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BOATOWNER’S BOAT REVIEW

The Blue Whale, a 1979 Morgan 30 By Rick Mannoia Photos by Sarah Schaefer

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nbeknownst to many, New York—where you can get the best (or worst) of everything—also has great sailing. Although shallow, the south shore of Long Island has safe, protected saltwater bays offering sailors steady southwest breezes. Watch out when the winds shift from the northeast. There is a reason we fear ‘Nor Easters. I cut my teeth sailing on Great South Bay. I started on a Sea Snark with my dad in the early 1960s. The bay is formed by the world famous barrier beach, Fire Island, to the south. Nearly 40 miles long and up to 5 miles wide, Great South Bay offers sailors great sailing and the opportunity to visit surprisingly gorgeous beaches; all as day trips. If you chose to sail offshore, the Atlantic welcomes you. When you leave the bay via the inlets at Shirley or Babylon, remember to allow ample time to get around the island. Sailors should use caution, because here, the Atlantic likes to show off. I’ve known my friend Kim Schaefer since High School in the late 1960s and sailed on his beautiful 1969 Morgan 30, The Blue Whale, for years. We’d sail out of East Islip. Kim is one of the best sailors I know. The Morgan 30, with its three and a half-foot draft and adjustable seven-foot, two-inch centerboard, pushes the limits of Great South Bay’s shallow water, but with a keen eye, current charts, and years of sailing experience, keeping her off the many sandbars is possible. At 10,500 pounds, you can’t very well jump overboard and push a Morgan 30 off the sand. Skinny water is designed for shallow draft, centerboard boats. For good reason, deep keelboats are few and far between in those waters. Morgan, during the 1960s and 1970s made a series of powerful, well-built sailing vessels. Constructed during the early days of fiberglass boatbuilding, Morgan often overbuilt his boats, making them safe, super-strong and very reliable. Morgan built a number of 30-footers. The Morgan

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30 (aka Morgan 30-1) began production in 1968, and then came the Morgan Classic with a taller rig. The Morgan 30-2 came out in 1972 as a different boat design. Their KK 30 was available as a kit. It would be quite an undertaking building a Morgan 30 in your backyard. Driving a five-ton sailing vessel gives the helmsman a sense of security. Her LOA is 29’ 11” and the LWL is 24’ 2”, making it feel like you are driving a big boat. You are. When 30 feet of boat and 10,500 pounds of displacement puts her rail in the water, sailing becomes quite a thrill. With 4,500 pounds of ballast, the Morgan 30 is a very stable and reliable boat, but you’d be well advised to still hold on. The Morgan 30 has the traditional sloop rig, with her headsail going to the masthead. The main carries 232 square feet of sail. As with most sailboats, headsails vary widely from captain to captain. Just last season, The Blue Whale outfitted her 55 pounds of genoa sail with a new Harken roller furling system, eliminating the need to climb on the foredeck to swap jibs. When the wind kicks up, dropping 50-plus

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June 2015

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Southwinds June 2015