I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Morgan was born in Chicago November 1929 and raised in Florida. Morgan built the yacht Brisote and completed a St. Petersburg, Florida to Havana, Cuba race with Bruce Bidwell. Morgan attended the University of Tampa  and took a job with Johnson Sails, located at the Jean Street Shipyard on the Hillsborough River.
Charley Morgan, who calls himself "the ancient mariner," felt like a kid again. Eighty-five candles will grace his next birthday cake, but when he noticed the palm trees swaying beyond the window, he marched outside to look at Boca Ciega Bay. Standing on his dock, he saw Blue Cloud prancing at the end of a rope like a rambunctious colt wanting to leap the corral fence.
Easily the most influential name in greater Tampa Bay yachting circles and certainly a man of national repute is Charley Morgan, a septuagenarian with the vigor of a guy who has never thought seriously about what Social Security may or may not bring. To spend time with Morgan is to stand close to a caldron bubbling over with old memories and new ideas.
It has been said that Charley Morgan is the only person to ever single-handedly design, build, and skipper his own 12 Meter in the America’s Cup. Prior to and since Charley’s 1970 Cup attempt, all campaigns were organized by large syndicates. He even sailed the boat on its own bottom from St. Petersburg, Florida to Newport, Rhode Island to compete in the 1970 America’s Cup Defender Trials.
Charley Morgan (pictured far left in photo at right) hasn’t lost any of his zip and enthusiasm for sailing at 85 years young. The innovative local fiberglass yacht designer told Paradise News: “It’s amazing when you look back over the sweep of time how Tampa Bay has remained a major factor in all types of watersports activity. We’ve had sailing World and Western Hemisphere championships as well as the Southern Ocean Racing Conference, among others.
Charley Morgan is the only person to ever single-handedly design, build and skipper his own 12-Meter in the America’s Cup. Prior to and since Charley’s 1970 Cup attempt, all campaigns were made by large syndicates. He even sailed the boat on its own bottom from St. Petersburg, Florida to Newport, Rhode Island to compete in the 1970 America’s Cup Defender Trials.
In 1985, an avid sailor and member of the Treasure Island Tennis & Yacht Club had an idea for a unique race in the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Richard LaGrua brought his proposal to the club's yachting committee headed by Mary (Sully) Lowe and after getting the club’s green light for his idea, he started making plans for it with Sully’s vigorous support as co-founder of the event.
Sailing legend Charles E. Morgan (Charley to his friends, which was just about everyone) passed away January 6, 2023 on Treasure Island, Florida, at the age of 93, mere hours after the passing of his wife Maurine. The following Good Old Boat article that I wrote in 2005 tells the high-points of Charley’s illustrious career but, he deserves emphasis for a few of the most notable:
About the Archive This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems; we are continuing to work to improve these archived versions.