The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Goodbye “Morgan’s Cloud”, What a Ride

The sale of our beloved Morgan’s Cloud, a custom aluminum McCurdy and Rhodes expedition sailboat, closed yesterday.

What a time we had together:

  • She owned us for a few months shy of thirty years.
  • We sailed over 100,000 nautical miles, and probably closer to 150,000 (lost count), together.
  • Four trans-Atlantics, three via the Arctic and one the classic east-to-west southern route.
  • Two Newport to Bermuda races, first in class in both and best corrected time in fleet in one.
  • Quite a bit of single-handed sailing, before Phyllis joined the ship and my life, including a passage from the Caribbean to Bermuda.
  • The site of our “first date”, an early-season gale-tossed passage from Bermuda to Maine. I needed to find a crew who didn’t know better and Phyllis fit the bill having never sailed before.
  • How many watches at sea? A rough estimate (based on the miles) of over 5000 for each of us.
  • About a year and a half of nights at sea for me and a little less for Phyllis— she had 35,000 miles in her wake before I let on that you can actually stop at night.
  • Our primary home for 20 years. We have both slept more nights aboard than any other place we have lived in our lives.
  • Five voyages to Greenland including three visits to the remote east coast.
  • A voyage to Svalbard including two transits of Hinlopen Strait.
  • Two visits to Baffin Island, definitely the place where we felt most at risk…OK, downright terrified.
  • Two winters living aboard in Tromsø, Arctic Norway. Not at all scary given we were tied alongside a luxury hotel. One of our most wonderful cruising experiences, made so by the people of that city.
  • A winter living aboard in London, England.
  • Two winters in the Caribbean and one in the Bahamas.
  • Two winters in Charleston, preparing for and recovering from an Arctic Voyage.
  • She helped us turn a few articles in yachting magazines into this business.

The boat kept us safe, forgave our mistakes, and taught us so much, and in return we cared for her:

  • Two refits, mostly DIY
  • Two re-powers
  • Two complete paint jobs
  • Replacement of the rig
  • Constant preventative maintenance
  • A constant equipment replacement cycle

At a rough guess, for every day of voyaging, we worked on the boat for a day. A brutal ratio, but she rewarded us with close to perfect reliability. Only twice in all those years did we have to delay our plans due to a gear failure:

  • A broken intermediate shroud that touched off a replacement of all standing rigging and cost us a month’s delay—we should have replaced the rigging the year before, instead of getting it NDT tested.
  • A lost season to a complete rebuild of the engine driveline, caused by a boatyard that we trusted to install it unsupervised—the only time we ever made that mistake—who screwed it up.

Neither were a failure of the boat, but rather our mistakes.

Hello New Morgan’s Cloud

This is the first time in 39 years that I have been without a boat and it…sucks! And Phyllis feels the same. She woke up this morning with a hollow feeling in her stomach.

So with the money from the sale in hand, we are now in full-on boat buying mode.

We will report more, and particularly on the things we are learning that will be useful to others, as the new boat buy comes together.

Further Reading

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