Yacht Review: Morris Yachts M52Oct 1, 2015
Long range coastal performance
The house is clad in teak without any visible fastenings.
Courtesy Morris Yachts
Ever since Morris Yachts’ introduction of the Sparkman & Stephens-designed M29, the iconic Maine builder has continued to develop and refine the series of these classically beautiful yachts. The stable has grown to include the M36, M42 and M46, and has been even further enhanced with the introduction of the M29x, M36x and M42x as high-performance variants. What seems to have been lacking in the lineup was the larger yacht that could match the series’ stunning classic looks and exceptional performance with long-distance coastal performance.
Morris responded to the call a few years ago with their first M52, and today Hull No. 3, Windsock is turning heads and winning races wherever she sails.
Like her smaller sisters, Windsock has a sweeping sheerline, elegant overhangs and a low squared-off cabin with a classic butterfly hatch. The yacht’s teak side decks are wide with removable lifeline stanchions.
The low-profile deckhouse is aesthetic, functional for forward visibility, and enhances the yacht’s classic looks. The cabin trunk and other surfaces that would typically be left to gel coat are all clad in 1/4-inch teak for the look and feel of a wooden boat that belies the hull topsides structure of a very modern vessel. Highly varnished teak toe rails, trim and cockpit coaming further enhance the look.
Windsock is set up to be sailed shorthanded and is as responsive as the smaller boats in the M-series line. Its high-aspect spade rudder and bulb fin keel offer great upwind performance as well as fun, responsive steering.
For simplicity of operation, the tall mast has an in-boom furling mainsail system from Offshore and a self-tacking fractional jib. A Holmatro boom vang also serves to automatically position the boom at the appropriate angle for jam-free furling.
A large cockpit, wide coamings and custom grab rails on the housetop lend a traditional look.
Courtesy Morris Yachts
As with all of the M series, the M52 has clean decks. All sail control lines are led below deck for ease of handling in the large and secure cockpit.
Below, Windsock is beautifully finished in all butternut, a diversion from the more traditional, white-painted, Herreshoff-style raised panels found on Hulls No. 1 and 2. The interior design is attractive and elegant from the hand of naval architect Ted Fontaine, whose own yachts are noted for their luxurious interiors and attention to detail.
Windsock’s accommodation plan calls for a two-cabin arrangement with a forward master stateroom equipped with a centerline queen berth, full-height hanging locker and bureau, and en suite head and shower.
There is an aft cabin to port with an adjacent day head that also serves well for foul weather gear. The galley is to starboard and features a ceramic cooktop and four-drawer Frigo reefer/freezer system. Aft of the galley is a spacious pilot berth that, when unoccupied, makes for great storage.
The saloon itself is spacious, airy and well lit thanks to the butterfly hatch above. Long, narrow side windows complement the lighting from above. There is a portside saloon settee that is convertible to a sea berth with storage behind and below and a nav station just aft. To starboard, an L-shaped settee wraps around a large expandable dining table for comfortable entertaining.
Morris Yachts has long had a reputation as a builder that tries to get it right. The M52 has many of the attributes of its smaller relatives in the M-series line, but with the longer legs of a larger boat, allowing for long-distance coastal cruising.