Deceased , Modern



1932 - 2010

Born in Malden, Massachusetts in 1932, Morgan grew up with a passion for sailing, working at his uncle’s boatyard on Cape Cod as a teenager. After completing his education, Morgan established an electronics firm, Controlonics, in Westford, Massachusetts, which he later sold for $35 million in 1983. With the money he earned from the sale, Morgan commissioned the construction of a 60-foot sloop, American Promise, for $1.5 million, which he would use to attempt his record-breaking voyage.

In 1985, Morgan set sail from Portland, Maine, on a journey that would take him around the world, alone and without stopping. After overcoming some initial setbacks, including an issue with his vessel’s electronic steering system, Morgan sailed southeast from Bermuda, circled the tip of Africa, crossed the Southern Pacific, passed Cape Horn, and then headed north to Bermuda, where he completed his journey on April 11, 1986. In doing so, he broke the previous record set by British sailor Chay Blyth in 1971, completing the 27,000-mile voyage in 150 days, 1 hour, and 6 minutes. His achievement was even more impressive considering he nearly halved the previous record time. Morgan’s remarkable feat earned him widespread acclaim, and he was greeted with a flotilla of small boats and a crowd of well-wishers when he arrived in St. George, Bermuda. Morgan’s voyage was featured in an eight-part PBS series titled “Adventure,” which showcased the 650 pounds of tools and spare parts, 300 pounds of clothing, and 1,600 pounds of food that he brought on board, most of it freeze-dried.

After completing his record-breaking voyage, Morgan invested in two weekly newspapers, The Maine Times and The Casco Bay Weekly, and later started a company that manufactures headsets. However, sailing remained his lifelong passion, and he spent much of his time on Snow Island in Harpswell, Maine, where he owned a 30-acre sanctuary and moored six sailboats. Unfortunately, Morgan passed away on Tuesday, in Boston at the age of 78, following a battle with cancer. Despite his success as an entrepreneur and his other achievements, Morgan will always be remembered as a trailblazing sailor who accomplished an incredible feat. His solo nonstop circumnavigation of the world set a new standard for sailing and inspired countless others to push themselves to achieve their own dreams. Morgan’s legacy as a sailor and adventurer will continue to inspire generations to come.

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