Morris M29

This pretty little boat was conceived in response to requests from owners of bigger Morrises for a smaller, simpler daysailer. The earlier Morris daysailers—the M36, M42, and M52—were father/son collaborations between Tom and Cuyler Morris, but Tom’s lengthy illness meant the M29 bears Cuyler’s stamp. Hull #1 was completed and launched in the frigid depths of the Maine winter,
Author:
Publish date:
morris_m29_daysailer

This pretty little boat was conceived in response to requests from owners of bigger Morrises for a smaller, simpler daysailer. The earlier Morris daysailers—the M36, M42, and M52—were father/son collaborations between Tom and Cuyler Morris, but Tom’s lengthy illness meant the M29 bears Cuyler’s stamp. Hull #1 was completed and launched in the frigid depths of the Maine winter, but I was lucky enough to step on board at the Miami boat show in February.

The sleek Sparkman & Stephens design has a distinct familial resemblance to the M36 and 42, from the deck and cabintop styling down to the cove stripe that accentuates the subtle sheerline. It reminds me of one of my favorite boats, the Dragon, which is about the same size; like that boat, the M29 has a sweetness of line that will seduce any classic-boat aficionado—in fact, any sailor. It just looks right.

As the puttering 10-horsepower Yanmar diesel propelled us into the flat waters of Biscayne Bay, Cuyler Morris made short work of hoisting the big North mainsail; I had never seen a 2:1 purchase on the main halyard of a 29-footer before, but it makes sense in the context of this boat. Apart from the diesel (whose 8-gallon tank should easily outlast the season), the Raymarine wind/speed/depth instruments, and a toilet/holding tank combo whose use will likely be restricted to true emergencies, the M29 is entirely devoid of systems. You bring your beverages and food on board with you and take them home again in the evening.

Belowdecks, there is only the engine box, the enclosed toilet, and a couple of bunks, which I suspect will only be used for aprs-lunch siestas. You could sleep on board, sure, but will you want to? I suspect not. This boat is all about the sailing experience, not the cruising experience.

And the sailing experience is very nice indeed. Unrolling the jib—which is set on an endless-line furler—we sailed into a fickle morning breeze that blew from any direction it felt like and peaked out at around 8 knots. Since the boat displaces a svelte 5,000 lbs, it doesn’t take more than that to get it moving nicely.

The self-tacking jib’s single sheet is tensioned by means of a tackle, as is the spinnaker halyard, and all the mainsail controls—sheet, vang, outhaul, cunningham—are easily enough worked by hand. Most lines are led aft under the deck, so there is nary a rope in sight, kind of like a large radio-controlled model. I’d have loved to try out Cuyler Morris’s bespoke spinnaker launcher—the A-sail resides in a long fabric tube and can be set and retrieved singlehanded—but the kite had been left ashore.

A typical modern 30-foot cruiser would have 10' of beam; the M29 has seven, and the good manners that go with narrow beam. She heels until the keel bites, powers up, and tracks straight and true. The tiller is fingertip-light and super-responsive without being twitchy; there is just enough weather helm to let you know the deep spade rudder is giving you some lift. When you want her to, she'll spin in her own length. Want to tack? Just put the tiller over.

I could have sat in that long, comfortable cockpit all day, fingertips on the tiller, until the sun was ready to set. It seems to me that people who go down the daysailer route seldom go back to big cruisers or racers, and I can understand why. Boats like this are easy. Easy on the eye, easy to sail, easy to maintain, easy to load on to a trailer and take home for the winter. Easy to fall in love with, too, I reckon.

morris_m29_belowdecks
morris_m29_deckplan

SPECIFICATIONS

LOA: 28'11"

LWL: 20'10"

Beam: 7'4"

Draft: 4'6"

Displacement: 5,230 lb

Sail area: 372-sq ft

Engine: 10hp Yanmar

Construction: composite

Designer: Sparkman & Stephens

Builder:Morris Yachts, Bass Harbor, Maine, 207-244-5509.

Price: $185,000, FOB Bass Harbor, Maine

Related

mcarthy-and-mouse

Experience: McCarthy and the Mouse

Sitting at the helm in a light breeze, my arms crusted with a fine rime of salt, my skin so dry I’d lost my fingerprints, I heard a clatter and a curse from below. There were only three of us a thousand miles from shore and only one on watch at a time. Usually, the off watch lay ...read more

2018-giftGuide

2018 Holiday Gift Guide

Brass Yacht Lamp Does someone on your gift list spend the whole winter missing the warm days on the water? Let them bring a little bit of nautical atmosphere home with this new lamp from Weems & Plath. The glass enclosure means the flame cannot be blown out even by ...read more

image001

Opinion: On Not Giving Up Sailing

E.B. White was 64 when he wrote his now-famous essay “The Sea and the Wind That Blows,” which begins as a romantic paean to sailing and then drifts, as if spun around by a pessimistic eddy of thought, into a reflection on selling his boat. Does an aging sailor quit while he’s ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com A Helping Hand  This is a real-world solution, and I expect correction by my betters. However, anyone whose seacocks are modern ball valves rather than the grand old tapered cone variety may care to ...read more

1812-JeanneaueNewsVideo

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 410

Designed by Marc Lombard, the Sun Odyssey 410 shares much in common with her older siblings including of course, the walk-around deck. Other features that set the 410 apart from other models being introduced this year include the 410’s “negative bow” shape allowing for a longer ...read more

shutterstock_698968441

Cruising: The Bahamas

“The ‘Explorer’ chartbooks. All three.” “An unlocked phone. But good luck with BTC.” “Spam. It’s ‘spensive there!” These were just a few suggestions we received from fellow sailors who had cruised the Bahamas when we asked how to best prepare for the trip. In fact, several ...read more

windsensor

Gear: B&G Wind Sensors

Sense the Wind B&G has launched a new line of wind sensors, including the WS320, a wireless system that is suitable for masts up to 80ft. Wireless wind sensor technology has been hit-and-miss, with some users reporting intermittent signal failure on tall rigs, but B&G, citing ...read more