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Sailnet lists and Morgan/Gulfstar users

You know, I think I know boats in general. I know glass enough to be dangerous, general mechanical, what leaks, what don''t. I''m looking at a 1980 Morgan 461, a 1976 Gulfstar 43 and generally interested in the Gulfstar 50''s. Sailing them is not a problem. I realize the ports tend to leak, which is a manageable condition, and rebedding all deck hardware isn''t a problem. I want to find a good sized boat to use for captained charters in the BVI/USVI that won''t run over $125,000.00. Problem is, I get severely mixed messages on quality, etc. on these craft. Any comments that might allay my fears of throwing money out the window? Each boat is going to be different and I expect certain amounts of upgrading and work. Different people have differing experiences. I just want a borderline liveabord (with condo here in the VI) that I can at least day charter and not lose my shirt completely on resale. Someone please tell me about the Morgans/Gulfstars. I see a couple of 461''s down here that look great overall, but the old Perkins diesels look skanked and TOUGH to get out of the boat....
I've got a 461, hull # 2. I've got more pictures than you'll want to see about refitting, but people repower these boats without incident, addressing one of your concerns.

If I were doing it, I'd take off the door frame panel (in the walkthrough - it's designed to remove entirely), use the port in the cockpit for a chain hoist, get a board under it between the stringers for the genset and the walkthrough sole and slide it out. Slide it to the aft cabin, chain hoist it out the aft companionway, and reverse with rebuilt or something more current. However, IMHO, unless you keep it fairly long, you'll not recover the cost of repowering (in any boat), but it will make it sell sooner as an enhancement. That's pretty much the case with anything you do, of course. We'll have to keep ours 20 years to amortize all we've spent on her mods; we'd not recover more than about half of the cost were we to sell it when we're finished.

IMHO, this boat is built more stoutly than any Gulfstar, particularly the 461s, designed by Moorings for their Tortola base (see my gallery for some articles and original brochures), but when we were in our search, we actively considered 43, 44 and 50, and even offered, on a GS44. I particularly liked the GS41s, but it wouldn't to for what you want, most likely.

And, with any boat this age, condition is key, but you just have to accept that it will be a constant maintenance program, or it will go downhill quickly. FWIW, in all the M46x I looked at, there were very few port or other leak problems, vs sort of endemic leak problems in the GSx we went aboard, from various sources.

As to living aboard, we've sold our homes, given away everything but our required clothing and some tools, sold all but the work cars, have only one boat left to sell, and, once the rehab is finished, we're outta here. As to the rehab, I'm living aboard, in the yard. When I'm not aboard, work stops. I use the yard head for solid waste, otherwise the grey water is pumped overboard (well, underhull) in the normal manner. Even with all the hullaballo belowdecks during our (very extensive) refit, I've lived aboard the entire time. In your shoes, I'd ditch the condo...

We'll come visit you when we get to that part of the world. However, the point is that, at least for us, this boat (line; all M46x - ours has had some basic aft-cabin mods to suit us, but it could have done, right out of the box) is the ideal live aboard and full-time cruising boat. Unless you try to take everything you've ever owned aboard, this will have ample storage (we're improving some already good storage; you can see some of that in my gallery under refits toward the end of May06, and lots of other stuff in earlier subgalleries - go to and click the appropriate gallery. Many have subgalleries in them shown as smaller icons...) for anything you'd want to do. The one you have at Sunsail has even more reefer space good for the chartering you have in mind, and some very nice mods suited for liveaboard comfort.

To the title, however, I'd recommend subscription to the mailing lists for both of these models, morgan and gulfstar @, and posing any questions you have there, as there's a huge body of users who know the lines.

Without unnecessarily blowing my own horn, I believe I can tell you more than most about the M46x, and know both brokers in the ones currently in BVI, so feel free to drop me a line if you'd like. I just stumbled in here, as I nearly never use web-based stuff other than searching for gear or news, so you'll probably miss me if you try replying here. I'm copying this to the GS and Morgan lists, both of which I subscribe to, along with quite a few more which I'll not include as being long-shots for the info you want.


Skip (skipgundlach at gmail dot com)

Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC - NOTE:new URL! The vessel as Tehamana, as we bought her

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you
didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail
away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore.
Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain
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