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Discussion Starter #1
I've got a 1970 Morgan 42 MK1 cruiser/racer. I'm starting the list of requirements to convert it to singlehanded operation in order to come up with a cost of conversion vs cost of buying a purpose built shorthanded offshore capable craft of similar size.

As the Morgan is a typical early 70s with large overhangs...also interested in the possibility of hull modifications to improve speed and downwind stability in a seaway....adding a "chin" up front maybe?

I've got lots of toerail leaks so the deck is going to have to come off...therefore I can make some major deck modifications. Money is tight, all above assumes I'll do most of the work myself.

Do a google on Morgan 42 and you'll see what I've got.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
list so far:

1) add anchor pulpit & winch & spin tack.
2) roller furling headsail & self tacking staysail.
3) dinghy storage in front of mast (like to avoid rear davits for cosmetics or is this unrealistic?)
4) Add enclosed/semi protected helm station (pilothouse?)
5) all control lines lead aft
6) convert from wheel to tiller for easier auto pilot
7) add autopilot
8) open up transom to self bail????
9) replace all winches with self tailing.
10) convert from pole to furling asy spin
 

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honestly........

sell the boat and buy a newer model with the items you want in place. It would be cheaper, more sound etc etc.

Then again, for some the boat is not to sail, but to build or remodel.....in which case, have fun!

Marty
 

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That's a pretty boat... On the face of it I'd agree with Marty that unless your primary aim is the project, if you're not happy with what you've got sell it and move on.

The scope of work you're contemplating includes structural issues and would require some skill and experience to properly execute. Despite the best of intentions you run a real risk of ending up with some kind of oddball boat that may not perform as hoped for. Resale and/or any sort of residual value would be suspect as well.

I'm guessing you got this boat as a 'steal'... as you'll see there's really no such thing as a free boat.. or a 'good cheap' boat either.

In any event, best of luck with this.
 

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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 ideal 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.
Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies. I have the Morgan so it is more a matter of calulating the cost of conversion vs buying X and evaluating the tradeoffs.

What I like about the boat is the size, heavyish D, fin keel and skeg hung rudder w/enclosed prop. She moves pretty well for a short LWL and although it's a beast to hoist and manage the spinnaker now she will really fly once its up.

But as pointed out other aspects of the boat leave a lot to be desired when contemplating short handed work.

With retirement coming soon I'll be ready to graduate from racing a 20ft sportboat to living a more serious singlehanded lifestyle. What is not clear for me is if blasting up and down the Ches Bay will be enough to scratch my itch or if I'll need to go farther.

Maybe a good plan would be to make some of the easy & inexpensive & reversable changes to tackle etc. that would make it an "acceptable" short handed coastal cruiser for a year or two. Then either stick to the coast or sell it and move to X?

X being a high(ish) performance, spartan, shorthanded offshore capable boat around 40 ft. Any suggestions?
 

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Spot on COOL, the Olson 40 fits...but with only 29 hulls it might be tough to find.

Maybe some of the Classe 40s from late 90s could be found too. I often wondered if you followed the racing classes if you could find last years sails & rigs at a steep discount?
 

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Spot on COOL, the Olson 40 fits...but with only 29 hulls it might be tough to find.

Maybe some of the Classe 40s from late 90s could be found too. I often wondered if you followed the racing classes if you could find last years sails & rigs at a steep discount?
There's a Santa Cruz 40 in this month's Latitude 38.

A class 40 from the late 90's? Fewer and farther between than about anything. There's no reason you can't re-lead your control lines aft, install an AP, self tailing winches, and most importantly, figure out your sail handling systems (lazy jacks, furling genoa, maybe a detachable inner forestay to put on a non-overlapping reefable jib on hanks or the like)... and your Morgan would be fine. Don't modify the hull. It is what it is.
 

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zoomie

Several of your planned additions would be easy enough to add on any boat. These include: Anchor roller
Roller furling
Dodger (hardtop possibly)

But some are expensive and illogical. Here are some better ideas.

Instead of a self tacking staysail install a removeable Solent stay. This is a stay attached to the mast about 1' down from the masthead and parallel to the forestay. It will not require runners. This is for setting a storm sail when conditions are too much for whatever is on the furler.

Pass on the open transom. Install larger drains through the transom if draining time is a problem.

Find a dinghy that fits either on the foredeck or the cabin top. Maybe a nesting dinghy which only takes up about 5' of space. See a good one here.
Chameleon

Run the main halyard and reefing lines aft along with the cunningham and vang. If the jib is on a furler its halyard can stay at the mast. The halyard for the storm jib could either be run aft or kept at the mast.

By all means replace winches with self tailers if the budget allows.

If you have a wheel I'd keep it. Autopilots for wheels are common and your boat might be a bit big for a tillerpilot - they are mostly for smaller lighter boats. A wind vane is a good idea and will attach to a wheel - and uses no electrical power.

A dodger is a good idea for any boat. Either a conventional canvas one or a hard top dodger could be added.

That leaves the spinnaker. Asymetricals don't furl but are raised in a snuffer. A code 0 on a stayless furler could be added ahead of the forestay. When you don't want it lower it and put it away.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So a take away is work with what you got. For anchoring...the pulpit & roller is a must and I'll do what I can to locate the heavy gear closer to the center of gravity. I can live without the front bunks. I gotta have a spin of some kind, so a drop-able code 0 out on the pulpit works.

The boat came with a couple of staysails and has staysail fittings but have never used them. Some combination of furling/reefing headsails will be used. The nesting dinghy is a really neat idea.

The modern open transom is such a boon to water access, enjoyment and safety. Gotta come up with something here too...there has got to be an answer.
 

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Folding swim platform if you must.Will probably be noisy at times.Boats are like wives & gf's aint none perfect,all comprimises.marc
 

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So a take away is work with what you got. For anchoring...the pulpit & roller is a must and I'll do what I can to locate the heavy gear closer to the center of gravity. I can live without the front bunks. I gotta have a spin of some kind, so a drop-able code 0 out on the pulpit works.

The boat came with a couple of staysails and has staysail fittings but have never used them. Some combination of furling/reefing headsails will be used. The nesting dinghy is a really neat idea.

The modern open transom is such a boon to water access, enjoyment and safety. Gotta come up with something here too...there has got to be an answer.
There are a lot of pretty easy modifications one can do to the forepeak area... pipe berths with lot's of storage beneath, etc... like many old race boats used to do for example.

A code 0 is a reaching sail with a fairly narrow range of sailing angles. Not to say it isn't a great cruising sail, but they're not for sailing deep angles. Think more 'close reaching'. Talk to a sailmaker. Some of the newer large open class boats are experimenting/using assy spinnakers on a furler. There was an article in Seahorse a year or so ago. It's probably a couple of years out for us regular folks, but it's coming. You could add an after market 'prod' from Selden and go wtih an assy spinnaker in a snuffer, or if you've already got a symmetrical spin pole and all the gear, you can also use it to fly an assymetrical spinnaker. You'll need a tack line in addition to much longer sheets and guys, but it will give you a much broader range of angles to sail with. And that code 0 might be a great sail for your boat, but there might be better choices if you have a limited budget.

Making an open transom on a CCA design is going to be a large and interesting challenge that will really press your glass fabrication skill sets. Anything is possible, but it's going to be a huge and expensive project even if you have the skill set to do it yourself.

Just a thought, but it seems you're making a lot of very large decisions without a lot of time in the boat? If that's the case and your timeline allows, why not sail the boat more first and figure out what both you and the boat needs? Sure, get your sail handling lines lead aft (but not even then is it necessary to lead ALL your halyards aft, particularly if you're going to use a furler or a spinnaker single handed...) and think about any other changes like upgrading traveller gear, main sheet systems, reefing, new or recut sails, etc... Some time living with what you have will help you make much better choices than you will at the spur of the moment. It'll also give you some time to look around at similar boats and see what they've done, what works and what doesn't. Anyhow, sounds like a fun project!
 

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There's a Santa Cruz 40 in this month's Latitude 38.

A class 40 from the late 90's? would be fine. Don't modify the hull. It is what it
The Santa Cruz would be great also,
but they want nearly $100K for it.
The Class 40 fleet is developing very
rapidly, so I think we'll see some of the
wash outs coming on the market, for pennies
on the dollar, in the near future. But these
boats like to sail at large angles of heel,
I wonder if that would get tiresome on
a long passage.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hope all had a good holiday. I value the discussion and if you still have your ears on...I'd ask;

JeffH said:

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 ideal single-handed cruiser especially if a large percentage of offshore work in your plans.
Why are furlers a problem and why is the design ill-suited for blue water?

Does everyone share his opinion?

Thanks
 

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IOR designs had small mains and were headsail driven. The headsails were changed up or down in size to suit the conditions. These headsails covered a wide range of sizes. And the boats in race mode had the crew to make the changes. A headsail furler is limited in its ability to reduce sail, generally to about 20%. So a single headsail on a furler, regardless of size, is not able to cover the range of sail areas required. It would be like a Ferrari with 2 gears.

The contrast to this would be a modern fractional rigged boat with a jib that has little overlap and is mainsail driven. The jib is mostly left alone and the main reefed to suit conditions.

Of course you could do something along these lines, but it is expensive and you's have to furl the outer sails before tacking.
 

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The problem with furlers is that it is more difficult to change headsails than it would be if you were using hanked-on sails. This is especially the case if you are single-handed. You are tempted to partially roll up the jib to reduce sail area as the wind builds, but the more you roll the sail up, the less efficient it's shape becomes. Eventually you may want to switch down to a smaller headsail. If you don't have another stay that you can set up, you've got to first fully unroll your big jib before you can bring it down, but now the wind is up. As the luff-rope comes out of the furler foil, the leading edge of the sail is uncontrolled and ready to blow over the side of the boat. Who's manning the halyard while you're on the pitching foredeck gathering the sail? So you get the sail down, wrestle it back on deck, lash it down, and now you've got to repeat the process in reverse with the new smaller sail you are about to raise. How do you crank the halyard and feed the the luff-tape into the furler foil at the same time? You're single-handed, remember!

So the solutions are to use hanks instead of a furler, use smaller sails to begin with than you might otherwise, and/or have more than one stay (which introduces it's own set of problems).

On my boat, I have furler on which I mount either a 135% genoa or a 100% jib depending on the anticipated conditions, and then I have a removable inner forestay to which I can hank either a heavy-weather staysail or a storm jib. I have not yet tried changing down from the 135 to the 100 anywhere other than at a dock or on a mooring in a protected harbor. If I had to do it at sea, I might set up the inner forestay and hoist the staysail, and then roll out the 135, tack the boat so the genny is on the windward side of the staysail, and then drop it.

Now going the other way, from the 100 up to the 135, that I have done underway (without setting up the staysail first). You're moving up to the larger sail because the wind has dropped, which usually makes everything easier.
 
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