A Magnificent Transformation Page 3
A Magnificent Transformation
Part 3: “The overall look is the same as in the ‘20’s and ‘30’s. It’s the creature comforts that are new.”
By Eileen Mansfield
Where Bill Morgan used to be the teacher, at 77 it seems he’s passed that torch on to Tim Gautreau, who’s worked at the boatyard for more than 25 years. Rockwell says of Gautreau, “Give him a picture, he’ll draw up the plans, and we’ll do it,” a complement that could just as easily be applied to Morgan himself.
These craftsmen are a rare breed. And although many things about Hackers have stayed the same, there are some things that have changed—for the better. “Morgan Hackers have more support, there’s more wood in the boats,” explains Wagemann. The hull bottoms are of solid Honduran mahogany planks over wide strips of double-diagonal-planked mahogany marine plywood. Sides are also surfaced with mahogany and double-planked; frames are of mahogany. All major components are saturated with WEST System™ epoxy, which, although an expensive process, creates a tough, durable hull. (When I described this process to PMY senior editor Capt. Bill Pike, he said with a laugh, “Well that baby’s gonna be around for a while.”)
Other modifications include: dual exhausts rather than the original single, stainless steel fittings and hardware, more frames, twice as many floor timbers, approximately 15 coats of modern hand-rubbed varnish, and improved steering for better maneuverability. The original hull design has been altered as well. Where the original boat planed with some difficulty and afforded only limited visibility while doing so, the Morgan hulls have been slightly reshaped to make the boat run flatter. As Wagemann says, “The overall look is the same as in the ‘20’s and ‘30’s. It’s the creature comforts that are new.”
After more than 30 years of building these boats, Morgan still gets a twinkle in his eyes when asked about them. He had the pleasure of meeting John Hacker, the boatbuilder, a few times before his passing in 1961 and says, “I never realized what a dent he would make in my life.” It’s clear how much these boats have meant to him over the years and how blessed he feels to have been part of their history. If granted one wish Morgan says, “I’d like to bring John [Hacker] back and show him what we’ve done with his boats. He’d have been thrilled.” Judging simply by the reactions from my neighbors at the lake, I don’t doubt it.
Hacker Boat Company Phone: (518) 543-6666. www.hackerboat.com.
This article originally appeared in the August 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.