Bucking the system one sunset at a time!

’81 Morgan 382

Shopping for this boat was one of the most exhausting things I have ever done. It took nearly two full years… literally! Because I had never done anything like this before, a large part of the difficulty was defining what I wanted. Being an open-book was both a blessing and a curse – a blessing because I had no pre-conceived notions about what makes a good cruising boat, and a curse because of the sheer number of suitable candidates.

Like so many other large purchases that people make, price was the great equalizer. Out were the Swans, the Oysters and the Hylas. New was also out of the question. I needed a modest production boat built in the ’70’s or ’80’s. How I intended to use the boat was the other main deciding attribute. I needed something strong with a history of bluewater success. That eliminated a lot of the daysailing/coastal cruiser breed.

I stumbled upon the Morgan 382 by chance. And, I’m glad I did. These boats have been sailed all over the place, and a few have circumnavigated the globe. Designed by Ted Brewer and built the Morgan Yacht Company, the 382 has an excellent reputation. And, I found a great one!!

The Morgan 38 also has one of the best owner’s forums on the net. Morgan38.org has an extremely active user base and decades’ worth of design specific discussions. This been a most valuable resource during the refit.



  1. John Harrison's Gravatar John Harrison
    December 3, 2014    

    I’m not sure how I got on your site but likely thru the M38 board…. I’ve got a 1982 383 hull #037 and keep it in Clearwater, FL. Where are you located? I’ve owned my boat Tranquility, for just over 2 years now and I think I’ve gotten reasonably skilled with sailing it and am now in the process of fixing/replacing/redoing the stupid stuff the previous 5 owners did to her! I’ve replaced the mainsail with a North Sails main, I’ve installed lazy jacks and a stack pack sail cover, in the process of having someone install NewFound Metals ports (I live 2:15 drive time from the boat so I don’t want to spend all my time working on it!)…. and just had my sun brella replaced on my 150, the 125 was ok…. my next project / addition will be either a spinnaker and pole or an asymmetrical with dousing sock…. I’ve got to check out the top of the mast to see what rigging I’ll have to have done to accommodate one or the other.

    Your Atlantic tower link caught my eye. Unless I overlooked it, I don’t think I saw a picture of your boat with a radar arch or tower on it…. if you’ve installed and have some pics, I’d appreciate if you could send my way to email address above. My stern rail is crowded and I have been trying to figure out how to get more out of that space aft of the helm and some type of arch may just be the ticket….

    Thanks and I hope you get your mast fixed soon….. I’m thinking that can be welded to repair it?? Surely won’t have to replace?! I had a rigger go up and inspect my rig and he said it all looked fine to him. I had him check on it all because I get a significant amount of mast wiggle above the spreaders in a blow just sitting in the marina and thought it was all too loose…. My concern though with my mast is the corrosion I have at the base where it attaches to the top of the keel. I cleaned it all up and oiled it and now it looks fine but I would think that area is where a problem could come up given the 2 disimilar metals (aluminum and lead and stainless bolts into the lead) and there is sometimes seawater that drains into there if the anchor locker gets backed up from the port/starboard drain tubes and it all then goes from anchor locker, to below the v-berth and into the mast bucket… then from there it drains ever so slowly underneath the diesel tank and into the bilge on top of the holding tank…. what a funky design all of that has proven to be and I don’t like it but like everything on a boat, it’s a matter of tradeoffs….

    Well, off to the salt mine I go… another long day ahead. If you get a chance, please let me know your thoughts on the above.

    John Harrison

    • dptransom's Gravatar dptransom
      December 3, 2014    

      Hi, John! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I did post the blog over at Morgan38.org. It’s a great resource! We’re currently located in Cobb Island, MD.

      I have the Atlantic Towers arch, but I haven’t installed it yet. You really need to use a halyard or a topping lift to hold the arch while you install it, and my mast is off of the boat right now. I’m also installing a Monitor Windvane, and I need to install that first to ensure that the arch doesn’t interfere with the wind paddle. And, you’re supposed to install the Monitor while the boat is in the water. So… both will be done when I relaunch in late spring.

      I can tell you this about the arch. It is built very robustly and is quite attractive. I wanted a custom stainless steel arch, but it wasn’t in the budget. EXPENSIVE!!!! I intend to write a full review on the arch and the installation process in a few months. If you decide to get one, please tell Shelley Golden that you heard about it here!

      NFM ports rock!! I installed 6 of them myself last winter, and I absolutely love them! No leaks. Beautiful. Strong. Much, much better than the original plastic ports. The quarterberth port was a bit tricky because the inside bulkhead and the cockpit bulkhead are not parallel to each other. My uncle is a whiz at carpentry and made a shim for me using the routing template as a guide. It made the port fit perfectly.

      I have three assessments from spar repair shops, and none of them think that the cracks are serious enough to condemn the mast. In fact, they said it’s an easy and relatively inexpensive repair. I’m making my decision now about how to proceed with repairs, but I’m feeling much better about it!

      Thanks for the thoughtful comments!! Good luck with your refit. Oh, and check back in a few months for the Atlantic Towers article. I’ll also post it over at Morgan38.org.


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