Living , Modern

Charles

Morgan

1929

Founder of Morgan Yacht Corporation, Charley Morgan has been a fixture in the world of U.S. sailing since the late 1940s. Sailmaker, racing sailor, yacht designer, boatbuilder and America’s Cup designer and competitor; Charley has been active in all aspects of the sport of sailing.

 

Charley’s first official project was a plywood 32-foot sailboat named Brisote, designed and built in conjunction with Charlie Hunt. When Morgan entered her in a Havana race, committee members rejected his entry. Unlike the other boats, Brisote had no engine. Morgan staunchly contended that boats sailed long before they motored, so there should be no problem with a pure sailing vessel in a sailboat race. The committee reversed their decision, and Morgan and Bidwell won second place in the Class C division.

The competitive Morgan raced sailboats at every opportunity, and his reputation grew as an aggressive skipper and competent crew. His entrepreneurial spirit and business education prompted him to try his hand at sailmaking. In 1952, he opened the doors of Morgan Racing Sails in St. Petersburg, Florida. Though involved in sailmaking, Morgan continued to design yachts, and in 1960, Jack Powell commissioned Morgan to build a 40-foot fiberglass yawl. This yacht, Paper Tiger, earned the 1961 Southern Ocean Racing Conference (SORC) championship title her first year in competition.

Morgan decided to go into business with his childhood friend Bruce Bidwell. Under the leadership of Morgan and Bidwell, Morgan Yacht Corporation delivered its first sailboat in September 1965. By December the company had such a backlog of orders that they temporarily stopped accepting them. At the close of 1968, Morgan Yacht merged with Beatrice Foods.

On May 3, 1970, Morgan’s 12-metre, Heritage, was launched. She lost to Intrepid in the America’s Cup.

n 1972, he had the vision to identify the charter boat market need for a spacious cruising sailboat. He created a center cockpit sailboat with a spacious salon and aft stateroom and christened it the Morgan Out Island 41. The charter companies liked the vessels and the spillover into the recreational marketplace was phenomenal. “Windward work was accomplished courtesy of a standard, powerful engine,” critiqued a December 1998 Cruising World “Classic Plastic” article. BoatUS acknowledged that the Out Island had “a pudgy appearance and less than stellar sailing performance, but time has proven this boat to be the most popular boat over 40 feet ever built.” In 1984, Catalina Yachts purchased Morgan Yachts and introduced a redesigned Out Island 41 Classic. Catalina produced the model from 1986 until 1993. More than 1,000 Out Islands are still afloat today.

Accomplishments and Honors

  • Founder of Morgan Yacht Corporation
  • Designer and builder of Paper Tiger, winner of overall honors at the 1961 and 1962 SORC (Southern Ocean Racing Conference)
  • Designer, builder, financer and skipper of his own America’s Cup 12-metre, Heritage
  • Designer of the Out Island 41, one of the most popular cruising sailboats ever built
  • Designer of over 52 sailing yachts (see list below)

Boats Designed by Charley Morgan

 

Antigua 53

Chrysler 27

Columbia 31

Columbia 38

Columbia 38 CB

Columbia 39 Constellation

Columbia 40

Com-Pac 35

CSY 505

Heritage 1 ton

Heritage Super 27

Hirsh 62

Melody 34 (Hunt)

Morgan 22

Morgan 24/25

Morgan 26

Morgan 27

Morgan 28

Morgan 30

Morgan 30-2

Morgan 33

Morgan 33T

Morgan 34

Morgan 35

Morgan 38

Morgan 40 Cruising Ketch

Morgan 41

Morgan 42-1

Morgan 42-2

Morgan 45

Morgan 45 (S&J)

Morgan 54 (Marauder)

Morgan Out Island 28

Morgan Out Island 30

Morgan Out Island 33

Morgan Out Island 33 MS

Morgan Out Island 36

Morgan Out Island 37/372

Morgan Out Island 41

Morgan Out Island 41 Classic

Morgan Out Island 415

Morgan Out Island 415 Ketch

Morgan Out Island 416

Morgan Out Island 49

Morgan Out Island 51

Nautical 39

Spindrift 24

Starratt & Jenks 45

Tiger Cub 28

TMI 27

West Indies 36 (Morgan)

West Indies 38 (Morgan)

 

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