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  #1  
Old 08-28-2006
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Seamaster Ketch 45'

Is anyone familiar with the Seamaster 45? Just wondering if it's a good blue water boat. Comparing it to a Morgan 41, what would be the better blue water boat? Thank you.
Cbarg
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Old 08-28-2006
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The Seamaster is a mixed bag. They were built in Fort Lauderdale or Dania to a Bruce Roberts designs and probably one of his better designs. They were sold as kits with a lot of options. I spent a lot of time in their shop talking to folks who were building them since my Stepfather was hot on buying one and finishing the boat himself. I would say they are far better designs for offshore work than the Morgan OI 41, and frankly the stock layout was less voluminous but a lot more liveable. The guy who owned the Seamaster company that built the kits seemed like a really knowledgeble and caring individual and from what I saw of the glass work, looked robust and carefully done. Far more so than the OI's that I have personally known.

The down sidw was that these were kits and you never know what to expect. For example the standard ballast was steel boiler punchings in polyester resin poured into the keel encapsulation envelope. That is a lousey way to build a boat but better better than steel boiler punchings in concrete which some boats had to save money. Others had lead shot in polyester resin, a dramatic improvement all around in terms of stability, durability and motion comfort. Some of the kit builders were glassing heavily over the ballast while others saw no point and were simply putting on a single layer of cloth and resin. In a grounding that single layer of cloth is easily driven upward breaching the integrity of the hull. Bad idea, not much of savings.

And so it went, a thousand decisions, a thousand ways to produce a good boat or a really short lived one. Each owner making what they thought made sense to them. So, Bulkheads and interior furnishings ran the gamut from interior grade plywood to exterior grade plywood, to marine plywood. Wiring from proper marine grade stuff to bell cord/ speaker cord to solid wire romex land wiring. One decision at a time. Tabbing ran from epoxy and cloth continuous multi layer tapered tabbing to polyester resin and mat skip tabbing. I have mentioned the former cabinet maker building a beautiful interior but who understood nothing about how to build a boat so in heavy going the interior would shift and his house wiring would corrode and short out.

That's the problem with kit boats of all stripes, its a mixed can of worms that is hard to sort. Still and all I'd probably buy even a half way decent Seamaster before I'd buy a pristine Morgan OI 41. But hey thats just me.

Jeff
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Old 08-28-2006
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Hi Jeff,
Thanks for your reply. My husband & I went out on a Morgan for a week. We loved it, thought it was pretty nice. What don't you like about the Morgan? We really don't know much about them other than what we learned from the owners who have had it for about 20yrs. and they love it.
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Old 08-28-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cbarg
Is anyone familiar with the Seamaster 45? Just wondering if it's a good blue water boat. Comparing it to a Morgan 41, what would be the better blue water boat? Thank you.
Cbarg
If you're looking at that one on Lake Erie that's been for sale for ages, there's probably a reason for it. It was on my list, but the so-so reputation of the boat (despite its attractive looks and what I judge to be a sensible layout for offshore) dissuaded me from pursuing it.

Still, there's no harm in looking, and if you find one finished properly, get a reputable surveyor to look for "fatal flaws". Non-fatal flaws, of course, are bargaining chips. In my experience, I'd rather have a well-found boat with a crap interior I could remake that try to remedy structural or systems shortcomings or bad decisions.

I just bought a custom steel cutter, and had many of the same concerns. My surveyor came recommended as a steel boat specialist, and his findings were generally very positive. It made a hell of a difference when it came time to make an offer, because I had a very good idea of what the boat was worth...and what it was worth to me.

Now I have a boat on which there is much to do...and to complete...but very little to *undo*, because what is there is finished logically and to a high standard (previous owner works for a chandlery and got 'employee discount'!), and the construction skill set was excellent.

I hope your search turns out as well.
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Old 08-29-2006
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In my humble opinion, by no stretch of the imagination is a Morgan OI 41 a particularly good "Blue water boat". From my experience with the OI series, they fail on all counts in terms of build quality, motion comfort, stability, sailing ability, ease of handling, interior, robustness and deck layout. They make good live aboards and good short hoppers.

And yes I do know that there are folks that have taken them offshore for prolonged periods of time. I used to be in contact with a fellow putting one back together after a doing so. I also know that there are a number of owners that really love these boats, but without knowing your specific plans, only your question about the Morgan as a "Blue water boat" all I can say is the Seamaster is an extremely better design for offshore use with a better built hull and deck, and in my opinion the Morgan OI 41 can be taken offshore but it is a really poor candidate to do so. If your plans include a lot of time spent offshore, there are a lot of really good boats out there in the same price range that would be much better choices than the Morgan OI 41 series.

Good luck what ever you decide to do.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 08-29-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_H
In my humble opinion, by no stretch of the imagination is a Morgan OI 41 a particularly good "Blue water boat". From my experience with the OI series, they fail on all counts in terms of build quality, motion comfort, stability, sailing ability, ease of handling, interior, robustness and deck layout.

Respectfully,
Jeff
I recall Don Street writing about an experience he had delivering an OI 41 from Downeast to the Carib. I'm going to paraphrase this as I cannot warranty a perfect quote.
[She got us there, but with no elan or comfort. After arrival, my crew and I, discussed her ability's. She goes down wind beautifully, upwind she still goes downwind beautifully. Upwind, even motorsailing with the engine beating a steady tatto, she was unable to tack through 90 degrees. We all thought she had the upwind ability of a square toed frigate that had lost her centerboard.]

Streets boat reviews were always pretty funny!

Dewey
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Old 08-29-2006
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Old 08-29-2006
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Hi Jeff,
Thanks again for your input. My husband wanted me to ask you what other boats would make good live aboard, blue water boats? I take it you're quite knowledgeable about sail boats. This will be our first, we used to own a 38' Chris Craft. We loved it, but with today's prices for fuel, we want a sail boat.
We appreciate any help or suggestions you can offer. Thanks again.
Cbarg
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It would be helpful if you talked a bit more about your plans for this boat, where you hope to sail, how important is sailing ability to you and so on. All too often people start out looking for blue water capable boats when they are really looking for coastal cruisers that could do a short leg offshore or even a liveaboard.

In my mind a proper dedicated blue water boat is first and foremost designed to be robust, simple, carry the ggear and supplies to sustain itself for long periods away from shore, and be able to sail well in whatever nature throws at you. That list of goals comes at a price in terms of costs of construction, interior layouts feel cramped by small walking areas so you won't be thrown about, small cockpits to reduce the amount of water retained if the boat is pooped, and large volumes of the boat occupied by tankage and storage, and so on. It comes at a price os heavy duty gear that may limit lighter air (or even moderate air convenience)

The compromises of a boat designed to spend much of its life offshore, what you refer to as a blue water design, may be a price not worth paying if you don't plan to spend much of your life offshore. That is why I ask about sailing goals and venues before answering.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 08-29-2006
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Jeff, our sailing goals are to learn the ins and outs of sailing in the bahamas and the east coast for the next 2 years. after that we hope to cruise the caribbean ending up in bonaire. from there if we are still able and willing go thru the panama canal and to the south pacific and so on. lofty dreams but hope to give it a go. thank you. cbarg
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