NEWPORT, RI — When the 42nd annual Newport Boat Show got under way here on Sept. 13, one of the most interesting boats at the show wasn’t even there.
Last month, Morris Yachts announced the introduction of its new Ocean Series 48 GT, a contemporary redesign of its classic Ocean Series 48 RS. At the show, the yachting press, Newport show-goers and, most important, potential customers got a chance to climb aboard Barra, one of Morris’s newest 48-footers and compare the classic 48 RS interior with the completely redesigned interior of the 48 GT.
The new interior is the creation of an in-house design, engineering and marketing team headed by Doug Metchick, Morris’s new CEO. To come up with the new design, Morris Marketing Director Sarah Fawle said, the team “reached out to owners to see what they would want,” as well as to people who looked at the 48 RS but decided not to buy one.
“This really pushes the bar for Morris,” Ms. Fawle said. “It’s quite contemporary and what people want.”
From the exterior, the differences between the old and new boats are quite subtle. Morris has retained the proven, Chuck Paine-designed hull and its principal dimensions and displacement are unchanged.
“We looked at revamping the hull,” Ms. Fawle said, “but owners of the RS said it performed too well to change.”
The most obvious change is the rig. The GT’s carbon fiber mast is 6.25 feet taller, giving the boat an additional 106 square feet of working sail including a new, self-tacking jib.