Anyone have experience with the Morgan-designed Columbia 40?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by souljour2000, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. souljour2000
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    souljour2000 Senior Member

    Okay..here goes...just picked up a 1966 Columbia 40, It may be the worst idea I ever had. It was "free".....Owner was 1200 miles away with the boat on a mooring field for 2 years and he made only infrequent visits... storm hit last week and ripped out the windlass..

    I plan to fix the bow deck area where the windlass tore out and left a gaping hole.... deck is rotted but only soft in a few spots..,due to thickness of the glass in those days...gonna have to be recored more or less though. Windlass stayed aboard..but starboard bronze fairlead gone... Just have the hole covered for now.

    Standing rigging looks okay. Balsa-cored decks with some plywood below and a liner of thin glass.

    ..four and a half foot draft...nine with the board down...has hydraulic-assist board lift. 18,200 lb. disp., racer-cruiser that Charlie Morgan came up with...steel skeleton for mast loads amidships...probably rusty dust by now..but...well see.

    Not much water in the bilge... seems dry inside..but it's still dry season here so I'll find the leaks in a few weeks I guess...at least the holding tanks aren't ripe...1988-installed Universal diesel M x25 (kubota) hopefully just needs a fuel pump and injectors according to owner...

    Not sure what kind of hull-deck joint...re-doing the decks right may be next to impossible depending on the joint I suppose...My '66 S&S 29 had a good hull-deck joint though but I dunno what C Morgan did in those days...someone does...(PAR)....stem plate (wraps down and around ) is gonna have to be removed to do the deck..and toe-rail will have to be removed...the hols is that wide...
    Its got a keel stepped alum mast that seems true and probably not original.. I'm knee-deep in it now..so if you know ANYTHING about this boat that can help...actual direct knowledge, anecdotes, rumors,etc. ...Give it to me straight PAR ...if you read this post...I bet you know this boat too...you've known all the others...I hope it's not a scrapper...
     
  2. souljour2000
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    souljour2000 Senior Member

    I think I can find some teak or other suitable wood that can be beveled into crossmembers that slide into the vee of the bow and then tab in a triangular-shaped piece of glassed ply into the hole...about level with where the core used to be ...giving me a temporary good seal and still leaving me a way to still get some crown into the bow deck and arch in the veeberth ceiling,,but until I get back out to her today it's hard to say...
     
  3. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    You should check out the steel used in the internal structure, built into that boat, along with the multitude of other issues you're likely to face.
     
  4. souljour2000
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    souljour2000 Senior Member

    Thanks PAR..I have so far heard descriptions of at least two of these boats and one had the steel frame turned to dust and the other frame was in good cond. 45 years later...go figure..I will have to take a look next time I get out on her..If it's shot that probably means that a smaller sail plan would be in order as the loads on the chainplates and/or standing rigging would not be as well distributed..is that correct?
     
  5. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    If the steel armature is shot, you'll need to replace it with steel or additional laminate.
     
  6. souljour2000
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    souljour2000 Senior Member

    I'm thinking additional laminate PAR..what do u think of maybe just some 1 inch thick rope...tacked down with some tape to hold it in place while some cheap 5-min fast-set epoxy sets up......then glassed over later with 6-7 inch wide strips of roving...epoxied in...rib-like...and in a few layers to stiffen the area where the steel used to be..premature to say anything yet..I'll have to see what the "cage" looks like first...and what condition it is in of course...
     
  7. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I'm not so sure about your rope idea, but if memory serves me, they had a steel pipe stem piece that came back to the three "ribs" at the chain plate areas. The ribs, usually at the step are prone to "issues" as is the pipe in the stem in a few obvious locations.

    There where several "in run" changes to this particular model yacht, including different keel arrangements, the rudder and of course the rig. In 1966 you would likely have the early rudder and keel configuration. What number hull is yours?

    The 24 HP engine is slightly under size for her, but she'll get along in all but a gale with it. The stock engine was a 30 HP Atomic 4.

    The yawl rig option is especially pretty on this yacht. You may consider this conversion. The main stays put, but the boom is cut down about 18". The mizzen steps on the sole at the very aft end of the cockpit, so it's out of the way and over a bulkhead, but you can hoist a very handy mizzen staysail, once eased a bit. There's a few ketches floating around too, which also is nice, though I think the main moves forward and the arrangement of the head reversed, with the door aft and the throne on the forward bulkhead, making room for the mast. I don't know if the ribs are different in the ketch, but they're the same as the sloop for the yawl.

    There's a solid, if small following for this yacht. They only made 54 - 55 (depending on who you believe) of the Morgan 40, from the mid to late 60's.

    Hull to deck joint leaks along the toe rail and chain plate leaks where a common issues too. It's a nice comfortable, able CCA yacht.
     
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  8. souljour2000
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    souljour2000 Senior Member

    Thank you for your recollections on her PAR...your archival memory is once again impressive...It is re-assuring to hear your general estimate of this model's design and a begrudging two thumbs up that I think I am hearing...despite the obvious specter of her as yet unknown condition issues. She's an old girl but I think there is still some life in her hull...and the state of the standing rigging was generally better than the rest of the boat except for perhaps the engine which seemed clean and needs fuel pump and injectors according to owner ...the sails seem decent from what PO said but he may not know the main may have UV damage despite the cover....havent inspected them yet..

    I'm not sure which hull number she is...I'll get back out to her this weekend and have more time to look around...She's possibly one of the first dozen or so I'd wager since they were built into 1970 or so and only 55 or so built..as you stated.

    It's a skeg-hung rudder....and as you mentioned there were a few with spade rudder I've heard....or other keel/skeg set-up.

    Great to hear that she could be a good yawl conversion..I've always liked the idea of a mizzen ..they seem practical though I suppose it makes the cockpit a bit more busy....but would obviously add balance to her sailplan...and having" vertical-stabilizer or"tail" seems right to a guy like me for whom airplanes were his first love...a mizzen tri-sail can also diffuse "sailing" when at anchor of course and then the mast itself is useful as a yardarm I would gather occasionally...as long as it's not used for hoisting diesel engines I suppose...:rolleyes:
     
  9. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    On this boat, the yawl rig doesn't really intrude into the cockpit much. It's way aft and no one sits there anyway. She was one of the better thought out production CCA battle wagons. Nice motion underway, but will get her transom kicked, against a modern canoe body. A good boat in a blow, going to windward.

    There are four different rudder configurations that I'm aware of. Also check the convoluted centerboard hydraulics, as they're known to cause issues.
     
  10. souljour2000
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    souljour2000 Senior Member

    Well again..it's good to hear that she has some nice attributes...and going to windward well is certainly desirable...I have not studied the centerboard hydraulic-assist yet or really much of anything other than getting a good look at most of the standing rigging at deck level, the engine and the rudder (had to get in the water...and it was fairly frozen in neutral position...(the rudder that is..water is warming nicely )but I digress......Well, we checked the steering gear.linkages,etc and everything looked good and had play...rudder loosened up with some back and forth pushing from above and below where we could get full travel...but only very stiffly still...any ideas?

    Was nice to have a access plate for emergency tiller to cap onto top end of rudderpost btw...could have tried loosening it up that way if I'd been able to find that tiller handle somewhere in the boat but I think there's something else going on in the the steering gear matrix possibly...and I heard something "pop" a few times when we were trying to loosen it up..thogh upon inspection steel wire etc looked good still...:confused:
     
  11. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Production boats of that age and general condition (my assumptions), often have things falling off them like a leper on a pogo stick. Get it on the hard and carefully go over every system.
     
  12. souljour2000
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    souljour2000 Senior Member

    True...and yeah...leper on a pogo stick..that's good...Your right of course..a good haulout is in order...Btw...the brown and tannic Caloosahatchee is hard on barnacles but apparently it's easy on spongy stuff it seems as far as the bottom of the new boat is concerned but...Well...I sold the Columbia 29 last night to a younger couple from Dunedin.....that was a damn good boat ...needed a year or two of work still..but I'll leave them with a cramped but decent cheap liveaboard I think...that they could fix and sail about anywhere...and I did sail her to Cedar Keys last summer at least.
    I got back out to the new flame(Columbia 40) today down in FMY....interior after cleaning was as good as I could have hoped...interior teak, cabin sole and galley tops in great shape...
    Lot's of work to do outside though, however, exterior trim/toe rail/rubrails will need new teak in more than a few places...deck is going to need alot of work...
    Overall I am awed by such a beauty..and thankful to the Sea gods as I pulled away from her in dinghy after cleaning her for a few hours today...I can see why she might have a small fan club......
    Well... First I had a 12-foot meyers alum skiff I made a cut down 2 by 4 mast and homemade sail and an oar for steering...then got a Buc 18..then a Irwin 23 (think it cost 200 bucks and a hell lot of sweat getting that one off blocks/jig in someone yard onto a rusty flat bed trailer that I got for 75 bucks...) The mast lay on shore and I never stepped it and no motor and I didn't know squat about sailboats, with those boats really...
    Then I got an old Barnett Butterfly hull for 10 bucks and got her back on her feet with making my own mast and sails and a bulky clunky wooden rudder assembly rudder set-up....then got the Hunter 20 about the time I first came into this awesome forum, then the Seafarer 24 almost a couple years ago...(a great boat too... and had then Columbia 29 for almost a year ....I might hang on to his one though.....I'm like in a dreamworld here..(more than usual..okay)

    I've learned alot from ALL you folks......I was a definite greenie when I came in here almost 4 years ago or so...as I'm sure many of you recall...You guys taught me how to spot good boats dammit!...

    Thanks for all your observations too PAR..., I appreciate your expertise especially......

    Best regards, Morgan
     

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  13. Cville1617
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    Cville1617 New Member

    I rebuilt a C40 last year

    Clicking around tonight and i came across your post. Last February I purchased hull 4 and spent the next four months rebuilding her. I was lucky and had good bones. If interested in learning more let me know.
     
  14. souljour2000
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    souljour2000 Senior Member

    Hi Cville...glad you replied to my old post...congrats on your purchase..I got mine about that time last year too though I have not sure exactly which hull she is yet...havent come across any factory numbers yet...though I have looked behind panels etc..I think she is certainly a 1966 though on the Columbia website " main header" she is shown as a '68 ...I think she may be #42 or #43...
    Anyways...glad yours had good bones...a 4-month rebuild definitely supports that statement..mine is in need of more like a 4-year restoratation.. I think mine too has good bones... but just had bad masters the last decade or so...lol...

    .Cville...any pics that you can post..? I could send you a private message but I dont think it hurts to post stuff where all can see it and perhaps benefit from any info traded.....Are you ever on the Columbia Owners website? ....I can post some pics too... ...hope to chat later, Morgan
     

  15. Cville1617
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    Cville1617 New Member

    Pics of Columbia 40

    Will try and get some photos together. Restoration was full time for four months so compresses a lot of work. Let me know questions because I probably have encountered. Life is all about the adventure.
     
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