Welcome to Selkie's Homepage. Selkie is my Morgan 281, launched in 1970. She sails in Casco Bay during those short, sweet, summer months we breathlessly await here in Maine. I'll update this site as the whim takes me. The last time I updated the site was 01/24/2005.
All photographs on the site are copyrighted and can be reproduced only with written permission.
I have also posted some photos taken in and around Casco Bay ... Enjoy.
What is a Selkie?
The word means "seal" in the dialect of the Orkney Islands in Great Britain. There are a number of legends about selkie men and women interacting with the people of the Orkneys. The legend that inspired me was of the selkie who comes up from the sea and sheds her skin, becoming a beautiful woman. She will capture the heart of a local man, only to break it, donning her hidden seal skin and returning to the sea with their children. For more details, see http://www.orkneyjar.com/folklore/selkiefolk/index.html
Thus, for me, the name "Selkie" symbolizes something beautiful that comes from the sea, that steals your heart, but is not really yours.
The Morgan 281 is a Cruising Club of America rule racer/cruiser. 157 were produced in 1970 and 1971. Production was halted when Morgan Yachts shifted its emphasis to the famous "Out Island" series (a 28OI was produced, and is quite similar).
She is 28' overall, with 9' 3" of beam and 3' of draft (7' with the board down). She displaces 7600 lbs, of which 3000 is ballast. Her masthead is 40' from the waterline and her rig measures 410 square feet, though with a 135-150% Genoa she carries a good deal more. She has 6'2" of headroom below, along with a galley, an enclosed head and bunks for 5. She still has her original Palmer gas inboard, augmented with a 15hp 4 stroke Yamaha outboard installed by a previous owner.
Compared to more "modern" yachts, she is heavy and narrow. Her single-spreader masthead rig doesn't offer the flexible tuning and tight sheeting angles serious racers want today. But don't be fooled. She's got a large sail area, her underbody is deceptively efficient. She's capable of surprising performance, especially in light winds.
Selkie was purchased in March 2002 having been on the hard for several years. She was in terrible condition, filled with ice to the cabin sole when I first saw her. However, I desperately wanted a boat, didn't have the money to buy one that didn't need major work.
Of course, there were many issues. The only systems in the entire boat that functioned when I bought her were the roller-furling, horn, depth sounder and knotlog. Nothing, and I mean nothing, else worked. The inboard hadn't run in years, wiring was festooned through the cabin, there were open holes in the deck and cockpit floor where fittings had been removed and never replaced, there was no head, no fuel tank, the centerboard lifting tackle was partially frozen, the running rigging was in tatters, and the sails were 20 - 30 years old. There was a new 4-cycle outboard, but it wasn't wired into the electrical system and had been mounted to the transom without any significant reinforcement. The transom was doing a good impression of an oilcan.
A survey said that her hull and rig were sound, so I replaced the missing fuel fitting and vents, installed a bilge pump, reinforced the transom, and began a journey, both physical and spiritual, that continues today.
I have set out to restore Selkie, but am doing it slowly, as time and finances permit. I'm too impatient to wait until I have the perfect boat before getting her into the water. So, taking plenty of time to sail, I've spent the first three years fixing mechanical systems. In coming years, I hope also to be able to address the cosmetic issues.
It took some work, but I've gotten the inboard running. I replaced the rudder, installed a head and holding tank, replaced all the running rigging and did a great number of other tasks. Here's a list of what's been done so far.
Here are a couple of shots of mechanical items. NOTE: no cosmetic repairs have been done yet, so it's not pretty! These shots are posted to clarify discussions on the Sailnet Morgan Discussion List. I HIGHLY recommend checking out Sailnet, which hosts a discussion list for every major yacht manufacturer. These lists are an incredible source of information specific to your boat and of valuable contacts.
She's not pretty yet, but she sails beautifully. She's comfortable, fast, and has rewarded me with many hours of happy sailing.
Thanks, for visiting my site. I'll update it as whims and photos allow.