Identify John And Phyllis’ New Boat

Photo Kindness of Member Anthony

So what do you think? We have always been fascinated by commercial fishing, so we thought now was a good time for a career change. Of course the name is a bit egotistical, but what the heck, and check the cool new safety ladder we have already fitted…

Sorry, could not resist and a big thanks to member Anthony who spotted her and sent the shot. What makes this even more fun is that Anthony’s wife’s name is Morgan.

And that gives me a nice segue into revealing the real new Morgan’s Cloud, shown here arriving on a truck last week.

So here’s the challenge: Leave a comment identifying the new Morgan’s Cloud, both builder and model, to win.

First correct answer¹ gets a free Adventure 40 tee-shirt as soon as Scott has the store open—AAC will pay the same price for the shirt and shipping as anyone else.

And for extra points, tell us in the comments what you would like to know about the selection process and how we arrived at the final choice.

That will help us do a better job sharing the huge amount we have learned, both while selling the McCurdy and Rhodes and buying this boat, including the costly mistakes we made—I always lead from the front, particularly when doing stupid shit is involved.

¹If you know us personally, and therefore have insider information, you are automatically disqualified…yes, Wilson, that means you.

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Kevin Dreese


Kevin Dreese

J boats j109? Would be very interested to here the selection process and survey key points (keel boats, etc).

Kevin Dreese

So John did I win the T shirt?

Also really excited to hear how you fitout a J109. Always really liked them.


Well, John, Katy and I certainly weren’t expecting to end up owning a *bigger* boat than you & Phyllis quite so soon 😉 I think we’ve got you beat by four inches and 1900 pounds.

You chose well. She’ll rate, what, 65-70 or so on PHRF with that keel? Fast enough to be about as much fun as you can have while fully dressed, yet sufficiently well-behaved and well-rounded for a couple to enjoy without needing any winch gorillas / rail meat along for the ride. And with a proper guest berth sail compartment too! In the right wind you might even be able to catch that Corsair F-24 that keeps getting away from us.

We’re very much looking forward to seeing more of her, when you’re ready to show off!

Ernest E Vogelsinger

A saildrive? I didn’t expect that, honestly – the more I am curious to be educated about tje selecgion process, questions, compromises and decisions made.
I’m not an expert but she definitely looks like a fast boat. Congratulations!


Definitely a J/109. I’ve got a J/122E. Great boats but a bit tender for a cruiser. I’m sure your reefing systems will be well tuned. I look forward to hearing about your inevitable refinements.

Reed Erskine

Nice choice, but I thought you’d never touch a fully cored hull or a sail drive. Hard to find better designed sailboats than the J’s.

Nikolas Andersen

On the point of what John wrote, I seem to remember something about him wishing for a basement in a boat, so I expected their new boat to be a Sirius 35 or Sirius 310 😉

Pia Castelline

J109 great choice!


Was it the marketing line that got you?
“ Simple To Sail, Easy-To-Cruise ”
Or the “need for speed”

Michael DeLorenzo

This is so interesting to me. I have made an ‘opposite’ change. 
I sailed a J/35 for years, raced her solo to Bermuda, cruised Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, etc. etc. Rod Johnstone told me she would sail best with 6 people on the rail, and he was right. I loved sailing that boat. I swear it would sing when in the groove in breeze. I miss her. 

But I became older (now 71) and weaker, my balance not as good, occasionally falling when unexpected waves hit. The 109’s numbers are very similar to the 35, but in a cruisey version (much nicer inside!), a wheel, a bit more main and less jib, fractional rig, a bit less ballast ratio, a modicum of cockpt coaming, updated keel and rudder, etc. 

I still like heading to Newfoundland, Labrador, and beyond. I mainly sail solo. So i traded in the other direction, for a more comfortable, take more stuff, and less powerful boat – but I would never say the 35 never took care of me. 
Seems like a great choice to me, congratulations!

Michael DeLorenzo

A Shannon 38, so you see why I miss sailing my J. But boats are like people in that you have to love them for what they are, not what you want them to be. As you always stress, deep compromises.
You were photographing my boat late June 2019 when I stopped in Lunenburg on way to Labrador. I think you were looking at the wooden chock I made to keep my spade anchor from banging around on the bow roller. Boat spent 2020 high and dry In Lewisporte with the border closed.

Michael DeLorenzo

BTW, I want an A40, from what I can tell so far. I hope I don’t age out before they happen ..,

eric ploumis


I have a J-108, which, to my understanding, is a J-109 with the keel cut off and a centerboard slipped inside it. It is the only one in the US (and I am finding out why that is every day). The 108 does have the dreaded twin rudders you castigate at every turn. Can’t wait to hear your opinion on the good and bad of a J boat. I certainly have plenty of my own.

Can I start by asking you a question? My boat came with 50 amp shore power, which is way overkill for a boat with virtually no power-hungry electrical dodads. Is it possible to retrofit to 30 amps, if only so I don’t have to pay the $20 surcharge for 50 amps at every marina to run my clock-radio and charge my phone.

Eric Ploumis

Reed Erskine

Isn’t the difference between a 50 amp set-up and a 30 amp the size of the shore power receptacle? A short 50 amp to 30 amp adapter cable should solve the problem.

Ernest E Vogelsinger

Hmm, just curious here – wouldn’t that be dangerous? I mean having 50amps on two phases gives 25amps per phase, and most probably the wiring is sized for this load. If the adapter would now power a single phase up to 30amps, wouldn’t it possibly overstress the wiring?

Dick Stevenson

Hi Reed and John,
I know I use a “dogbone” adapter to use 50a shore service on my 30a boat when that is all that is available, but I never remember an adapter being used the other direction. 50a boats are not uncommon, I think, and many marinas only have pedestals with 30a service (again, I think), so one would think it would have come up. (Same issue would pertain to RVs.)
I will be interested in the research.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Eric Klem

Hi Eric,

Since you say that your loads are very low, I would start with the question of why you need shore power in the first place? Do you regularly run 110V appliances? Is it for when you are hauled out? Or is it simply to get lead acid batteries fully charged?

If your loads really are that small, other charge sources can be used. Of course, unless you regularly motor for long periods of times, it is very hard to get lead acids fully charged using the engine alone. But with low loads, solar may be able to take care of the whole thing. I suspect with the boat you chose, you don’t want a giant arch and rigid panels but if you do the load calculation and don’t have a power hungry fridge, computer or autopilot, it is likely that a moderately sized semi-flexible panel could be mounted in a low profile way which would take care of all your loads. You do need to consider cloudy periods but with the loads you mention, you can usually get through them with a pretty small battery bank.

One of the issues with our boat when we bought it was actually the AC electrical system and after diagraming out a new system and creating the BOM, I found it hard to justify the effort and expense given how rarely we have shore power available. Instead, we ditched the system in favor of solar and have not missed it one bit, occasionally the extension cord across the cabin while on the hard gets slightly annoying but it is way better than the alternative. I now always recommend to my friends that they put a small panel on any mooring kept boat as it makes the batteries last much longer and takes much of the stress out of needing to get back to full charge. One of the best things is that you can sail into your mooring at less than full charge at the end of a daysail, weekend, cruise, whatever and simply get off the boat knowing that within a day or two the batteries will be fully charged again.

I suppose there is one other way to do all of this which is to go with a lithium chemistry which actually like sitting at PSOC. Then, engine charging alone can be sufficient as you can always charge at high rates and you don’t have to charge before leaving the boat for a period.


Marc Dacey

I will disqualfy myself as I am close enough to motor in and eyeball it directly. Congratulations on the next part of the voyage.

Steve Cox

I want to hear the nitty gritty details of the stupid shit you did so I makes my stupid shit that I do seem less bad…

Garry MacKenzie

Is it a J120? Or the first Adventure 40?

Michael Lambert

I thought a j boat but couldn’t tell which. Nice. I see on yachtworld it has an aft head, which makes it similar to my sabre 362 but faster. It is a perfect layout for that size. We just had another successful trip from Portland to mdi and the family was happy.

Michael Lambert

I’m psyched you considered one. Every time we have adventures with her I feel bad she’ll be replaced. So the 362 has a fairly sizable lazzerette that I was sitting comfortably inside of just today. What more does the 109 have?


I don’t know if you’ve installed the dock box. It doesn’t work well on the 122. When I picked up my boat to sail it home in 2019, the dock box was installed in the transom. I removed it as soon as we got home. We were in open water from Cape May to Cape Cod. I heard some noises out of the steering gear but there’s no easy way to remove the dock box when you’re underway. It blocks access to the steering gear on a 122 and so the box become a permanent fixture in my garage, awaiting the next owner. I’m not sure if you’ll have the same problem on the 109.

Michael Clarke

Congratulations! She looks very clean! I’m trying to get my J/120 ready for a new life as a fast and fun cruiser, and since the boats are very similar, I’ll be very interested to see how you go about getting a J/109 ready for safe and comfortable Bluewater cruising. Lithium batteries, shade, solar, windlass, life raft, tankage, sail handling – these are just a few of the issues that I have to resolve on Shenanigans, all without compromising her sailing characteristics. I’ll be checking in frequently!

David Shepherdson

I also purchased a j120 this year and will be fascinated to hear more about your decision making and plans for the future. Margaret II is currently on the hard waiting for all new rod rigging.

Marc Dacey

I will be interested to learn what you two do decide for batteries and related systems, then, and where in the boat you will keep them to most benefit the sailing performance.

Emilio Torres-Requena

Hi John big Jboat fan had a 30 39 and J130. Love it until an offshore Bermuda Antigua close reach and I swear I came off the boat 6 inches shorter from the pounding. Off the wind a rocket ship. Have fun.

Eric Klem

Hi John,

Congrats on the new boat, looks like a lot of fun. I am impressed with how quickly you turned all of that around.

As for things I would be interested in hearing about, a few ideas:

  • How do you evaluate the sailing feel of a boat that you likely can’t sail prior to making an offer? Stuff like PHRF numbers are useful but they don’t tell you if the boat is fun to steer, there is a lot of weather helm, you need a lot of rail meat, etc.
  • How do you make equipment trade-offs for heavy equipment on a weight sensitive boat? I am thinking of things like ground tackle, batteries, dinghy, tools, spares, etc.
  • What you choose to do for rig and sails. There are a lot of options these days and assuming you don’t want to solely optimize for round the buoys racing, I suspect that means the optimum will not be the same as racers use. At the very least, you are likely to sail in more wind than normal with less weight on the rail which would seem to suggest that sail reduction would be important.


Jeff Thayer

John, I’m wondering if you looked at the J/42 at all during your investigations. We haven looking pretty hard at that option for a fast, fun, coastal cruiser. Thoughts?

Bruno Mercier

Congrats with your new rocket boat, I bet it’s a J122 !

Brian Chapman

Congrats on the new boat!

Was it easy to find the balance point for the magic spring?

Jim Schulz

Congrats on the new boat John & Phyllis!

Carl Jarvis

Nice boat John! I refrained from “guessing”. We have sailed our 2007 J/109 WISC hull #311 in Mahone Bay for 6 seasons. We have always loved the performance even though we don’t race ever: her last owner sailed her to mid-fleet in 2016 North Americans, then followed up with a Marblehead – we call her our rescue greyhound;-). she is easily doublehanded if you don’t fret about keeping her on her polars every minute. The systems are as reliable and as uncomplicated as you can get while still covering all the bases. She was more $$ initially than other choices, but that has all balanced out over time as owners of older boats replace electronics, rigging, and other systems. They were all built in mid-00s, so are now entering middle age, so that will start catching up to us.

A couple of things we have learned:
– it’s possible for us to use spinnaker with top-down furler. Although we don’t use it often, it is easy to deploy/furl doublehanded.
– lines are all lead aft, limited to essential sail controls (I also like the C&C115, but felt a bit overwhelmed by the running rigging- I’m sure a better sailor wound be fine)
– winches are appropriate size/gearing/distribution. Good balance between winch access/power and keeping cockpit uncluttered
– cockpit is comfortable and functional. Can get wet at times, but for the most part that’s fun
– reefing is easily done singlehanded, but with no luff lines in our configuration it does mean a trip to the mast to flip the crinkle over the hook at the gooseneck
– handles like a Laser under sail. Amazing, gratifying, can’t help smiling. Accelerates quickly and smoothly (50% of the time)
– battery capacity with 2x120Ah house AGMs is fine for us. We use an icebox, but a fridge would be a worthwhile investment for long cruises. I agree that semi-rigid solar panels would be the way to go. However, if you want an electric windlass then that would be a real commitment…
– freshwater capacity is a limiting factor with only 2x80L flexible tanks. Wonder if you could add a smaller tank port & starboard at aft end of lockers under V-berth?
– the Espar heater we have is a key system for comfort: heat exchanger in in each cabin. Believe it or not we used it today (August 2nd: 14 degrees C, wind from NE, rain off/on – the sailing must be great, why else would anyone keep their boat in this place???)
– we find the dock box essential for storage: bucket, cleaning stuff, BBQ, dinghy stuff, etc. Has never got in the way. If we were racing I would pop it off for the day (easily done)

Anyway, a few thoughts for those wondering which boat to get next, and to those recently acquired! Enjoy the new Morgan’s Cloud (we know you will) and hope to see you out there soon.

Carl and Cin

Carl Jarvis

She was not at her best when you saw her, up on the hard with her winter coat on and a layer of snow. Glad you were able to see beyond all that. You guys will love it when you finally get sailing. Be prepared to do a lot of smiling:-)