If you like to lounge on a king-size bunk while gazing through stern ports at angelfish swimming in 4 feet of turquoise Bahamian water, and your budget is $40,000, I have a boat for you, and a thousand like you. Yes, indeed! In the late 1960's Charlie Morgan saw sailboats evolving from comfortable CCA Rule racer-cruisers into out-and-out IOR racers and predicted a need for a sailboat designed expressly for cruising. He drew the lines for a stable hull with husky, 27,000 pound displacement and gave it a generous 774 square feet of sail set on a single spreader, keel stepped mast. The shallow full keel housed 9,000 pounds of ballast, drew only 4 feet 2 inches, and, for the sake of simplicity, had on centerboard. Windward work was accomplished courtesy of a standard, powerful engine.

The prototype made its debut in 1971. Catalina Yachts (current owners of the Morgan line) discontinued the model in 1993. With over 1500 hulls built, the Morgan Out Island 41 is one of the most successful production boats ever.

The OI 41 imprinted the center-cockpit concept on the cruising consciousness. The arrangement combines good visibility for the helmsman with seats for everybody when underway. Wide side decks lead to an open expanse before the mast, more than enough on which to secure a 15-foot dingy, or to pose a bevy of suntanned bodies for a bareboat brochure.

Belowdecks, the original 413 model has a large master cabin aft with its own head and shower and a spacious forward cabin for children or guests, also with a roomy head and shower.

The commodious main cabin separates the two, adding to the feeling of privacy, and includes two pilot berths for safe sleeping at sea. The L-shaped galley has voluminous storage. For the family the OI offers a real home afloat, and for the skipper it has an engine room big enough to accommodate accessories from "A" to "Z". The cavernous cockpit locker could swallow a battery bank, spare lines, spare anchors, and everything else.

The Out Island 41 was an instant hit with the charter trade as well as with the public. As the market evolved, other models followed the original 413. The 414 introduced a passageway to the aft cabin, the 415 replaced the main-cabin pilot berths with lockers, and the 416 had a modified keel. A ketch rig became popular, and interior plans and tank capacities varied within the same nominal model. Catalina Yachts took over Morgan Yachts in 1985 and introduced the redesigned OI 41 Classic, which they produced from 1986 until 1993. Today's buyer can find a version tailored to any need.

The Out Island 41 is still a hot commodity, with prices ranging from $25,000 for the oldest, poorly equipped 413s to 80,000 for well-maintained 416s built in the '80s. Given the soundness of the basic boat, it's worth spending twice the purchase price on refitting a low priced 413.

Before buying have the boat surveyed. This will reveal the normal defects that occur in older fiberglass boats: hull blisters, bulkhead tabbing that may have separated, wet or delaminated spots in the cored deck, dampness in the lower edges of bulkheads and in floorboards, cracked rigging terminals, corroded lifelines, bad wiring, and mechanical problems. The hull-to-deck joint, at the vulnerable rub-rail level on early models and at the deck level on later ones, was fastened with screws and bolts and not glassed. Unless already redone, it'll leak. But, hey, all this can be fixed pretty easily. Send me a card from Martinique when you get going.

-Tom Zydler