In spite of tough economic times and the untimely passing of its iconic founder Tom Morris, Morris Yachts of Bass Harbor, Maine, is not only weathering these difficult times, but thriving. The yard’s ongoing collaboration with legendary naval architects Sparkman & Stephens has given rise to the company’s successful M-series which now include the M29, M36, M42, and now the M52. While the M29 and M36 are clearly daysailers and the M42 a weekender, the M52 is a true coastal voyager.
Aptly named Hope and hailing from Bristol, R.I., the new 52-footer is nothing but stunning in looks and performance. Like its smaller sisters, the M36 and M42, the M52 is easily handled by two crewmembers thanks to in-boom furling, a self-tacking jib and clean line handling. On deck, Hope’s layout is reminiscent of the M42, but the additional 10 feet of length make it a very different boat. The side and foredecks are massive and with the absence of lifelines seem even broader. While the lack of lifelines accentuates the boat’s graceful lines, a set of removable lifelines might be a good idea for offshore passages. Far forward, a unique anchor stowage and deployment system keeps the ground tackle out of sight, but ready for use in a hurry. The locker is also plumbed for a wash down hose.
Aft, the cockpit is spacious and comfortable, suited to casual entertaining, memorable harbor tours and comfortable cruising. Forward of the helm and control pods there is port and starboard seating suitable for six adults or afternoon naps and a permanently mounted teak centerline drop-leaf table with an integrated cooler finished to a high gloss.
Sail handling made easy
For simplicity of sail handling, the M52’s fractional rig has an Offshore Spars carbon fiber mast fitted with a Leisure Furl in-boom furling system. Navtec hydraulics control the vang and backstay and Lewmar 54 CCEST and 50 CCST’s serve as primary and secondary winches. The headsail furling system is from Bamar. As with all of the M-series yachts, sheets and control lines are led below deck then back to Lewmar rope clutches and Lewmar winches. The only lines above deck are for controlling the asymmetrical spinnaker. The sails are from North Sails and include a Soft NorLam Leisure Furl mainsail, Soft Norlam furling jib, and Gennaker G-AP3 with snuffer. Adding a Code 0 to the sail inventory would be something worth considering.
Accommodations aboard Hope are nothing short of elegant. The interior is very spacious and has full standing headroom throughout. Forward, the owner’s stateroom is well lit, has a queen-size centerline berth, and wide contoured seats to port and starboard. There is a full-length hanging locker, dresser with drawers and a drop front in the lower portion of the dresser with a storage locker above. The owner’s stateroom adjoins a separate head and fully-enclosed stall shower with built-in teak slat seat and wet locker. The countertop is bright finished cherry and has a polished stainless steel sink and VacuFlush toilet.
The main saloon, to port, there is a U-shaped dinette and mahogany table with integrated storage for liquor and silverware. The table swivels for ease of seating. Immediately to starboard is a settee that also provides seating, a sea berth, and a seat for the aft facing nav station. Navigation electronics include Raymarine ST60 Multifunction displays in the forward cabin and on the port hanging locker bulkhead facing forward. A Raymarine E80 color GPS/plotter runs RayTech software and has been upgraded to display radar (Raymarine 2kW). A Sirius satellite weather receiver is interfaced with the LCD display at the helm. The autopilot is a Raymarine ST6002 S3G with a Raymarine S100 wireless handheld remote. A computer ethernet cable in the nav station interfaces all electronics and entertainment systems.
The yacht’s interior is finished in classic Herreshoff style with beautiful antique white raised panel bulkheads, hi-gloss cherry joinery, satin finished teak cabin sole and traditional wood sheathing overhead to match the bulkheads. A sizeable butterfly hatch over the centerline provides great ventilation and amazing light below. Climate controls include a Marine Air 16,000 BTU air conditioning system and an Espar D5LC Airtronic diesel heater with five vents. Dorade vents and additional hatches fitted with OceanAir Skyscreens provide additional ventilation below. Outboard of the dinette and the settee there is ample storage for books and a place to conceal electronics such as the Clarion stereo system and 26-inch LCD HDTV television. The interior cushions are by Chesapeake Yacht Interiors.
The aft cabin has a double quarter berth to port, full hanging locker, and dresser with drawers. The cabin is adjoined by an aft head with a Tecma toilet, polished stainless steel sink, wall mounted shower, and hi-gloss cherry countertops.
Hope’s galley is located to starboard of the companionway ladder beneath which is access to the engine compartment. The galley has three separate countertop lockers for dry storage, dishes and glasses. The Isotherm 3.25 12 VDC refrigerator with a single top-loading hatch is aft of the three-burner gimbaled Force 10 propane stove. The galley counters are Corian. A General Electric 600-watt microwave oven is mounted outboard and forward behind the galley sliders.
Vinylester resin hull
Hope’s hull is a vacuum infused composite with Vinylester resin and Balsa core. Structural bulkheads are plywood. The superstructure is Core-Cell construction. Decks are teak with quarter sawn teak decking for the cockpit sole.
Beneath the water line, Hope features a high performance 6-foot, 8-inch bulb keel and a modern high aspect ration carbon/epoxy spade rudder belying the yacht’s classic looks. The rudder is designed for speed, stability and precise control.
For mechanical propulsion, Hope is powered by a Yanmar 4JH4-TE 4-cylinder direct-injected, fresh-water cooled, turbocharged marine diesel engine, with a maximum of 75 hp @ 3,000 rpm mated to a SD50 Saildrive unit turning a Flex-O-Fold 20-inch three bladed propeller. There is also a Side-Power tunnel style bow thruster for ease of maneuvering.
Clean, lean and classic in every way, the M52 sets a new standard for coastal cruising yachts and is destined to become legend.