(This was a message Eben wrote to a reader who was interested in more “first hand” info on Morgans when it comes to size and speed for a family, since he’s looking into getting one.)
Hey. Eben here. Well I can say, critics are very critical. It obviously depends on your use of the boat. If your racing then a Morgan is for sure the way to go cuz your handicap will likely entail that you need only finish the race and you will win. Haha. Kidding. However I think it is critical to say that our boat is a 1988 CATALINA/Morgan. You see somewhere around 1984 I believe, Catalina bought Charlie Morgan’s name and design and then made a few alteration. One very specific was the keel shape. The Morgan we are on ( sloop rigged center cockpit) is a 3/4 keel and from what I have heard and now seen it sails a fair bit better than the older design. Inside and out (while it is in the water) there are very few design differences, but the joke we have all heard is that you have to start the engine to tack a Morgan and this is definitely not the case with ours. To put in perspective, on our maiden voyage with her back from Bahamas to Florida, there was no engine, period. Halfway to cat island, the mainsail blew out and our friend Joaquin and his brother who were sailing her at the time were able to bring her in to cat under nothing but the jib power. And tacking all over the place. So as for sailability she can hold her own. That being said, given that you are looking at Morgan’s in the first place I can assume that you do not intend to race anywhere and on that note I give the Morgan 4 thumbs up for the comfort she provides. Our perspective on boating is that it is our floating home that we occasionally move from one beautiful spot to another under sail. So realistically the majority of our time is at anchor in paradise so we chose the Morgan to give us the max amount of comfort during the majority of our time aboard, which is not while under sail. Heck I would have bought a catamaran right of the hop for the same reasons if I hadn’t been discouraged from it at the beginning when I didn’t know any better, and when going downwind we would have been going 2wice as fast. Ha.