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An Introduction to the Morgan Sailboat

By Charles Hopkins Published 08/31/2006 | Fishing and Boating

The Morgan Sailboat represents a true tour de force in the world of yachting. From the amazingly high quality of build for each and every boat the Morgan Yacht Corporation puts out to the finely designed lines and shapes that distinguish a Morgan Yacht from the rest of the pack, Morgan Sailboats are truly some of the most magnificent vessels in the ocean. The amazing designs and innovations made possible by the Morgan Yacht Corporation are all thanks to the work of one man Charley Morgan the founder and lead naval architect of the Morgan Yacht Corporation. His insight and desire to produce the best sailboats possible allowed him to take a garage based boat company and turn it into a major manufacturer of fine oceangoing watercraft.

So, the story of the Morgan Sailboat has its humble beginnings with a man named Charley Morgan.  Charley and his boyhood friend, Bruce Bidwell had a long time love of watercraft. Growing up in Florida, they would go sailing as often as possible, and it was not long before they turned their passion for sailing into a desire to build their own boats. When he was about seventeen years old, Charley built his first boat a thirty-two foot sailboat known as Brisote. He and Bidwell then took their newly crafted boat to a race to Havana, Cuba and were nearly denied entrance due to the Brisotes lack of an engine. After much banter, Charley finally convinced the judges to allow his boat to enter which they finally allowed him to do. The Brisote, despite what many people expected, ended up coming in second place.

After many years away from the ocean, Charley received a call in 1960 from a wealthy New York yachtsman who was in the need for a new boat. His commission for Charley was to build him a forty foot racing boat from fiberglass. Charley jumped at the proposition and designed and constructed an incredible sailing vessel which was called the Paper Tiger. In 1961, the Paper Tiger went on to win the Southern Ocean Racing Conference title during its first year in competition. The immense success of the Paper Tiger prompted Charley to found the Morgan Yacht Corporation in 1961 which he used to subsequently design and sell several smaller spin-offs of his now famous boat.

While the company lay silent for several years, Charley lay in the hospital with a severe case of tuberculosis, in 1964 it sprang back to life with a multitude of new designs which the companys founder had worked on from his hospital bed. From there, Charley continued to design a variety of new Morgan Sailboats for clients all over the world until he had enough cash to construct his personal dream boat. Called the Heritage, the twelve meter boat of Charleys dreams was designed to win the 1970 Americas Cup, but unfortunately it lost the bid for the cup during the time trials by only seventy-two seconds.

Nevertheless, despite a major racing setback, Charley went on to produce a variety of impressive boats out of all sorts of forward-thinking materials. While his focus is currently on offshore boats made from fiberglass and aluminum, if you contact the Morgan Yacht Company they will surely indulge you in creating whatever type of sailing vessel you can imagine.