Sailing to Catalina Island March 13, 2015

So we had been planning a trip to Catalina Island for several months, even before we found our new Morgan. After we bought the new boat, we thought it would be a great time for a shakedown cruise, and it would be great to get out of the office and away from the mainland for a while.  We set aside five days to relax and have fun. Ahhh, but the best laid plans…

Morgan 41 Out Island

Morgan 41 Out Island

After stopping at Trader Joe’s to buy a few provisions, we drove down to the marina on Friday morning, Friday the 13th, and started to get our Morgan ready for our first real sailing trip aboard her. We didn’t need to bring very many things because we had moved quite a bit from the Columbia 36 onto the Morgan. We have many cases of canned fruit, chili, tuna, salmon, and vegetables, so all we really needed were some juices, eggs and steaks. We cleaned a little, loaded the provisions that we bought, tidied up the lines, and took the mainsail cover off. I went below and opened the engine room so I could check all the fluids, belts, and give her a once over. All looked good, so I cranked up the diesel and untied the lines. Away we went.

We motored through the Los Angeles harbor on our way out to the open ocean. We are about 40 minutes away from the breakwater, and that part of our trip is interesting because we pass many cargo ships, tall ships, passenger boats, ocean liners, and other interesting sights. Always a really busy port, so we have to keep a close watch for tugs and the like. It was really uneventful, which is a good thing on a boat. In fact Friday the 13th didn’t rear its ugly head until we pulled into Cat Harbor and tried to drop anchor.

Okay, so I should have checked the anchor chain before we left. I though about pulling it all out on the dock for inspection. I had taken a look inside the anchor locker, and after pulling out all the old life vests that were in there, the chain looked rusted, but okay. What I didn’t know is that under the rusted chain on top, lurked several balls of rusted together chain, and these balls of rusted chain were not about to fit through the anchor locker pipe. We first discovered the problem when the first mate went forward to drop anchor. She let out about 10 feet of chain and yelled back that it was stuck. I went forward and gave it a pull, to no avail. While the first mate manned the helm, I went below and found the problem with the chain.

Since we were really close to a mooring ball, we decided to hook to the ball and regroup. Choosing to anchor is not an economic decision, but a pride thing. We have always preferred anchoring out, but this time we were glad to have a mooring ball at our disposal. After hailing the Harbor Master several times on the VHF, and not getting a response, I pulled the boat around to the closest mooring ball, and the first mate pulled in the line to hook the bow. She then pulled the line along to the stern, but after pulling the line for a bit, came to the bitter end. Seems the stern line was broken from its anchor at the bottom. We decided to go ashore and visit the Harbor Master to make payment and let him know about the stern line of the mooring ball. When we arrived and told the Harbor Master, he responded that they knew about the broken line, and that we would have to move to the next ball over. That was fine, and we made payment for two days.

We returned to the boat and cranked the diesel to move her. First mate dropped the bow line and after waiting a minute for the lines to settle (they are supposed to have weights on them), I shifted into reverse so we could turn into position. Within a few seconds I heard the sound of a line being wrapped in the prop and shifted into neutral. Sure enough the stern line had not dropped and was wrapped tightly around the prop. I hailed the Harbor Master and he responded telling me that he would be out before he left to assess the situation. He later came out and said that it looked like we were secure enough for the evening, and that we needed to call in the morning to have a diver cut the line free.

Wow… What a Friday the 13th that was! We were tired and ready to just relax, and so we did. The next morning we called, and after a few hours the diver came and cut us free. mean time first mate’s cousin and her boyfriend had arrived in their Catalina 36 and taken a mooring ball. They invited us over for a great breakfast and we spent the better part of the day fishing and hanging out. We went to shore later and had dinner at one of the restaurants, which we paid for in return for the wonderful breakfast, and enjoyed the evening. As usual for Cat Harbor, the night was calm and we slept like babies, with Dog Friday crawling up between us. She’s a big baby.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that on the way over I noticed a leak in the salt water pump on the engine. It was squirting a stream of water into the bilge. That will have to be rebuilt. What else could go wrong?

Next up: Videos!


Update on Our New(er) Sailboat


Morgan 41 Out Island

So we were contacted by the previous owner of our Morgan 41 Out Island, letting us know that she had obtained the title and would have it waiting for us. We were excited, and I told her that we would meet her at 5:30 that evening. FINALLY we would have the paperwork complete and she would have the check in her hand. Up until this point we had been working on a verbal agreement, which is completely enforceable in California, but it is not as easily proven as a written contract. Still we were not worried because she was a life-long friend of our best friend, so we had a sense that the deal would go well, and it did.

Now we have clear title and the previous owner has told us she will be off the boat by the end of this month, all is settled. We have already reserved a slip for her in our marina. We let her know that we would accommodate if she needed more time, but she insisted that she only needed until the end of this month.

So, up until today we have bought the following equipment that the new boat needs:

  • Raymarine radar/GPS/chartplotter combination with the A78 display
  • Simrad VHF with AIS and handheld wireless option
  • West Marine floating handheld with GPS and distress
  • 12 foot hard-bottom inflatable with 8 hp Honda ourboard

Still left are the following:

  • Watermaker (Little Wonder)
  • Refrigeration (Cool Blue)
  • Dodger/bimini
  • Stove (replace CNG stove with propane)
  • Arch with davits

That should round out our boat insofar as equipment is concerned. Then we get to start on paint and interior. More soon…


Captain’s Cabin



About Our Morgan

So, we have now consummated the deal on our new(er) sailboat – a 1976 41 foot Morgan Out Island yacht.  She is a really roomy sailboat with a center cockpit and two heads.  She has a Volvo Penta turbo diesel in her, and will make 7.5 knots all day long. Although she needs a bit of TLC, she has solid underpinnings and will be a great retirement sailboat for us. Here are her specifications per Jack Hornor :

Length Overall 41’ 3″
Waterline Length 34’ 0″
Maximum Beam 13’ 10″
Maximum Draft 4’ 2″
Displacement/Weight 27,000 lbs
Fuel Capacity 140 Gallons
Water Capacity 170 Gallons
Sail Area 100%
Fore triangle
792 Sq ft.

As with most Morgan OI sailboats of this era, she appears to have had the port water tank replaced with a smaller tank. The stock tanks developed leaks over time, and they were too large (138 gallons) to remove and replace through the companionway.  They were normally replaced with smaller tanks, which left additional storage for other things. Because we would prefer the additional water storage, we will probably add additional tankage.

She is a full (shoal) keel design, and at 13.5 tons, is considered to be a heavy displacement yacht. Because of this, she has a steady way about her in seas. At this point we have only had her out on a sea trial for a few hours, but we had enough wind to raise her sails and head into the Pacific, and we were impressed with her sailing ability and comfort. As with all full keel designs, she does not go to windward as well as fin keep sailboats, or so we are told, but she does well enough. We’re not looking for a racing boat, but we are looking for a comfortable boat to sail the world aboard, and I believe that we have found just that.


Sea Trial on the 1976 Morgan 41 Out Island

The time for us to take possession of our new(er) Morgan 41 Out Island sailboat is getting closer.  We drove down to where she is berthed on Saturday and went out on a sea trial with Captain Voyle Coleman.  We were impressed.

So there is a lot of information on the Morgan found online.  Reviews, articles, technical information.  Most people that have written opinions about this sailboat in the forums have based their thoughts on what they have heard, or that a “friend owns one”.  There are fewer that you read from actual owners.  As with everything else, you have to sift through the tripe to find accurate information.  I am happy to say that most of the technical information for this great sailboat can be found online, along with an original owner’s manual for the year and model that we are buying.  What a pleasant surprise that was!

We awoke Saturday morning really excited about getting to go out on our new sailboat.  We had learned a few days before that the roller furler that had been taken down to repair the Genoa, had been reinstalled, so we would be able to put up full sails and take advantage of whatever wind there was, and there was just a bit.  Here is the video from our sea trial:

Sea Trial 01 24 2015