Dreaming of Merlin Rockets

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Stephen Hawkins
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Dreaming of Merlin Rockets

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:43 am

All,

I am a lake/gravel pit sailor that currently sails a Miracle at South Cerney Sailing Club (near Whitefriars).

I have an irrational desire to own (covet) an old Merlin Rocket.

1. There are no Merlin Rockets at my sailing club.

2. I have never sailed one.

3. The club is dominated by Albacores and Solos.

4. Spinnaker boats are at a disadvantage at our club, as the legs are too short and wind speed and direction can be a little changeable. Forget Trapezes, unless for the entertainment of your fellow sailors. However, I have a preference for symmetry and have an involvement with Cadet training so need to be able to fly a kite.

5. Although I sail, I only occasionally race. My raison d'etre is not to beat my fellow man, just to enjoy sailing. And Cadets do take up a lot of my time.

6. I like wooden boats, they have a soul.

7. I do not want to own an over-restored 'grand piano' I cannot afford it. Niether do I want a major rebuild. although I do not mind a bit of varnishing.

8. I am told I would be better off with a earlier non-soap dish variety (below s/n 1000 - pre 1970?), and the handicap for a vintage boat would be helpful.

Am I mad? Or am I not worthy?

Steve Hawkins
Steve Hawkins

1967 National 12 2383 "Sparkle"

Rupert
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Re: Dreaming of Merlin Rockets

Post by Rupert » Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:58 am

Hi Stephen,
Sounds like an eminently sensible dream. The lake at SCSC is easily big enough - a Few years ago we had a young team at Whitefriars sailing (very well) an original NSM design (so a wide boat, but not too extreme) and they won almost everything. I think they'd have won in virtually anything, mind, as they put in time on the water and were skilled!

There are many on here, and on the Merlin site, who can point you towards the good designs from all eras. Of the narrow boats, Proctor dominated, but I believe you need to take care on whick Mark you get? MkVIIII rings a bell as a good one. And lots of support for Smoker's Satisfaction on here for the wider boats.
Rupert

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Re: Dreaming of Merlin Rockets

Post by JimC » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:31 am

Stephen Hawkins wrote:Am I mad? Or am I not worthy?
We do this sailing bit for fun. So if you think that owning an old Merlin will be more fun than the current hot class at your club then do it...

Stephen Hawkins
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Re: Dreaming of Merlin Rockets

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:47 am

This might be just up my alley although starting at £350, I am wondering what the seller is actually after:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Merlin-Rocket-rac ... 2307d5441a

As opposed to this:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/merlin-rocket-din ... 19bcefa77d

Whilst not averse to seeing a bit of non-slip paint on the floor of an old dinghy, I do not like seeing painted topsides and paint on all the insides......

Did I mention that I was 'cheap'? :wink:
Steve Hawkins

1967 National 12 2383 "Sparkle"

chris
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Re: Dreaming of Merlin Rockets

Post by chris » Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:24 pm

Very good choice! (but I am biased)
The two on ebay would both be good inland boats as well as being good to sail etc. No 760 The blue one ( no comment) is a Proctor 6, The merlin website has a good guide to the diferent designs so look up under proctor and you will find what they say about the 6s and 8s etc.
There has been mention of 999, Rozzer, elsewhere on this site. this boat is in Bristol and needs someone to take her on. I expect the cost would not be high but she may need some work. I think the rudder may be missing but I can probably provide a rudder, tiller and even a boom/mast/sails if they are lost.

I also heard yesterday of an advert for one in south wales. This is advertised in a local paper. I'll try and find the details for you.

In the meantime if you want to have a go or have a closer look I'm at shearwater with 6, and 507 which are Holt designs, and there are proctor 12, 9b and 9d to see .

Just another thought ...I need a crew for Bough beech on saturday if you fancy a ride. (either no 6 or 507 I haven't decided what I'm taking yet)

Stephen Hawkins
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Re: Dreaming of Merlin Rockets

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:10 pm

Chris,

I did read about Rozzer, but its condition, or more importantly, its completeness was rather off-putting. I also have a Cadet in the back garden that I need to redeck and I am only allowed one project at a time. This will be my first attempt at a redeck. I will be pinning it, as I am not yet up to a no-nails approach, I fear.

I am also in need of a 'complete package'. Trolley, Trailer, cover, sails, etc. But I also do not want to get involved with an owner trying to recover the cost of a 'new trailor'....You can't sail a trailor. I really do not want to be buying any high value items in the short term. I will also have to sell my Miracle to keep the lady wife happy.

As far as the offer of crew, did I mention I am 15 stone?..........Could do with losing 3. :wink:

Thanks for the offer Chris......I feel like I have just sat in the front car of a rollercoaster!

Steve Hawkins
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Ed
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Re: Dreaming of Merlin Rockets

Post by Ed » Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:13 pm

950 isn't the Merlin that was brought up to Roadford for last CVRDA open there is she?

I don't think so.....but it is strange to see that she is a Proctor MkVIII and in Devon, as was the boat that came up to Roadford. I remember because I have a MkVIII and there are not that many around.

Big pity the MkV1 was painted blue.....rather a nice one that.

But I would go for the MkVIII or Rozzer MkIX at Baltic Wharf. I 'may' be able to find the tel number of the owner....I think I remember his name....so it may be possible to find the rudder.

cheers

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Re: Dreaming of Merlin Rockets

Post by Pat » Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:44 pm

When you see a boat that sounds possible, ask both here and on the merlin rocket website forum as MR owners tend to stay with the class and someone is likely to know the boat and its history. The class website for sale list is always a good starting point as it's the first place of advertising by most MR sailors. And come over to Shearwater if you want to look or try an old Merlin - Tuesday evenings or Sundays but contact Chris or us first as we're away a lot. Shearwater event is first Saturday in October too.

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Re: Dreaming of Merlin Rockets

Post by Brookesy » Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:08 pm

I think you will find the mark8 no950 is the very same boat which came along to Roadford as the owner said he came from the Bridestowe area. I did not look that closely but from what I saw it looked to be a pretty good example to me
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Re: Dreaming of Merlin Rockets

Post by Ancient Geek » Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:36 pm

It would be good to see Merlin Rockets back at South Cerney they ran on of the very first Merlin Rocket Team Championship for the Top Mast Trophy (The Top Mast of 97 Joy from Geeoffry Saffery-Coopers first Merlin Rocket give in Geoff's memory by hus widow and son Brian. A memorable weekend!
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Re: Dreaming of Merlin Rockets

Post by chris » Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:31 pm

It sounds as if 950 was the one that someone brought to Roadford in May. If so then I would say it was ready to sail and looked quite sound everywhere. The varnish was recently done but could be improved with levelling down with wet n dry and a couple more coats. but it did look very sailable.

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Re: Dreaming of Merlin Rockets

Post by admin » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:50 pm

I agree about 950, nice looking boat - also advertised in Lifton post office.

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Re: Dreaming of Merlin Rockets

Post by roger » Mon Jun 14, 2010 8:44 pm

I wish you guys wouldnt keep mentioning rozzer I am starting to feel guilty. Along with Beecher Moores Hornet. Oh for another shed and more time.
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Re: Dreaming of Merlin Rockets

Post by davidh » Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:01 pm

Steve,

What a wonderful email to read and believe me, what you want is far from unique!

I sail the 'only Merlin in the village' and spend more time just jollying about in it than racing (and therein lies a problem, for just going for a jolly in no prediction of how well the boat will withstand the rigours of racing).

At other times, I'm normally found in a Contender, 505, or any other performance dinghy that I get to sail as part of the job of being a yachting journalist.

So why do I sail a Merlin? Pretty much the same reasons behind your line of thinking. I've not got a super smart bit of polished furniture, nor do I wrap it in cotton wool. But the pleasure that comes with the sailing a 'good' merlin just has to be experienced. I've sailed just about all of the sailing dinghies and I've yet to experience anything quite like it....sailing a Merlin IS special.

It would be easy to say that I'm biased but I think I could make a very strong case for suggesting that the best compromise - between ancient and modern has to be with a wider Merlin but before they went 'really flat and wide'. The very early boats are okay but tend to be even more of a maintenance labour of love...... but a Kipper, Mustard Seed (one went quite cheaply on ebay recently) Winderbox (a really fab boat for an inland location like South Cerney) or Smokers - or if you're not too heavy, a Ghost Rider..... any one of these boats can be got quite cheaply and will really 'give' you something back. There may be faster boats....tippier boats, more modern, more 'cool' boats but a good middle of the road Merlin will really take some beating. If you'd like to have a shot at sailing in 3025, just say and if Jon hasn't already broken it then you're welcome.

D
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Stephen Hawkins
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Re: Dreaming of Merlin Rockets

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:54 pm

I have just spoken to the guy selling the Merlin down in Devon. It was on ebay a month or so ago, but the winning bidder did not make contact. And when finally contact was made by the seller, the winner gave some cock and bull story about not really bidding for it.

I had a 'virtual walk around' with the aid of the pictures and he seems okay. It is the boat that was seen last year by some of you.

I will watch with interest and on Sunday, if the price is right, I might take a punt.

However, as pointed out, there will be others, perhaps not quite as old, but maybe, of a more suitable design....And maybe cheaper.

Who knows?

Cheers

Steve Hawkins
Steve Hawkins

1967 National 12 2383 "Sparkle"

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