BASS HARBOR, Maine — Morris Yacht’s new 52-foot daysailer has been recognized by Cruising World Magazine with a special Boat of the Year Bristol Award.
The Bristol Award is reserved for boats with exquisite craftsmanship that don’t fit into a specific category for the Boat of the Year Award. The award is presented at the judges’ discretion.
According to Bill Spring, a Cruising World editor and a preliminary round judge, the dilemma judges faced with the Morris M52, entered in the Premium Cruisers Over 50 feet, was that although it was a “stunning 52-foot daysailer, it was entered in a category in which the rest of the boats were no-holds-barred offshore cruisers.”
Writing in the current issue of Cruising World, in which the Boat of the Year winners were announced, Spring noted that the judges had sailed the M52 in “slightly more sedate conditions,” than they had with the other boats in the category.
Still, he said, the daysailer “provided the judges with more than a few reasons to like what they saw.”
“In the end, the M52’s superior sailing performance, impeccable craftsmanship, and well-executed deck plan and anchoring system had all of the judges wishing our test sail hadn’t ended,” Spring wrote.
Although the judges could not rank the M52 with the other blue water cruisers in the category, “they concluded that the M52 was too good to leave the show empty-handed. So they dusted off the Bristol award, a prize that in the past has gone to the most drop-dead gorgeous boat displaying the finest craftsmanship at the show.”
The boat performed well during the judges’ test sail, and sailing upwind in 14 knots of breeze, the boat speed topped out at about 8.5 knots, according to a press release. Judges noted that the boat’s 34,000 pounds displacement produced a wonderful feeling of security and stability underway and that the boat could handle much bigger winds and seas on a passage as well.
The judges also liked the big and comfortable cockpit and that all sail controls lead under the deck to winch pods by the helm station. The retractable anchor system designed by Morris Chief Engineer Peter Smith also received top marks.
Below, the proportions of the accommodations are well suited for daysailing and-or elegant coastal cruising for two couples or a family, according to the release. As a result, the size of the cabins is smaller than you might expect on a 52-foot sailboat, but the tradeoff is more room in the saloon to entertain amid the exquisite joinery.
The Cruising World Boat of the Year contest recognizes boats that have been introduced in the previous year and are available for demonstration at the October U.S. Sailboat Show.
Morris Yachts has received several other Boat of the Year awards from the magazine, including in 1994, when the Morris 44 also received the Bristol Award.