Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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First of all, I always suggest that when a person considers a major restoration and adaptation, that the boat in question should be the best 'platform' that they can afford that also potentially meets their long term goals so that the results will justify the efforts. in a general sense, the basic design of the Morgan 42 makes it a less than ideal single-hander. Boats like these did not track well and require comparatively large sail inventories to accommodate the full range of wind speeds likely to be encountered and so require more sail changes than is ideal for a single-hander (furlers really do not cut it on designs like these). While you may be able to adapt this design to be an acceptable single-handed coastal cruiser, it will never be an idea
l single-handed cruiser especially if a large percentage of offshore work in your plans. As a serious and frequent singlehander as I look at your list of modifications intended to try to improve the Morgan as a singlehander, I would suggest some are improvements, and some make the problem of boat handling worse.
Things that make sense to do to convert to a single-hander:
- add anchor pulpit & winch.
This is a mixed bag. Having efficient and easy to use ground tackle management equipment is important for a single-hander. You need to be able to raise and lower an anchor in any conditions by yourself.
As a singlehander, you are not really able to control the engine and steering from the fore deck, but given the limitations of the design of your boat, it would not be easy to install a set up where you can reliably raise and lower an anchor from the cockpit either.
Part of this is a limitation of the boat. Boats with long ends do not tolerate a lot of weight on the foredeck or hanging out over the bow. Going to full chain, would impact the motion of a boat significantly adversely and really begin to hurt sailing ability in a chop so you would ideally want to locate the windlass and chain storage aft of your waterline point of entry. That may be doable but often the interior layout of a boat will preclude that possibility.
- roller furling headsail- Convenient but may not be the right answer. You may do better with reefable headsails with a downhaul.
- all control lines lead aft- A must!
- convert from wheel to tiller for easier auto pilot- This one is very complicated and may not be the right answer in your case. I don't have the time to discuss the pro's and con's.
- add autopilot- A must!
- replace all winches with self tailing. This is a good idea but more importantly the strategic placement and ergonomics become critical on a singlehander. Organizing your deck is one key and comparatively inexpensive component of adapting a boat to be a better singlehander.
Things not to do:
- Add a chin or alter the under water configuration. These were actually some of the better sailing boats of that era and altering the bow or underbody configuration would be likely todo more harm than good.
- self tacking staysail- These boats have very small SA/D's. Any staysail that you would add would be too small for most sailing conditions that you are likely to sail in. Because of the narrow beam and foretriangle configuration, it is hard to make a successful cutter out of these boats and adding a permanent jibstay would only make tacking the big genoas these boats need more difficult.
- Add enclosed/semi protected helm station (pilothouse?)- as a singlehander you need to be able to steer and trim sails at the same time. Visibilty and proximaty is critical, and having control lines lead to a position that is easy to reach is important. A pilot house greatly complicates those issues.
- open up transom to self bail- There is no practical way to do this. Big drains hopefully above the waterline are your only answer, but given the low sheer on your boat (like mine) it is hard to do that since the cockpit deck is so close to the waterline in order to allow a reasonable depth cockpit.
- convert from pole to furling asy spin- Assymetrics are great when they work, but they are much more prone to getting wrapped around the forestay during a jibe. This is no big deal with a bigger crew like you find on a raceboat, but it is an impossible situation on a singlehander where it is more unlikely that you can haul yourself up the forestay to clear the tangle.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay and part-time purveyor of marine supplies