This Chuck Paine design combines the oven-cured hull and deck-building expertise of my old pal Mark Lindsay at Boston BoatWorks and the excellent finishing details of the Tom Morris crew in Southwest Harbor, Maine.

The Morris 486.

The Morris 486.


The owner of the 47-foot prototype Reindeer is an East Coast sailor who intends to race and cruise the boat. The new Morris production model is called the Morris 48.6. There may be some cross-pollinating and confusion between the two models in this review. It will be a semi-custom boat anyway, and you can do your own cross-pollinating.

The designer's comments say the hull is designed for "all-out speed under IMS and PHRF rules." I have yet to find a way to design under the performance-based PHRF rule. Semantics aside, we can see that this design, with a D/L ratio of 137 for the prototype and 151 for the 48.6, should be a fast cruising boat. Draft is 8 feet for the custom prototype and 6 feet, 4 inches for the production model.

The deck layout features a big and extremely comfortable-looking cockpit. This is the true hub of any ship, and this one's a beauty. Note the helming position with its wraparound seating. The mainsheet traveler on top of the pilothouse is short. If you are going to rely on a traveler, why not make it as wide as possible and lead the controls aft so they can be reached from the cockpit? On this design I get an angle of 16.5 degrees from the genoa tackpoint to the chainplate. This is too wide for good pointing ability. I prefer to see this angle at 12.5 degrees on both racing and cruising boats. We all like to point high. You can get away with this wide angle if you don't carry a genoa to weather.

The sail plan shows a mainsail with about 3 inches of roach overlapping the backstay. I have lived with my own liberally overlapping mainsail on my boat all summer now, and I would not do it again. I think the 3 inches of roach that Paine has drawn is about perfect and should not get hung up. We can only hope the sail-maker pays attention to the designer's drawing.

The interior plan provides comfortable sleeping accommodations for two couples, with a pilot berth adjacent to the galley. I don't know why the quarter berth is V-ed. I can't see it functioning as two comfortable single berths with or without the notch. It would be better as a solid double. The forward stateroom is very comfortable-looking, and I'm sure Tom Morris would turn the V-berths into a big double if you asked.

The main cabin appears chopped up. I like a saloon that is an inviting entertainment area, and for me that means opposing, nearly-symmetrical settees or a settee opposite the dinette. It just feels right and friendly. This layout may result in the sense that there is no saloon. This is a very subjective criticism. I'd have to see this boat in person to really get the feel of this main cabin. I do like the fact that there are big lockers everywhere. You can never have too many lockers.

The Morris 48.6 is an interesting hybrid of handsome lines, racing technologies and cruising considerations. This is an ideal combination for an enduring and enjoyable design.

A comfortable cruiser designed for speed on the race course.

Boat Specifications

Displacement24,458 lbs.
Ballast10,700 lbs.
Sail Area1,080 sq. ft.
SA/D ratio20.51
D/L ratio151
AuxiliaryYanmar 56-horsepower diesel with saildrive
Fuel120 gals.
Water200 gals.


SAILINGlogo-115This story originally appeared in Sailing Magazine, and is republished here by permission. Subscribe to Sailing.