Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Re: Morgan 27
I know that there are folks who own and love these boats. Maybe one of them will show up here and make their case. I can only tell what my experience with them has been and my sense about these boats relative to other boats that I have known. I also apologize that this was cut and paste from an earlier post of mine on the Morgan 27.
I raced on these boats back in the late 1970ís/early 1980ís. The Morgan 27 was part of a series of IOR oriented boats that Morgan tooled up in the early 1970ís. They were a mixed bag. First of all they were flawed as cruisers in that the IOR rule beating measures as they were applied in this case produced a boat that was compromised in terms of accommodations, sail plan proportions, seaworthiness and to a lesser extent motion comfort.
As race boats these were hard boats to sail well and in many ways were quickly made obsolete by the mid-1970ís boats coming out of the MORC rule such as the J-24, Capri 25. Kirby 25, Soverel 30, and so on. These MORC derived boats performed well on all points of sail and in a wide range of windspeeds, where as the Morgan 27 only performed well in narrow range of conditions and points of sail. Comparatively speaking the Morgan 27ís were pretty good in moderate conditions going upwind and dead down wind (when there was enough wind to go dead downwind) but did poorly in light air and in heavier conditions, and also did very poorly against the MORC boats on a reach or in conditions where surfing was possible.
In a general sense, these were difficult boats to sail well; they quickly lost speed easily and did not have the acceleration to get it back again quickly. They were a little tender and tended to wipe in a gust. For a 27 footer they needed large sail inventories to be competitive. The one that I raced on most had a mainsail, light #1, AP#1, #2, #3, 90% Blade, Star cut Spinnaker, radial cut spinnaker, and spinnaker staysail. To keep the boat up to speed and manageable we made frequent sail changes. (Todayís better sailcloth and sail cuts may allow you to eliminate the light #1, eliminate the spin. staysail, and maybe only use a single spinnaker).
Build quality wise, these were pretty poorly built boats. The keel to hull joint was quite vulnerable due to the rake of the Ďshark finí type keel, as was the hull on either side of the keel which would flex when the boat was pushed hard upwind in a chop. Similarly the shroud attachment point was quite vulnerable. I sailed on several of these boats and in heavy air the hull would oil can at the shrouds as the shrouds pulled the windward side of the boat inward. You could actually audibly hear the topsides pop back into place when you tacked the boats in a breeze.
As a result of these known conditions, at least in Savannah, where I sailed these boats, there were standard fixes for the problem. At least on the Savannah boats the keel was dropped off and the bilge reinforced and larger transverse frames added. Some of the boats had the trailing edges of their keels extended to improve stability and increase the bearing area of the keel on the hill. Similarly longitudinal and transverse frames were added to the topsides in the area of the shrouds. In some earlier discussions some M-27 owners swore that the factory remedied these problems in some of the later boats. That may be the case, but I personally have never seen one of the factory corrected boats.
If you are looking at one of these boats that has not had the remedial work done on it, and its been sailed hard all of these years, I would be very concerned with fatigue in these critical areas of the boat.
I often say that there is nothing more obsolete than an obsolete race boat. While the Morgan 27 was a much better boat than many of its even more obsolete peers from that era, it none the less, remains not as great a boat as it could or should be if designed absent the racing fads of its day.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay