Morgan 462

Morgan 462 Ketch
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.

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Most of the leaking starts here at the hull/deck joint where the badly stained vinyl covering is glued directly the hull side.

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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.

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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 charge.

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.

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David Pascoe - Biography

David Pascoe is a second generation marine surveyor in his family who began his surveying career at age 16 as an apprentice in 1965 as the era of wooden boats was drawing to a close.

Certified by the National Association of Marine Surveyors in 1972, he has conducted over 5,000 pre purchase surveys in addition to having conducted hundreds of boating accident investigations, including fires, sinkings, hull failures and machinery failure analysis.

Over forty years of knowledge and experience are brought to bear in this book. David Pascoe is the author of:

In addition to readers in the United States, boaters and boat industry professionals worldwide from over 70 countries have purchased David Pascoe's books, since introduction of his first book in 2001.

In 2012, David Pascoe has retired from marine surveying business at age 65.

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