Morris Yachts of Mount Desert Island, Maine recently announced their newest vessel in their M-Series line of sailboats, the M46. The boat combines the storied tradition of New England shipbuilding craftsmanship and the latest in marine technology. To use an automotive analogy, can the M46 be considered a “crossover,” that borrows the luxuries and amenities of larger yachts and the performance of racing vessels to offer the “best of both” in one boat. The M46’s state-of-the-art steering system allows its sails to be controlled from the captain’s station by push button—smaller crew, less chance of mutiny at sea. Below the deck, the M46’s plush interior boasts 25 percent more room than other models in its class, featuring a two cabins, a dinette seating for six and a home office with integrated wireless capabilities.
We recently spoke with Morris Yachts CEO, Doug Metchick, to learn more:
The M46 seems to combine some features of larger yachts and with the ease and flexibility of smaller vessels. What prompted Morris to take on the M46 project?
This boat fills a critical gap in our product line and in the marketplace. A high-quality, mid-range boat between 42′ and 52′ that can be easily managed and fits within today’s lifestyle. As far as the owners take-away… “Finally, a boat that looks great and delivers all the things I need. Beauty, Performance, Quality, Safety, Versatility and a Good Cabin.”
Exactly what type of lifestyle would be a good match for the M46?
The M46 meets the boat needs for a couple that is both physically and socially active. It can be sailed as a couple, or with friends and children aboard. It can be cruised for weeks or taken just for the weekend. It’s comfortable racing in blue water and also comfortable at anchor while one might be swimming or exploring.
Have any of the innovations—such as the push-button sail handling that make steering the boat much easier and thus sailing more accessible—taken away from what a purist would find enjoyable in sailing the M46?
Not at all. In fact, they enhance it. The innovations in sail handling and steering lead the controls to the skipper in a way that connects them more deeply to the craft and the sailing experience. I often see this manifested when we take a prospect out for a demo sail. The husband or wife will be driving the boat and the other keeps asking to take the wheel, but their spouse won’t give it up!
This boat was designed with the sailing purist in mind. By that I mean we’ve stayed true to the classic aesthetic while also allowing innovation in design (under the water) and also line-handling which makes it a much more enjoyable experience. Gone are the days when Thomas Lipton needed a crew of 12 to feel the thrill of sailing his boat.
To what extent can the M46 be customized to the buyer’s taste?
Heavily, we are known in the industry for a customization ability and our ability to adapt to the requests of our clients. In fact, one of the main reasons people choose Morris (aside from our quality) is the sheer joy in customizing their boat. Our boat owners know this comes hand in hand in with building a Morris. We customize everything from fabric, textile and wood selections, to a complete reconfiguration of the interior layout (cabin, galley layout etc.).
Our interior design team has developed a range of interior styles that include Traditional, Contemporary, and Classical Nautical themes. Each theme has several carefully coordinated fabric color palates to select from providing a wide variety of standard choices. As an option we also offer the same range of styles in a selection of premium fabrics and color palates. For those who like to create a completely unique look we offer an opportunity to work directly with our interior design consultant and begin with a blank slate.
How important is Morris’ connection to the culture and tradition of boat building in Maine as the company strives to innovate and grow towards the future?
Very important. We are a 40-year-old family business. Our values and our heritage are critical to our products and our employees. They are also important to our customers. Our boats are hand-built in Maine by America’s finest craftsman. Buying an American-made product that supports jobs of boat builders in Maine is an important part of the decision for our customers. As we expand nationally and internationally, we need to be very careful not to lose sight of our DNA.