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Old 03-27-2003
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barefootsailing is on a distinguished road
Tartan 37 vs Morgan 384

Any thoughts on the above to boats?
Here''s what I''m looking for. I currently own a Catalina 27 and am looking for my next boat. I would like something under 40'' that is comfortable to live on. I will be sailing through the Bahamas and into the Caribbean. I would like it Bluewater capable. I would like to spend less than $75,000 or so. Sloop or Cutter rigged. I''ve been looking at early 80s Tartan 37s and mid 80s Morgan 384s. I think I''ve pretty much made up my mind based on my research.
I also considered a Tayana 37 (completely different end of spectrum.
Any thoughts or suggestions on other boats would be appreciated.
Steve
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Old 03-27-2003
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Tartan 37 vs Morgan 384

You can toss a Pearson 36 into the mix too.
Steve
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Old 03-27-2003
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Tartan 37 vs Morgan 384

Although the Tartan is probably better constructed, I have never been a big fan of the Tartan 37. The Morgan 38 is a little crude in comparison but it would easily be my preference of the two.

Another option that is pretty much on a par with the Morgan 38''s in design and build quality is the early 1980''s era Hunter 37 cutters or sloops. While Hunter takes a lot of hits for their later boats, these early Hunters were really pretty solidly built and sail very well. The Hunter should prove significantly faster, cheaper to buy, and with its cutter rig perhaps a bit easier to sail in a blow.

Jeff
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Old 03-27-2003
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Tartan 37 vs Morgan 384

Of the three boats mentioned, I would chose the Morgan 382. I have been aboard all three and while they are all good boats, I think you would find that the Morg has a more spacious feeling in the cabin. She is a little more open and airy, that makes a big difference in warm climes. As Jeff mentioned, she is faster and a better sailor than the Tartan, not sure about the Hunter...it would be very close.

She has a very strong hull with a well designed underbody. Many owners have proven her bluewater capability. There are plenty of these boats around and you can select the best one and negotiate for a good price.

The one detractor of these boats is that the joinery down below is not very sophisicated. But that is a cosmetic issue...and one that you could improve by varnishing the teak.

For the money, this boat is hard to beat. There is a very active owners group online somewhere. You will find them rabid about their love for these boats.

best of luck.

John
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Old 03-27-2003
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Tartan 37 vs Morgan 384

I was employed in the late ''70s to early 80''s at a marina that sold Tartan''s, Santana''s, Hunter''s, and Siedelman''s. As a rigger and elecronics installer I crawled all over these boats and delivered quite a few of them. Forget the Siedelmans, pure junk. The Santana''s were pretty, but so lightly built we doubted that they would survive more than 10 years of service. It was evident the Hunter was the price leader, using lots of chopper gun applied glass where most of the boats of the day were still using hand-laid glass, in addition to their marginal equipment specs. The Tartans were the heaviest, and had the highest equipment level of the group, and also the most expensive by a margin of 25% or more. The vast majority of Tartan 37''s have a centerboard, which may or may not be a benefit to you. It will give superior pointing, when down, but you also have to worry about it''s mechanicals. I delivered a few where there were problems right out of the box. Plus, if you go "Bump" on a coral head... pretty costly.

The Morgan 384 is a pretty nice Ted Brewer design. With a robust keel, and an interior not that far off from the Tartan. Make sure you stay away from the later Morgan 38''s, not a keel stepped rig, and more of a coastal cruiser.

My 2 cents for what it is worth.
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Old 03-27-2003
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Tartan 37 vs Morgan 384

With all due respect, Silmaril, I believe you are not remembering this correctly. From the very beginning Hunter decks and hulls were laid up in fabrics not chopped glass.

Jeff
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Tartan 37 vs Morgan 384

Hmmmm..... Very possible I am confusing it with other boats, Jeff. It was over 20 years ago and I may be mistaken.
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Tartan 37 vs Morgan 384

I was mainly refering to attachment points, some bulkheads and stringers not saying that they used it in the hull or deck. But as I said, I could be confused...
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Old 03-28-2003
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Tartan 37 vs Morgan 384

Steve, my comments are slanted less towards the boats themselves and more to your intended application: living aboard and Caribbean cruising.

The Hunter 37 that I remember - perhaps I''m thinking of an earlier model but same length? - was a Cherubini design. I''ve seen terribly underbuilt boats of this design, rudders bending easily, shaft struts as well, and undersized rigging, cheap deck hardware and poorly built interiors (including tabbing). Given that these boats are all 20+ years old now, I''d look closely at all of the above if you consider this model further.

I''ve inspected a Tartan 37 immediately following a 3-year Atlantic Circle. The crew raved about how it handled some storms and the boat was unphased by the cruise. The owner consulted S&S during construction and requested advice on mods required for their (not part of the design brief Tartan gave to S&S) intended Atlantic cruise. The only mod recommended was to beef up the transom since the owner planned to add a windvane. I''ve seen other 37s in the Caribbean who seemed to weather the windward passages well. In one case, the owner lost the pseudo-skeg in front of the unsupported rudder (I''m sure there''s a story there...). These boats have good sea berths but lack that spacious feel (visually, at least) down below. While the Bahamas will make you pleased with the centerboard, surgy anchorages further S and E will force you to rig in the board with the boat rolling more as a result. IMO it is the best sailing boat of the group.

I like the Morgan 38 (Brewer) design but have seen a wide spectrum of indivudal 38/382/383?/384 models. Apparently moreso than Tartan, Morgan seems to have suffered a lack of quality continuity when building these boats. I think they''d make a great offshore cruising boat assuming you selected one of the good ones, and they strike me as a better liveaboard boat (again, due to the somewhat more spacious feel and layout).

Please don''t underestimate the amount of gear and also the remedial attention the boat will demand when finalizing your budget and before making an offer. I''d look for a recently upgraded, cruised and returned model and gladly pay a price premium, assuming the gear is recent and installation of it sound.

Jack
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Old 03-29-2003
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Tartan 37 vs Morgan 384

Jack: icluding a new engine,I put over 50K
into Teacher''s Pet III to upgrade.Always add 40% to estimate.
Gene
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