Public-Private Partnership Lifts New Leadership 44

Posted by Darrell Nicholson at 11:39PM - Comments: (7)

July 23, 2012

Cuyler Morris, president of Morris Yachts, and yacht designer David Pedrick unveil the new Leadership 44.

It’s not often that the sail-training program at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., incites envy among the midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

Historically, the Coast Guard Academy’s sail training program has centered on the tall-ship Eagle, and its yacht sailing program has gotten the short shrift. For decades, the Coast Guard Academy has had a fleet of offshore yachts—five Luder yawls, built in 1963. These are the same lovely but outdated hulls that the Naval Academy weeded out of its own fleet in 1980.

In 2009, when the Navy replaced its 1980 fleet of McCurdy and Rhodes sloops with new Navy 44s, the Coast Guard Academy probably could have picked up some of the McCurdy and Rhodes for a song. To the good fortune of the newest class of Coast Guard cadets, wiser heads prevailed.

The Coast Guard cadets aren’t just getting eight new training sloops; they are getting eight offshore yachts from renowned designer David Pedrick and premier luxury yacht builder Morris Yachts. (If you’re thinking that means inner spring mattresses in the pipe berths, you’ve got another thing coming.)

I suspect a non-sailor might regard the acquisition as frivolous, but the upgrade was long overdue. From a fiscal standpoint, maintaining a 30-year-old fleet begins to add up, and all of us benefit from the engineering and design work that goes into developing such a boat. Finally, the chance to sail a custom-built, state-of-the-art offshore sloop is a terrific recruitment tool.

What did it cost us taxpayers? Each of the custom-designed training vessel came in at around $800,000, about $500,000 cheaper than the new Pearson-built, Pedrick-desined Navy 44 MKIIs, which we reviewed in September 2009. And unlike the Navy boats, which went through the normal government procurement process, the Coast Guard's Leadership 44 came about as a result of a unique public-private partnership. About 85 percent of the funding (all but $1 million) for the Leadership 44 acquisitions came from private donors through the Coast Guard Foundation, the Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association, and the Coast Guard Parents Association.

The Coast Guard Foundation’s board, Procurement Chairman Bob Hallock, past Board Chair Larry Glenn, and Foundation President Anne Brengle all worked tirelessly to launch the effort.

Allen Kruger, program manager at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, managed the project, and his team of coaches and sail trainers also played a pivotal role in the design development process. Perhaps the wisest decision of all was to hire naval architect Pedrick as the designer of the new boat. Pedrick’s extensive resume ranges from America’s Cup boats to capable cruisers.

After reading about the details of the new boat (featured in the August issue of Practical Sailor), I couldn’t help but think that the eyes looking northward from Annapolis are a little greener these days . . . and not on account of seasickness. 

Comments (6)

As an officer in the CGAux, I am proud that the academy now has a quality boat in the new Morris 44. Yes, Morris is high end, but keep in mind that these boats will be hard used and probably kept for more years than the boats of civilian recreational sailors. Initial high quality pays off in long term maintennace I am sure if a popular priced boatbuilder like Hunter was asked to meet the specs that Morris did, there wouldn't be much difference in cost.

William C. Winslow wcwinslow@aol.com

Posted by: wcwinslow | August 8, 2012 4:16 PM    Report this comment

I can certainly understand the need for recapitalizing the fleet of sail trainers both in the Navy and USCG programs. What is upseting is that in an era of numerous examples of excessive and lavish government spending, they chose to go with a boat builder that many would regard as "very high priced." Granted, we don't have the details on the contract competition, who bid on the work, and ultimately why Morris was selected, but to me it just doesn't look good. Most tax payers would look at this as the govt (in partnership) buying very high priced "yachts" especially given the Morris product line and reputation.

Posted by: JOHN K | July 27, 2012 7:52 AM    Report this comment

I would think that the cost arises from the limited quantity produced. Morris may sell more in a cruising configuration in the future, but they really could not depend on that during the USCG build run. Non-Coasties such as us had no clue as to this project - and would have gladly contributed had we known about it. A most worthy cause with a most excellent result!

Posted by: Karl L | July 26, 2012 9:35 PM    Report this comment

I would think that the cost arises from the limited quantity produced. Morris may sell more in a cruising configuration in the future, but they really could not depend on that during the USCG build run. Non-Coasties such as us had no clue as to this project - and would have gladly contributed had we known about it. A most worthy cause with a most excellent result!

Posted by: Karl L | July 26, 2012 9:35 PM    Report this comment

Interesting, in a general way. What I really want to know is, what the hell did those 44' boats get for engineering that makes what is suggested to be a stripped down version cost that much? That's got to be some fancy laminating and winches. Instead of playing off the inter-service rivalry, how about a detailed review of all that stuff?

Posted by: ERIC R | July 25, 2012 11:00 AM    Report this comment

Luders 44 hull outdated.......... Ok.... Perhaps... but aside for backing difficulties, our 1963 Annapolis 44 still turns heads and constantly invites dockside discussion and praise. Pierre Bustanoby SV Cormorant Seattle Wa.

Posted by: A44 | July 25, 2012 10:38 AM    Report this comment


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