Dear Charley,

I visited your web site and read some the stories of some of the "long term" Owners of Morgans, both your custom and production designs.

Here, for Morgan Yacht Club viewers, is the story of how my family bought and has owned for nearly forty years “Bufflehead” our 1968, Morgan 30.

I come from a family where the salt water has coursed quite freely through the veins for many generations on both sides. As a young boy, the youngest of five kids, our family vessel was a 24’wooden sloop named “Jabberwock,” She was a member of a six boat fleet designed and built for a transatlantic race some time in the thirties. My memory is although not designed by Starling Burgess;   all were built at his yard in Marblehead. I know nothing of the race or if it ever happened. All the six were named for characters from “Alice in Wonderland.” The “March Hare” also called Marblehead home for many years. She had a rounded flush deck more suited to oceangoing than “Jabberwock’s” statelier trunk cabin. “Jabberwock” was a good boat, sturdy, handsome, slow and small. The whole family loved her.  “Jab” ate seven, sailed five and slept two, on ample, damp, salon berths.

I was 10 years old in 1967, Dad had sailed the “Jab”, as we called her, for nine seasons. About this time, he became briefly interested in a used Morgan 34’ which had been around for a few seasons. Then he heard you were working on the M- 30. Dad followed the process, had the line drawings; intrigued by a small, affordable boat with standing headroom, shoal draft, ample accommodations, and the ability to sail in light air. 

Indeed our M - 30’, “Bufflehead”, hums in anything from 5-15 knots of breeze, yet she is manageable up to 20 knots. Above and below, “Bufflehead” truly is more than a mere yacht; she is comfortable and familiar, well provisioned and snug. With the board up, she can squeeze into the most intimate of spaces with boats half her size.  Privacy and quiet are often difficult to find on the water, especially in New England.


Our story goes something like this: Dad likes the Morgan 30’.  It’s the spring of 1968, my sister is getting married, my mother is graduating from college and Dad has had a great career enhancement representing the original MARIMEKKO in the United States. Morgan 30’, hull #3, is hurtling north. She is still practically a prototype. Dad gets a call from Fran Forbes down at Grave’s Yacht Yard (then Morgan dealer in Marblehead Ed.).  There is a Morgan 30’ in Marblehead! A deal was struck where Fran could show the boat for the summer and “Bufflehead” would get a few homey touches. The shelves under the galley sink remain unfinished even now, but are still well used, and the Barlow Genoa winches have been moved aft to make room for self-tailers.

Fast forward two months and Dad is in Finland being wined and dined by MARIMEKKO’S gregarious, well connected, lady owner Armi Ratja. The party moves to Armi’s country estate, inside the Arctic Circle. The men are sent to Sauna, anonymously. Dad and his fellow guest, an older gent, begin to compare notes. Both like to sail. Both mention they have new boats. Both have Morgans! “You have my boat”, bellows Buckminster Fuller, a hero, of sorts, to my Dad, - Very Modern fellow.  Dad states quite clearly that no, “Bufflehead” is his boat. Fuller counters that #3 had been headed to his yard in Maine when you, Charley, called him personally to recommend he upsize to the new M-41’ (Keel CB) as theM-30 was “a little too lively” for a man his age - True or False? (Well almost Ed.)

 

Dad met Buckminster Fuller again, for the second and last time, later that same summer, and “gammed” up to Bucky’s M -41’  “Intuition”, in front of his house somewhere in Penobscot Bay on the first of many cruises East for old “Bufflehead; She has more than a few forays West of Marblehead under her belt too.

“Bufflehead” is indeed lively. Three generations of my family have enjoyed her. Five generations have stepped aboard, and little has changed. She is still almost completely original. A section of spar from the schooner “Mohawk” comprises the main post under the deck-stepped mast, a teak sole circa 1972, a Universal Diesel replacement for the Atomic 4, circa 1989, roller furling rig #2, toe rails, new gel-coat, sails, and that’s it for capital improvements. She has been winter- stored for the last 27 years, all but two outdoors, at Dion’s Yacht Yard in Salem, Ma., where “Bufflehead” has been a stable mate of your 12 meter “Heritage” for the last twenty years - I rooted for her all the way, back in 1970.

Morgan 30’ #3, “Bufflehead,” hailing port “Rotten Dock”, Ma, now heads into her fortieth season, all from the same mooring in Marblehead Harbor. Jud Smith, 2006 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, spent many a salad day on her, and your friend Dave Curtis made her first suit of sails. In 2004, I became the sole stakeholder in “Bufflehead.” Before long, with influence from “Jabberwock,” I tried out David’s original working jib as a way of improving visibility, and increased maneuverability, while sailing solo. The dividends have been marked: better handling, better visibility, better angle to the wind, and little loss in straight- line speed. Although not on my roller furler, Dave’s working jib is still my favorite headsail. His spinnaker, circa 1968, is still on board.

I have included attachments with photos of the old girl. The action shots are from the Dion’s annual “Friends Regatta”, 2005, in Salem Harbor. There is also a timeless shot in some nameless anchorage, an interior shot or two, and a picture of her predecessor, “Jabberwock,” still in local waters circa 1991.

“Bufflehead” is a great cruising boat, and daysailer and I do not see myself parting with her in the near future. 

I love it when she hums. 

Campbell Seamans

I believe this story of "Bufflehead" qualifies her and her Owners for a place in the Morgan Hall of Fame for one of the longest continuous family ownership we have heard of. If anyone can come up with a longer one give us a story about it. Ed.




                               Remembrance


February 15th, the day after Saint Valentine's, day marks the sixth year since our "Sweet Sally" Morgan passed on leaving her family, husband her puppy "Sable" and a host of lifelong friends and especially so many Morgan folks with whom she had been in contact over the years; 
Sally came to St. Petersburg from her home town of Fairhope, Alabama around 1962.
She joined the St. Pete Thistle class fleet skippering her own boat. Soon her organizational talents and strengths were discovered and she was conscripted into the thankless task of fleet secretary keeping fleet activities hopping.
Later, around the time the Morgan Yacht Corporation was getting under way, she sought a job with Morgan, about the time we moved into the first Morgan factory, literally  taking my partner Bruce Bidwell and me "to raise", as that old saying goes. What a difference she made - Bruce and I, and all of the early team, had our heads under water most of the time but her long hours and dedicated efforts helped, in a crucial way, to get all of it done.
Our earliest Owners were all like family to Sally as were all who called or stopped in as time went on.
Today so many of Morgan owners who knew her always mention her warm and engaging ways to me. Of course all of us who knew her, especially those who worked with her while we were building the company, as do so many Morgan Owners who were greeted by her warm southern accent when calling on some point or another remember her laughter.
Sally was the originator and the first editor of "In The Wind" Morgan Yacht's original newsletter. Years later after we had all retired from the company and Sally had married Charley Morgan, she remained the perennial contact and interface between Charley, Bruce and the host of Owners.
It was then that Sally conceived and inaugurated publishing the The Morgan Chantyman for the purpose of helping keep all Morgan Owners around the world stay in touch with each other and with me, Bruce and others of our original band, - who were still around.
The Chantyman was an immediate success and loved by all. Publishing on a regular basis was quite a task for Sally as she then had her own Yacht Brokerage business to run. As the World Wide Web emerged as the best method for newsletter communication Sally felt it was time to discontinue publishing The Chantyman as a hard copy periodical and planned to introduce it again over the Internet; as it happened she contracted lung cancer and lost her life to it.
So in honor of Sally Morgan's long devotion to Morgan Yacht Corp., Morgan Owners and Morgan Aficionados everywhere; a small cadre of Morgan enthusiasts offer once again, via the World Wide Web, The Morgan Chantyman.- Charley Morgan, ed.


It was a collaborative effort  between Charley Morgan and Charlie Hunt that the two dreamer, shipmate, sailing buddies conjured up and built their design of BRISOTE, ... the 32', plywood, "mix & match", yawl that won her way into history and offshore racing during 1957, ... winning silver in the famous ocean race from St. Petersburg, Fl to the finish line at El MORO Castle at Havana, Cuba.
BRISOTE'S winning ways effectively launched the yacht designing careers of the two young men and, ... the eventual founding of The MORGAN YACHT Corporation. 

Here, BRISOTE is shown stretching her legs on her very first
sail as she streaks, just in time, to the start of the 1957 race
to Cuba finishing at the fabled, El Moro Light at the entrance to Havana's Harbor.
Follow this link to Morgan Custom Classics for more on BRISOTE,

Watch the CHANTYMAN for a feature story about BRISOTE the impudent little yawl that set events leading to Charley Morgan's design of PAPER TIGER and founding Morgan Yacht Corporation.


The first Morgan "production" model was the M-34 being launched  in late August, 1965. 
RUTHLESS,  won her first race on Labor Day that year with company founders Bruce Bidwell and Charley Morgan in charge.

RUTHLESS went on to win many offshore races establishing the Morgan Yacht line as 
winning cruiser racers of the day. 


SABRE news: 

Earlier we visited with my skipper from years ago, Dick Dungan, for whom I designed the 38' sloop SABREthat later became the prototype for the Columbia 40. Awhile back Dick reacquired the old girl that had fallen on hard times, abuse and ownership that could not undertake the cost and her restoration and rehabilitation. Since then she has survived two hurricane damage events but is up and floating again with Dick diligently working on her interior and all systems. We are scanning some of the photos to show SABRE before Dick began his rescue mission and other interesting pictures together with a story of the work progress. The first part of this report is posted under the following link, Morgan Rescue, Resurrect, and Restore.