MORRIS M52 • The new S&S design being built by Morris Yachts combines classical lines with a modern hull and advanced building techniques
The M series of Sparkman & Stephens designed sloops that Morris Yachts has been building for the past five years has proven to be a truly successful marriage of classic style, modern yacht characteristics and very high end, Maine-built style. So it is no surprise that the original 36 and the 42 have been delivered to dozens of owners worldwide.
Last winter Morris introduced the M29, which packs all the qualities of the 36 into a smaller package, and now this fall they are introducing their new M52.
Every now and then in the sailing market a boat comes along that seems to define the age. In the Seventies, that might have been the Valiant 40. In the first decade of this new millennium perhaps the Jeanneau 54 and Hylas 54 best expressed the needs of Baby Boom cruisers.
Although it is hard to tell today, the new M52 from Morris may be the boat that eventually we look back on that says the most about how we live and sail today, or at least dream about sailing. Like her smaller sisters, the M52 has a long sweeping sheer, elegant overhangs and a towering sloop rig. The look of the new boat evokes early 12 Meters and Six Meters, many of which were drawn by S&S’s founder Olin Stephens.
But the old Meter boats needed a crew of 10 to sail effectively. Not so the new 52, which can be cruised and sailed easily by two and even singled handed by an experienced sailor. The 52 has a tall, powerful fractional rig with a roller furling, self-tacking jib and a large high roach main that furls into a Leisure Furl boom.
To simplify sail handling and sheet trim, and to make the decks as uncluttered as possible, all halyards, control lines and sheets for the working sails are led beneath the deck to the cockpit where they emerge through sheet stoppers on the pods on both sides of the cockpit. Two electric winches handle all plain sailing tasks.
The 52 is rigged to fly a big asymmetrical spinnaker tacked down at the bow and sheeted through snatch blocks on the quarters and then trimmed with two electric winches mounted next to the helmsman’s seat. Although it is a big sail, if you control the chute with a spinnaker snuffer you will find that two people will be able to fly it easily and frequently. This is a good thing because the small self-tacking jib will not offer a lot of sail area downwind and will need fairly high jibing angles to give you any boost. Those who want an intermediary sail between the jib and the chute may want to look into having a loose-luff, furling Code Zero built for broad reaching and running in sportier breezes.
The 52’s cockpit has seven-foot-long benches and a large, varnished table with drop leaves in between. A low profile dodger has been spec’d that looks proportionate to the cabin top and will provide good cover when sailing in cool or wet conditions. The first 52 built has the optional teak decks, which seem to make the whole boat look just right. It is interesting to note that the 52, like her smaller sisters, does not have lifelines, a bow pulpit or a stern rail.
Unlike modern cruising boats that have long waterlines and beams that carry well aft to provide volume to the interior spaces, the M52 has only a 38-foot waterline and her beam max’s out at only 14 feet and tapers significantly at bow and stern. The upshot is that the 52 has a relatively small interior that evokes the compact but stylish interiors of boats of yore.
The cabin has full headroom throughout, despite the low-slung coachroof. The companionway leads from the cockpit to the saloon with the aft double cabin and head to port and the U-shaped galley to starboard. The galley is fully equipped for cruising with Corian counter tops, a three-burner propane stove, twin stainless steel sinks, refrigeration and plenty of storage for dishes, cutlery and kitchen supplies. There are two large pot lockers under the fridge and stove so you can even carry a big pot for boiling up Maine lobster.
The saloon arrangement has the U-shaped dinette to starboard where four will be able to eat comfortably while to port there is a long bench settee that will make an excellent sea berth for overnight runs. The chart table faces aft at the aft end of the settee and has a mounting pod for instruments and a lifting table top for stowing paper charts.
The large forward cabin has a double berth on the centerline and plenty of storage and hanging space. The forward head has a large separate shower stall.
The finish style of the M52, like her sisterships, has evolved from classic Herreshoff interiors with off-white bulkheads, white tongue and groove ceilings overhead and all cherry drawer fronts, doors, tabletops and trim. The main bulkhead is a raised panel design, which underscores the attention to detail and tradition Morris’s craftsmen adhere to with every boat. The look is elegant, simple and classic. Plus, with all of the white surfaces, the interior spaces are cheerful and bright. The joinery and varnish work, as you would expect from Morris, is flawless.
The M series boats were originally conceived as weekenders or daysailers. But the new M52 has much longer legs than that and would make a fine long term cruising boat for a couple who want to go in inimitable style aboard a boat that is designed to remain in a family for generations.
Draft (std.) 6’8”
Draft (shoal) 5’8”
Sail Area 1,414 sq. ft.
Bridge Clear 80’
Water 100 gals.
Fuel 80 gals.
Waste 40 gals.
Design Sparkman & Stephens