used Morris worth $375k? I live in Florida so I would need to add a generator and a/c. In the end I would have +/- $425,000 in a 38' boat. Not sure if this would make sense!
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Old 01-03-2009
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I'm no expert on these two boats, but I've spent time on both at slips.

Although the Shannon 39 and Morris 38 seem superficially the same size, I think the Shannon is a fair amount larger. According to published data, it displaces almost 20% more than the Morris.

Both boats are evolutions of nominally smaller boats by the same builders. The Morris 38 evolved from the 36, but was otherwise very much the same in many ways. The transom was extended, and the deck was revised, but in the same way the 32/34 are virtually identical from the aft cockpit forward, so too are the 36 and 38 near twins.

Shannon started with a "full keel" 38 (I use quotes because the keel isn't "full" in the strict sense of the term), which later evolved into a keel/centerboard 37, and now into the current cruising fin 39. There have been rig advancements along the way, with the early boats being cutters or ketches, and the latest iteration normally being double headsail sloops or ketches. Down below, I believe the space available for accomodations has been pretty much the same from 38 to 37 to 39.

I'd be surprised if either the Morris 36 or 38 have room for a diesel generator and A/C. Many have been built with A/C, but only for dock powered use. Maybe I'm wrong about this, but I suspect you need to be in the Morris 40/42 (or better yet, the 46) to have room for a generator. Those boats have much more displacement than the 36/38.

While the Shannon 38 is pretty sizeable, I'd also be surprised if you could fit a generator in one of those without giving up lots of space you'd otherwise like to have. I suppose you could sacrifice a quarterberth for generator space, but I don't remember seeing any of that series Shannon with generators. It may well have been done, and I'm just unaware. I do remember seeing some of the 43's advertised with generators.

I think very highly of the Shannons, and considered buying one myself many years ago. They're nice boats. In my view they are probably more of a pure cruising boat than the similar sized Morris boats. According to NE phrf ratings, the Morris 38 is almost 30 seconds per mile faster than the Shannon 38. The finish work on the Morris boats is a little better in my opinion than found on the Shannons.

I'm not sure why there is such a price differential right now. One of the Morris 38s, Alacrity, which is a current listing, is a boat I've been aboard. It's eye-poppingly beautiful, but a lot of money at 390K. I wish I could afford it.

There are two slightly older Shannon 39s presently listed at 215K. Some of the difference may be due to condition, sails, electronics, etc., but there's no denying in the current marketplace the Morris boats are more expensive than Shannons.

In fact, there's a 1997 Shannon 43, which I think are extremely nice and spacious boats, listed for less than Alacrity.

Part of the answer may just be supply and demand. Last year I thought the Morris 46s in the used market were attractively priced. I remember one built in the mid 1990's was asking 425K. That is much more boat than the 38 if size is important. All three of the 46s that were for sale last year are now gone, and the only one left is a recent build and much more expensive.

I suspect the large number of Shannon 38s built from 1978 or so forward tend to depress the value of the 39s. There are usually quite a few 38s for sale at any given time, and the asking prices tend to hover around 100K, plus or minus.

Asking prices on the Morris 36s seem to have been rising pretty steadily for the last 5 or so years. I remember when I bought my 32 in 2000 that a 36 could have been bought for 150-160K. Now the asking prices tend to be quite a bit higher, often well into the mid to upper 200K range. I don't know what the sales are actually closing at, but a broker could tell you that.

Good luck in your search. You have your sights set on two top flight builders.

I keep my boat near Canaveral. It's not a terribly fancy finish inside compared to many of the more recent Morris boats, but if you'd like I'd be glad to show her to you. I also suspect Morris will be at the Miami Show in February with one or two boats. Shannon is usually there also.
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Old 01-05-2009
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According to their website, Morris will be at the Miami show and will be debuting their new M29 daysailor.
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Old 01-05-2009
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If you're thinking of spending that much money on a 38-40' boat, you should at least look at a couple of the Hinckley SW-42's at around $300K, late 80's models. I've seen them with gensets either in the port cockpit locker or in the lazarette. Like the Morris's, they are pretty boats, very well made. Usually they are well kept by owners who love them. If one is cheap (less than $280K) it is probably pretty tired.

If your use is primarily long distance cruising with a couple, a Shannon makes sense. I wouldn't pick one for primarily daysailing/weekending because the performance under sail will be sluggish compared to the Morris. Both are very nice boats, and will hold their value if maintained.

Since you live in Florida, it would be appropriate to point out that any boat with a lot of exterior brightwork will be maintenance intensive in your climate.

As to your original question, why are Morris's so expensive? Simple. walk down a dock full of Hunter's, Catalina's, Beneteau's, etc. Then go look at a Morris or Hinckley. A well kept Morris is a work of art.
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