SV Pilgrim - 1979 Morgan 382 - Homeport: Beaufort, NC

Saturday, August 16, 2014

They Just Do Not Make Them Like They Used To...

Each time we shed fresh light in a dark recess or remove a cosmetic facade to reveal Pilgrim’s structural underpinnings, I find  myself muttering the clichéd line, “They just don’t make them like the used to.” They would be Morgan Yachts and them is sailboats.  

My comparison is between our 1966 Morgan 34
C'est la Vie - 1966 Morgan 34 
and our 1979 Morgan 382.
Pilgrim - 1979 Morgan 382, Hull #115
Now I’m sure the heart rate and blood pressure of some Morgan 382 owners and admirers out there is on the rise, but hear me out. 

I do not feel that the Morgan 382 series is poorly designed.  I am aware that most of the 382's commissioned are still on the water and include hulls that have crossed oceans and circumnavigated the globe. I remain very eager to get Pilgrim back to the water, cast off the dock lines, and point her bow towards the horizon. 

BUT…  It is obvious to me that during the construction of the M382s corners were cut.  My best guess is that the issue lies at the intersection of three factors.
  1. Apathy on behalf of hourly workers cranking out 50?, 100?,  or more?  vessels each year.
  2. Pressure on the construction team to speed up production to meet market demand.
  3. Efforts to maximize profits by keeping fabrication costs in check.

Ok, thus far my rant is simply opinion and conjecture.  Allow me to share our latest discoveries on Pilgrim…

Working in the bilge, I noted that the cross brace under the sole that links the partial bulkhead forward of the galley countertop on port with the partial bulkhead  just forward of the nav station on starboard was only tabbed to the hull on the forward side.  
Cross brace under cabin sole lacks tabbing on aft side.
Feeling the tabbing was inadequate, I added a couple layers of 1708 cloth tabbing to the aft side of the brace.
Tet fitting 1708 cloth sections along cross brace.
Tabbing installed along aft side of cross brace.
That evening I reviewed an image of the original construction plans for the bilge.

Original construction plans call for tabbing on both sides of cross brace.
In the original plans the brace is tabbed on both sides.

Early this week while removing bottom paint along the starboard forward hull, I discovered vertical cracks in the gel coat.  Grinding the area out revealed damage that closely resembled that on the port side where the head pan settled directly on the hull.
Upper right area is remarkably similar to damage discovered under the head pan on opposite side of hull.
After grinding out the area, I went inside to investigate and discovered the cracks are directly under an un-tabbed section of  bulkhead. 
Glowing area below bulkhead in closet reveals location of damage on hull exterior.
Direct pressure from the un-tabbed, lower section of the bulkhead is the cause of the cracks and subsequent water intrusion.
Woven-roven tabbing along the bulkhead stops few inches above the waterline. 
The tabbing along the aft side of the bulkhead stops just above the waterline.

Forward side of bulkhead lacks tabbing along it's entire length.
The forward side of the bulkhead lacks tabbing along its entire length.  Minimally internal bulkheads should be tabbed on one side wherever they make direct contact with the hull.   Ideally the bulkheads are tabbed for their full length on both sides.   

All the bulkheads in our 1966 Morgan were tabbed on both sides along their entire length.  When Pilgrim returns to the water her bulkheads will also be tabbed along their entire length. 

I’m headed back to the boat to soldier on while muttering, “They just don’t make them like they used to.”

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