Morris Yachts is well known for building sailboats that border on floating works of art. From this all-American builder comes the Linda 28 which was introduced in 1985 from drawing board of Chuck Paine, one of America’s pre-eminent naval architects. The Linda 28 is a fast and nimble pocket cruiser built on a custom basis for customers with an outstanding fit and finish, the kind you’d expect from Morris Yachts. Perhaps best of all she’s got the same drop dead handsome lines that have won over Morris lovers worldwide.
More than any other builder, Morris Yachts has nurtured a close tie with owners and admirers alike. Tom Morris founded the company on Southwest Harbor, Maine in 1972. His first notable mark into cruising yachts was the Frances 26 in 1974, a Chuck Paine design whose fine lines and craftsmanship took inspiration from luxury sailboat maker, Friendship Yachts. This was followed by the Leigh 30 (circa 1979), the Annie 29 (circa 1980) and the Justine 36 (circa 1983).
In 1980, a successful racing sailor from Westport, Connecticut by the name of Allan Stern approached Tom Morris for a boat between the 26 foot Frances and the 30 foot Annie and Leigh. Morris a known lover for small boats couldn’t say no. Stern’s commission was for a small cruising boat suitable for he and his wife to sail on Long Island Sound and to places beyond. As an avid racer, he wanted his little cruiser to have exceptional sailing performance.
The boat was named after Stern’s wife, Linda, and he purchased not only hull number one but also the tooling for production. The first boat was introduced in 1985, and production spanned five years, totaling 16 hulls, all highly customized, some of which were sold partially complete and owner finished.
Despite her stout construction and overall displacement tipping the scales at a hefty 8,300 lbs, belies a boat with performance capability. A ballast/displacement ratio of 45% means a stiff boat able to hold her canvas over a large wind envelope.
Under the waterline she features a full keel with the leading edge placed very far aft to aid nimbleness and performance. Gone are the wineglass section blends between fin and hull, traditionally used up to the 1980s. This is a modern performance full keel design where the fin is a separate form to the hull. Her section profiles are easy and her beam modest for good seakeeping motion. Maximum draft is only 4′ 4″ which pays useful dividends when exploring coastal bays.
Chuck Paine recalls the stern was a scaled down copy of the one he had developed for the Justine 36. The rig is of masthead sloop variety, and the deck and cockpit has a traditional arrangement. Morris Yachts allows a high degree of owner customization during the build process leading to many variations on the standard details. The cockpit may feature a tiller or wheel for steering. The interior may have a quarter berth or large navigation station portside of the companionway while the head may be aft starboardside or foreward to port. The saloon and V-berth may have an open arrangement or be fully separated via a bulkhead and cabin door.
Overall construction is robust. The hull is solid fiberglass, while decks are balsa cored to keep topside weight down. The ballast is an externally mounted cast of lead, bolted to the keel stub. Many examples have teak non-skid and teak highlights on deck may include the toerail, cockpit seating, and companionway.
Details down below include solid teak bulkheads, highly varnished pine slating, and dark mahogany trim. The mast is keel stepped. Auxiliary power is commonly provided by a 13HP Westerbeke or 18HP Volvo diesel. Standard tankage is 18, 60, and 34 gallons for fuel, water, and holding tanks respectively.
The Linda 28 is seakindly and fast, though specifically designed for day sailing and coastal cruising she has capability for extended cruising into blue waters. The 4′ 4″ draft makes accessing shoal waters easy and opens up the Bahamas and Florida Keys as cruising grounds. While loaded down with cruising gear, beware that it’s easy to have the boat stern heavy due the leading edge of the keel (hence ballast) so far aft, this is a gremlin Chuck Paine has noted on occasion.
It’s worth mentioning some of the Morris 28’s were owner finished. The quality of these custom boats will vary, some being even better quality than factory versions, while other are not.
» The official Morris Yachts website, Linda 28 details.
Thanks goes to Chuck Paine and also Morris Yachts for providing background history as well as images.