Morris Yachts M46

The venerable builder offers a middle ground in its M-Series cruising line. _By Dennis Caprio _

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If you're a fan of the classic look, you'll agree that the M in this new model stands for Mmmm. The M46, from Morris Yachts and the design team at Sparkman & Stephens (S&S), fills the gap between the builder's M42 and M52.

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Like her siblings, she combines the enduring look of a bygone era with modern handling, cruising comfort and respectable speed.

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In keeping with the M family's tradition, S&S drew moderate overhangs, increasing the datum waterline (DWL) relative to the M46's overall length.

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A beam-to-DWL ratio of 3.16 makes her slightly narrower than less traditional designs, resulting in a relatively modest amount of wetted surface area.

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She'll ghost along nicely in light air and exceed the traditional speed/length ratio of 1.34.

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The distribution of volume below the DWL (her prismatic coefficient) and moderate beam also contribute to her speed but, maybe more important, let the hull maintain undistorted waterlines as the boat heels, which means vice-free handling.

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The easy turn of the bilges combined with her deadrise should bless her with a comfortable motion in a seaway.

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Designs of this nature are always in style, and always out of style, if you get my drift. Compare the look of the M46 with that of, say, a Gunfleet 43 or an Oyster 475, both of which represent truly modern styling, and you'll understand what I mean.

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On the other hand, being out of style in such a lovely way makes the M46 very attractive to a large number of sailors.

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A significant part of this yacht's appeal comes from the way S&S visually balanced her profile via the angles of the transom and bow, though I would have laid down the bow a little more, in the style of Nathaneal Herreshoff. In any case, I doubt that anyone will grow tired of looking at her sweeping sheer line, graceful counter stern, curved transom and spoon bow.

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Her simple angular deckhouse perfectly complements the traditional theme, and any attempt to make it sleeker or more contemporary would spoil the look. Notice the angle formed by the cockpit coaming as it meets the house.

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It's identical to the angle at the after end of the aftermost deckhouse window. A similar matching of angles at the forward end of the house adds to the design's harmony, and the eyebrow and handrails add just enough visual interest.

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The M46 is a lovely and worthwhile addition to the Morris family. She's small enough to tantalize the owner of a 42 who thinks he needs more space, and she provides a logical steppingstone to the M52. Morris Yachts, 207-244-5509; morrisyachts.com

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LOA: 49'9" DWL: 37'11" BEAM: 12'0" DRAFT: 6'3" DISPL.: 28,250 lb. BALLAST: 11,000 lb.

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SAIL AREA: 1,054 sq. ft. SAIL AREA/DISPL. RATIO: 18.1 DISPL./DWL RATIO: 229.8 FUEL: 50 gal. WATER: 85 gal. ENGINE: 1 x 53 hp Yanmar 4JH5E Saildrive

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Have any questions about design? Contact Dennis at design@yachtingmagazine.com.