Back in 2004 when Morris Yachts debuted its newest Morris 486, Consulting Time II, at the Annapolis Sailboat Show the new boat seemed, at first glance, to be nothing more than a tweaked variation on two of Chuck Paine’s previous designs. But as the years have passed along with thousands of miles under the keel, Consulting Time II along with the 48s that followed have proved themselves to be rugged, fast and able offshore sailboats. They have ably stood up to the rigors of long ocean passages. Can a good design be improved on? Morris and a number of its loyal owners think the answer to that question is a definite yes.
In August, Morris Yachts announced the world premiere of a new 48, the Ocean Series 48 GT (Grande Touring). The debut was made during the company’s 40th anniversary celebration in Northeast Harbor, Maine. The new boat, currently in the design stage was presented in drawing with a fully constructed mock-up of the new interior.
According to the company’s new CEO Doug Metchick, the 48 GT addresses the needs of a different sailing demographic, and in the words of company president Cuyler Morris can be characterized by the words “new revolution, new design, new spirit, new technology, and new comfort.”
Forward owner’s stateroom is ample with a large shower.
Retaining sailing performance
So what has changed? Certainly not the performance of the yacht’s proven Chuck Paine hull design. The bones of the 48 will remain the same. What will change in the new model will come in the way of amenities, improved safety, and overall comfort and livability. Performance and sea keeping are retained in the 48 GT, but it will also boast modern interior design alongside some of Morris’ classic styling cues.
The raised main saloon looking forward to the starboard side nav station.
Perhaps the most visible change can be seen in the galley. The new galley now spans the beam and features a full-service galley to port and a utility station to starboard, replacing the older boat’s pilot berth. The galley sink now faces forward with the starboard utility space for additional counter area and storage. Improvements have also been made to the draw systems and cabinet configurations.
To fully take advantage of the pilothouse windows and provide for increased tank capacity, the cabin sole in the main saloon has been raised up one inch and the settee and dinette are three inches higher overall. Small as this move may seem, it provides for an entirely new perspective and provides owners and guests with more light and an almost direct line of sight when looking out the side windows or forward. The saloon also features a starboard side berth/lounge. Overall storage has been greatly improved.
Other interior changes include improved space in the forward owner’s cabin and a reconfiguration of the forward en suite head to include a space saving super yacht style circular shower. The size of the navigation station has been somewhat diminished as the trend to navigation from the cockpit continues to gain popularity.
A larger rig
On deck the boat’s deck layout remains clean and functional for offshore sailing. It will now be offered with a larger rig for even greater sailing performance that includes a self-tacking jib and leisure-furl mainsail for easier sail-handling. Other changes and improved safety features include an in-mold swim platform featuring a new passerelle transom door for easy cockpit access to the water and ease of Mediterranean mooring.
The galley will be a secure working space offshore in heavy conditions.
Metchick said, “The new layout is designed to be contemporary and adaptable, providing a new level of personalization for the owner.” It will clearly appeal to those who want an interior space that is conducive to socializing without sacrificing offshore performance — what Morris considers a hallmark of the series. Whether owners plan to coastal cruise with family and friends or embark on serious ocean passages, the new Morris 48 GT will be up to the job. With the conventional 48 RS still available, a move to the 48 GT will be more about preference than compromise.