Morgan is famous for producing some of the most badly
blistered boats we've ever seen, as well as the junky, but immensely
popular Out Island 41. In fact, the O/I 41 is one of only
two hulls we've ever seen that had been destroyed by blisters,
the other being a Chris Craft Commander.
We've never been impressed with much of the Morgan
line of boats, but the 462 is something of an exception in an
otherwise undistinguished history. The 462 is a big, clunky, center
cockpit ketch (also available as a sloop) that, unlike the rest
of the Morgan series, is fairly heavily built at 30,000 lbs. A
weight-to-length ratio of 2:3 (converting length in feet x 1000)
is moderately heavy in our book. Our survey example was an aging
1980 model that had had a very rough life of more than a decade
of neglect in the Bahamas, yet the owners still hadn't managed
to destroy it.
The primary virtue of this aging design is a
well-built hull and deck structure. The hull is a solid
laminate while the deck is balsa cored and, despite all kinds
of abuse such as a lot of holes drilled in the deck and badly
attached fittings, still hadn't gone soft. We jumped and stomped
around on it, raising eyebrows all over the marina with the racket
we were making, yet still couldn't find any weakness. The gel
coat was completely gone in places, along with the nonskid decking
pattern, and showing a tremendous number of gel coat voids, and
revealing at least one reason why Morgan Yachts has such a problem
with blistering. The laminating quality is rather pitiful. The
boat was never hauled and we didn't get a look at the bottom.
Among other nice things we can say about is that
the chain plates are bolted to the hull sides rather that to plywood
bulkheads that inevitably rot out from leaks, so this was not
a problem. The rig is well setup and generally without fault.
We did find some breakage around the fiberglass structure of the
main mast step, but it had been that for years without falling
apart. None of the bulkheads were disbonded and we couldn't find
any evidence of oil-canning on the bottom like the O/I 41 does.
of the leaking starts here at the hull/deck joint where
the badly stained vinyl covering is glued directly the
||The water then runs
out onto the cabin sole where it not only rots out the sole,
but the bulkheads, partitions and cabinetry, making for
very costly repairs.
Like the O/I 41, this also has the feature of
a big engine compartment in which the space is poorly used. As
with nearly all Morgan boats, the installation of plumbing and
electrical is also pitifully amateurish and sloppy. The main panel
is okay, it just everything after the panel that's the problem.
Things like wiring laying in the bilge and wrapped around plumbing.
It almost seems as if the builders go out of their way to make
service difficult by by burying sea strainers, sea cocks and bilge
pumps under engines or otherwise making them nearly impossible
to reach. This one had a generator and air-conditioning, making
the engine room doubly cramped.
Morgan has always had problems with creating
a cockpit that doesn't leak a water fall of water onto the machinery
and electrical stuff, and this one was no different. Water was
pouring in through the steering pedestal because Morgan never
bothered to put cofferedams around the control cable opening.
They felt that just caulking the base of it was enough which,
when the cockpit inevitably fills up, never is. The engine, of
course, was a ball of rust because of it.
The engines in these boats always seem to be
having a lot of problems. Perhaps that is because the exhaust
riser is too high, runs virtually straight up, and causes too
much exhaust back pressure. The engines are also low to the bilge
where the starter and transmission gets wet when the one and only
bilge pump fails. Plus engine mounts that rust, cause the engine
to sag and throw the shaft out of alignment so the the stuffing
box leaks even more water, thereby perpetuating the cycle of leakage
and water damage.
|Since the engine room is the place
where boaters spend a lot of their boating careers, systems
installations like this won't make life any easier.
Yet this was the least of the worries so far
as leaks go. This boat, along with most of the rest of the Morgan
line, is little more than a floating sea strainer. All it does
is filter the water as it passes through the decks, port holes
and hatches, and all the other places where the builder does not
know how, or care, to make a proper seal. A large part of the
teak veneered plywood interior is rotted out because of it. It
had rained heavily just the day before the survey and the interior
was just swimming in water - even the stove top was flooded. Cushions
and mattresses were water soaked and rotting.
One of the worst areas of leakage was the hull/deck
joint, which made it just about impossible to keep anything dry
inside any cabinet, locker or shelf attached to the hull sides,
which is where all the cabinets, shelves and lockers are. Every
port hole and hatch leaked, none of which was due to flexing decks.
This problem is exacerbated by the fact that the cabin soles are
taped into the hull sides. This means the water leaking
in through the deck joint runs down the hull side and out onto
the cabin sole where the sole then proceeds to rot. This is a
standard feature of most of the Morgan line that comes at no additional
If you could figure a way to stop the leaks,
this would be a fairly decent boat. But to do that, you have to
just about dismantle and remove everything on the deck, including
the toe rail, and that's not a project many would have the fortitude
- or perhaps the foolishness - to tackle.
How does she sail? Well, a little better
than the O/I 41 does, which isn't saying much, but then not many
heavy, beamy boats can keep up with the go-fast crowd. But she'll
get you where you're going without scaring the hell out of you
when the wind blows, and with her kind of weight, a three-foot
chop on the banks won't stop you or the boat. When you crash into
a coral head, the coral head is just as likely to be the looser.
For the industrious bargain hunter, this one
is a possibility to get a lot for a little, but if you want a
dry bed at night, you are going to have a lot of work to do. This
boat is not a serious choice for someone looking for a boat that's
ready to go.
are "reviews", not surveys, and bear no resemblance
to our survey reports.
We do not publish the results of the surveys that we perform.
Please note that the purpose of these reviews is educational,
to help you discern the differences in quality among boats generally.
They are not offered as a means to help you evaluate any particular
boat builder. We have no other reviews than those posted.